Sunday, November 09, 2014

Towa!

On the occasion of her 2 year - 5 month birthday, it's time for a little Cora update.

21 weeks pregnant with 2 sweeties
I would imagine every mother feels this big mix of pride and awe in her children. To watch them grow and become such interesting, intelligent, unique little beings is very cool - a lot of times fun and sometimes just plain sucky.

Jacob and I constantly comment on Cora.  Things like "She's something else" or our favorite "She's your daughter" (aka "This is all your fault.)

We were playing around with astrological signs when we found out we were having a new baby and we looked up Jack's and Cora's signs.  Cora is a Gemini and her zodiac symbol is "the twins."  Yeah, that about sums her up - two personalities in one!

We can be at our wit's end with her one moment and then so enamored with her charm and sweetness the next.  It's a bit of a roller coaster but it keeps life very interesting and I couldn't love a little girl more!


I mean these two pictures were obviously taken less than a minute apart!!

 

Why Cora is so sweet

- The way she talks!  Her vocabulary is extensive with lots of big words, but she continues to be missing many consonants so everything she says sounds cute!  And she's so expressive, which just adds to the show.  With Halloween recently passing and many houses in our neighborhood decorated, we constantly hear about how things are "Toe Tary!" with clinched fists and a big grimace.  She also continues to say "My" rather than "I" most of the time: "My like peanut butter Mommy; do you like peanut butter?  Oh my LOVE i-keem; do you love i-keem Mommy?"  And when she's been told something and she wants to make sure you know she's planning on listening; she emphasizes "WILL or WILL NOT" as in "I WILL NOT run, Mommy" with hands pressing downward in emphasis or a finger wagging.
The way she commands life - After a few walks where she'd screech "Toe Tary!" when we'd pass spiders or witches on porches, she came up with a way to repel the fear.  Now she roars at anything that scares her.  It's her way of dealing with fear and I love that she came up with it on her own!  She's also not shy to tell you what she wants, when, and how.  If I ask her to go get something, she makes sure I know my instructions too.  "You stay RIGHT here Mommy; DON'T move!  I'll be RIGHT BACK!"  Which leads me to...
- The way she moves - anytime Cora's on a mission, it's a sashaying one.  She definitely is a toddler as she toddles wherever she goes.  She's also one for big movements.  She'll throw herself in your arms for a hug or launch herself up at you when she sees you coming through the door.
- Her helper instinct - The child spends a good portion of each day perched on the counter top "to help."  She sits up there as I get lunches packed and breakfast made and she'd rather sit up and watch Jacob or I make dinner than play.
- Her joy in playing - With her being in school until 1:00 and then taking a long afternoon nap, she doesn't get as much time at home to play.  When she does have time to play in the dollhouse (our child sized room under the eaves of our house), you could not find a happier child.  She likes to fix meals of pretend foods and then call us:  "Tum see Mommy, tum see what I made!"
Look at me on the BIG GIRL swing!
- The upside to her Mommy attachment - It's awesome to get so much love.  I love having her little body all collapsed into mine for a big hug.  I love how she lays her head on my shoulder.  I love her kisses.  But...

Why Cora is such a rascal

- The downside to her Mommy attachment: I have no desire to do EVERYTHING for Cora.  And that's the way she'd like it currently.  It's equally frustrating to me and Jacob to have to listen to her whine and complain if Mommy's not the one putting her in her high chair, getting her out of the car, putting on her shoes, reading her a story, etc!
- The whining; the crying: There are no shortage of tears from this child.  We've had our windows open over the last month and our neighbors must think we spend the day beating the poor child.  She cries when we don't carry her up the stairs; she SCREAMS throughout her bath, especially if we have to in any way touch her hair; she screams some more when it's time to comb her hair; she cries and cries and cries about half the time when it's bedtime because "I don't WANT to go night-night!" 
- The sibling drama:  There's no denying that any toy Jack wants, Cora also must have and probably has already snatched.  She's also been known to knock Jack over the head for reasons that only she knows.  Now he's not entirely innocent as he also enjoys watching the Cora show when he does things to get under her skin.  But she's two and definitely the aggressor most of the time!
A double time-out: two at fault this time!
- The need to be disagreeable: I try to be extra patient at school pick-up because I know she's overdue for her nap, BUT it's amazing how quickly a disagreeable child can wear down your patience.  First she doesn't want to leave school, then she doesn't want to hold my hand in the parking lot; then she's having to be pulled reluctantly because I've insisted she hold my hand.  Then she doesn't want to go get her brother.  Then she doesn't like the level of independence I allow her in buckling her carseat.  Then she wants whatever Jack has...   Once home, she announces in no uncertain terms that she doesn't want her diaper changed or to go night-night.  They don't sell patience in such large quantities!
- The borderline cute rascally-ness: This is the "In a MINUTE, Mommy" which is what she loves to tell us when we ask her to come get ready/come eat/etc.  This is also the cute little coy face that walks in the room when we're about half a second from yelling "THREE!" after the "Cora, if you do not come and get dressed by the time I count to three..."

