Monday, January 26, 2015

Miss Fliss - 4 Months Old

Felicity turned 4m old a few days ago.

People ask if she can roll. I don't think so. I am sure she gets lots of time to try this at daycare... in the precious time I have with her in the evenings I do not put her down much. She is pretty much held from 4:30pm - 10pm every night, with occasional interruptions. Not much chance to see if she can roll. She does like to sit up, propped on the couch or held on your lap, or to stand up with your assistance.

She is very vocal. She went through a very talkative phase where she was babbling a lot. Lately now her newest thing is blowing raspberries. Yes, she can blow a raspberry, though she spends much more time TRYING to do  it then actually doing it. See?

She smiles all of the time. If someone is looking at her, holding her, paying attention, she is happy. She likes it when you sing to her or make little sounds at her, or even just talk. As happy as she is, she also is more vocal about being unhappy when she isn't. I am starting, however, to get pretty good at reading her as to what she is unhappy about, so that's nice.

She isn't sleeping great. It really varies night to night... sometimes every two hrs, sometimes more like 4 hrs, she is awake to eat. The one annoying thing is she really wants to get up at 5:20. No matter what else she does, she seems to wake up about a half hr before my alarm just to taunt me (I kid, LOL, but it is annoying!!)

 Her hand-eye coordination is pretty neat. She can take her pacifier in and out of her mouth.She can, and does, grab any toy you give to her. She is getting to that age when you have to be careful with her at the table because she might try to grab your plate or your glass. She takes anything she can get her hands on and brings it up to her mouth. Her drooly, wet mouth. She really is a drooler!!

Her stats - 24.5 Inches (57%), 14lb2oz (53%), 70% head. She is slowing down.

I love holding her, and kissing her chubby cheeks (all the time), and her cool forehead when she sleeps. I love how her lip keeps moving to suckle long after her sleepy mouth has dropped the pacifier. I love her tiny hands grabbing mine and how she grabs at and scratches my arm when she is trying to comfort herself. (She scratches many things!!). I love her little kicks and how chill she is most of the time,content to hang out in my arms, looking out on what is going on. I am in no rush for her to grow up, just trying to take it day by day and get as many kisses as I can along the way.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Baby Dinosaurs

Friday afternoon Benjamin came home from daycare proud to have learned that Dinosaurs lay eggs. We went to Grandma and Grandpa's house for pizza and the four of us (DH, Me, Ben, Felicity) were sitting in the living room, and Ben said he wanted to play dinosaurs. It started normal enough, with him and DH stomping around, short little T-Rex arms but big steps, roaring mouths, but then Ben interrupted the play and laid flat out on the floor and announced he was laying eggs, dinosaur eggs. He did not understand that laying meant anything other than being supine, so he was laying on the floor, "laying" eggs. Then he started handing us the eggs to help take care of. He announced he had laid 67 (productive day, and I did not even know he knew numbers that big). He handed one to DH and DH immediately pretended to eat it. Ben MELTED DOWN. Flipped out. Full Mandrake Face. His dad, after all, had just eaten one of his babies.I chastised DH who quickly reversed and said "no no I was only pretending to eat the egg." (Thus creating a layer of imagination in which he pretended to eat the pretend egg, but actually was caring for it). Crisis averted. Ben handed me some eggs and I promised not to eat them. We sat there for several minutes just looking at each other, our palms upturned holding imaginary eggs. Ben was walking around the living room "taking care" of the rest of them. Then DH said one of his eggs was hatching. It was a T-Rex. Then I said mine were hatching. Benjamin tended to them as they hatched and "laid" on the other unhatched eggs on the floor so they would stay warm. As they hatched he would feed them, he gave some of them pacifiers. He chased off the scary/mean dinosaur that was going to eat his babies. We played this for some time actively, but eventually did other things. Then, as we were leaving,, he asked to make sure that we were bringing them home. I assured him all 67 dinosaur eggs/babies were in the car. By Saturday morning all the eggs had  hatched. By Saturday afternoon, they were learning to walk. I pointed out to Benjamin that they were learning and growing just like him and Felicity. He said NO! They are not growing, only learning. (Ben does not want to grow up as of late).

