Thursday, March 24, 2011

In the jungle with John and Lila

Lila's very favorite toy is her Fisher-Price jungle activity mat. She would play in her "jungle" for an hour if I'd let her! Sometimes John likes to play alongside her, as you can see in these priceless photos.....

You can tell how much they look alike when they're right next to each other! They are definitely brother and sister.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pics from our visit with Grandpa, Grandma and Uncle David!

We had so much fun this past weekend when Grandpa Harry, Grandma Robin, and Uncle David came for a visit (Uncle Mike couldn't come because his spring break was the previous week). They hadn't met Lila yet at all, and Grandma Robin and Uncle David hadn't seen John since he was 8 months old!

John was OBSESSED with his Uncle David ("Uncle Dabin"), who's 17. He wanted David to carry him around most of the time! It was so cute. David is going to be a really good dad someday because he is so sweet with kids and is super-duper patient.

We miss everyone already and look forward to seeing them again soon......hopefully at the end of April or beginning of May when we're on our drive up to Bismarck!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

26 months for John

John is now 26 months old!

The past month was pretty rough for John, since he was sick for nearly two weeks straight. He caught a virus mid-February and just when he was starting to recover from that, he got an ear infection in his left ear. I tried to keep him home as much as I could while he was sick so he wouldn't get other people sick, so it was a very long and trying month for Mommy too. Fortunately, the doctor said John is no longer contagious, so he gave us the go-ahead to resume our normal activities. John is still taking amoxicillin twice a day -- he thinks it's a big treat.

When John was sick with the virus, he had a really high fever and was extremely lethargic. He didn't want to eat or drink much of anything. When the Tylenol would kick in, he'd have brief spurts of energy, but he mainly just wanted to lie on the couch and read stories. A bunch of his toys and stuffed animals kept him company -- his Hund and Schaf, his Curious George monkey, his car transporter and his Daddy doll are pictured with him below.

Being sick for so long really messed up his daily schedule for a while. He was waking up way too early in the morning (before 6), which meant he needed a nap around 11 or 11:30. However, since he wasn't sleeping longer than an hour and a half for his nap, I had to put him to bed much, much earlier than normal. One evening when John had a complete meltdown over a hotdog, I put him to bed at 6. (I'm pretty sure that I benefited just as much as John did from the super early bedtime that evening.) I am now slowly trying to get him back to where he was before with a naptime at 12:15 and bedtime at 7:15. As soon as I accomplish that, the end of Daylight Savings Time will mess it all up again!

German update! The Muzzy German program came in the mail in the middle of those two weeks that John was sick, thank goodness, since that gave us something to do at the house. We began watching the first few episodes together right away. I was AMAZED at how quickly he started picking up new words. The day after we started, I went in his room to get him out of his crib and he said, "Guten Morgen!" (Good morning). Haha! He doesn't even say "Good morning" in English! Other words he likes to say are lecker (delicious), hungrig (hungry), heiss (hot), gross (big) and klein (little).

We usually watch an episode or two every morning before we head to the gym (or school/church, depending on the day). There are six 10-minute episodes altogether in Level I, which is the only level we ordered in the free 30-day trial. Sometimes we'll watch one in the afternoon if we are waiting for Lila to wake up from her second nap and we've already exhausted all the other inside activities available to us. John gets very excited when it's time to watch Muzzy and always wants to hold his Muzzy stuffed doll.

In the car, we listen to the Muzzy CD with all the songs from the episodes. He asks to listen to it over and over again! I have every song completely memorized already, haha. At night, John usually wants to read the Muzzy book. There are also several interactive CD-ROMs with language games and exercises, but I haven't looked at them yet to see if they are worthwhile. Overall, I am pleasantly surprised by how much John likes the program so far and am thinking we will keep it. I do want to order some more German language materials, though - more books and music CDs, for sure.

Potty training update I ordered John a Baby Bjorn potty in mid-February. He was really excited to take it out of the box and immediately wanted to put it in the basement bathroom and sit on it. The day after it came in the mail, he went potty on it for the first time (February 17th)! I had been changing his diaper in the family room and I asked him if he needed to use the potty. He said he had to poop, so I took him downstairs and sat him down. He didn't poop, but he did pee - twice! He was so shocked when it happened that he started laughing! Was I ever a proud Mama :)

Right after that is when John started getting sick for the second time with the bacterial infection, so we kind of forgot about practicing on the potty. I did end up moving the potty up to the hallway bathroom on the ground floor so it would be easier to access. I have also started asking John if he needs to use the potty before I put him in the bathtub at night -- he has gone pee on the "big boy" toilet several times. I think I'll start asking him if he needs to use the potty every time I change his diaper just to get into a routine (assuming Lila is o.k. being put down for that long).