Other Updates

- Potty training: what was going great in June, fell apart in the late summer as Cora became very anti-potty.  We dialed our efforts down, but still kept up a before school focus on going to the potty.  She's no longer disagreeable to pottying and is very proud of her successes.  We're planning a big push over Thanksgiving.  If she's ready, great; if not, we're in an okay place now, saving a few diapers a day.

- Nursing update: I go back and forth between wanting to be very open about still nursing a 2 year old and then giving in to the notion that it's easier not to broadcast since I know this is a novel concept to many.  Breastfeeding an older child has been a rewarding experience at our house.  As a La Leche League leader, I'm well educated on the fact that the benefits of breastmilk and breastfeeding never diminish so there's that knowledge in the back of my mind.  But mainly I'm just after a natural and peaceful conclusion to a part of my mothering I've known from the first day my children were born.  Jack weaned gradually between 18-23 months.  Cora was resistant to weaning in that timeframe, but I did set some limits in those months.  By the time she was 2, it wasn't hard for her to transition to a once a day nursing session.  Those after-school moments I spoke of above?  Being able to pull her into my lap and have her calm down immediately (and usually fall fast asleep) while nursing has been such a blessing for both of us.  As my belly has grown and knowing that Cora has a strong Mommy attachment, I do want her weaned several months before the baby comes to help separate these two transitions.  This past week we made the big step toward ultimate weaning and she's been nursing only every other day.  Knowing that the end of our nursing relationship is now just a few weeks away if that, I'm sure I'll feel a little sadness but mainly I'm happy to know that we shared this long bonding and nurturing experience.

Photo Updates




Wednesday, November 05, 2014

It's a ....

Indulge me for a second.

What were we hoping for you might wonder? Well, we happen to know firsthand that boys are pretty amazing:




as are little girls:



You might think girls are the more snuggly and loving gender, but I get amazing snuggles and acts of love and sweetness from both of these two:

My bedmate early this morning
A small sampling of the "loving cards" Jack has made me in recent weeks
So we were not hoping for one or the other.  We were just so curious to know who this new member of our family is.  Jack got to stay home from school today and come with us.  I got to introduce him to The Price is Right during our waiting room time and then he managed to sit (not entirely quietly) during our 20-week anatomy ultrasound scan.

And we saw this sweet little face:



A clear shot of his genitalia left no guessing.  IT'S A BOY!  Another sweet little Landry boy.  He was a "model fetal scan" and gave good looks at a full body of healthy parts. We are richly, richly blessed.

Monday, October 27, 2014

19 weeks pregnant

Sporting fall duds for those "brisk" mornings
First off, I love this time of year.  A subtle change in temperature makes life in New Orleans really pleasant!  (Currently we are mid 60s - low 80s each day with some upper 50s/upper 70s popping in now and then.)  And then there are the holidays!

I love celebrating life with my children.  Anticipation of holidays is an easy way to do this.  This year we have been looking forward to five Halloween events.  First, a family night at Boo at the Zoo, tickets complimentary thanks to my writing for the New Orleans Moms Blog.  Then, the annual Fall Festival at our church, which is just a great afternoon of family fun, bounce houses, and a chili cook-off.  Those events were this past weekend.

