Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly

9/13/2015: 13 weeks pregnant

Jacob was in Oregon ALL WEEK for an ed consultant contract...

The Good

- This trip, his second, is great side income for our family as he's working, unpaid, to launch Urban South Brewery.
- No one got sick!  Historically, the kids have liked to get sick when I'm on my own parenting.
- We were so on top of things on morning one that we had time for a game before school!
 

- When it's only Mommy around to do everything, there is no reason for Cora to cry/demand Mommy be the one that does everything for her, so there were less tears on her part.  Poor Daddy!
- Cora: daily 3 hour naps and snuggles and books afterward.
- Jack and I (with at least some interest from Cora) are working our way quickly through Charlotte's Web.  Due to a deep literary discussion with an older friend at school, Jack now knows that the book is sad not because Wilbur dies, but because Charlotte dies.  We wait to see how this might happen.
- The kids were still alive, and cute, on day four!


The Bad

- Not.feeling.better.yet. :(  Come on 15 weeks!  (when I remember feeling better the last two times)
- Round ligament pain?  Back pain and soreness across my abdomen had me hobbling around on Thursday and Friday.  I remember this feeling from Jack's pregnancy but it came much later.
- Cora still loves school but it wipes her out, leaving several times where Jack and I watched her absolutely fall apart because of triggers like she didn't get to get out of the car door of her choice.
- Jack has gotten on a kick of answering questions by spelling two of the handful of words he knows.  "Y-e-s" = cute.  "N-o" = less so.
- We were pretty low on food by Friday.  I hope Jack enjoyed leftover sweet potatoes for the third day and, Cora, a hodgepodge of nuts, raisins, figs, and cheese.  Mommy bought herself a bagel with cream cheese for lunch, my favorite snack of the last few weeks.

The Ugly

- Oh Cora, if you are going to poop like this, you've really got to take to potty training!  She's majorly regressed in the potty realm.  She willingly goes at school, but also wets her pull-up, so not bad but not great.  For us, we can pretty much only get her to pee in the potty in the morning...after headstands and other stunts.  She's been saving up for a nightly blow-out poop that nothing we put on her contains.  There was lots of soaking clothes in the toilet and rinsing out disgusting cloth diapers.  YUCK!
- My house by Friday.  Once the kids were in bed, I just collapsed on my bed and never went back downstairs.  This led to a lot of dishes, crayons, toys, and assorted items by the end of the week.  Not my normal feng shui.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

JOY


12 weeks pregnant: 9/6/2014

It is so nice to say to the world: we're having a baby!  This is very happy news for our family - all four of us :)

Jacob: New business? New baby? Why not?!  Baby Landry will be here before Urban South Brewery opens its doors and I, for one, am already appreciating the new flexibility in Jacob's days and think it will be well-timed during pregnancy and the early newborn days.

Jack: This child; oh my heart.  Now officially "four and three quarters", he can be so mature and kind sometimes.  He's been stoked about the baby news since we let it slip around 7 weeks.  The first night he wanted to make signs of "Mommy's having a baby" to hang in the fire station and police department. (And he did make some.)  He's the one who has told the most people; just yesterday, he saw a woman with a baby at the beach and he walked up to her and told her about how his Mommy is having a baby too.

He's also protective of me.  If Jacob is teasing me, he gets very defensive and says things like "Daddy, leave Mommy alone, she has a baby in her belly!"  He also said to me this weekend: "Mommy, you need to stop doing everything.  You need to get rest every day.  Having a baby is a lot of work!" 

Cora: Not one to let her brother get ahead of her, she also likes to proclaim "Mommy having baby!"  She knows the baby is in my belly and likes to give the baby tickles or in Cora speak "tittles" :)  Whenever the subject of the baby comes up, she says "Towah hold that baby!"  She knows the baby is too little to hold now but that she'll get to hold him/her when the baby is born.  She watched the video of Jack meeting her and she latched on to how he got to hold her and she's excited about having her own baby to hold.

