Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dear Diary, 11/29/2012

Dear Diary,

Life is so busy that I hardly have time to write! Thanksgiving, the Auburn game, and Nicholas's birthday have all passed and I still haven't recorded them. The four of us had Thanksgiving here together. It was a beautiful day. I took the kids to the playground in the morning, and we had our dinner after their naps. On Friday, my parents, and Nicholas's brother and his friend came in for the Alabama/Auburn game the next day. We had dinner all together Friday night, breakfast at our neighbors' on Saturday morning, and then the boys headed to the game. My mom watched the kids while my dad and I went, too! Everyone except my mom left Sunday. She stayed a few extra days to visit and help me. I was able to get some shopping in, and Nicholas and I were able to celebrate his birthday sans kids, which was great! Thanks, Mom!

In other news, Olivia says hilarious things daily that get forgotten instead of written down. Leo continues to grow up too fast--he is standing on his own now and climbing up the only two stairs in our house! But, it is 10:53 at night, I'm tired, Leo will need me soon, and I'm not even sure where to begin. So, I'll post some pictures and be done with it for now. I promise (sort of!) that I will do better in the next moments of life.

Shopping for last minute things the day before Thanksgiving.


Helping with the pie crust.


The long-awaited turkey! It took a lot longer to cook this 11-pounder than I expected because I stuffed it, and that was my first experience stuffing a bird.


Sitting down to dinner at the not-much-used dining room table.


The view from the seats Dad and I sat in.




Olivia helping with ornaments. She LOVES the tree! We added a ribbon today that she chose from Hobby Lobby, and I think the tree is complete! More pictures soon!


Leo surprising me by climbing the stairs and sticking his fingers in the frosted cupcakes yesterday for Nicholas's birthday. What a mess!


Olivia being silly with her Leo.


Daddy and Olivia playing a game of Uno. So fun!


Leo has gotten over his fear of the big bathtub, so we are giving the kids baths together now, which is great since one of us can give the bath while the other cleans up dinner stuff. Olivia and Leo have a great time, too! Tonight, Olivia said, "I had a good time in the bath with my Leo!"


I had to take Leo to the doctor on Monday because he had been breaking out in hives every four to six hours since Friday afternoon when everyone came into town. It was strange. I am starting to think that it was not food related and not due to the cold that he has, which is what the doctor suspected but didn't really know. I am wondering if it is what one pediatric website suggested: stress. After all our company left, Leo's hives stopped. If they come back in a few weeks after eating more pumpkin cheesecake, I'll eat my words! Like Leo did today at the playground with a pebble. Yes, my son has a pebble in his body right now. After a call to the doctor, we've decided just to watch him. This, too, shall pass! Here he is eating black beans, just because he is adorable!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My birthday, a conference, potty training, and more!

My birthday was two Fridays ago now, and to celebrate, (in addition to the Friday celebration of take-out and cake at home--a party not up to Olivia's standards--she wanted to go to the Barnyard like we did for our friend Colton's party) the kids and I tailgated on campus for the Texas A&M game in the morning and then I got a babysitter to watch the kids and Nicholas and I went to the game in the afternoon. In the morning, we did the bouncy houses, strolled around campus--Olivia thought the president's mansion looked like a princess castle, and went to the Natural History Museum on campus. Olivia loved it!



And even though we lost--what a shock!--it was nice to go to the game with Nicholas and feel like Christine and Nicholas instead of Mommy and Daddy for a little while...even if we had to leave early because our babysitter had evening plans!



On Sunday, Olivia and I decided to start potty training. I had been telling her that we were going to give up diapers at Thanksgiving, but all that talk made her ready to do it. So, she shed her diaper and donned the softest panties I could find--Gerber training pants. We had bought Minnie, Dora, and Hello Kitty panties in turn in weeks and months past only for her to say she hated them. She also hated the Dora pull-ups I bought her. But, she had been keeping her diaper dry all day sometimes and asking to use the potty. When she was okay with those soft panties, I went for it. Three M&Ms or Skittles, plus a sticker on her potty chart per success, and we were in business! She had one accident on Sunday and that's it for the week! (I put her diaper back on for naps and bedtime. We'll cross that bridge later.) Hooray, Olivia! I, of course, could not get any good pictures of her, so here she is diving into the couch, panties up!



On Monday of last week, Nicholas left for a conference in NC for four days. This coincided with me getting fed up with Leo's horrible sleep. So, I decided I had to do Ferber and fix his sleep. Nightmare city. Three nights of no sleep for either of us. Luckily, my mom made time to come down and help me Tuesday evening, Wednesday, and Thursday morning. It was great to have her support through the worst of it. Nicholas came back late, late Thursday night, and Leo slept for five consecutive hours that night--a first for his life!! Friday night was good, too. Saturday was bad. Tonight so far has been bad. Two steps forward, one step back, but we are getting there. These are some pictures of us heading to the playground with Mom on Wednesday. Olivia was riding her horse, Blaze!



Monday, November 12, 2012

Leo's nine-month well visit

I can hardly believe that Leo is nine months old now! He is growing up way too fast for me. He is crawling everywhere, cruising on furniture, climbing up stairs, pulling up to standing on everything, and even standing on his own for seconds at a time. I am really hoping that he doesn't start walking soon, but I think that might be wishful.