Doesn't he look like the sweetest police officer ever?

"I-keem Cone"

4 1/2 Landrys
Next weekend, we have Halloween festivities at school on Friday.  The kids just get to wear a special hat, but it doesn't take much to make a child excited.  Cora and I are making pumpkin cookies for her class and I know Jack's class will be doing the hands-on grapes/noodles/etc. Halloween food experience.  Halloween night will be spent at Jack & Cora's friend Weeks' combined birthday party and trick or treating party.  Then we'll end the weekend with the Irish Channel Halloween Festival, complete with more bounce houses, costumes, and food.

In pregnancy news...

19 weeks with two sweeties
We are nearing the big gender reveal and I'm so excited!  This pregnancy as a BABY and CHILD has been hard for me to firmly grasp, so I can't wait to actually see the little baby at our 20 week ultrasound and then know if this is a Baby Girl Landry or a Baby Boy Landry.  I was so convinced at first that it is a girl but I'm less sure now.  I'm not sure if that's just an unwillingness to blindly trust intuition or if my intuition is changing.  TBD...

The nausea is almost entirely gone.  I have some moments still of regretting eating, but for the most part I'm feeling better about food.  My two current challenges: constantly feeling like I need a nap and assorted pains.

Falling asleep at 8:30 on a day I took a nap, staying in bed until 6:30 the next morning and then needing another nap that day = problem!  It's hard to get much done when you are sleeping most of the time your kids are sleeping.

And the assorted pains vary.  For the past few days it felt like my hip was out of joint and so I was hobbling around not due to pregnancy but due to hip/back pain on the right side.  I have other pains that come and go.  It just makes me feel kind of old!

More revealing 19 week shot
As for baby movements, this definitely continues to be its own UNIQUE pregnancy.  Once I felt movement in my other pregnancies, I remember being able to feel the baby at least some every day thereafter.  This time, I've been trying so hard to feel the baby since around 17 weeks.  This has left me thinking I'd feel a little kick but never being sure.  I'm finally to the point where I feel confident I've felt the baby move, but it's very occasional and not even every day.  I know this could be due to placenta placement, but it's another reason why I can't wait to see this baby on the ultrasound!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Really Nice Day

10/19/14: 18 weeks pregnant

Quick pregnancy update: Still waiting to feel 100%, had some good days offset by bad days this weekI'm pretty sick of feeling sick!  Heard baby's heartbeat and had a good check-up this week.  I've felt the baby kick a few times, but it's been different (less frequent) than in past pregnancies where I had a definite feeling followed by increased feelings of movement over the subsequent days.  Anatomy ultrasound scheduled for early November.

An Apple Pie Day

Thanks to a visit to the Jefferson Parish Library Book Sale and a gift box from my mom, we did a lot of fall-themed reading this week.  The biggest hits were: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (with sound effects), Ladybug Girl and the Dress-up Dilemma, and the modern Amelia Bedelia tale, Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie.

 
So we decided to bake an apple pie.  Jack and I made a trip to Whole Foods on Friday and got our needed ingredients, i.e. lots of apples.

For the first weekend in a while, we had NOTHING planned all morning on Saturday, so it was the perfect day for a serious baking project.  We had the doors open and lovely 75 degree fall weather flowing through the house.

I have two equally interested helpers, so we have long since instituted a rule of alternating turns on the step stool.  Jack chopped up butter to chill.  Cora dumped in dry ingredients.  Repeat with occasional arguing.



One step not written into the recipe but which I felt the need to add: "Make husband take children outside occasionally to play during baking process."


We had 11 apples to prep.  Look how big kid my helpers were!


I decided the apples were a good opportunity to explain odd vs. even and to practice counting.  I won't say they got the concept, but they were a rapt audience.  We enlisted Daddy to peel the apples bc that's the kind of job for a Daddy. 


I thought our chickens were going to have a ton of apple peels to eat.  I was wrong.  Jack and Cora (okay, plus Mommy) ate every single Gala Apple peel - delicious!  Talk about a nutrient rich snack!



