Tyler at Two (and a half)

This kid never stops amazing us.  He is kind, gentle, friendly, animated, silly, and loving. He chats with us about his friends at school (still don’t know if the kid is named Wylie or Riley), his baby “shishter Shalem”, and Jesus.  He wants to watch “Gwinch” and build Thomas tracks and read Llama Llama.  He remains obsessed with baseball.

And yet, he still really doesn’t want to pose for the gosh dang camera.  Tyler, pull it together for Mommy, will you please?  Here are a few shots of Tyler “in” the basket at age  2 1/2 as well as a look back at some other memorable basket photos.

Tears.

He said he would sit in the duck bathtub, but not the basket.

My favorite toddler.

One foot in the basket because I let him hold the candy jar.

Age 2, tears.

18 months, tears. Is there a theme here?

My harmonica-playing toddler.

12 months (apparently the end of the Era of Happy Basket Photos)

I couldn’t resist.

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On the Eve of the End of Leave

Salem will be eleven weeks old on Friday, and I’m headed back to work on Wednesday. I’m so, so glad I was able to spend more time with her–I went back when Tyler was only seven weeks old.

I knew maternity leave would feel like a blur with the holidays and visits from family and friends, but WOW, did it go by quickly.  I had been worried about being cooped up in the house with a newborn because I had loved being able to walk and walk and walk with Tyler in the stroller in August and September (the best month of the year in Colorado!) Although we had some incredibly nice days, there were many wintry days this January.  (I don’t remember December.  Between Christmas and all of Salem’s crying, I just don’t remember much about December.)

The first couple of cold, windy days in January I started to go crazy with Salem stuck at home.  She cried a lot for awhile there, and daytime TV is terrible.  But after a sunny patch and after Salem got just a bit older, I began to look forward to the next blustery day.  I loved spending time with this baby girl, just holding her and looking at her and really, really wondering who she would look like as she grows up.

All of a sudden she was smiling.  And cooing.  And grabbing at her toys on the playmat. She didn’t need to be bounced for hours anymore.  She could sit in the Bumbo and watch her brother run and play.  What happened to my wrinkly, fragile newborn?  The one who wanted to eat every twenty minutes?  The one who fit into newborn clothes until she was nine weeks old?

She went to daycare today for the first time, for practice.  She did great.  My strong, sweet little champ who took a bottle when she was four days old and will let anyone feed it to her. She even came home in the same outfit I sent her in.  Tidy, like her brother.

I keep telling myself I’m going back midweek for a reason–a short week, followed by two more short weeks (President’s Day).  Then it’s March, and Spring Break will be here before we know it.  I wish I had more time at home but summer is just around the corner (which is basically the whole point of being a teacher.)  We will settle into a new routine tomorrow, a new, temporary way of life.  Wrangling two kids is already significantly less challenging than it was a month ago.

Salem is a peach.  We love her so, so much.  Here is a look back, in lots of photos (and a few videos), at her first eleven weeks of life.  I hardly recognize this little peanut…

4 days

8 days

17 days

19 days

21 days

23 days

24 days

26 days

28 days

29 days

1 month

1 month

One of my favorites

5 weeks

Another favorite

6 weeks

A favorite

7 weeks

 

8 weeks

2 month checkup

9 weeks

First dress!

10 weeks

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Salem: Two Months

Our girl is getting bigger every day.  She weighs in at 9 lbs, 10 oz and is in the 75th%ile for length.  However, when her height and weight are compared, she’s a string bean like her brother and is barely on the charts.  She loves to eat and sleeps well at night in 3 to 4 hour stretches.  Sleeping during the day is another story, but again, she’s just like her brother. She might nap for 10 minutes and be ready to party again.  She cries a good deal more than Tyler did, but she’s probably just trying be heard in this chatty family!

Salem was officially two months old on Wednesday (which means Christmas was one month ago…!)  I tried to take photos of her in the basket that day.  Five times.  She would not cooperate.  I snapped a few this morning when she tends to be at her mellowest.

Since she was really snuggled down in there, here are a few shots of her stretched out, and you can see her face in the bouncy seat.  I adore this penguin sleeper, and strangely enough we have two of them from two different hand-me-down bags.

About the only skills Salem has acquired are smiling and batting those delicious eyes. Here is a short clip of her being darn cute.  We love you, Salem Elizabeth!

 

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Welcome To The Family of God, Salem!

Salem was baptized on Sunday, December 11 at Mt. Hope Lutheran Church in Boulder. It’s the church where Eric grew up before he moved to Oklahoma, and Eric’s parents still know some members of the congregation.  So, just as Tyler was baptized there, we had Salem baptized at Mt. Hope as well.

We are honored to have Katie and Mike Flood as the godparents of Tyler, and they happily agreed to be Salem’s godparents, too.  It is so fun to watch our children grow up together!

Since Eric wore a blazer, I dressed Tyler up in an adorable BabyGap velvet blazer I got off of Facebook.

My handsome men.

Salem wore the baptismal gown from Eric’s side of the family that is almost 100 years old.

The gown is from Grandma Holle’s side of the family and all of her grandchildren have worn it as well as dozens more.

Proud Grandpa and Grandma Holle.

Pastor Adam made Salem cry, but just a little bit and less than Tyler did when it was his turn two and a half years ago.

A Lutheran baptism is part of an otherwise regular service, so at one point Pastor Adam called up children to the altar for a blessing.  To our surprise (well, not really) Tyler willingly walked up there on his own.  And let Pastor Adam hold him while he spoke!

Tyler sat between Mike and Katie at the service and was an angel the entire time.  He is such a funny kid that way.

Our family of 4.

It was so wonderful to have the Holles here from Arizona for Salem’s baptism.  We all went out to breakfast afterwards to celebrate!

The bump in Katie’s belly is Salem’s new BFF, Anna.

Anna Hope was born on January 12.  That makes our “little sisters” barely seven weeks apart. We visited Anna again when she was one week old and snapped these cute photos.

Whispering secrets already.

Kickin’ it.

Yay! We’re friends!

Come play with me again soon, Salem!

 

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I Didn’t March, But I Made This Girl Power Soup

Last week, the whole family came down with illness.  I won’t go into detail, but this illness prevented me from absorbing or retaining any calories.  Which is nice to kick-start a diet I guess, but terrible when you are breastfeeding.  I NEED all the calories I can get, and being ill and dehydrated on the couch can really impact a girl’s milk supply.

Fortunately, I bounced back in a day or so, but my milk was noticeably less than what it had been.  I honestly started to panic just a bit because I’d never had to play milk catch-up with Tyler.  I texted my neighbor Leigh, who is fabulous and a mom and knows all the non-medical/crunchy/Boulderite things to do to help with such an issue.  Of course, she immediately texted me back suggesting Mother’s Milk Tea (which is nasty, in case you’ve never tried it) and fenugreek pills.  But also, The List of holy foods to eat to increase your milk supply.

Water, oatmeal, easy.  No nuts for me (allergic).  Fennel?  I just saw a Food Network guru using fennel (OK fine it was Rachael Ray) and thought, hey, I should really get into fennel. It’s definitely one of those foods that when I come to it in a recipe, I just turn the page. You know, one of those items that other people apparently stock but I just never have, so I’m unfamiliar with it, like fish sauce, gochujang, leeks, or amaranth.

I decided to make a soup with fennel, carrots, garlic, and ginger.  It’s not a true refrigerator surprise since I did have to buy the fennel, ginger, and carrots (I wanted real carrots, not the flavorless midgets I buy for Eric’s lunches).  But I really did just make it up as I went along and it turned out amazing!  I served it for lunch when my friend Jeana came up to visit since she’s a breastfeeding gal too.  She wanted the recipe, so here it is.

Milk Soup…It’s The Tits!

  • 1 32 oz carton chicken stock
  • 1 fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced (I had to Pinterest How to Cut Fennel), save the fronds for garnish
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 med onion, roughly diced
  • 2 garlic cloves (I used a garlic press)
  • about 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • fresh ginger to grate
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Jasmine rice

First, melt butter in a stockpot on medium.  Add fennel, carrots, and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until carrots begin to soften.  If more liquid is needed, add a splash of olive oil.  After a few minutes, add lemon juice and pressed garlic cloves.  Cook one minute. Add chicken stock.  Allow to heat through and simmer for as long as needed. While soup simmers, I made 3/4 cup Jasmine rice in my rice cooker (so helpful for making grains at altitude!)  Shortly before serving, grate some ginger into the soup (maybe 2 tsp). Serve soup by scooping one portion of rice into a bowl, and covering with soup.  Garnish heavily with fennel fronds (Pinterest said think of them like dill.)  Makes 4 servings.

You could make this vegetarian by using vegetable stock or Paleo by omitting the rice.

My milk supply seems to be increasing, so I would say this soup is a keeper.  Salem agrees.

 

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Happy 2nd Birthday, Tyler!