And me?  The emotions that have come along with this pregnancy have been different than with Jack's and Cora's.  I now know what it's like to lose a pregnancy and that has changed parts of the first trimester.  What's been exactly the same (but I think, worse) has been the nausea and fatigue.  I've been chronicling my thoughts starting when we found out the news.

Baby Landry - due March 2015.  All four of us can't wait to meet you!

Exhaustion, dreams, and reality

10.5 weeks: 8/27/2015

Exhaustion

It hasn't gone away yet!  I'm very much looking forward to getting some energy back.  Saturday's trip to the dentist and a birthday party had me collapsing on the couch for 3 hours, falling into a deep sleep, and leaving Jacob alone to deal with lunch and naps (which actually never happened... Cora!!!)

Today, (my first Wednesday off work with kids in school!) I had a productive surge and I cleaned up the house (you know the real cleaning when you actually organize rather than just tossing things into a basket) for the first time in two months.  When Jack and Cora spent a week in SC a few weeks back, I had visions of major house projects.  I spent most of my non-working time that week lying on my bed.  Not a single project accomplished.

Dreams

Wow pregnancy dreams!  Can anyone else relate?  They are so vivid!  I've been having them from the very beginning of this pregnancy and I do remember them from past pregnancies.  You wake up to such clear memories of the dream.  And they are weird!  Sometimes disturbing, sometimes not.  This week I dreamed I gave birth to this baby, a girl.  That leads to my third point.


Reality

I've not been walking around anxious about this pregnancy (thank you horrible nausea and fatigue) but I've still not been thinking too concretely about an actual baby.  That has started to change.  Jacob and I heard the baby's heartbeat this week and that, combined with my birth dream, has helped make everything start to feel more real.  I have a name in mind for the little girl I think I'm carrying.  I have visions of what our spring will be like.  To me, the expectancy of the baby, birth, and the newborn period are such amazing periods and I'm so excited to think about experiencing them again.

At this point in the pregnancy, we'd already shared the news widely about Jack and Cora, but I'm keeping it close a few more weeks this time.  We're telling friends as it makes sense, but I don't feel quite ready to share far and wide.  I think that's the part of me that still can't believe this is our reality.

Knocked up (or rather out)

9.5 weeks: 8/20/2015

Is it possible you can forget how difficult something is?  I feel like I still have a good memory of Cora's birth, but even though I know I referred to the first trimester of her pregnancy as being "rough" and me being "really sick," I can only remember moments.

So either my memory is not that strong, or this pregnancy is a lot harder.  (And I'm honestly not sure which one; it would make sense, evolutionarily, that you might forget these things.)  Right now, I can only take it moment by moment.  Even thinking day-by-day is too much for me because then I get very overwhelmed by the idea that I might feel this bad for another month or more (!)

Where I spend most of my time (with children beside me)
It has now been four weeks of around the clock nausea.  And the last week and a half have been especially rough with big time exhaustion and the occasional headache and even one episode of blurring vision.

I feel like a big baby half the time, but as I toss and turn in the middle of the night with the nausea waking me up and keeping me awake, I also am just amazed that I might actually have forgotten I've felt this way in the past.  I know I had the same type of nausea with Jack and Cora's pregnancies because memories of those pregnancies bring back the same type of sick feeling in the back of my throat.  But was it this constant?

If you see us contemplating a fourth child with a rosy demeanor, you'll know I've completely forgotten these two months!

Mommy's having a baby!

8.5 weeks - 8/12/14

My initial plan was to tell Jack about the new baby after our 8 week ultrasound.  But I jumped the gun by about a week because it's easy to spill good news.  He was excited in the moment, but the heartwarming moment came that night when he announced that he wanted to put up signs around town that said "Mommy's having a baby."  He then proceeded to make one for both the fire and police departments :)

Besides wanting to wait until we saw a healthy baby on an ultrasound, Jack would also be heading straight off to SC for a week to "Grammy Camp" so I figured if he wanted to tell people, it would be better for him not to be in New Orleans right after learning the news.  With our early announcement, I knew  he'd probably spill the beans at least some...which he did:

  • Amidst coloring during Children's Church class "Mommy's having a baby" Jack announces to my co-teacher.  No harm there, he didn't announce it anywhere else (like in front of church during Children's Time - it could have happened.)