It never fails to amaze me how long projects like this can last!  Finish the dough and let it chill for 30 minutes...wait at least 30 minutes for apples to cool...after baking, let pie cool for 3 hours before slicing.  Definitely a project to start in the morning!

Once the pie was baked, we decided on an ambitious afternoon plan of taking the streetcar down to the Blues & BBQ Festival.  What an adventure for Jack and Cora.  The streetcar was PACKED both there and back but the windows were open, so there was a nice breeze, and it was a great cultural experience intermingling with all types of people and getting to ride downtown amidst the big buildings and city sights.

Finally home and bathed, the kids got to try their apple pie.  We all thought it was good though Cora ended up not eating hers.  But that could have been a fluke.  We'll try it again on her tonight.


All in all a really nice day!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

What's going really well

10/12/2014: 17 weeks pregnant

There are definitely some things not going perfectly over here.  Momma's pretty tired still, our master bedroom has been in a redecorate pause for two months, and we are still learning to parent certain aspects of our children's behavior :)

Fall wear on our one day of fall weather
But there are a lot of things that ARE going well at the moment and I want to celebrate!

Breakfast
We've moved away from me making a daily pot of oatmeal and have upped our nutrition factor and achieved some time savings with a weekly pot of some sort of grain.  I've made oat pearls (thicker and less refined even than steel cut oats), barley, bulghur wheat, and steel cut oats.  I just get a large pot out on Sunday or Monday and make about 8 servings of whatever grain I've bought that week.  This then just means scooping out what we want in the morning and reheating with some milk on the stove.  I'm the one craving a very hearty, wholesome breakfast, but the kids are quite game.  I actually sweeten mine with maple syrup, but not theirs.  We all have some mix of chosen toppings: bananas, raisins, Craisins, walnuts, yogurt, etc.  When they cry out for cereal instead, I just sprinkle some on top.

Morning Drop-off
We're in a rhythm and we don't tend to run late.  When I can, I like to take the kids because it's fun to watch them both settle into their side-by-side playgrounds at school.  Cora continues to love school and is always Miss Confident as she waves good-bye.  It's interesting to watch Jack interact with his friends and really heartwarming when he runs back to give me a hug and the baby bump a kiss.

Afternoon Rest
This is the biggest improvement and it all came from my pregnant need to eat before noon.  In the past, I've worked till 1:00, picked them up, and then started a 45 minute process of moving from pure chaos (over-tired children just returning to their home) through getting both of their hands washed, sand out of shoes, potty needs taken care of, stories read, last minute "needs" addressed and both of them in bed.  In a word, it's exhausting.  And it was NOT working for a hungry, pregnant, tired mother.  So now I either bring lunch to work or come home and eat lunch/finish work before I pick up Jack and Cora.  Then I'm not rushing toward lunch and instead see the post school time as a chance to spend quality time with both kids. What's also helped is that Jack is now independent enough that he's using the time I'm with Cora to play on his own.  So I don't feel like he's waiting on me.  I take my time with Cora and then I take my time with him.  He and I are finishing up the fourth Laura Ingalls Wilder book now and working on a little project for Daddy, to be shared soon.

Cora Special Time
Since Cora naps right after school, I'm not getting as much time with her as I do with Jack (who only rests for about 30-45 minutes.)  So when she wakes up, I try to make sure Jack is otherwise occupied and I go get her and some books and we snuggle in my bed and read as she wakes up.  She's just getting to an age where she'll sit through most stories and so we're leaving the very-simple-board-book world and starting to read more interesting things together.  She's sleepy still and cuddly so it's a great way to ease her into the awake world without enduring post-nap grumpiness.

Dinner time and bed time are generally "less smooth" but life can't be perfect right!

No caption needed

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Second Trimester Musings

10/4/2014 - 16 weeks pregnant

On the 2nd trimester and cravings...
 
"The second trimester is when most women feel their best..."  Still waiting over here!  There was a definite improvement around 14 weeks, but I still feel nauseated pretty much from post-lunch till I go to bed.  I just want to crave food and be able to really enjoy it again!