The baby dinosaurs now make periodic appearances throughout our days of play. Last night at bedtime, they all came up with us. Benjamin kept calling me up to his crib and asking for pacifiers for the dinosaurs until I finally told him I was handing him 67 of them (of course, then his stuffed panda bear needed one ten minutes later). He is so loving towards these imaginary mini dinosaurs that are running all over our house, it is adorable. I had to write this tidbit down before I forgot more of it.

(In Felicity news, she is able to put her pacifier in and out of her mouth, she really likes toys, things to grab and try to eat, she likes her bouncer which we just got out, she likes trying to stand up in it. She is not quite rolling or sitting up yet).

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I was going to start writing about my resolutions for 2015, but I realized I never did a post of how my resolutions went last year. (I also never really reflected fully on 2014, that is for another post).

Last year I had one goal: Simplify. OK, nothing is going to get simpler by having a second baby, and I did not have specific goals to measure whether I succeeded. But, I still can evalute how I did a bit. I failed at decluttering. I did not get to any of the crawl spaces I wanted to. I did not get rid of nearly as much stuff as I had hoped. I did (and still do) though feel a change in the way I think about life. There were a lot of things last year where I chose the simpler path - chose not to buy something I don't really need, chose to throw out something now instead of later, chose to turn down an obligation, delete a game, etc. It was not every time, but there was change. This is a change I hope to continue, expand upon.

And.. I know. It is late to be writing about resolutions, I am already through half a month! Also, my resolutions this year are not very well defined. That said, I do have things I want to do differently in 2015.

First, I want to get the decluttering process really underway. And I want to keep a positive attitude about it and get some momentum going. I have joined an internet group to help me in this. The Facebook Group is called Declutter 365 and is linked to/run by this blog: Basically there is a Daily "Challenge", a 15 minute decluttering task. Today's is to declutter the tupperware/food storage containers. Its nice to have it broken into tiny little tasks, its nice to make a tiny bit of progress everyday and not stress about trying to get it all done or get overwhelmed by the amount that needs to be done. And, if I miss a day, its easy to catch up. And each little task I do, whether I do it well or poorly, is a tiny step forward. Its nice. I am enjoying it. There still will be some heavy lifting tasks... you know. Crawl spaces. Basement.

Second, I want to continue the mental move to simplicity. I want to be conscious of what I take on, and whether it is really something I want in my life, whether it be a new hobby, an internet game, or a new toy. I want to be selective when making purchases and think about not only the money it will cost, but the time it will cost to upkeep and the space it will take up in my home.

Third, I want to worry less and be more generous. I do not want to let fear of rejection, breaking social norms, looking stupid, fear about money, whatever, stop me from doing things that are nice for other people anymore.

I am really hoping that the first and second of these goals will make more time to work on other things... like reading good books, and writing, and eating healthier. But I really want to work on making room before finding things to fill the room, so we will stick with the resolutions.

Monday, January 12, 2015


2014 was a fantastic year.

I am not saying nothing bad happened, of course bad things happened. Some very sad things happened. The loss of the oldest (a grandparent) and the very youngest (an unborn niece/nephew) were hard.

But, there is so much good. My life is very good and I want to take a moment to be thankful for it.
I live in a city I love. Everyday I get up and drive by Lake Superior to get to my job, where I can look at the lake all day (in between business). The lake speaks to my soul, it is my muse. That is incredibly cheesy, but I am finding out as I get older that many many many cheesy things are true. This city is nestled in a state that I also love, that has a sense of decency and community; a state that does well on healthcare, education, environmental policy, job creation.. the list could go on and on.