He had his nine-month well-visit on Wednesday, and he is a healthy boy! He weighed 21 lbs 7 ounces and is 29.25 inches long. That is 75th and 90th percentiles, respectively. Dr. Roberts said it is time to start switching to table food. We have already been doing that, but I'll do it a bit more aggressively now. Here is a silly picture of Leo with some corn-on-the cob. Leo tried brussel sprouts tonight and loved them. (Olivia, he, and I finished a quart of them by ourselves!) Leo is taking a bottle a little now, if he can hold it himself. He is good with a cup, too, so I am going to start phasing out the bottle. He only uses the bottle for breast milk, and the cup for everything else. I sincerely believe that he is good at a cup because he wants to be like Olivia. He is always trying to take her's.



Leo's sleep continues to be a disaster. Tonight, I am doing a shock and awe campaign. I decided today that I couldn't take it anymore. He wakes every 45 minutes throughout the night and naps. No, I am not exaggerating. Ask Nicholas. Since he bit me so hard on Friday that I bleed every time I nurse, and since it is extraordinarily painful to do so, I have given myself permission to wean him. I am not sure I am going to, but starting today, I just pumped. Once I heal, I'll decide what to do. But, my body is not a good pumper because I don't completely drain with the pump. My brain needs my baby. So, I might accidentally wean him if I wait too long. In any case, this evening, I've decided no more baby in my bed. So far, it's been rough. Leo has already thrown up in protest. Literally. Ugh. This, too, shall pass.

I know the last paragraph seems negative, but I want to finish with what a wonderful and happy baby Leo is when he is awake. He talks a lot. He says Mama and Dada and lots of gaga, dadadada, mamamamamama, bababababa, googoogooo. He laughs easily, loves to snuggle when he is tired, and loves to explore when he is not. I hate that he is growing up so fast!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

With the grandmas!

While I was helping Stephanie at the hospital, the kids spent a lot of time with Nicholas's mom (Mutti) and my mom (Grandma Dorothy). I never get good documentation of this because I am not there and I don't think about it when I am. But, I know the kids had a great time with the grandmas, because that is all Olivia could talk about for days after we left!

With Mutti



With Grandma Dorothy



Olivia got to play with Craig and Abby one day, too, and I wished I had gotten picture of that because Olivia thinks she is just as grown-up as they are. I don't have to watch them constantly anymore. Olivia just goes with the flow. They came down the stairs with crowns/hats, jewelry, and swords singing, "We are ancient warriors!" It was super cute! I put Leo down for a nap in Luke's bed, and when he cried, Abby and Olivia came running in the room. Olivia said to Abby, "Don't worry. Mommy's got him." Later we went to pet goats and check out the chickens. Then we had lunch at Mom and Dad's.

It was really nice to get a visit with my younger sister Heidi and her husband Alex, too. One afternoon, we cooked/prepped several meals for Steph's freezer so that she would have something for the days when she is too tired/busy to cook. I appreciate that they helped with that and didn't just think I was bossy!

Cousin Luke

Nicholas, Olivia, Leo and I drove north on November 1st so that I could be at the birth of my sister Stephanie's third baby the next day. I was SO happy to get to be there--to be able to see all the excitement from all the family and friends who gathered that beautiful morning, waiting to hear if there would be a new boy or girl. Stephanie went into surgery around 7:30 AM and by a little after eight, Luke Andrew Bratcher had taken his first breath. When Steph saw him, she said something along the lines of, "He's a fatty!" And that was totally appropriate given that he came eight days early and weighed a whopping 9 lbs 4 ounces!

Here is a picture of Brandon bringing Luke out for the first time. Brandon kind of choked up when he tried to announce that it was a boy. Big brother Craig (9) and big sister Abby (6) were super excited!



Steph says that Luke is a really good baby. As of yesterday, he had gained back to his birth weight, is a great nurser, hardly cries, and is a good sleeper (3-4 hours at night)! And, he's cute, too!



Craig and Abby are really taken with him, and I know are going to be fantastic elder siblings! I love all those kids! And their parents!



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trick or Treat!

<p>We had three Halloween events this week that required costumes. We did Sorority row Trick-or-Treating for the first time on Monday. We started with several other moms and their kids, and the picture is cute, I think. It was chilly and windy, so even though Olivia got tons of candy, Leo had a bit less of a good time. There were so many people there that it was hard to stay with the other moms we started with. But the sorority girls were super friendly and very generous with candy and compliments, so I'll bet we do it again next year.

Wednesday, Olivia and Leo's school had a fall festival. They had bouncy house, face painting, crafts, games, and snacks. Then Olivia's class had a party in their room. I went to that, and Olivia was super excited to see me. She gave me a hug, and then three other little girls did, too. Olivia peeled the last one off of me to give me another hug. It was fun to see her little friends, put names with faces, and see their interaction with their teacher, Miss Erin, who they love.

Next up was real trick or treating in our neighborhood. Olivia and Leo alternated riding in the wagon, although they both could have. Olivia was a little more shy and hesitant than I expected given that she already trick or treated on Sorority Row. The difference was that she is a little scared of men. But, she went to the door with Nicholas or me at houses she knew and filled her bucket again. Leo again had less of a good time, but hung in there. He started out liking the wagon ride, but then wanted to be carried. Olivia liked helping give out candy once we got home, too. Oh, and she loved eating the candy, of course! Altogether a great Halloween!