Swim lessons! There is a huge indoor pool at the gym I go to, Lifetime Fitness, and John always asks to go swimming when we pass through the lobby on the way to the child care center. I figured he would enjoy taking swim "lessons" (as much as you can call them "lessons" at this age), so I signed him up for the half-hour 2-3-year old class, affectionately called "Splash 201."

He had his first lesson last Saturday. The instructor, Miss Rachel, had all the parents come in the pool with their children to help them feel at ease in the water. John looked very cute in his new swim trunks. The lessons started with Miss Rachel having the kids sit on a little bench on the side of the pool and practice kicking their legs in the water. John was more interested in the toy bucket he found than in kicking. Then, when it was time to get on his tummy while holding onto this floating bar thing, John started giggling and acting silly, haha. I think he thought it was genuinely funny! His favorite part of the entire lesson was getting to play with this plastic squirting crab toy.

I will try to take some photos of John in his new swim trunks at our next lesson. He looks so grown up!

Here are a few photos from the end of February.....not very many, though, since he wasn't feeling well and had dark circles under his eyes most of the time.

Playing "Puss in Boots" in the laundry room:

Building with his blocks in the basement:

Raiding the hall closet (wearing Daddy's coat and Grandma's headband and scarf):

And here is a video of John "fixing" his bike. This is still one of his favorite activities!

Fixing his bike from Sarah Schuchard on Vimeo.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lila in her nursery

Slowly but surely, Lila's nursery is coming together. Grandma and I hung her letters a few weeks ago, along with a lovely embroidered baby announcement that Ross' Aunt Gerry made and framed for her (she made one for John, too, when he was born). The walls are still pretty bare, but I figure it doesn't make much sense at this point to hang anything else, since we'll be moving out in June.

I really love the crib we got for Lila (thanks, Steph, for putting it together when you were here in August!). It's actually the same brand as John's, Million Dollar Baby, but it has a much lower profile than John's. It's been wonderful not to have to bend down so far to lay her down. The toddler bed conversion rail came with the crib, too (we had to order John's separately).

My inspiration for the nursery was this really colorful blanket I bought for Lila at Babies R Us back in July. I wanted the bedding to have a lot of greens, yellows and pinks, with a little bit of blue, and I found a good match in a Pottery Barn quilt with flowers and chicks. It is very sweet. I didn't buy the whole bedding set because Lila's crib is too low to the ground for a bedskirt and bumpers make me nervous.

My mom's neighbors gave us the white furniture (two nightstands, a mirror, a long dresser and a tall dresser), and I love it. Originally, the furniture was this strange yellow color, but my mom took off all the hardware and spray-painted it to match the crib. The furniture will definitely grow with Lila. I wish we could take the chair and ottoman with us, too, but they are my mom's. It is so comfortable to nurse in!

So, just how cute is the outfit Lila is wearing?! I am obsessed with polka dots for her. And not just for her clothing -- her crib sheets are polka-dotted, as are the chicks and the trim on her quilt.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Four months for Lila

Our little Lila-Pie turned four months old on February 26th! The month of February was a very eventful month for everyone. Luckily, we've finally overcome a lot of the sleeping and scheduling hurdles from the previous months and are on the right track now. We should really be in a good rhythm by the time Daddy gets here in mid-April for his leave -- and then everything will change, haha!

Physical facts:

Weight/height: At her 4-month well-baby visit on February 28th, Lila weighed 13 pounds 14 ounces and measured 25 inches long. That means she gained approximately 1.5 pounds since her 3-month appointment and grew nearly two inches! Impressive, no? I know John weighed 14 pounds 1 ounce at his 4-month visit, but I don't remember how long he was, and his baby book is packed away so I can't check.

Size: Lila is now completely into the 3-6 month and 6-month size of clothing. I think I may have to get her a few more outfits and sleepers to wear for the next few months because it's still pretty cold and she only has a couple of cold-weather outfits in these sizes. Hopefully it will warm up soon and I won't have to buy anything extra.

Hair/eyes: Lila's eyes are still blue, but there is a tiny speck of brown on her left eye that tells me she will soon share her brother's (and her Mommy's) eye color. I am so curious to see how long it will take them to completely change colors, since I didn't notice it happening with John. Her hair is growing like crazy, which is great for several reasons -- she no longer has a noticeable bald spot in the back, and her little hair bows stay in longer than a few seconds.