Oh, and that job I am driving to? Its a job I find fulfilling. I feel like my job has meaning, that it serves a purpose to help my community (the city and state I love). At that job, besides having a lakeview cubicle, I work with people with whom I enjoy spending time, and I believe they like me. My supervisor has confidence in me and I have upward mobility, and am already taking on more projects and more control over my work life.

After work, I drive to daycare. Its a daycare center that I TRUST and believe takes good care of my kids. It offers classes that at times turn it into a little community of support.

And then, of course, I meet my loving, hardworking husband there, and pick up my two healthy, beautiful children. Its amazing that it is plural now, and I can't express the weight that having a second child has lifted. The fear of never having the family we wanted, and havine to settle and get over it, is gone. And my children are growing and learning and changing. They are happy, they love their parents and we love them.

We pick up our Children and usually take them to our house; a house that is cozy and feels like a home to me. It is in a neighborhood that is safe, across from a golf course, within walking distance of a nice little playground, and a high school. We have all the material possessions we need, and many that we just want.

Sometimes instead of going home I take them to their grandparents. My parents, who support us and help us, who I get to laugh several times a week, who I drink beer with, eat good food with, and generally enjoy being around. Similarly, I get to see all my siblings as often as we make time for it. I can go to lunch with my sisters or dinner with my brother with no problem. They baby sit for use, we house sit for them. I love being near our extended family.

And every once in awhile, my in laws come visit. And they are wonderful people who love us and their grandchildren, who are generous and kind, who understand that we cannot be everywhere at once and do not hold it against us. They are welcome as often as they are willing to tolerate our chaotic house and cold weather.

2014 was a year where I was surrounded by love and satisfaction from every direction.

This is the stuff happily ever after is made of.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Benjamin at Age 3

Benjamin turns 3 yrs old today. Technically it already happened early this morning.

It used to be so easy to describe Benjamin. I could break it down into nice little categories: Speech, Motor Skills, Diet, Sleep.

Now he is an actual little person with a distinct and complicated personality. How do you sum it up in a post? I can't do it.

Benjamin's favorite thing in the world is to play. "Play with me" is a constant refrain in our household. But, he is still picky about who it is that answers that call. He wants his parents attention the most, especially his dad's. He will be stubborn and not want to play with other family members (aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc), especially if Dad or Mom is around. He is similarly protective of his home, he doesn't like new people coming into it too much, and doesn't tend to want to talk to them or let them play. It took two sessions of uncle and aunt M&K babysitting before he started to warm up for example.

He is typical 3 yr old in a of ways. He likes to make excuses not to go to sleep - he needs water, he needs a hug, he is hungry, he has a story he just has to tell us, his stuffed animals are not under his covers (This one is a sign he might finally actually go to sleep). He still likes us to sit with him. Luckily for him, I have started to find sitting up with him quite relaxing. I tell him I will stay as long as he tries to go to sleep, and he lays there and I sit in the rocking chair dozing or day dreaming with out a care in the world. Its a nice break from other demands (baby duties and cleaning etc).

Speaking of stories, Benjamin loves them. He likes to make them up, he likes us to tell them, he likes us to read books. His special interests are pirates and cars of course. He is very obsessed with Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Luckily, Jake is a pretty good role model. He is nice to people, helpful, inclusive, and eats yogurt with granola. LOL.

Benjamin is a very picky eater.. .also typical three year old. Mac&Cheese, pretty much anything made of pork (bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham). Lots of carbs, apple sauce, berries. cereal. Yeah we are not the healthiest eaters. I guess everyone has their weaknesses. He drinks chocolate milk like its going out of style.

