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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Short Stories

Anyone have some time for a quick little game of catch up?

I do! I do!

Let me tell you, being on maternity leave (sadly, only 4 weeks left) and being home all day long, one might be so inclined to think that I'd actually have more time to blog. Nope. I'm still somewhat baffled as to how I don't have more time, that I can't just steal away for a peaceful, little 20 minute stretch to fulfill my reporting duties as my kids grow and change so much every single day. The times I have thought about blogging, the second thought to cross my mind is "Where do I begin?" Seriously, the fact that I am home everyday enjoying our little sweethearts, I've experienced so many moments that make me just want to hit the record button on the camcorder and leave it on until they're teenagers. Just to remember these sweet days with our two kids and that they will never be this age ever again. In fact, tomorrow morning, they will both be even older. "Days older" is still pretty significant when you're not even a month old and your age is still counted in weeks.

Let me start with the disclaimer that this could easily be my most choppy, unstructured work of words ever recorded but I hope that you find some enjoyment out of it and that it still serves the purpose of recording these events to still hold dear in my own mind.

Let's Begin With Lincoln!!

Can I just start by saying that he is just about 100% full of sweetness? What did I do to deserve this wonderful baby boy? Honestly, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think that. And to get so lucky, so fortunate to have not just one, but now two children that are just purely amazing, just blows my mind. Everyday.

It's Elaina's fault that our dear, sweet Lincoln has taken on a whole new identity in his short little life so far. Since Elaina affectionately refers to Lincoln as "Winkin'" - you guessed it, we've been calling him Winkin' too. When you look into his sweet face - Winkin seems just fine. Don't get me wrong, afterall we did name him Lincoln because we liked that name and prefer to call him his given name, but... from time to time, he is just purely Winkin'.

So you remember that little 6.6 pounds of baby we brought home from the hospital? (He dropped some ounces prior to discharge) Oh yeah... he is growing! He is actually beginning to fit into some of his 0-3 month clothes. Previously, my friends, family and myself were all out scouring the stores gathering up as many newborn sized outfits as we could find so that we wouldn't lose the little boy in the 0-3 month clothes which looked like circus tents next to Lincoln. He is growing so much that I am beginning to think that I may have purchased my last pack of newborn Swaddler diapers for him. I would even chance a bet that he is possibly ready for the size 1 diapers that I bought for him almost 2 months ago. Since I'm on the topic of diapers... I am actually beginning to get somewhat used to changing boy-diapers. (Good thing for Lincoln and Eric, don't you think?) After my second "baby shower", courtesy of the baby, I've surveyed all of moms-of-boys-friends to learn the fine technique of changing the boy, minus the shower and realized that I just needed to alter my approach a little bit. Now, I am quicker, safer and use a little barrier to avoid the squirt gun effect. Never to soon for the "Ah-Hah!" moment to take place.

Along with growing and filling out, Lincoln continues to be the most calm and sweet bundle of baby love ever. He rarely cries and it's always only when he's hungry. He has recently begun to finish 4 ounces of formula, as opposed to only 3 previously. In addition to that, he has been sleeping up to 4 hour stretches without a bottle. (This is where I do the happy dance!) But, boy oh BOY-- when his belly timer goes off and he's ready to eat, he will definitely be sure to let you know that you have exactly 1 minute to provide warm, milky nourishment to the starving child. That's all it takes, one minute until he starts to wail. Upon hearing this hungry cry, as both parents spring into action, Eric says, " Get him his bottle before he starts to billy goat!" Yes, if you have ever heard the shaky ah-ah-ah-ah bleating of a billy goat, you may think that is the noise coming from the within the mesh walls of the pack 'n play. Nope. It is our kid - just the baby boy kind. You can just about hear the milk hitting the pit of his empty belly as he is drinking it down. Poor little guy. I just keep telling myself that the bigger he gets, the more consistent his schedule will be.

Other than all of the growing taking place around the clock, he is still a good, sound sleeper. His hair is beginning to grow more obviously, more than just his fuzzy peach head. We're still debating whether it will come in blond or brown. My vote is decidedly light brown. His roots glow with a blond sheen and appear blond in photos, yet his actual hair looks to be dark brown. He's still got the cutest little face ever to compliment either hair color. There is no mistaking, he is all boy!

And Now For Elaina!

Oh, Elaina... my little clown. Lately, this little pipsqueak has been cracking us up! She is growing into her new role as the big sister quite nicely. I won't say that she loves her Winkin' just yet, but she is terribly fond of him. I'm guessing that for an almost-two-year-old to really love something, it has to pan out some kind of entertainment or tasty reward. Unfortunately for Lincoln, he is neither to her just yet. She sees Lincoln as the baby - not particularly fun for her since he interacts very minimally, (read: zero) and she has to sometimes wait her turn with mommy and daddy's time because of him. Yet, she still looks in on him every morning and pats his legs or butt gently and kisses him on the head before bedtime. She has not made any attempt to pick him up by herself or do anything to cause him harm. Without fail, she remembers to be gentle and soft and nice to her brother. Just this morning, I was holding Lincoln and Elaina sat next to me and told me that she wanted to give Lincoln a hug, "Okay?" I helped to hold Lincoln on her lap and she beamed with joy and fulfillment that she was able to give some of her love to him rather than just a pat on the leg.

Also, since becoming a big sister, we've been doing a lot of talking about how big Elaina is. She will quickly tell you that she is going to be "2" and that she is a big girl. Tonight at dinner, Eric asked her if she was a nice girl, to which she replied, "I a big-gurl!" Ahhh... nice- schmice, she's gonna be big! Along with our big girl talks, we've been talking a lot about sitting on the big girl potty and sleeping in the big girl bed and that big girls don't need binkies. Whew... only a few times I have seen her head begin to spin. Lots of changes we know. While Eric and I are both off work for the time being, we're trying to take full advantage of this time to make some transitions while we have the time to make them easy for her and gradual. So far, the only one we've had any luck with is the big girl bed. Very soon, Eric will be repainting what will become Elaina's new room as Lincoln will take over residence in her current bedroom in a few months. We're moving her into a full sized bed and a new bedroom which is much further down the hall. She has occasionally taken naps in there and does just fine. Only time will tell how she does overnight.

As for the issues of the binky and potty training... well... Let's just say that she would prefer to be a baby forever if that meant that she can have her binkies. In fact, she's actually gotten worse, not better, with the binky situation. She asks and sometimes demands 2 binka-bonks.
One day, Eric made an off-the-cuff rule for Elaina to abide by which was "No binkies outside." Beofre running out the door, she easily and willingly parts with her binkies as she lies them on the table and shouts, "No binkies owside!" So, maybe, I'm, thinking, we move her bed outside? No binky and she won't have to wear a diaper and she'll be grateful to have any bed, even though it doesn't have crib rails on it. (Put down the phone for Children Services... I wouldn't do that. I'd at least give her blankets and some clean underwear.)

I digress, Elaina has been a great little helper. She seems to recognize the shift in the household as she has wanted to be mommy and daddy's little helper every chance she gets. Regardless what Eric or I are doing, she'll pal up next to us and say "Help, Mommy?" "Help, Daddy?" She is most efficient at throwing away Lincoln's stinky diapers and putting the soiled bibs on the counter for us. I'm still not sure why her help spectrum of helping is so limited. Ask her to pick up her toys, do the laundry or wash bottles and she's all like, "What?" Very selective, that girl of mine.

Her most recent gold star worthy accomplishment (in her own mind) is that she has taught herself to buckle her seat belt to her booster chair at the dinner table. She kept herself happy as a clam for a whole 5 minutes straight, just hearing the little click of the buckle as she fastened her seat over and over again. So do you know how she was able to re-fasten it so many times herself? Well, she hasn't quite caught onto the fact that the same action will in fact release the buckle which leads us to mommy's newest job assignment. Mommy, The Unbuckler. Trust me, I am relieved that Elaina doesn't know how to release herself and I pray that we don't have to tackle that problem anytime soon. In addition to her fascination with the seat belt, any time she does something by herself, she happily squeals with an excited, "I did it!" We get an "I did it!" when she flushes the toilet, when she eats all of her food and even when she washes her hands. Really it is the little things that put a smile on my face every single day.

Elaina will forever be my sweet little girl who says, "Amen" at the end of a story, hugs the telephone when she is finished talking to daddy or grandma and grandpa on the phone and who possesses the most sparkly blue eyes and sweet smile I have ever seen.

Now, can someone tell me what I ever did to deserve these two wonderful children to call my own? We've truly been blessed by The Best and I wouldn't trade them for anything!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Waitress, Please!


Can you really stand one more story about our picky eater? And when I say "one more" you know that I hardly mean it- I can almost guarantee that I have hardly concluded any further entries on this subject.


So... today I decided that our little "nuggetarian" (which would be referring to Elaina requesting chicken "nuggies" as her main entree at each and every meal) had enough of eating processed, microwaved chicken parts. Today, I decided it was time to give her another shot at a peanut butter sandwich. I invited Elaina to join me as I pulled a big chair to the counter for her and be my big helper to make her sandwich. Parking her tushie at the table, she took a few bites, "mmm-ing" and making yummy noises for all of 4 bites. After that, I brought in the reinforcements in the form of strawberry jelly. She has recently developed an affection for "dippy" and has been eating ketchup, ranch dressing and cream cheese on occasion. I squirted some dippy jelly onto her plate for her sandwich and she was hooked. After 3 rounds of squirt jelly and a sticky mess of peanut butter and jelly fingers and hair and chair, she finished her entire sandwich. A few hours later, she was finally willing to try strawberries! Really! I know this sounds absolutely silly to most folks, but with such a picky eater, adding two more food items to her already limited menu is really a big deal.
So hooray for strawberry jelly! Hooray for dippy! And hooray for more food options to feed the muchkin!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Juggling Act

Can anyone believe that we have 2 kids?

2 kids people. Whoo, and I thought we were busy before this. Seriously though, I wouldn't trade any portion of our busy schedule or have it any other way. With the exception of a maid or personal chef or midnight baby feeder. But that's where I would draw the line. Eric and I are working more and more like a finely engineered machine a little more everyday and getting the feel of how to work as a team with a new player on the roster.
Since having a new baby join our family, I have a new found respect for single mothers everywhere. And single mom's of two? I don't even know how they do it. Sure some may have family around but I highly doubt that grandma is waiting by the crib for the slight whimper of a hungry infant at 3 in the morning, allowing mom a peaceful night's sleep until the next feeding at 6 a.m. I just don't get how they do it.
Let me just share with my most recent experience of having to get two kids out the door on time. Being that it is Memorial Day, our town has a parade that marches in front of our house up to the cemetery for a memorial service. Eric had left the house 2 hours prior to represent our local volunteer fire department in the neighboring town's parade and was expected to roll right on into our parade route shortly thereafter. Despite the fact that my kids are generally very good, there is no telling when the mood will strike that they become difficult. Making a long story short, I made my appearance out of the house without a shower and looking presentable with the aid of a ball cap, Elaina was dressed at the last minute and looked like a doll and Lincoln finally settled down as I tucked him snuggly in his car seat and then into the double stroller. For all of about 45 minutes leading up to that, I felt that I could have used about 8 extra hands in getting us all ready. That was just to make it to the end of the driveway. Did you hear that folks? To the end of the driveway to see a 5 minute parade! Yeah! Some friends and neighbors had gathered in front of our house and we all made our way to the cemetery for the 20 minute long memorial. I am pleased to say that both of our children were exceptionally well behaved for the duration. In conclusion of the service, so many friends and neighbors flocked around us to see Lincoln and express their joy in having him as a part of our family and admire our sweet little bundle of joy.
The remainder of the afternoon we were lazy and enjoyed some down time until it was time to clean up to meet some friends out for dinner. Elaina was just a little temperamental toward the end of our meal and we didn't stick around for long with her fragile mood. Once we started for home, she did a complete 180 and was pleasant as pie once again. In fact, out of the truck window she noticed that she could see a shadow of the moon in the sky and decided that she was going to play catch with the moon. She was hilarious as she grunted with all of her might as she pretended an attempt to throw the moon back up into the sky. Feeling playful, she even tossed the moon to Lincoln a few times and then helped him to throw it back up. At one point, Elaina decided to try a bite of the moon before holding her nose and telling us "Eww. Stinky." A lovely sentiment usually expressed by her dad as they sniff her stinky feet and giggle incessantly. Elaina was truly entertaining on our drive home and of course made me want to keep her this age forever and long for Lincoln to grow up faster to get to know and enjoy his little personality. I have to remember to snap myself back into reality knowing that they really do grow up so fast and just love every minute of them every single day. Even if we don't have a maid, personal chef or midnight baby feeder.

Elaina the Moon Catcher




And how appropriate that I came across both of these photos to share with you? I swear that I didn't pose Lincoln with Eric just for the sake of having coordinating pictures, although I couldn't have asked for a sweeter shot. This just happens to be one of Daddy's preferred cuddling positions with the ones he loves.











Elaina with her Daddy at approximately 2 weeks old.







Lincoln with his Daddy at 3 weeks old

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Company is Calling...

and it sounds like 4 little monkeys let loose from their cages!

Actually, I am very much exaggerating. On Friday evening, our very good friends came into town to visit for the weekend. It just so happens that they have 3 daughters of their own who are ages 2, 4 and 6. Throw in our almost- 2 year old and newborn and the grown-ups are out numbered by far.

We've made Memorial Day weekend a tradition of sorts that we look forward to Derek and Beth coming to visit for a long weekend. One spark of our tradition just happens to be an extraordinary neighborhood garage sale in Beth's parents' allotment. After much catching up and late bedtimes for all of us on Friday evening, Beth and I woke at 6:30 to get a jump start on our 30 minutes drive to reach our destination and the treasures we hoped to find when the sales opened at 8:00. Aside from the great bargains we pick up along the way, one additional perk is that Beth's mom always has a delicious lunch prepared for us and we have a bathroom pit stop readily available. There's nothing to stand in our way from our treasure hunt. While we were out enjoying our girls' day spending money, Eric and Derek (grade-school friends) had the pleasure of looking after 5 little munchkins. It's my understanding that they took them to a nearby park which has a kid's roller coaster, ferris wheel and a terrific playground. When we arrived home, everyone was happy, smiling and intact. Looked as thought the guys did a great job of keeping everyone satisfied. I really didn't have any doubt.

On Sunday afternoon, we accepted the kind invitation of Beth's parents to join them for an afternoon Memorial Day cookout. Along with our family and Derek and Beth's family, we were joined by some more friends who have 3 children as well. Are you able to keep up with the kid count still? We're up to 8 kids under the age of 6! Three 2 year-olds, just for the record! When we first arrived the kids were in heaven as they played in the most incredible kid sized playhouse ever. Elaina and her friends enjoyed a tea party and lunch was served at their very own kid's sized bistro table and picnic table. Very soon following lunch, the sky opened up and ruined our party with the pouring rain. As opportunity would have it, we gathered up as many kids as we could wrangle inside and attempted a pose for a group photo. Do you even think this was easy? Check out the non-compliant toddler in front. Does the top of her head look familiar to anyone?





Pressing our luck once again, we chanced yet another try for a family photo. It wasn't the worst, but certainly not the most flattering. On a side note, I really didn't plan everyone of us in red. It just so happened that Elaina ended up in her back-up outfit after spilling applesauce on her pretty navy blue dress and Eric and I matched our reds just by coincidence. As for Lincoln, he was decked out in his mega sized 0-3 month red, white and blue summer outfit.By the time evening rolled around, we were all more than ready for some down time. One day soon, I truly believe that we'll get into a regular routine and adjust to somewhat of a schedule. As for now, we're having so much fun and loving every minute of it... just as long as we all get our well- earned naps!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

For Your Eyes Only

Since I've done an admittedly poor job of keeping this little 'ol blog of mine up to date since Lincoln has come along, allow me to just share some sweet photos of how we've been spending our days of no-blogging.


Our sweet kids. Elaina often likes to cuddle up in her "little bed" watching Noggin and asked if Winkin' could lay down with her to watch cartoons. Of course!!





Since our binge planting, we've had to do much more watering in the evening. Here is Elaina offering her assistance to her Daddy.
Just another reminder that I have self-feeding to look forward to once again with Lincoln.
Notice I allowed my child to go shirt free? This was because we had yet to turn on our air conditioning and it just turned out lucky since Elaina made such a mess.








Finally, (for Heather) here is a sweet picture of Lincoln enjoying his papasan swing and looking big and cute!












Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mistaken Identity

Looking for clues in solving these mini mysteries...

Scenario A:
22 month-old child with an advanced vocabulary suddenly begins to refer to each parent as "DaddyMommy." What's this about?



Scenario B:
Young homeowner gets assistance in landscaping by aid of her mother and suddenly finds herself binging on planting annuals and perennials and fertilizing with pre-packaged chicken poop. Who could this be?



Scenario C:
Parents of two young children who are accustom to a regimented daily agenda including personal hygiene and responsibility suddenly find themselves staying in their pajamas until noon, playing with their kids and praying that company arrives only after they've been through the shower. How does this happen?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Girls' Night Out

Since becoming a mom. And now a mom of two. And since turning 30. And now 32. I have discovered that a typical "Girls' Night Out" is better not sitting next to the bar slurping down random drinks from the happy hour menu and munching on overpriced appetizers and driving home hours later.

Nope. I'm over that. By far.
This evening I hosted the most fun girls' night at my house, inviting over my girlfriends from work and a few from my neighborhood. Of course, the highlight was for them to see Lincoln, but also do some catching up on girl talk that I have been missing as I've been out on maternity leave. (8 weeks by the way :-)
I have to say that I really have the best group of friends ever. I guess that if you're going to have friends, why not have the best ones? That I do and I know I am lucky. So a few of my friends came over after work bringing pizza and gifts as we sat around visiting and playing with the kids outside. This has definitely become my favorite kind of girls' night out with the best happy hour specials playing at our sides. My friend, Bevin brought her 2 kids and even Elaina's friend, "Owie" stopped by with her mom. (Owie is Elaina's pronunciation for Ali, short for Alison, of course.) This turned out to be a great evening spent with my friends and almost made me miss seeing them on a daily basis at work. Awe, who am I fooling? I'm all for staying at home with my 2 kids and having my friends join me after their work day. Alas, only kidding again... we like the freedom that 2 paychecks offer too and accept the sacrifices that come with that. Maybe one day. That's for real.
For the time being, I'll be soaking in plenty of mom time while I enjoy my maternity leave and I'll just have to remember to make the occasional phone call to keep up with my posse from work. Lord knows I'll be returning sooner than I'd like to think about.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fun In Bloom

There's nothing quite like adding a new member to your family to conjure up some company. We've had visiting grandparents stay with us for the past 3 weekends. I'm getting the impression that they are only slightly taken by our cutie-twosome of Elaina and Lincoln. I have to admit that the pair of them are quite irresistible! And how could I complain about having 4 extra hands around the house and great company to boot?
(Note to Grandparents: Come any time!)

Joining us this past weekend were my parents. They had come the weekend before Lincoln was born to stay with Elaina and meet their newest grandson. Additionally, they did us a big favor in taking Keegan-the-attention-starved-dog home with them until we got a little more settled at home with a new baby. After two weeks, our time was up. They were ready to return Keegan to his own home which created a great excuse to visit and wrap their arms around the kids as well.
Both Grandma and Grandpa did lots of hugging on both kids which allowed Eric and myself to get a few extra chores done around the house. On Sunday, my mom let me sleep in until an almost embarrassing time while she and my dad watched the kids and Eric was in the woods for the last day of turkey hunting season. Once I finally peeled myself out of bed and became vertical, my mom and I went to work planting flowers around our yard and in several big and small planters. I would never admit to having a green thumb of any sort and welcomed her advice and extra hands in helping to make our yard look colorful and lush.
After grandma and grandpa left, Elaina and I went out to water our new flowers while I explained to her that Mommy would need her special help to keep our flowers healthy and give them a drink of water in the evening. I had no idea that this morning she would be so psyched to help already until she ran after her own watering can in her pajamas and wanted to go "ouside" to water immediately following breakfast. Luckily, I was able to procrastinate her until after naptime and a wardrobe change.
This is how only movie stars look when they do their own lawn care.
Lincoln has been enjoying the great outdoors as well. I found this great little outside bouncy seat that screens him in away from bugs and vibrates too. I wrap him loosely and comforatably in the softest blankets and park him in the shade while the gentle breeze sweeps over his covered seat. To tell you the truth, when I prepare his little nest for him to get some fresh air, I find myself a little bit envious, knowing how wonderful his nap must be in such soft luxury. He's got it made!

The Big Sister

As of late, the most frequently asked question to us after "How's Lincoln?" is, "How is Elaina adjusting to being a big sister?"

Let me tell you...
SO WELL!
More specifically, so far, so good. She has had a few episodes of bad behavior when it comes to sharing her beanbag chair and her mommy and daddy, but good otherwise. She gives Lincoln gentle kisses on his fuzzy, little head every morning and before bedtime. When she knows that he is sleeping in his pack 'n play downstairs, she'll tiptoe passed his bed with her finger pressed against her lips, whispering, "Baby. Seeping."
On two separate occasions, she has crept next to his bassinet and pat the covers on the foot of his bed and sang to him a little lullaby. It primarily consisted of the words, "Seepy night-night. Seepy. Seepy. (unrecognizable) Seepy. Night-night." The best part is that she came up with that all on her own. This was the attempt of a caring big sister to ensure that her baby brother had a good night. Of course, this just melted me and I wished I had my camera at that very instance.
Like I mentioned, we have run into a few snags when it comes to sharing. For instance, the other night, I was getting Elaina ready for bed and I temporarily placed Lincoln in her crib while she got all jammied up and we selected books to read. I had taken Lincoln in with me so that he could be a part of her story time too, like he had on one previous occasion. My mistake this time was that I thought that Lincoln could lay in her bed for even half a minute. Nope. The crying quickly ensued accompanied by the gush of crocodile tears while she shouted, "Get him out! My bed!" And to think that I was once thankful for the impressive verbal skills of this same child. I couldn't believe that she demanded that I "get him out!" With this I realized that I may have been testing her limits of sharing at a far too delicate time and with that we scooped Lincoln out of her bed and together, we placed him in his own bed. No story time for Lincoln this night.

In just two short weeks, Eric and I have gotten wise how to balance out the novelty of our larger family. We stopped making such a big deal about Lincoln/ the baby/ the little brother. To Elaina only that is. In the grand scheme of things, we just want Elaina to realize that Lincoln is a part of our family and we don't have to make a big deal out of having him with us. I want her to see him as a natural part of our family, such as it natural, for instance, that mommy has two arms. That's just the way it's supposed to be. And if we want to make it as such, we needed to take a step back from putting such an emphasis on "Lincoln this" or "Lincoln that." She seems to be doing much better with this approach.
Other than only a few snafoos along the way, Elaina seems to love her little "Winkin." That would be the almost 2 year-old pronunciation of his name. Elaina is quick to investigate him when he cries, she kisses his head as gentle as she is capable and she gets a kick out of Winkin having the hiccups and giggles at him when his eyes are open.
I'm pleased to see our little girl showing compassion and learning to share. I am excited that she has a sibling to share in her life and I'm thrilled to have the perfect little boy to be a part of it

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Little Brother

Anyone care to hear some Lincoln updates?

Well I'd say so- it's about time!Baby Lincoln is doing great! He is a great sleeper for nice stretches at a time, yet his belly timer goes off approximately every 3 hours letting us know he's ready to eat. He typically takes in about 3 ounces per feed and only spits up occasionally. After his feeds, it's usually hit or miss trying to get him to burp. I sometimes feel like I could be patting on his back for an hour and I still wouldn't be able to hear even a teensy belch from the little guy.

As it stands, he doesn't stay awake for very long periods of time and delights us when he looks around with those big, dark eyes. He has proven himself to be fairly mellow and hardly cries except when he's hungry or he's getting his diaper changed. The diaper change is a guarantee for a cry every last time. He's beginning to give me a complex.
Eric took him to the pediatrician for his very first well-baby check up today and reported back that the nurses stole Lincoln right from his arms in the waiting room. Apparently, our little guy is so cute, they couldn't wait to get their hands on him and ooh and aah over him. Eventually, they even invited Eric back to the waiting room and the doctor had her turn to check out the baby. Again, I love our pediatrician/ family doctor and she's been so excited to meet Lincoln and knows what it means to us to have him in our family.
For today's stats, Eric took great notes that Lincoln weighed in at 7 lbs. 6 oz. and is 19" long. Given that he was discharged from the hospital last Wednesday with a weight of 6 lbs. 6 oz., I feel that we've done a pretty good job of getting his little belly full and helping him to gain a pound in a week's time. Just as would be expected if he was within the womb still. Needless to say, I am very pleased. The little guy still has yet to fit into most of his clothes with the newborn size still a bit roomy. Little does he know, he has one incredible 0-6 month summer wardrobe awaiting him. Hopefully by mid-June, he'll be fitting into them just fine. The revolving door of the other grandparents is coming to visit tomorrow, bringing along even more clothes for our little sweetness. More pictures to follow...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Back Peddling...

I know you don't stop by this little old blog site of mine to hear me ramble about things unrelated to the new queen and king of the household, but at this point, I feel obligated to do a little bit of creative clipping and editing in regards to my last post.

As you may recall, (I'm pretending that I have an actual "following" here of frequent readers) in my last post, in the midst of recapping the joy of having two little blessings to occupy our time, I just barely touched on the fact that Sunday was Mother's Day. So, here I am. Four days later. Attempting to relieve myself of the obligatory duty I feel is appropriate in regard to this holiday.
Some may say that Mother's Day is another "Hallmark Holiday" designed to sell cards and send flowers, but if you have a mom as great as mine, you would know that it is much more. Living almost three hours away from both sets of parents, we don't often get to spend every holiday together. Lucky for me, my mom was here only the previous weekend and my mother-in-law was here to celebrate the actual day.
Let me begin by telling you about my mom. My mom is pretty much everything I ever wanted to be as a parent. I won't sugar-coat my whole tribute to her by pretending that we never fought or disagreed, because it did. With frequency. However, despite our arguments and differences in opinion she still remains the person I admire so deeply and with reverence. I could tell you that I had a great mom because she was the one who took us to church, sent us to a private school, made us home-cooked dinners every night and helped with homework until the the wee hours of the morning. Yeah, that's all true, but she's plenty more than that.





My mom helped me to become the person I am today through her unconditional love and example of leadership. She encouraged me to be strong and independent and helped me to harness both as I learned appropriate timing to handle so many challenging situations. She continues to be an example of love to her family and her unending commitment to her job and her community. Through her wisdom, I developed a foundation of morals and characteristics which I posses with pride. My mom is my roots. My brother and I are truly the fruit of her labor. I'd have to say "Job Well Done!"
For as long as I can remember, my mom and I would cuddle up together and talk about anything silly or downright serious and life altering. Feeling her warmth next to me and knowing that her heart was mine for the taking, I knew that she would be at my side for anything that came my way. Looking back upon just the past 5 years of our lives, I can't imagine how someone gets through the devastation of our losses. And it's my own life! It hardly seems possible that a heart so broken can be pieced back together with love and faith. That's what my mom taught me and provided me. Again... that's my roots.
With this said, my Mother-in-Law cannot be overlooked when it comes to healing, hope and faith. Again, not living so close in proximity, I don't have the type of MIL that just pops over to the house to make sure that I'm taking care of her son alright and that the beds are made. I have the type of MIL that I have learned to love for the person she is. Again, going through such hardship with each of our girls, my MIL was there to support me, offer me words of encouragement, cry with and pray with her entire church on our behalf. She has a kind and gentle heart that suit her peacekeeping nature.
As far as her personal achievement, she raised her son to be loving, caring, and faithful. As Eric's mother, she taught him discipline, standards and self-worth. All of which, she holds herself to just the same. I could launch a whole other tangent on Eric's attributes, but that really would be more appropriate for another holiday, say for instance, Father's Day. I can never relate to the typical gripes of married couples who complain about their MIL. I've got no complaints! She respects our differences, respects our lifestyle and has never overstepped her boundaries.



Sometimes I find it ironic how I find so many similar qualities in myself as both my mom and my MIL. The differences are very different but there's plenty that are uncanny and the same. We're like three circles whose arches conjoin, melding us together.


There's plenty more that could be said about both of these fine women, yet that's what the sappy, Hallmark cards are for.

Finally, in all of this Mother's Day tribute to my mom's, let's talk about me!
I don't want to rehash further memories of heartache but I have to go back just about four years ago. In 2003, our sweet Ella was born and lived for 3 1/2 short weeks. I spent my first Mother's Day picking out her monument for the cemetery. When mom's day rolled around the following year, we were still trying to conceive with no luck and my hopes of ever being a mother were dashing. In 2005, our dear Ava passed away the day before Mother's Day and my mom and I spent that mom's day sending medical equipment back to the providers, packing up baby clothes and medical supplies and discussing funeral arrangements.
With the miracle arrival of Elaina who became our family that same year, 2006 was my first real and true Mother's Day. It just so happened that Elaina was baptized on the same day and all of my glory was relishing in the fact that we had a daughter who had become a member of our church and God's family. As a mother, her mother, I couldn't have been more proud or pleased with how my day was spent. This was the kind of blessing every mother should feel about their own child. And moving forward, we all know what a great blessing and miracle I (we) received just in time for this Mother's Day. Baby Lincoln has become our son! Seriously, I really have a good life!
Since I make no excuse for telling you about how I feel about my love for Elaina with plenty of stories to include Lincoln still to come, there's just one more point I want to cover. I want to wish every mom a belated, yet happy Mother's Day! I can't tell you other blogging moms how much I enjoy reading your stories of how much you enjoy your own family and watching your kids grow. Although I'm not always quick to comment, you guys really keep me going with the laughter and wisdom that you share.
Finally, although I don't have a roll call of everyone who reads my blog, but the ones that I do know of personally, I know that you have genuine and kind hearts and that is why I ask this of you. On any particular day, especially on Mother's Day, I ask that you say a little prayer for birth mothers. The unidentified women who love their children so much that they provide them with 9 months of care and place them with families they have chosen to love them and offer their children the world. Just thank the Lord that these strong and selfless women exist to make other couples dreams of having a family of their own possible. As you all know, Eric, myself and all of our family are deeply touched by the act of two such angels who will forever be our heroes and hold a very special place in our hearts.
With this, I ask that you forgive my oversight to include such a beautiful reason to celebrate motherhood and ask that you continue to make each day special with your own children!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Are You Ready For This?

Okay folks, I have let too many days go by already without a new post or even new pictures. So, do you know what that means? Oh yeah, a whole mess of pictures, stories and other miscellaneous ramblings from yours truly!

Hold onto your seats!
So, Friday I left off with Grandma and Grandpa W. coming to visit for the weekend to see Lincoln for the first time. Lincoln was happy to be held in the cozy warmth of his grandparents arms and soaked up plenty of affection. Elaina was happy to play with her cousin Evan for the weekend and they got along without incident for 2.5 days straight. By the time Sunday rolled around, it seems as though they had both gotten their fill of togetherness and needed some time alone to get back in their regular routines.













As you may well remember, this past Sunday also happened to Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day to my Mom (my favorite Mom in the past 32 years and counting!) and to my dear Mother-in-Law, Brenda !

As luck would have it, I came down with cold symptoms for Mother's Day. Nice. The best (and only) thing my sweet husband could do for me was to let me sleep for an entire 2.5 hours nap in the middle of the day. Without interruption. Ahhh. So much better than any chocolate or flowers. Sleep! And when he did finally brave himself for waking the beast, he came bearing two smiling sweethearts of which are our kids. Lincoln had his eyes open and was looking around intently and Elaina smeared me with approximately 17 kisses in various areas in attempt to make me feel better and fix my "boo-boos." The lousiest part is that I have been trying my best to keep a slight distance from both of them as I can't shake this fear that both of them with come down with the same sore throat, cough and runny/ stuffy nose I have. At this point, I'm crossing my fingers, my toes and holding my breath that they both be safe from my hacking germs. Unfortunately, as the story goes, Eric seems to have come down with a slight sore throat and same worn-down feeling as myself. It's not the worst we have ever felt (by far) and it's different than just the average sleep deprivation of any parent of a newborn. It's just a stinkin', little, nasty bug that is making our lives most unpleasant at the moment. Picture this, two sick parents, a bored-out-of-her-gourd-almost-two-year-old and a newborn who wants to snack every 2-3 hours. Such is life. This too shall pass. See what a happy family!
With Sunday proving to be not particularly productive, let's move onto Monday! There's a story for Monday!
On Monday, we had our placement hearing. As most of you aren't familiar with adoption proceedings (why would you be?), the placement hearing was our first official court hearing that designates Eric and myself as Lincoln's legal custodians. In six months from now, we'll have our second hearing which will be the "finalization" hearing which we'll be recognized as Lincoln's legal, adoptive parents which will even reflect on his birth certificate. This is the hearing that we celebrate annually with Elaina as "Got-Me-Day." Of course we plan to carry on the same tradition with Lincoln as well. To us, it's like celebrating his birthday 6 months after his birthday, remembering the date that he became ours and ours alone, a very special and worthwhile family celebration. Now, back to today's hearing. We made the decision to bring Elaina with us to the hearing in hopes that she would be on her very best behavior. Amazingly, she was even better than I had anticipated. She sat on my lap so quietly and from time to time, I would whisper in her ear how well behaved she was and how good she was being. Lincoln slept in his Daddy's arms throughout the entire 45 minute hearing. Not even a peep. Maybe his Dad was whispering to him as well. I'll never know.

Since I just happen to work in the same building that the probate court is in, we paraded our new family up to see all of my fellow co-workers who have been so thrilled to hear about Lincoln's arrival and been so anxious to meet him. I was somewhat hesitant to bring a week-old baby into the corridors of so many germs, but I kept him in his infant carrier and kept a blanket draped over him, shielding him from the exposure of only God-knows-what as we made our way through the halls. (It's scary to think that leaving the hospital corridors upon discharge provided him the same opportunity to encounter the same amount of yuck. Can you tell I walk a fine line of OCD?) Anyhow, everyone was thrilled to see baby Lincoln and his big sister. They even sent us home with this valuable keepsake photo.
Priceless isn't it? As our photographer was fearing that someone may have inadvertently moved as she snapped the photo, she was considerate enough to take another one, just to ensure the quality and capture yet another tender moment. How about this one?
One day. I just keep telling myself, one day; we'll all be posed for a decent family picture together that I won't keep on hand just to laugh at our quirky, awkward poses. Maybe by Lincoln's graduation we'll be able to come up with a nice family photo. One day.

By the time we got home, the weather was still gorgeous and I rushed Eric and Elaina out the door to get a quick picture of my very handsome twosome. Lincoln missed the cut since he was still sleeping and wasn't hyped up on Fwoot-Woops (Fruit Loops) and cookies like a certain other child.That brings us to today. Eric and I are still battling the creeping crud that has seemed to take up residence in our respiratory system. Elaina has turned into a complete and utter couch potato as we've allowed her way too much tv time and video watching as we try to keep up with satisfying Lincoln-the snack-break-baby while trying to maintain a certain standard of cleanliness throughout our home at the same time.

As if I haven't already occupied more than 20 minutes of your time reading all of this, I have to tell you that I've only reached the tip of the iceberg, folks. I have plenty more to report on adjustment, parenting and perspective as time permits. It's obvious enough that blogging has taken a back burner, so to speak, when there's plenty more things demanding my attention as of late. While you already know how I feel about my blog, I want to do everything I can to maintain a certain degree of journaling here for both Lincoln and Elaina. Keep stopping by and I'll keep the pictures coming!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Making a Comeback

So, no new post since Monday? Wow! Where has this week gone?

Oh yeah... we have a baby!!

At this point, I really don't even know where to begin to fill in what has been our whirlwind week, so I'll just give you a rundown of the highlights of the week day by day.

Monday-
-Eric and I arrived at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. anxious to meet our son
- I had the honor of being requested to be in the delivery room as Lincoln was born at 7:18 a.m.
- Lincoln is amazing- healthy and perfect and beautiful!
- My parents brought Elaina up to the hospital to meet her new brother and see their newest grandson

Tuesday-
- Elaina spent the day at the baby sitter's house while Eric and I spent our day with Lincoln at the hospital
- We arrived home at 4:30 to balance out Elaina's normal daily routine and maintain some consistency for her
- My friend Jessica and her 7 month old son, Cole came to meet Lincoln (Lincoln's first friend! They will be in the same class.)
- My friends Bevin, Patti and Cathey came for a planned visit at lunchtime, 5 minutes later, Nicole and Kristen stopped by unexpectedly and an old friend from my previous employer just happened to be on the floor, making our 10x10' room almost claustrophobic with 8 adults and a tiny, little Lincoln squeezed in. Impromptu party in room #247!
- Spent the evening putting the final touches on the house in preparation for baby; cleaning, putting bassinet together, filling dresser drawers with sweet, little boy clothes

Wednesday-
- Elaina spent the day at the baby sitter's house again
- Spent the morning visiting with "Elle" (In respect for her privacy I won't be naming her, however, "birth mom" is entirely too impersonal. For all future references, the woman who gifted us with our son will be referred to as, "Elle." )
- Lincoln got circumcised
- Upon Elle's discharge from the hospital, she requested, very specifically that Lincoln be discharged to us as soon as possible so that we could begin to be a family. Proper paperwork was set in place and our pediatrician gave us a thumbs-up for discharge for Lincoln.
- Approximately 3:15, we got the green light to be able to take our son home
- We skipped out of the hospital and picked up Elaina at Nancy's house, allowing Nancy to meet her newest love also (she is thrilled that Lincoln has joined our family and is anxious to care for him)
- Lincoln had a very good night, although he thought it would be fun to stay awake after his 4 a.m. feeding just to see what all goes on in his new house at that time (nothing but sleepy parents)
- I was worried that Lincoln hadn't had a wet diaper since hours before being discharged from the hospital and no wet diapers most of the evening. Eric informed me that he had a wet diaper at his midnight feed and I rested more easily. When his hungry belly-timer went off at 4a.m. (right on cue) he had soaked through his diaper, his clothes, his blanket- everything! I've never been so relieved to clean up pee ever! (I was just on the line between concern and worry- he relieved both of us!)
Thursday-
- Took Elaina to Nancy's house one more time to be able to spend the day getting to know and learn about our new son.
- Due to some last minute paperwork from our attorney, we made a quick trip into town to sign some more paperwork and then went to celebrate with ice cream. (Lincoln just got a hot dog and fries.)
- Our friend Jessica (a different one) stopped over to meet Lincoln and brought lovely gifts for each of the kids. Lincoln received some sweet sleep gowns and onesies while Elaina got a fun bubble ball and a shirt that says, "I'm the Big Sister!" Too cute!
- The word has gotten out that we are finally home and Eric and I were on the phone separately with happy friends and family giving their best and exited about Lincoln's arrival
- Lincoln woke on time for his middle of the night feed and easily went back down immediately following. This kid lo-oves to sleep!

Friday-
- Experienced my first mom-of-two-morning by myself as Eric was out hunting first thing in the morning. All was well; Elaina woke at her usual time and I had to wake up Lincoln to keep him even close to his feeding schedule.
- Elaina had her first bout of jealousy with Lincoln. Scene: Mommy lies Lincoln on a blanket safely across Elaina's beanbag chair while I attempted to put some of Elaina's clothes in her closet. A 3 minute job, mind you. Elaina came from our bedroom after watching cartoons and spotted Lincoln on her chair. She hollered, "My chair! My chair!" over and over while jumping up and down. After ignoring my instructions about sharing in this house, her fit continued and she found herself promptly in her bed. Her crying jag lasted only minutes before she recovered and I made her apologize to Lincoln. Incidentally, this is the same girl who patted the floor next to her butt on the top step, inviting Lincoln to come down the stairs with her this morning.
- Eric's parents came around 1:00 to meet their newest grandson and spoil him with what amounted to practically a new wardrobe with gifts from them and from friends from our hometown. They even brought the "Big Sister" a folding Dora chair to sit on the patio. Our special guest with them for the weekend was our nephew, Evan who is 4. He was excited to spend the weekend with "Ewaina."
- In the evening, our backyard neighbors stopped over to meet Lincoln as well. Do you see a pattern here? The kid already has his own fan club!
How about this pair? Partners in crime! Elaina has so much to teach her baby brother, as you can see.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Introducing...

It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to-

Lincoln Todd W.
Born May 7, 2007 at 7:18am
6 lb. 10 oz., 18" length

This would only have to be my favorite picture yet-
Amazing, isn't he?

Elaina is exceedingly willing to help, yet still had some ambivalent feelings toward her new brother.
Grandma and Grandpa H. have been in town since Friday night to help out and enjoy the last days of our family of three. They stayed with Elaina this morning and brought her to the hospital to meet her new brother. They were also so kind to pick out a special big-sister gift just for Elaina. She got her first Cabbage Patch Kid today. (Not terribly impressed, by the way.)
I could save my family from the embarrassment of this being our first family picture, but nope, you get it all. What do you think? (Good thing my mom doesn't rely on her photography skills to earn her living!)
Or would you say this is your favorite? Again... not much sleep last night and I'm really surprising myself that I am actually posting these haphazard poses. You just gotta love 'em!
So what if our first family pictures are (much) less than flattering, we have an incredibly healthy and gorgeous baby boy that has become part of our family and we couldn't be happier. The pictures nearly speak for themselves! That's truly Elaina's opinion of her brother so far!