  • At a cook-out with friends: "My mommy has a baby in her tummy."  This was said at several points so that all our friends left learning our news.

  • Once safely in SC, at my parent's church to someone he'd never met before: "My mommy has a baby in her belly."

I'm so excited he is excited :)  Cora will also say that "Mommy have baby" but she, of course, doesn't really appreciate what big news this is for our family.  Jack understands our family is growing and I love that he is happy about this fact.

We were excited to see this little one on our ultrasound and to know that everything looks normal.  After a few days of seeming to feel better, my nausea has picked up and it is no fun.  I look very much forward to feeling better and being able to enjoy food again!!!

Early pregnancy

7.5 weeks - 8/6/2014

Last week was a difficult one with constant nausea that was leaving me pretty down.  I have a prescription for Zofran but would really rather not take any medications if not necessary.  So Jacob (motivated by his down, on the couch wife) did some research and most articles suggested trying non-medical remedies first.  So we got some vitamin B6 from the Vitamin Store and played with the dosage over last weekend.

Either the nausea is chilling out some on its own, or the B6 is helping!  I still feel nauseated through most parts of the day, but it's like the volume has been dialed way down and I can tolerate this level of yuck.

The hardest part of this early pregnancy nausea is the balance between needing to eat (and also knowing the nausea is worse on an empty stomach) and NOT WANTING ANY FOOD.  That's not true, I'm sure if you named 100 foods at any given moment, 3 or 4 would sound good.  They'd just likely not be in my kitchen or already prepared.

Jacob is so very practical so seeing me BUY prepared food is a hard one for him.  And timing up with our new one-income lifestyle, it's especially hard for him.  But I've asked for lenience for the next two months till I get past the constant yuck. 


Yay for Yucky

6 weeks - 7/27/14

This week, I had a nightmare that I'd miscarried again and that brought back my anxieties.  (Is it just me that dreams in Technicolor clarity during a pregnancy?  All my dreams are so vivid.)

Like I'd actually put a picture of myself here!
So I've continued to keep our news quiet.  But I'm feeling more relaxed again, thanks to the onset of around the clock yuckiness since Thursday.  This is what I remember pregnancy feeling like and why it just felt weird to feel so good earlier this year.  I just feel "bleh."  I've started becoming picky about what sounds good to eat, but I'm still wanting to eat as it seems like I feel better when I'm eating.  (That could be dangerous.)

I'll take it!  The nausea is reassuring and, combined with no spotting, is helping me start to think we might be on our way to a third baby.  Which is so exciting!

I have an appointment with a midwife tomorrow and plan to schedule an early ultrasound this go-round.  I was so laid back at the start of Cora's pregnancy (and also so horribly sick) that I opted out of any early ultrasounds, but I know I'll want one this time.

I'm celebrating every day forward and continue to pray that I'm pregnant with what will be our healthy third baby.

....pregnant...

5 weeks - 7/20/2015

I am pregnant again.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have conceived again so quickly.  It was hard to miscarry and I know it will be hard to let go of all anxiety in these early weeks of pregnancy, but it would have also been very hard to wait months to become pregnant again.  So I feel really fortunate.

I waited a few days past my missed period to take a test, because I didn't want to get my hopes up until I was clearly pregnant.  I'd been having signs of pregnancy but I was worried I was reading something into nothing.  Turns out I wasn't.

I've been trying to put into words how I'm feeling these last few days.  "Excited" isn't right.  Which is weird, because I want so much to bring another baby into this family.  But excited feels carefree, and I think a miscarriage pulls away the innocence and naivete of finding out you are pregnant.

In April, the positive pregnancy test meant NEW BABY, coming in January, but probably, closer to Christmas.  Now, I have an understandable skepticism that this positive test means an actual baby.  I'm feeling more hesitant; hopeful, but cautious.