Benjamin like swim lessons, he likes gym time, he likes other kids and will make friends quick with anyone at the playground or mall or anywhere he is playing. He loves going to the mall and playing on the ride-on toys, and at the B&N trains table. He likes Target. Actually he has been known to say "Target, the Mall, Home, those are the places I like" (he might also refer to either or both G&Gs houses. He likes shoveling snow into his dump truck, or sand, he doesn't care which. He pretty  much considers snow to just be sand that is everywhere. He has expressed interest in ice skating recently but we have not had a chance to take him. He can sing the entire U & M fight song. He can count to 14, and then gets a bit lost (eleventeen ends up in there somehow). He knows his alphabet and is just starting to associate phoenetics with letters (very very just starting). He likes his friends at daycare and playing with them. He is proud of being a preschooler and doesnt want to be called baby or toddler. He is a great big brother, who is helpful when we ask him to be, and loves to give baby sister hugs and kisses.

He has very little interest in potty training, in general he is afraid or hestitant to try things he think are hard or he will fail at, even if he originally expresses a lot of interest. He likes the idea of new things
more than the actual new things. Therefore he takes a lot of ecnouragement when starting new things.

He is extremely inquisative and firmly in the "why" stage. He wants to know everything about the world around him, frequently more than we can explain in a way he understands. I love seeing when something "clicks" for him and seeing him connect the dots as he learns.

I am sure there are other things I want to say.. but this is what comes to mind right now!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Felicity's First Christmas

We had a fantastic Christmas.

Christmas eve Aaron took the kids to my parent's house to make cookies (Benjamin REALLY likes cutting cookies out, which we had learned when we made Salt Dough ornaments... another hilarious story that didn't quite make it into the blog...). I was at work.

In the evening we went to my parents house and had the traditional "Eat whatever you want" meal. My dad and I had reubens, my mom and DH had shrimp, Benjamin had hotdog, mac&cheese, and olive, and Felicity has mama's milk!. We let Benjamin (and technically Felicity) unwrap one gift- their ornaments. Benjamin got Jake the Pirate and Felicity got a Precious Moments baby's first Christmas. Then we read Twas' the Night Before Christmas. Benjamin liked it so much we read it twice.

On Christmas morning, Ben SLEPT IN!! It is an extremely rare event. He slept in until about 8am. I was able to get up before him, get breakfast started, have my coffee, it was so lovely. Then he got up and we did Christmas gifts under the tree. His big gift from Santa was a pirate ship. Felicity got magnetic stacking "rings".  DH got me a Chromecase for the bedroom (YAY!!) and I got him an Everton shirt.

We hung around at home for another hour and then headed to my parent's house, where we ate and ate and ate, and opened presents and more presents and more presents. It was a really fun day. My family this year decided to only spend $7.13 per person (and exchange stockings through a name draw). It worked out really well, lots of very creative gifts. I got a quidditch set, for example, that I can set up in my yard and play (the tallest hoop is 6 ft tall). We also did something a bit different for food - we used crockpots for everything except the Ham and pies. It made life so much easier that we probably will try it again despite the kinks that need to be worked out.

It was such a wonderful day. I hope that every Christmas can be as nice as it was!

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Years Excercises

Here are some MEMEs I do every year.

Exercise #1

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before? I got pregnant, all on my own! (OK, with some help from DH, but no doctors! LOL.. and technically this happened in December 2013 but I did not find out until 2014...). Other new things - I lead a meeting at work and took on more of a leadership role then I have ever had at work. I was induced. I held my CHILDREN (plural).

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I will write another post about this.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Does myself count? :) Also, my good friend Kim. There are many many more 2015 babies on the way.

4. Did anyone close to you die? My Grandpa In Law

5. What countries did you spend time in this year? Just America.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? More time to write and reflect.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Jan 6th, the day I found out I was pregnant. Sept 22nd, the day Felicity was born.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Giving birth to a healthy daughter. (Sensing a theme?)

9. What was your biggest failure? Letting the year get away from me. I think this tends to happen when I am pregnant....

10. Did you suffer any serious injury or illness? Nope!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I am not sure.. nothing sticks out, but maybe I will think of something later.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Benjamin for being such a loving big brother. My parents, for being so helpful to us. DH for being such a great dad.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed? per usual.. politicians

14. Where did most of your money go? Daycare, mortgage, eating

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The release of "Mockingjay" movie, Felicity's birth, our Thanksgiving trip to St Louis.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?   All about the Base

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? fatter
c) richer or poorer? about the same?