Now what I do crave are liquids.  Not water.  I can drink water until midday, but after the nausea hits, I can only handle sips.  But I crave the following: Izzes (carbonated fruit juice), sweet tea (I limit myself to half sweet tea and half water once or twice a week), and orange juice (but only in the morning when I drink a good 16-20 oz.)  We just returned from Costco, which has rescued me during this budget-conscious time by selling 12 packs of Izzes for a fraction of what they cost anywhere else.

Thankfully the rest of my diet is very healthy; I feel sure all my pregnancy weight is coming directly from calories found in the cup!

I also crave naps.  I did a bit better this week with only three naps.  Up to now, I've been taking five.  I work in the morning, pick up the kids at 1:00, get them napping (Cora) and read-to/resting (Jack) and then I pass out on my bed until Jack wakes me up 30-60 minutes later.  He is increasingly independent, so sometimes he entertains himself beyond his mandated 30 minute quiet period and he is usually pretty patient with me as I revive from my passed out state.

On maternity wear...

I have created all kinds of random rules about maternity wear.

#1 - I wouldn't let myself unpack any maternity clothes until 12 weeks.  I figured if I wasn't telling folks, I shouldn't be looking pregnant.  I made do with flowy shirts and the elastic-band-to-expand-your-pants trick.

#2 - For the next two weeks, I'd opened the maternity box, but felt weird letting myself put on true maternity shirts.  Even though I felt I could easily wear them based on my expanding belly, I felt like it was too early to pack all my normal clothes away.  This was the two weeks of my normal bottoms + a belly band.  Cora soon took to calling the nifty belly bands my "baby covers."  Over the course of the two weeks my pants got to the point of not zipping up even an inch.

#3 - At 14 weeks, I reorganized my closet, putting away most of my normal clothes and unpacking the maternity clothes.  Thanks to donations from my sister, a friend, and two prior pregnancies, I have an impressive collection.  But there are always buts.  The bottoms were all still too big at the moment and I still felt embarrassed at donning full-fledged maternity clothes and then having to answer the "How far along are you?" question with "Oh, I'm 14 weeks."  So I held on about one more week with my normal bottoms and belly bands.  But this past week, I've crossed over and look way more pregnant than I am, but sure feel comfortable!

#4 - I decided to treat myself to a maternity Stitch Fix.  If you are a woman and haven't tried Stitch Fix, you need to.  I'm trying to be nice to myself lately and a Stitch Fix box is just like a gift to yourself.  I updated my online style profile and scheduled a box to arrive right around the time I knew I'd be showing.  Stitch Fix has evolved to feature some maternity lines, but they also send some of their normal styles that would be flattering on both a pregnant or non-pregnant woman.  I received two maternity dresses and three non-maternity items.  I ended up keeping two of the non-maternity items, but expect to be able to wear both throughout my pregnancy.  If you haven't checked out Stitch Fix, do it!

Stitch Fix top - 15 weeks pregnant

I loved everything about this shirt!

Aren't they cute?

New Stitch Fix blazer: baby, what baby?

Oh that baby!  16 weeks pregnant
On sewing...

Because obviously this moment in my life is the right one to ponder a new hobby... I've gotten really interested in sewing recently.  I do not sew.  In fact, I've been known to leave anything that needs mending (even pants with buttons that have fallen off) in a pile until my mom's next visit.  But I'm so inspired by my friend Jessica's sewing projects, both for herself and her kids.  I'd really like to learn soon so I can try my hand at what seems to be a pretty useful hobby while my kids are young.  I aspire to be crafty, but I never learned any handiwork skills.  I'm put off a bit by the fact that you'd probably need a sewing machine even to get started, but still, I'm feeling very inspired over here.

My one sewing project was actually a recent one when all parents in Jack's class were asked to sew clothes for a doll that would be a "wee" version of their own child and used in stories and puppet shows this year.  I pulled out a travel sewing kit and completely winged it.  At least I had good taste in the fabrics!
Jack's "Wee One"
In other news, there continues to be a lot of CRAZY behavior offset by CUTENESS over here!

Cora (still nowhere near potty-trained) now earns pictures when she goes potty!

Fall Soccer


I will never get over them holding hands :)

Miss "I LOVE school!"


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.