Ingrid: 5 months

* adding pictures soon

I will never get over this baby. I know I gush over her constantly, and I'll probably never stop. She's beautiful, sweet, fun, easy, and 100% what dreams are made of. She can roll both ways, and can sit up for a tiny amount of time on her own. She smiles all the time, and is easy to make laugh. Her favorite is still when I just sit and talk to her. She beams! She's finally showing some interest in her toys, and she's catching up on her growing. She's a little over 14 lbs, and she wears size 2 diapers and 0-3/3-6 month clothing depending on what it is and where it's from.

She has been on a routine her whole life. I know I talk about baby routines a lot, but it's because it is my key to sanity and I think in lots of ways the key to better sleep. Right around 4 months, Ingy started increasing her wake time, which meant a shorter nap because I was consistently having to wake her up to keep her fed every 3 hours. I could tell her needs were changing, but wasn't sure exactly what move to make. At 4 months, I decided to try a 4 hour routine with her to see how she did. It's exactly what she needed! She eats better because she's hungry, she still naps really well, and I'm not having to wake her up to feed her. She's able to stay awake however long she wants and still get a sufficient nap. She sleeps 8-8 with no wake-ups. Here's her routine:

8:00- eat (She almost always wakes up 8:00, although sometimes before and sometimes after)
9:30/45- nap
12:00- wake and eat
1:30/45- nap (For both kids, every single day)
4:00- wake and eat
5:30 or 6:00- catnap (usually 30 mins or so)
7:30- eat and in bed sometime between then and 8:00

As she extends her wake times a little more, her naps will be a little shorter. We soak her up and wear her out during her wake times, that's for sure! She is loving her toys, especially her little crinkly doll and sophie the giraffe. She wants everything in her mouth. She's obsessed with Owen, who now loves giving her hugs and kisses. She laughs out loud at the smallest things (like me telling her "hey!"), and I love it. She still has the brightest smile in the universe and is an easier baby than I could have even dreamed up. She sleeps swaddled with her arms out. We tried just a sleep sack and she did great, but I can tell she prefers the tightness of a swaddle on her chest, so we usually use the Halo or a Summer Infant one and just secure it under her arms. She still loves baths, still puts herself to sleep as soon as we lay her down, and is still stealing our hearts.


Owen: 2.5

Two and a half came with the force of a raging rhino. Owen is simultaneously syrupy sweet and deathly spicy. If you don't understand that sentence, you probably don't know him well. Let's just say that Owen is a good 7-10 on the Richter Scale. I remember praying that he would have those qualities, and there is no denying that he does. My prayer these days sounds a little less like "please let him have a strong will" and more like "Lord, help him channel that for good and not for harm." He chooses to obey mooost of the time; I want to be clear that having a strong will is not synonymous with being disobedient, although yes he does choose to disobey often enough. He's also extremely independent. Yes, like a typical toddler, he wants to do things for himself. He is independent in that way, but he is truly an independent person. He plays by himself like a champion. Sometimes I wonder if he even cares that I'm home. He doesn't need anybody to entertain him or be with him or do anything for him. He loves to be around others, but he has fun by himself, too. He explores and figures things out for himself. He will go upstairs by himself and just play and play. He has been this way his whole life! (I do play with him, I promise.)

He is smart. Ridiculously smart. He knows a million words and says them well. I'm blown away by how clearly he speaks; sometimes in the middle of a conversation I have to pause and remind myself that he is only two because it feels like I'm talking to someone much older. It is my favorite thing! I couldn't wait for the day when we could have conversations. We now can, and I am here to report that he never, ever, ever stops talking. Ever. If he runs out of things to say, he'll fill the silence by saying "I am talking!" It's hilarious, sweet, and sometimes annoying. A few things I want to remember... he thinks the verb associated with scissors is "sharp."  Example: "Mama, I don't want you to sharp yourself, okay?" "Don't sharp me!" "Are you sharping that paper?" He also thinks the verb associated with a broom is "brooming." "Mama are you broomin'?" I also love how he says "mines" instead of "mine," every single time. Other things that I think are cute: For some unknown reason, I always ask "Owen, are you crazy pants?" and every single time, his response is "no, Ingy is crazy pants." Ha! He tells on Ryan and me: "Mama, I wanted to ___ and my dad said no!" He always says "my mama" and "my dad." Precious. When we act excited to see him or be around him, he feels like the king of the world. I started writing this post at the end of September since he was turning 2.5 on Oct 1. Today is November 4th, and some things have already changed. He has very recently stared hugging us a lot. He's never been physically affectionate, so this is a big deal, and I love it. He really can be so sweet.