Today Tyler is 29 months old, so in honor of this momentous occasion I will share about Tyler’s 2nd birthday, 5 months ago.  We held his party in late August because we had a variety of things going on earlier in the month, like a trip up to the mountains to hike, fish, and hang out at the pool at the Ritz.  Don’t worry, we celebrated on his actual birthday, August 7th, with a donut in the minivan in the carpool lot waiting for some friends.

At the end of August my parents came to town to be here for Tyler’s birthday party.  Tyler was SO excited for his Baseball Party!

Eric turned our backyard into Wrigley Field.

Tyler helped Nana bake cupcakes.

I frosted them into baseballs!

His tshirt was made especially for him by my old friend Laura, who runs the delightful Etsy shop RubyRedHandmade.  My mom had the brilliant idea to blow up a bunch of balloons for the kids to hit around, which they loved.

We ate ballgame food including peanuts, nachos, soft pretzels, and hot dogs with Stadium Mustard, naturally.

We asked our guests to dress in baseball gear.  It was fun to see different teams represented.

Tyler was elated to blow out his candle.  The “2” candle is from when Eric took me on a surprise getaway for my birthday when I turned 28.  He had somehow managed to sneak an entire cake into the desert on our camping trip, with “2” and “8” candles.  That may have been when I knew I should marry this guy.

Tyler is a frosting-licker.  I don’t know if he’s ever eaten the cake part.  (Or “sponge” as they call it on Food Network!)

Of course we played lots of baseball in our backyard!

Family photo. At this point my Indians shirts didn’t quite fit, so I had to go Cubs.

Nana & Grandpa

I had only taken one basket photo since Tyler turned one, when he was 18 months old.  I thought it would be fun to take them yearly from here on out–I can just see him at age 16, with one foot in and one foot out!  He wasn’t too keen on the idea but as you can see, he still technically fits in the basket.

The Baseball Party was a hit and Tyler asked to have another one many, many times afterwards.  His love of baseball continues to grow.  He received a t-ball set as a gift and can literally hit balls over the fence.  He always wants to play catch in the house.  And we noticed this fall that he pitches the ball with a windup and a leg kick–we can only figure that he learned this from watching so much baseball on TV.  It’s awesome and adorable.

I can’t believe he’s two.  The year went by so quickly.  And I still haven’t even made him a photo book to remember it by.

 

 

 

 

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Salem: One Month

As Salem’s birthday is November 25th, she turned one month old on Christmas Day.

Yes, we’re doing the basket photos again, like we did with Tyler.  They are just too darn cute.

 

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Salem, Day Nine

We had a photographer come to our house the weekend after Salem was born for some newborn and family photos.  Eric spent the night before teaching Tyler the difference between his “cheese face” and “smile.”  Tyler (mostly) figured it out.  Salem was very awake for a 9-day-old baby.  We love them (the photos, and our kids)!

       

Salem peed on me. Again.

         

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Baboo #2…A Girl!?

We did it.  We brought home Baboo #2.  She’s amazing.  We absolutely cannot believe we have a girl.  We thought we’d have another boy.  I put Tyler’s newborn clothes in the dresser, awaiting baby boy’s arrival.  I was going to be a #boymom.  I was ready for a life of baseball and bugs and stinky socks and (gladly) without Shopkins, princesses, and Justice. Yes, I know that boys can play with Shopkins and girls can have stinky socks…but still. Boys and girls ARE different.

We hardly thought about whether Tyler would be a boy or a girl.  With him, I had initially really wanted a girl, but early on we kind of just felt like the baby was a boy.  This was probably because I was huge and every person we met said it was a boy.  And he was.  And it never mattered one bit, because we would eventually/hopefully have another baby, so we just didn’t think too much about it.

But this baby, our second and most, most likely final baby–I thought about whether our baby would be a boy or a girl often.  Not constantly, but often.  I didn’t have a preference, really, but felt like our family dynamics would be different whether the baby was a boy or a girl.  Both good, of course, but different.  And we thought we’d have another boy.

Except for a couple of dreams I had.  I had dreams–intense, vivid dreams that I only had while trying or being pregnant…I never remember my dreams otherwise–after each round of IUI.  Three predicted I wasn’t pregnant (I wasn’t) and one predicted I was (I was!).  And then somewhere in the middle of this pregnancy I had two incredibly vivid dreams that the baby was a girl.  In both dreams, I was actively giving birth and the baby came out–a girl! And in both dreams, I asked the doctor to put the baby back in!  I don’t know why I became subconsciously averse to having a girl.  When people asked what I thought the baby would be, I said boy and said sorry to the baby if she was, in fact, a girl.  I think we both just got so comfortable in raising Tyler that we wanted another one of him and were scared of anybody different–girl or boy.

But here she is.  Beautiful, lovely, strong, amazing, perfect Salem Elizabeth.  We can’t imagine life without her.  Her brother adores her and she will grow up with a family who loves her no matter what.  Even if she insists on shopping at Justice.

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Waiting for Baboo #2

Baboo #2 was due November 28th.  I was blissfully confident I would make it to my due date–after all, Tyler was three days late.  Salem arrived three days early, which was more than excellent after a somewhat interesting third trimester.

Back in September, my fundal measurement–the superscientific measurement of your pregnant belly from pubic bone to top of the uterus using a tape measure–was small. Normally, your centimeters match your weeks pregnant.  But all of a sudden I was measuring almost four centimeters smaller than I should have.  I wasn’t alarmed–after all, the way they do it seems kind of ridiculous, I felt fine, and our 20 week ultrasound showed baby growing on track.  But the OB wanted another ultrasound, so we happily obliged.  We learned that our baby was pretty small, particularly the baby’s head–it was in the 3rd percentile.  The OB sent us to see a specialist for a more in-depth ultrasound.  She wanted to confirm the baby was growing and it wasn’t a case of IUGR, intrauterine growth restriction. Or Zika.  What was happening?!  We stayed positive and tried not to think too much about it.  There was nothing we could do about it.  But the OB told us if they did suspect IUGR the baby would be delivered at 34 weeks.  Which was a week after we received this news.  It was a tad unsettling to say the least.

Fortunately, the next ultrasound both confirmed our baby had a tiny head and also that there was no growth concern, and it was overwhelmingly likely that we would just have a proportionally smallish baby with a dainty noggin.  Tyler’s head has always measured below the 10th percentile, and I can fit a child’s XS ski helmet on my cranium, so it follows that our baby had a genetically small head.  Because of my “advanced maternal age” (I don’t remember getting old, BTW) I would receive weekly ultrasounds for the remainder of my pregnancy.  Baby’s head continued to be small–at the very end, we were down in the 1st percentile.  But still, we were told not to worry, so we didn’t.

We enjoyed a wedding weekend in Cincinnati.

We stayed with dear old college friends Jen & Mark, and their son Ryan.

It was so fun to see these two shaggy blondes play together!

Playing in the fountains at Washington Park.

It was SO HOT and SO HUMID, especially for September. Thanks, Ohio, for always showing Eric your finest weather qualities.

We had beers at MadTree and the boys played cornhole.  We visited more breweries and hiked in the park.  We played wiffleball and Eric hit Jen in the neck with a ball.

The Moses came out to play, too!

My tiny taster as I was still pregnant.

Graeter’s ice cream, of course. We also had Skyline!

OU girls: Jen, Mandy, Rebecca, and me.  At this time, six kids between us all but only two made the photo.

And Nick & Lauren’s wedding reception at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Museum was gorgeous.

Last flight as a family of three.

We enjoyed a beautiful weekend in Aspen.

The Maroon Bells and bright yellow aspens. SUCH a perfect fall day!

Family hike. The previous day it had been snowing so we really lucked out.

Lilly is still going strong.

Throwing rocks in bodies of water is always a winner for Tyler.

We had our 9th(?) Annual Fall Fest with our friends in Winter Park.

We stayed in a wonderful house with the Floods, Taylors, and Smiths.  Tyler approved.

The three pregnant hikers!

Once again we lucked out on weather (late October in Fraser could mean snow) and went for an easy hike. There was a small stream that we crossed by tossing the kids over.  Literally, in the air. Nobody got wet.

Tyler showing Burke the way at the park.  There was a also a skatepark where Tyler was obsessed with watching kids skateboard.

Girls talking, probably about babies.  A really nice, relaxing weekend with excellent food overall.  Even though the hot tub was broken!

We hosted a kid-friendly Holleween Party in lieu of our traditional Happy Holledays ugly sweater party.  I came across an adorable dragon costume for Tyler, so naturally Eric and I went as Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen.  Because I’m the Mother of Dragons, obviously.

My sun-and-stars.

During the World Series, my blood pressure went up.  A couple of nights I thought I might deliver right there on our couch.  But that passed and I was still pregnant and we were still banking on November 28th, the Monday after Thanksgiving.  I had the week of Thanksgiving off from school, and I really wanted to enjoy it with Tyler and getting ready for the holidays.  And for the most part, I did.  Salem’s birth story, coming soon!

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