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? reflecting

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? eating

20. How did you spend Christmas? In Duluth - Santa came to our house, then we went to my parents for the day.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014? With Felicity :)

22. What are the main websites you used? Zetaboards, Facebook, What To Expect

23. Did you write anything worth reading this year? No, I hardly wrote anything.

24. What was your favorite TV program? Doctor Who (mostly on Netflix), Sherlock, Project Runway

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I try not to hate people in general.

26. What was the best book you read? I was very bad at recording my reading. I only read book club books pretty much.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Sleeping At Last

28. What did you want and get? A baby, more responsability at work.

29. What did you want and not get? lottery win

30. What was your favorite film of this year? Mockingjay

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
30. DS was sick. I got some Arby's and had a pregnancy hormone breakdown. Not my best moment...

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Winning the lottery.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? Whatever fits.

34. What kept you sane?
The help and support of my family and friends.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Cumberbatch is really on the rise...

36. What political issue stirred you the most? Honestly, I feel like I mostly ignored politics. The election was a pretty big deal though. I was glad to see gay marriage continue to expand.

37. Who did you miss? The Bens, My Graduate School Friends, my ILs

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Virtual friends for my Sept mom's group

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014? Its love that makes the world go round.

40. What word or phrase sums up this year? Contentment

Exercise #2

1 minute ago... I was watching Charmed on my Kindle during my lunchbreak at work.
1 hour ago... I was frantically working on a difficulty MFIP case.
1 day ago... I was watching football with my kids and ILs
1 month ago... I was recovering from our whirlwind trip to St Louis
1 year ago... I was home alone. DH and DS were still in St Louis from Christmas. I was pregnant, but I didn't know it yet.
1 decade ago... I was a Junior in college getting ready to do my study abroad in Salzburg Austria
1 lifetime ago... I think I was in revolutionary in Russia

5 minutes ago... I was eating pork&sauerkraut leftovers
5 hours ago... getting ready for work, rather more leisurely than normal since the kids stayed home.
5 days ago... Preparing for a big work meeting I was in charge of.
5 months ago... Waiting anxiously for Felicity to arrive.
5 years ago... I was working at Social Security. Has it REALLY been five years since I started work there?

Exercise #3

The rule is simply: Post the first line of each month of my blog from the last year.

JANUARY: I have a lot of catch up to do, and some fun stuff moving forward. The main reason I have not been posting is because I got a Kindle
FEBRUARY:  Benjamin's quote of the week - "Cows don't drink water. Cows drink milk, people drink water".
MARCH: So, its been over a month since I got on here. I haven't been doing much besides wasting time!! Life is like that sometimes.
APRIL:   I didn't do much to prepare for Easter this year. Heck, we didn't tell Benjamin what the Easter bunny is until last night. Yet it still turned out to be a great holiday.
MAY:  I got a bad report from daycare today. Benjamin got in trouble.
JUNE:  I just celebrated my Golden Birthday this past weekend.
JULY: Long time, no type. I thik I need to do a Benjamin update.
AUGUST:  Today I am 35 Weeks pregnant, 35 Days to go. I had a doctors appt and everything was pretty much perfect.
SEPTEMBER: 39 Weeks pregnant... one to go
OCTOBER: Felicity obviously did not want to come on her own
NOVEMBER:  Felicity is 6 weeks old (As of Monday), and also as of Monday, I am back to work.
DECEMBER:  Nearly a month ago I posted "A Kid Post", with the full intentions of posting, within 24-48 hrs, a companion post called "A Me Post". Ironically, the post (which I wrote only an intro paragraph for), was about how FULL my life is now - both busy and full of love.