The best description I can come up with is "subdued happiness."  My mom was in town, so she learned right away of our news.  But the idea of calling my dad to tell him didn't seem right.  I mean I'd just called my parents all excited a few months back.  There will be plenty of time for excitement; right now I feel happy to be where I am, but don't want to dive in fully.

I am surprised that I'm not a raging ball of anxiety.  I'm really not that anxious.  I remember I'm pregnant sometimes and forget at other moments.  I don't feel weak or delicate and I'm continuing to have the peace I'd come to about a month ago.

I'm already nauseous which is a comforting feeling since I never really got there in the spring.  I feel several pregnancy symptoms and they are nice to have back around.

And I've realized again, how quickly a pregnancy becomes part of your present and your future.  As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I looked up my due date, which of course populates the next eight months of my calendar with what my life might be like.  Finding out the sex in the fall, a majorly pregnant Mardi Gras...

Nothing would make me happier than to get to walk through all those moments and meet a healthy, third child in mid-March.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

ROUTINE

Ahhh, we are on the eve of having a routine again.  I have a ridiculously great work set-up, getting to work a flexible, part-time schedule doing something I love, BUT the downside is the summer schedule.  I'm busiest in July and August during our summer professional development and school start up times.  (My charter school network starts school mid-late July).  This means I'm busiest at the time of year when our childcare set-up is least set up.

Before Camp!
Every week this summer we had a different set-up.  Every. Single. Week. For three full months, our morning start times, days on/days off, locations, and caregivers changed.  This had some fun perks (lots of help and visits from family and a string of 9:00 camp weeks which was such a nicer, slower start to the day!)  But I don't think constant change was good for any of us.

So with Jack's and Cora's first day of school last Friday, this week marks the beginning of their new school year and coincides with when I can finally start working my set, 20 hour/week schedule.  (To make this wonderful part-time position work, I voluntarily work more hours in July and August.)

Jack and Cora are both going to the Waldorf School of New Orleans this year.  Jack has been at Waldorf for two years now in the Nursery class.  The Waldorf early childhood program consists of a Nursery class (roughly ages 2.5-4) and a Kindergarten class (roughly ages 4-6).  Jack went 2 days/week his first year and 3 days/week last year.  I added a weekly sitter on to that to make a complicated work schedule, but this year it's just straight up school.

Jack is in his first year of Kindergarten (and boy is he proud of that fact) and Cora is the youngest child in the Nursery.  They both will go Monday-Friday 8:30-1:00.  I will work Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Fri from 8-1, with Jacob handling drop-off and me doing pick-up.  Also for the first time since I've had children, I will have childcare on a morning I'm not working.  I imagine an occasional special day with Jack or Cora on those mornings, but overall I'm downright excited to have a little time to myself!

I'm a big fan of the Waldorf philosophy.  For early childhood:

The early childhood teacher in a Waldorf school works with the young child first by creating a warm, beautiful and loving home-like environment, which is protective and secure and where things happen in a predictable, regular manner.

The classrooms are sunlit, calm, and natural.  There are flowers and nature items.  The toys are simple (lots of wooden blocks and handmade objects) and require imagination to be brought to them.  The kids are involved in home-like tasks in a weekly rhythm.  One day might be folding the lunch laundry, another day is baking the kids' snack.

There are two times outside each morning and both classes have their own gardens to tend.  They go outside in all weather and seasons as a way to explore the world around them. 

There is an emphasis on nurturing the body as well and the snacks are very healthy.  Jack was quick to ask what the snack rhythm is for his new class.  Mondays: oatmeal, Tuesdays: quinoa and vegetables, Wednesday: bread or something else the kids bake, Thursday: fruit salad or vegetable soup, Friday: popcorn.  The kids are involved in making the snack every day.

Jack and Cora went to different schools last year on different schedules.  Logistically, it's going to be a great year, especially since their school is close to where I work.  I also have an idyllic notion of them walking in together holding hands and giving kisses between the fence that separates their play yards.

The first day was sweet (thought not kisses through the fence perfect.)  Jack was so excited to be in Kindergarten that he pretty much forgot Cora was on the premises.  Cora was a little overwhelmed and cried when we left.  But both had great days.

I love that they'll be sharing in their school experience this year!  And I LOVE that we are about to start having some weekly ROUTINE again!



There is no significance to the helicopter.  Jack was just attached to it that morning.


Jack gets to ring the "fairy bells" - the sign for parents to get going!



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Realizing a dream: first step forward

My husband quit his job this month and I'm 100% supportive. 

Jacob has had dreams of owning his own business all his life and has been writing and researching his business plan to launch a brewery for more than a year now.

It's time for big steps forward.  I'm not nervous because if there is one thing I know about Jacob Landry, it is that he makes things happen.  We've also approached this step very seriously, saving and preparing to live without his income while he works to launch Urban South Brewery.

If you know anything about craft breweries, you know they are a rapidly growing industry.  And if you know anything about New Orleans, you would imagine this would be a city with several locally owned breweries.  You'd be wrong on that point.  New Orleans, and the South in general, have been slow to take ownership of this growing market.

Jacob likes to create.  He was the vision behind our home renovation, he's the mastermind behind the "Landry Farm," and I benefit regularly from his canning, baking, and cooking projects.  He home brews, but he won't be the brewer at Urban South.  He's recruiting a seasoned brewmaster for that role.  He will be heavily involved in sales and building a local brand.

He gave notice at his job earlier in July and has started meeting with potential investors over the last few weeks.  We are excited at his early progress and I look forward to watching him realize his dream.  I'm not naive to the responsibilities and pressures that inevitably must come from building your own company, but I think they'll be more than worth it to see my husband fully employing all his skills and giving our children a model that you have to be bold to follow your dreams.

Much more to come on this exciting chapter!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Jack Stories: Age 4.5


Jack the Fireman

Okay, if I don't start here, I won't accurately capture who Jack is at the moment.  Ladies and gentlemen, the fireman/firetrucks interest has now been going strong for three years.  I imagine he'll be a fireman for the 4th Halloween in a row this fall.

I think it could get blurry between how strong a child's natural interest in something is and then how much that interest is fostered by supportive parents.  We've visited the New Orleans fire departments so often, he had fire fighters visit his third birthday party.  I've taken him to the library countless times to search the New Orleans library system for fire books and submitted many requests to get those sent to our local branch.  And we did drive across the country and let Jack stop at lots of fire stations along the way.

Whether that's the chicken or the egg, I can't be sure, but Jack's interest in fire fighting remains very strong.  He's incredibly knowledgeable from his extensive reading and touring.  And he has plans to be a "regular fireman" (he doesn't want to be the fire chief as they don't fight fires) at a station with a pole.

He had a fun first in Jackson, when Uncle Chris set him up to visit the forestry service fire division.  (Uncle Chris works for the forestry service.)  Jack got to climb aboard the truck, but that wasn't new to him, as most fire fighters are incredibly generous with their time and their vehicles.  But these firefighters let Jack shoot the hose.  Now that was special!

In Louisiana

In New Mexico

In Wyoming

Jack the Reader

Jack continues to love to read.  On a day we've visited the library, he wants nothing more than to be left alone to "read" his bag of books.  (As a literacy specialist, I firmly believe reading is more than reading words; Jack reads pictures and is developing awesome reading strategies and comprehension skills as a result.) He reads daily during his rest time.   We read to him before rest and night time.  And he insists on picking out books to sleep with, which he then reads by the summer daylight that filters in until 8:00.

Wildfires, fire trucks, and firemen are his main interests, but he's also a fan of police and ambulance related stories and most fiction.  He loves Richard Scarry books, Berenstain Bears, and we've read the first three Laura Ingalls Wilder books together.  Jacob is now reading Shiloh to him.  Other good first chapter books he's enjoyed were Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl. He has a book of 100 classic stories and he loves that one as well. He also loves to listen to books on CD, which I check out from the library. His favorites are Arthur (as in the aardvark) stories, but this week he's been listening to Aesop's Fables repeatedly.


Jack the Talker

On the one hand, we love listening to Jack-speak and he keeps us laughing a lot.  On the other hand, this kid can talk non-stop until your eyes glaze over.  He also is a smart little character, so watch out.  Amidst his never-ending banter, he'll reword things and you'll find that in your dazed out state, you just nodded your head or agreed to what you just said was not okay!

He's got generally good manners and does know to say "Excuse Me" when he wants to interrupt, but if you aren't quick enough to divert your attention you'll find yourself the victim of an "excuse-me-excuse-me-excuse-me" chant with a child climbing up your body and speaking right into your ear.  Recently, Jacob, who must have read some article, told Jack we were going to try a new tactic.  When Jack wants to interrupt, he should say "excuse me" one time and put his hand on our arm.  We will then cover his hand to let him know we heard him and then he needs to wait until we turn our attention to him. This has helped some.


Jack the Messy Eater

We've jokingly said that Jack should put a cup under his chin when eating fruit and then he can just finish his meal with some fruit juice, since so much comes out of his mouth when he eats... but he really should.  Jacob and I are both pretty neat, so it can be hard during a meal to be sitting across from a 4.5 year old.  Or maybe it's on us and we need to set higher expectations for this particular 4.5 year old.  We had cherry pie this week and the first night, Jack never picked up his fork, but instead managed to destroy the pie with hands only.  For leftovers, my mom told him he must use his fork.  He did, but then she found him wiping up the leftover filling with his whole hand and licking it off.

In the blueberry bushes...again
Jack the Artist

It's always nice when a Christmas gift is well utilized.  Jack loves his art easel and can spend 30 minutes on the dry erase side.  He draws a scene, puts it on fire, then draws firemen and trucks, and puts out the fire by covering everything with water.  His scenes have evolved into 13 story apartment buildings and multiple engines.  It's an awesome independent activity!!


Jack, my Heart

As I shared, this kid is just sweet.  He wants to be everyone's friend and he finds the joy in life so easily.  He is still a snuggler and my sweet little boy, but he's growing up fast!  Look, no more training wheels!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

My heart and my spirit

I sometimes think of Jack as my heart and Cora as my spirit.  This anecdote perfectly captures why.

On our vacation to Jackson Hole, the full family (minus Claire who couldn't quite handle the kitsch of a touristy attraction in her hometown) went to the Bar-T Ranch for a covered wagon ride into the mountains for dinner and a show.  Chris, Jackson resident for 10 years now, gamely came along.  It was a super friendly affair with the chance to get to know your wagon-mates on the picturesque trek up the mountain trail.

Jack and Cora were both into it.  Jack because he's read Laura Ingalls Wilder books with me and it was a little dip into history for him.  Cora because we were riding behind "horseys."

At the dinner, my little musical baby was clapping in beat to every song and enjoying being with her adoring male fans: her daddy, her Big Papa, and her Uncle "Tis".



For the "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain" number, there was audience participation and all kids were called up.  Jack went up right away and after a few minutes, Cora decided to join.  As soon as she walked up, the youngest by several years, Jack protectively put his hands on her shoulders.  As the emcee gave directions and talked to each volunteer, Jack would lean down and whisper things to Cora.  And he'd periodically kiss her cheek and hug her.  SIGH!!

Cora was paying rapt attention to everything going on as each volunteer got their instructions for the song.  When it came to the childrens' part (rub your tummy), the emcee walked over to the kids and Cora stared wide eyed at him without making any other motion.  He stopped the song to say "This one is just precious!!"  And then he put the mike up to her mouth and what did my little just-turned-two spirited child say?

"Yeehaw!"

Heart and spirit.  The best gifts.



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cora Stories: Age 2

I've felt twinges of guilt after posting about how I've found there are times you can like one child more....even though it's true.  So what's been especially nice about our two weeks of family vacation is how I'm seeing that a change in routine/environment/pace can really reacquaint you with your children.

So here's the first of two posts of what I've gotten to know/see about my kids.

First up: Cora: Age 2


Road Trip Cora


Cora's been a handful lately.  Jacob and I can both attest to this.  Add to that the understandable concerns about a toddler in a carseat for 29 hours of driving and I was a little worried how Cora might do on our big road trip to Wyoming...

Well I was wrong.  As Cora's seatmate, I got to spend a ridiculous amount of quality time with her over four days and it was great!  She had the best seat in the car.  She was in the middle of the second row of our rented Suburban in a front-facing, cushiony carseat.  It was like having a picture window view from a padded armchair.  I was jealous!

She loved her seat and she was way more interested in her surroundings than Jack was.  She was close enough to Big Papa and Grammy in the front seat to interact and she kept up a steady steam of talk with them and me.  She had many snuggly moments when she'd pull my arm across her, wrap her arms around it, and cuddle my hand to her cheek.  :)



Sure she got antsy by the last hour of each day's driving, she had some difficulty falling asleep for naps, and she kept me very busy with lots of requests, but overall we all (me, Big Papa, and Grammy) really enjoyed this time to "hang out" with Cora.

Verbal Cora


From a child that put her first sentence together two months ago, she is talking non-stop now.

She is insistent that you answer her when she talks to you and she just talks louder and repeats what she's saying until you acknowledge her.  (This was also funny in the captive audience arena of the car.)

What she most loves to do is run through checklists.  Every day in the car she'd remind us all of where we were seated.  (And she had me move the one time I thought of sitting in a different spot.)  Amusingly, as we entered a barren stretch of New Mexico, Cora piped up: "Mama wawa?  May-may wawa?  Papa wawa?  Jack wawa?  Me wawa?" Thanks for thinking of our safety Cora.

I've had a lot of opportunity to listen to her talk, so I've figured out she can say all her vowel sounds + "b", "d", "h", "j", "m", "n", "w", and "y" consonant sounds.  She has a big vocabulary but most words need interpretation since she's missing half her consonant sounds.  Think of her saying "Cora" and you get the picture.

She's at the fun age where she constantly is saying things we didn't know she could say/conceptualize.  My favorite Cora-talk story comes from when we were eating dinner at the end of the final day of driving.  Cora had a bagel with peanut butter along with fruit.  She wasn't eating much and announced she was "All done!"  I assumed she was just too tired to eat, so I took her bagel and ate it instead of putting peanut butter on another bagel for myself.  Well Cora reached back later and grabbed her plate and ate some of her fruit.  My dad made a joke about how he was sorry she couldn't have her bagel but I'd eaten it.  A few more minutes passed and Cora asked for a cookie.  My mom said she was sorry, but Cora hadn't eaten much dinner.  Cora then gives everyone at the table a serious look and says "Mama ate my bread."  From a child who just started making sentences, this was hilariously surreal.

Stinker Cora


She still is keeping us on our toes with a few difficult behaviors.  She is very attached to me and often cries when I leave.  (Ask my mom how she cried for me all the way down the mountain...) When I'm around she's always saying "Mama hold!" but it's not enough for me to pull her into my lap.  She says "Stand up mama" or "get up mama."  And she'll say it over and over well past the point I've said no.

The 9-hour drive to catch our return flight from Denver didn't go as smoothly as the drive to Wyoming.  As I tried to nap, Cora squealed (FOR TWENTY SOLID MINUTES) "No mama sleep!"  "Mama wake up!"  "Mama no close eyes!"

And when we were stranded overnight in Denver, she held us all hostage in the hotel with her "Mama hold!" screams.  This child has a STRONG will and she will drive you to the point of near insanity without backing down.

BUT, overall, this special time together has really brought out all that is precious and beautiful about this little girl.  She has so much joy and spirit in such a cute little package.  And she can be so very loving.  It's been fun having all this extra time to hang out with her!