Owen loves being around people, and knows nothing about stranger danger. He's crazy about his whole extended family. He loves socializing. See previous paragraph about talking. ;)  He'll talk to anyone and everyone about anything and everything. That being said, there are a few people with whom he is consistently scared, and instead of disrespecting his feelings or pushing the issue (which can be harmful, in my personal and professional opinion), I respect and trust his feelings. It's my job to take care of my child. It is not my job to make other people happy, nor is it his. Boom.

He is deeply intuitive!  He cares about how I feel. He notices how other people feel ("mama, that lady looks mad/upset/sad/excited/happy/whatever"), but it bothers him when he thinks I'm feeling any negative emotion. When I first started realizing this, I wasn't sure how to handle it. I do not want him to do things just to please others, so I watch my words and reactions very closely in this area. He always says "you is happy!" or "I need you to be happy," or "you is sad?" (Since I started writing this post a couple of months ago, that "is" has changed to "are," but I can't bring myself to change it here. "Mama, are you happy?" "Mama, are you frustrated?" Bittersweet.) If he hurts someone or something, or makes a poor choice, he has started feeling remorseful on his own. A few minutes after whatever it was, he will say "Mama, I'm sad. I'm sad about _____." Example; "I'm sad about throwing the ball at your face."

He pays attention to details and becomes obsessive about things. He listens to every conversation his ears can hear, and stores up what he hears for later use. He corrects us frequently. The other day I said something about a UPS truck, and he said "no mama, it was a Fed Ex truck." He was right. He's usually right about things. (eye roll.) He is freakishly good with directions. He can give you directions to our house, and seems to know how to get just about anywhere. When we go places, he just watches out the window the whole time and pays attention.

This summer I started teaching him some Bible verses. I intended to teach him one per month, thinking that's how long it would take to learn them, but he learns them the first day I try to teach them to him. We've stuck with one or two per month anyway. I know that he understands some parts of them, yet can't fully grasp other parts of them. Still, it's important and I think it's helping to shape his worldview from a Biblical standpoint. Off the top of my head, he knows Genesis 1:1, Psalm 136:1, Colossians 3:20, Psalm 118:24, and Proverbs 3:5. Owen, you teach me every single day not to underestimate your abilities.

He's still sleeping in his crib. He loves his crib. I ask him all the time if he wants a "big boy bed," and he usually responds with "mama I just want to still sleep in my crib." He can sleep in there until he's 5 for all I care. He usually sleeps 8ish-8sh with a 2-3 hour nap around 1:00pm. He is still wearing diapers and we have made no attempt to potty train. We are starting to have those conversations, but I'm in the camp that believes he'll let us know when he's ready. He can count, sing the alphabet, spell his name, and memorize every word you say at any point in time. He is constantly singing, and it's our favorite! He is obsessed with Daniel Tiger. He loves to play outside, and spends most of his time playing with his construction trucks and tractors. He loves playing soccer, and Ryan says he's impressed by Owen's skill. ha. He also enjoys Play-doh, balls, puzzles, giving us check-ups, and all sorts of imaginative play. His current favorite activities include wandering through our neighborhood and checking out the construction sites where new houses are being built, and riding his pony around the house (i.e. Ryan crawls around on all fours and Owen rides on his back. He says "yeehaw" and "whoa Nelly," and gets on and off just like he would a real horse. Hi-larious.) He is the most fun! He watches tv during his breakfast because that is when I get ready for the day. Sometimes it's on all day, but most days we turn it off after breakfast and don't ever turn it on again. I always ask him what he wants to watch, and his answer is always either "Daniel" or The Fox and the Hound. He goes to Kids Day Out once a week, and then his class at church on Sundays. He looks forward to those things and I usually have to remind him to tell me bye. His teachers always talk about how sweet he is. I wish I could spy on him all day long to see what he's like when I'm not there!

I still think Owen is a quality time guy. We go on "special outings" and I can tell it is exciting and meaningful to him. He is in 3T clothes, although I bought him 4T shirts for fall and winter in hopes that he can make it through the whole season without needing to go up a size. He's in size 9 shoes. He weighs 37 pounds and is 3 feet 5 inches tall. He's still off the growth chart! He is a lover of life and easily excitable. He is super serious at times. He's fun, joyful, and ridiculously perceptive and thoughtful. He will concentrate on something for a long period of time. He can read me just as well as I can read him. Seriously, there have been times when I have tried so hard to hide my frustration, etc.  (and felt successful), but he somehow still called me out on it. He likes to do things fully; he likes to do things well. He doesn't like unfinished business. He has a hard time leaving his playroom without cleaning up, or leaving a room without closing a drawer, etc. For a toddler boy, he's actually pretty neat and clean. I love all this about him, but I do hope he learns to be okay with the unfinished and the messy.

