New Orleans

Sean and I went to New Orleans at the end of April.  He had a conference, I tagged along, and thankfully my parents watched Wes and Madeline.  Although this trip is already behind us and I went on the trip fully thinking I had canceled the blog, this story is important.

We flew in on Saturday and soon after landing had dinner with Alexis and Christian.  We had the best time!  Alexis lives in Baton Rouge.  It’s a bit outside of New Orleans so I wasn’t sure how this might work out, but I’m so glad it did!  It was great to meet Christian and spend time with a cousin I never have without all of our aunts and uncles around.  (An earlier version of this draft said ” without adults around” because that’s what happens when you think about yourself in your family dynamic.  But I had to change that because all parties at this dinner are all very much adults!)

The only reason I have this picture of food is because I texted it to my dad.  I got frog legs in honor of my Grandma Sarah.  She loved frog legs.

Towards the end of dinner Alexis asked me if the blog was over.  I said yes.  I just canceled it and it’s over at least for now.  And then she asked me if I liked the blog.  And I said yes and then we got distracted by something.

After dinner we walked Bourbon Street.  I think you have to when you visit New Orleans.  It’s a fascinating experience.  Plus we were having such a good time I wasn’t ready for it to end.  Alexis and Christian took us for one last drink at Tropical Isle, where Sean got a Shark Attack and I got a Hand Grenade.  The Shark Attack comes with a plastic shark and a alligator (the victim of the attack), and both now have a home in Wes’s toy chest.

I was sad for this night to end.  We had such fun with Alexis and Christian.  But the rest of the trip didn’t disappoint.

We had brunch at Carrollton Market the next morning.  It was so delicious.  I took this picture because it’s poutine and I meant to text Alli and Mike about it.  Alli and Mike talk about poutine every time we see them, it seems.  And now I understand why!

Then we took a long walk.  We started with a lap around Audubon Park, then down St. Charles Street (where the houses are HUGE!), and ending up in the Irish Channel at Sucré.  Sucré is a sweet little sugar shop that I went to with my parents when we were in New Orleans just the three of us back in 2009?  2008 maybe?

As we walked around Audubon Park I asked Sean about the blog.  How Alexis had brought it up and that I do really like it and what I should do about it.  And he said that he loves the blog and we’ll figure out how I can make time to write.  So that’s why I’m including this story.  Because if we hadn’t gone to New Orleans and I hadn’t texted Alexis to see if she was available for dinner and if she hadn’t asked me such a simple question about it, we wouldn’t be here.

The rest of the trip was really refreshing for me, with parts that were really enjoyable for both of us.  Monday was still a work day for Sean.  As soon as Monday arrived relaxed Sean transformed into super stressed Sean right before my very eyes.  It was weird.  I know his job is stressful, but to witness how the stress transformed him was something I didn’t expect.  Sometimes when he comes home I want him to be more immediately delighted to see us.  Watching how his work affects him gives me renewed appreciation for his contribution to our family and more patience as he transitions between one stressful situation to another (because let’s face it, families are joyful but also stressful…especially as bedtime approaches).  We still had fun.  We ate lunch at the Gumbo Shop, another spot I revisited from my trip with my parents, and took a trip to the casino after a dinner.

Which left me still wondering who is in charge of choosing the carpets for these establishments.

Tuesday morning Sean woke up bright and early to speak on a panel at his conference.  I took myself to Cafe De Monde for a nice little breakfast.  I read a book over a hot cup of coffee.  That’s one of the things I liked most about this trip.  It was quick, but I was only on my schedule to do whatever I wanted without interruption.

Then we went home to our sweet children and our regular lives.  We really did miss those sweet children, but it was a nice break.  Thanks, New Orleans.  And thanks Alexis for asking me such a simple question about my blog.

Madeline’s Photo Project

I clicked on the folder labeled “Madeline’s Weekly Photo Project” last Tuesday.  I knew I’d neglected the project but was really disappointed to see I hadn’t labeled a picture since week 10.  I was confident that I hadn’t taken enough pictures to make this project work and was sad.  After I realized how hard this project was for me with just Wes, it had been a fear of mine that Baby #2, who turned out to be Madeline, would not have this same record.  But by some miracle I’ve taken enough pictures!  The timing is not perfect from picture to picture (I know of at least one instance where I took pictures in two different outfits on the same day….) but the general point of the project is still here.  You can see still the change and growth over time.  I’m so delighted I pulled this off!  And now, here is Madeline’s updated project (well, almost…she’s 34 weeks this week and I only have up to 33 here).

5 weeks6 weeks

Madeline was a real cry baby in the beginning.  Bedtime was especially hard.  Even without looking at these pictures I have a hard time thinking back on that time.  Looking at these 5 and 6 week pictures I just think – thank goodness you’re not 5 and 6 weeks anymore.  Some people love the newborn phase.  I am not that person.

7 weeks8 weeks9 weeks10 weeks11 weeks12 weeks13 weeks14 weeks

This blue sweater was Wes’s!

15 weeks16 weeks17 weeks18 weeks

Wes’s grey pants!

19 weeks

Madeline is definitely her own person, but go back and look at Wesley at 17 weeks.  There are a lot of similarities between the two depending on the angle!

20 weeks21 weeks22 weeks

Wes’s chambray!  None of these clothes I’m pointing out made it into his weekly photos!  It would have been so fun to see some of the same things on both babies.

23 weeks

Evelyn’s teacup playsuit!

24 weeks25 weeks26 weeks27 weeks

My Steppie made those two dresses above.  I took these pictures when it was still a little cold out.  I hope Madeline will still get some use out of them over the summer.

28 weeks

Here’s Wesley looking ridiculous in the same bunny hat!  And what a fun Easter that was!  I had forgotten!

29 weeks30 weeks31 weeks32 weeks33 weeks.jpg

This was Evelyn’s and she wore it to Wes’s first birthday party!

Like I mentioned above, newborns are hard for me.  Babies overall are hard for me.  Navigating life with two kids has been difficult.  But Madeline is a real delight.  I thought she was going to be so serious, but she’s a very happy baby.  Quick with a smile and always trying to catch the eye of a stranger.  She’s very tolerant of a big brother who has so many lessons to learn in personal space (I’m apparently not the right teacher for such lessons).  If you surprise us at home she can frequently be found wearing her most recent meal.  She’s got one tooth and babbles like the best of them.  Some of my favorite moments right now are Wes singing or quietly talking to himself in the backseat of the car accompanied by Madeline’s ba-bas, da-das, and other coos.  Wes is a sweet big brother who loves to show Madeline things.  I know the dynamic will change as time goes on, but it’s a sweet time right now.  It’s hard but there’s so much joy.

2018 video so far

Yes, I really had canceled my blog.  When the auto renew notice popped up I thought this doesn’t make sense.  I hoped my archives wouldn’t vanish and that I’d revisit this hobby in a year.  But here we are.  I’m having a hard time parting with this blog.  Having a record is so fun (I mean, who are these fresh faced, kid-free people touring the West Coast 5 years ago?).

As a quick update, here’s our 2018 video up until April 22nd.  Not because I’m behind on it, but because I switched phones on April 22nd and saved that version in case it was lost in the transfer.  So for ease we’re going with this version.

 

 

Channel 34

In my opinion, Sirius XM Channel 34 – Lithium is the best Sirius XM radio station.  Lithium is 90’s Alternative and Grunge and it takes me right back.  Do you have Sirius XM Radio?  Do you wonder about their business model like I do?  I bought my car in the summer of 2014, right before Wes was born, and I have never once paid for Sirius XM radio.  For the longest time I ignored it but then I disovered Lithium and if those Sirius XM people ever finally catch on to the fact that I’m not paying for their service I might have to consider!

Anyway, I was in my car last month listening to Channel 34 on the way to preschool pick up.  Madeline was in the back either happily babbling or just being delightful.  And then The Flaming Lips’ song “She Don’t Use Jelly” came on and I turned it up and sang so loud.  Do you remember this song too?  Do you wonder why it is she chose Vaseline over jelly?  Not quite as mysterious as the Sirius XM business model, but still a great mystery.

 

As I was singing this song and thinking about the 90s and how wonderful the music was, it reminded me of a conversation I had with my parents recently.  I was telling my dad how growing up I just could not understand why he only listened to Oldies.  Why wasn’t he interested in staying current with music?  It’s so good!  I told my dad I had been listening to Lithium for a few weeks enjoying the music of my youth when I realized.  Oh.  That’s why he listened to Oldies.  And oh.  I guess I’ve reached that point too.  And oh.  Lots of other things you feel when you’re about to be 35 and you’re not old and you know you’re not old but you’re not young and worst of all you’re not relevant anymore.  They aren’t marketing to you anymore.  And who are these people hosting and performing in the recorded episode of SNL you’re watching at 8 pm the next day once the kids are tucked in?

And oh.  Maybe I could write a blog post about this.  But oh, I just canceled that subscription.  Hmm.  To be continued?

Our 2017 Family Video

I love this app and video so much! What a great, easy way to record the happy highlights of the year.  I’m so glad I started to use the app and am already happy with how our 2018 video is coming along.  The logo displays at the end, but I used the 1SE to make this.  It’s completely free!

Hope your 2018 is off to a great start!

Madeline’s Weekly Photo Project

1 week2 weels3 weeks4 weeks

It’s amazing what I forgot about babies!  The intensity of the witching hour, all the crying, how to hold them when you feed them, the number of diapers you go through in a day!  But also how fun it can be to start to maybe see the tiny hint of a smile, how they grasp your finger, how sweet they are when they fall asleep on you.  The two kid thing is no joke though.  We are very tired.  Everyone says it gets easier, and I believe them.  I know from experience that some of this newborn stuff that I find particularly challenging will go away, but adjusting to a new normal where there is very little downtime is hard (although by some miracle both children are napping right now while Sean and I have some of that precious downtime).

Anyway, I’m proud of myself for getting these photos done each week even though it’s pretty hectic over here.  It’s amazing how fast babies change in a year!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Wes!

Wes is 3 today!  It’s so exciting!  Remember when I told you I wanted to accomplish two things in October?  Well, the second was to  make sure Wes felt celebrated for his birthday, even though he now has a baby sister that takes up a lot of attention.  I’d planned for us to take a family trip to the National Building Museum.  We’ve never been but it sounds like there is a really cool kids space that Wes would love.  He’s in a real construction phase.  But when we woke up on Saturday morning I knew it wasn’t happening.  Initially I felt bad.  We laid out presents for Wes to wake up to, along with a cupcake breakfast.  He was SO EXCITED about these things when he woke up.  It was a glorious day for him.  It was a nice reminder that just cake and presents go a long way for a small child.


Again, he’s in a real construction phase, so we gave him this dress up set with the idea that it would also double as a Halloween costume.  We’re still not trick or treating, but we do have a Halloween party to attend.


Keeping with the construction theme, he also got a drill game.


My parents got him a guitar.  He promptly wrote a song for his favorite girl at school.  He also brought it on the couch with him while he watched his last TV show of the day and randomly strummed it.  Both things were so cute to me.


Sean has been trying to read science books to Wes since he was itty.  They have always been on his phone and without pictures.  So we were excited when we discovered these.  They maybe weren’t as initially exciting as some of the other gifts, but Sean is enjoying reading them and I’m glad we have them for both Wes and Madeline.


For the last few weeks, Wes had been pointing out these cupcakes at Wegmans and told me he wanted them for his birthday.  At first I was disappointed he wanted something store bought instead of home made, and then I remembered I have a newborn and decided to be grateful.  So Wegman cupcakes it was this year!  They weren’t bad.

Sean, Madeline, and I went to Wes’s classroom to read books for circle time and have a special snack.  We had kept it a secret that Sean was coming and it was very special to have him there!

So happy birthday 3rd to our sweet Wesley!  Thanks for making us parents and keeping us laughing with all the funny things you say.  We love watching you grow.

Pumpkin Patch

Even with Madeline, I wanted to make sure we accomplished two things in October.  The first being finding pumpkins at a place somewhere other than the grocery store.  And luckily, my mom friends told me about Nall’s Produce, 12 minutes from our house, and I knew that pumpkin picking could still feel fun this year even if we didn’t make it to some of the big festivals we did last year or the apple orchard.  

This place was right on a busy road but still let their chickens run around with no fences.  It felt like a bold move to me!

  

This poor pig.  Wes threw a handful or tiny pebbles into her pen and she thought it was food.  She didn’t eat our pebbles, but I’m sad we fooled her.

Wes had a great time!  He jumped and danced and didn’t want to leave.  He didn’t realize at all that we weren’t at some big fall festival.  

And I’ve been meaning this whole week to take pictures of the pumpkins we picked but still haven’t.  So you’ll just have to imagine.  

Introducing Madeline Eve!

Madeline Eve joined our family on September 25th.  Her due date!  She arrived at 10:22 a.m. and weighed 7 lbs 9 oz and was 19 inches long.  We’re delighted she’s here but we’re all still adjusting.


A day or two after we’d come home from the hospital my mom asked me if I liked Madeline better inside or outside.  And I answered very confidently outside!  This might seem like an odd question with an obvious answer, but I don’t think so.  When I was pregnant with Wes I was so excited to meet him.  Every moment of that pregnancy was magical to me.  But when he arrived, I was totally overwhelmed.  I wondered what we’d done and how life could ever feel manageable again.  With Madeline, I’d spent my pregnancy planning and fearful.  Planning by getting things done and making lists and checking boxes and being very transactional about the whole thing.  Fearful about what kind of baby she’d be, if I’d love her as much as Wes, how on earth I was going to juggle the needs of two children all day.  But now she’s here and she’s completely delightful.  I’m so happy to meet her and have her in our lives.  I think I’m still curious about how I’m going to manage the needs to two children once I’m on my own all day, but I’m so much less fearful.  It’s really nice to experience these happier feelings after the birth of a child.


Everyone told me your second child comes faster, but I had no idea how fast that could be!  Madeline was fast!  I really thought I’d have to be induced, and we were scheduled for an induction on the 27th.  But at 4 am on the 25th I woke up to go to the bathroom and realized something was going on.  I think I knew they were contractions, but I wasn’t 100% sure.  Because I was induced with Wes and safe in a hospital, I just didn’t pay attention to my contractions with Wes.  Other than realizing that they hurt.  When Sean woke up at 5:45 my contractions still weren’t totally consistent, but I did tell him that I thought he’d have to stay home that day.  He laughed a me a little bit because he knew right away that we were having a baby.  I was still feeling unsure and working under that assumption that I’d be driving Wes to school in a few hours while my contractions got stronger.  But I did text my parents and ask them to start driving.  And did text my neighbor to ask if she could help with Wes that day.  So I started to get things ready for Wes and myself, and then it was really clear we had to go.  We arrived at 8:15-ish.  I told everyone who would listen that I wanted an epidural.  Everyone else seemed to move so slowly.  I felt like we were in triage for forever and I wanted to leave and get my drugs so badly.  I was 3 centimeters when we left triage.  We got to the delivery room and things progressed very quickly for me.  I was very uncomfortable.  I screamed with my contractions.  I did not expect to be a screamer but I couldn’t help it.  It’s just what came out of me.  The anesthesiologist had to tell someone to close the door, probably so I didn’t scare off the other ladies on the floor.  I was really very loud.  I told someone I had to push.  They told me not to push because the doctor wasn’t there and no one knew how dilated I was.  I told them again that I had to push and it was really hard to not push.  Again, it seemed like everyone around me was moving so slowly.  Finally a senior nurse checked me.  I was at 9.  The anesthesiologist had been trying to figure out what drug to give me.  I did get a drug, not quite an epidural because that would have taken too long.  It was so hard for me to stay still for that epidural type thing I was given.  Sean told me later he didn’t think I’d be able to do it because I was so busy screaming and moving around.   It was hard, but I was scared.  An unmedicated birth is one of my biggest fears.  But, I did pretty much labor completely drug free because almost as soon as it was in the doctor was there, I pushed three times, and Madeline hard arrived!  Just about an hour and a half after we’d made it to the hospital!  While I do have very fond memories of my induction for Wes, I really preferred this quick delivery!


And now we’re all pretty taken with her.  It’s so fun to watch Sean be the father of a newborn again.  It’s not his favorite phase, but he’s sweetly protective.  If she’s crying and he’s not already in the room, it’s not long before he swoops right in and comforts her.  Wes says he loves her and kisses her and hugs her and “reads” her a book every morning as I change her into her daytime clothes, but he’s putting on a brave face and is being such a trooper.  The mom guilt of not enough of me for everyone all the time is pretty tough.  Overall we’re happy, but still working through some of the challenges.

Week 37

Whoa baby, right?  Yeah, this outfit doesn’t really hide anything well.  BA2 and all the extra is hanging right out there!

Aside from still being very tired some days, I actually feel great lately!  It’s like my body understands that the baby is coming soon and wants to give me an extra boost of energy to help me feel okay about that.  I may also have some extra energy because Wes is back in school.  It’s very helpful not to be standing all morning at a playground every day.  It’s nice to have the break.  Other than that, it’s been a pretty uneventful week.  We’re just mostly ready and waiting now.  I understand I don’t get to make this call, BA2 does, but I think we still have several weeks of waiting to do.