Milestones: Some big milestones Lila achieved this past month are:
1) wanting to put weight on her legs to stand up, which she started February 13th
2) squealing (loudly!) in delight, which she started the week of February 21st (see video)

3) rolling over from her back to her tummy, which she started March 3rd (still trying to get a video of this)

I am so amazed by the fact that she is already rolling over (I don't remember when John started doing this, but I'm almost certain it wasn't this early). I didn't see it happen the first time because my mom was watching her while I was at the doctor's office with John. My mom called me right after it happened and I couldn't believe it! Then, when we got home from the doctor, Lila did it again while I was on the phone with Ross. It was so cool to see it happen while Daddy was on the line! I was shouting in excitement, hehe.

Sleeping: This was a rough month in terms of sleeping. Just when it seemed like she was finally starting to sleep for longer stretches at night (the last week of January), Lila suddenly began waking up four or five times a night. Lila and I were both so deprived of sleep that for two weeks in mid-February Lila slept in her car seat for her naps and at night as a temporary solution to give me time to regroup and figure out what was going on.

I again consulted my sleep book and figured out that every time Lila went through a complete 90-minute sleep cycle at night and reached the shallow sleep stage, she'd wake herself up completely instead of starting a new cycle because she wanted me to pick her up and hold her (since I had been doing that up until then). I decided to be much more disciplined about going to her at night. Normally Lila wants to eat around 11 p.m., so I go to her then, of course. If she also wakes up around 4 a.m., I go to her then, too, because she is hungry again. But if Lila wakes up at other times, I now practice a "graduated extinction" approach by going to her to check that she hasn't pooped, soothing her WITHOUT picking her up, leaving the room, and waiting 2 minutes (then 5 minutes, then 10 minutes) to go back in to her. This is working really well so far, thankfully. It is so hard to listen to her cry, but she is learning to put herself back to sleep.

Schedule: So, Lila's schedule is now pretty well established. She wakes up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. and has her first feeding around 7. She is ready for her first nap approximately 1.75-2 hours after she wakes up, usually between 8:30 and 9. Her first nap still varies widely in length. She sleeps 45 minutes, sometimes 2 hours. Her second feeding is around 10:30 or 11. Then she is ready for her second (and longest) nap between 12:00 and 1 p.m., depending on when she woke up from her first nap. This second nap tends to overlap John's nap a little bit, meaning that Mommy has a little window of time to eat in peace and/or just relax and read the newspaper.

Lila has her third feeding whenever she wakes up from her second nap, but usually around 3 p.m. Then, since John's always awake by then too, we head out for an afternoon excursion. It works really well to have Lila take her last nap in the car on the way home from wherever we've gone for the afternoon (around 5 p.m.). She only sleeps for a half hour or so, but that's all she needs to get her through the rest of the evening. She nurses again between 6:30 and 7 and is ready for bed by 8 p.m.

Here are some more photos from the month of February:

Practicing sitting up with Mommy's help.....

Hanging out with Grandma in one of her new gray onesies.....

Showing off her toes, which look just like Daddy's......

Propped up on her Boppy for some quality tummy time.....

Checking herself out in her mirror.....

Wearing her cute 0-3 month-size cardigan for the last time.....

Relaxing in her bath tub.....

Looking pretty in purple.....

Holding onto Grandma's hand.....

I FINALLY took some photos of Lila in her nursery, so I will be posting those sometime in the next few days. She is wearing this adorable gray cardigan sweater that I am in love with. She's already worn it twice this week!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Favorite photos from Lila's three-month shoot

Lila had her three-month photo shoot on February 7th. She was a very happy girl that afternoon, so thankfully the photographer got a lot of great shots. I am IN LOVE with the ones of her in her lavender dress, which I got at Baby Gap for $4. The striped tights she is wearing are also from Baby Gap. I think they cost under a dollar.

Just look at that smile! Her eyes are so pretty and sparkly too.

I absolutely had to have Lila change into her "My First Twins Tee" for some of the shots. Lila looks exactly like her Daddy in the second pic!

John was very sweet with Lila for their joint shots. He actually wanted to put his head against hers and hold her hand! The photographer asked if I would sign a release form for the first photo below so that she could use it for her portfolio and so JcPenney's could use it for marketing purposes. I was o.k. with that!

For Lila's 6-month photos in April, I want to use this on-location photographer I heard about from my friend Jen. Her name is Anna Lemon, and she has great rates right now because she is trying to build up a portfolio of work. Her website is