Lately we have had some rough days (see paragraph 1 regarding strong will), but overall we do have more good days than bad days. This past week has been so good. Things have been a little rocky since Ingrid came along, but he is (finally) sweet with her and loves her so much. If she isn't in the car with us, he says "wait mama, where's Ingy?" Someone Owen doesn't know was holding her the other day, and Owen straight up panicked and sharply screamed "I want you to get our baby back!" I hope and pray that they become good friends. He's becoming increasingly more interested in her as she is able to smile, babble, kick her legs around, etc.

Owen, as I always say, "I love you so, so, so, SOOOO much." Some days I wonder if we're going to make it, but I know we are. You are handsome, fun, smart, funny, sweet, spicy, thoughtful. I could go on and on for days about who are you and the funny things you say or do, but this post is already longer than I intended. You are a joy--a gift. I am confident that you are going to do great things.

*I want to add some pictures, but if I keep waiting for that, this will never get posted.


Ingrid: 2 months

Ingrid is two months old! She is beautiful. She is smiling and cooing now, which melts me instantaneously. Her smile is ridiculously bright. She still loves taking baths. She also loves soft things touching her face. If she is close to falling asleep but not quite there, she usually closes her eyes the moment a soft blanket touches her face. She is a calm, easy-going baby. She is content in her carseat, in her swing, on her playmat, in my arms, in her crib, on the floor. She's easy peasy! Owen, Ingrid, and I have lots of fun at home, but we do still leave the house every single day just to change it up a little and maintain the sanity of our family. Before she was born I worried that we would never be able to leave the house. I actually ended up getting out of the house with both of them before she was a week old because I was so panicky about it.

She weighs 11 lbs 6 ounces and is 22.5 inches long. She is wearing size 1 diapers (and some newborn that we're trying to use up, but it's a stretch) and 0-3 month clothing. She's been sleeping in her crib for night time and one nap since she was 6 weeks old. The transition from our room to hers was nothing for her. The first night she took short naps for the first couple of hours instead of a solid sleep, but that was the only "rough" part.

I've done the Babywise eat-wake-sleep routine with her, just like we did with Owen. It was the best thing for Owen and me, so I knew I was going to do it with Ingy, too. It helps us know how our days are going to go, and it also helps establish good night time sleep habits. She's eating every 3 hours during the day, usually 7:30, 10:30, 2:30, 5:30, and 745ish for her bed time feed. I am more flexible with it than I was with Owen. For example, sometimes her first feed is at 7, so then we do 7, 10, 1, etc., but sometimes it isn't until 8, so we do 8, 11, 2, etc. It almost always falls somewhere in between, though. She's usually awake an hour or so and then asleep for two or so. I wake her up if she is asleep when it's time for her next feed, again for the sake of night time sleep. If I don't wake her up, she usually wakes up sometime soon after that 3-hour mark anyway. For the past month, she's only been waking once a night to eat... except for the week we got home from the hospital. I think she got used to being woken frequently at night by the nurses, and it took her a while at home to sort that out again. Her night time feed is usually at 3 or 4 am, and then she goes back to sleep until sometime between 7 and 8. I always lay her down awake for naps and bed time, and she puts herself to sleep. We've done it that way since her first week of life, and it is so nice to be able to lay her down and walk away. Sometimes I rock her because I want to, but she won't usually go to sleep that way.

I might write a separate post about this so I will spare most of the details here, but this month we spent four nights at Arkansas Children's Hospital. She had Urosepsis, which is basically a complicated UTI. Look it up and you'll find it's a "life threatening emergency." Her white blood cell count was 49,000. Apparently "normal" is 5-10,000. On the copy I have of her lab results, it actually breaks down her white blood cell count into microliters. A normal range is 0-9. Hers was 132. Terrifying. We are having to also treat her for meningitis due to that insane number and inconclusive spinal tap results. We're home with a Picc line, which she'll have in until October 7th. When we got home from the hospital, her night time sleep was whack for a whole week (i.e. she woke up almost every hour, probably because she was woken up by nurses for a week), but she is now back to normal.

Her first real smile happened while at the hospital, and I teared up. In fact, it happened during her VCUG, which is a very painful test. The significance of that is not lost on me. I'd been waiting for her to smile, and for her to do it at a time when I felt so hopeless is not something I will forget. I think it's a small glimpse into who she is. I know I say this often about both of my babies, but I am so proud to be her mom. She is the loveliest and sweetest little thing. She is already such a bright light in our lives! I pray the Lord uses her in a special way.

Here are some of my favorite pics from the past month: