Friday, February 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, Cade

To Cade on your 6th birthday,

Oh Cade. You are quite the little boy. I don't want to say it, but your brother has big shoes to fill.

You are loved and respected by both adults and other kids. You're content to be on your own, lead others, or be a part of the crowd. You can pretty much fit in anywhere. In the past week, I've talked to a few of your specials teachers (like music and PE), and they have had the greatest stories to tell about you. One even admitted that even though she's not supposed to have favorites, you're one of her favorites. You're just easy to be around.

This has been one of my favorite years of your life. Watching you start Kindergarten at YISS and become a big brother has been so great. You have delved right into Kindergarten with passion and enthusiasm, in spite of the fact that you already know much of the content. I kind of love to see the expression on people's faces when they hear how well you can read because you are completely oblivious to the fact that it's a little out of the norm.

In the beginning of the year, I kept getting emails from your teacher with comments on how far ahead you were and questions about your maturity. "Does Cade feel pain? Is he afraid to tell me? I've never had a Kindergartener who didn't want a Bandaid!" she said. I just laughed and thought "yeah, this kid is extra-ordinary."

Your reaction to meeting your brother for the first time, though, was all 5-year-old boy. You barely noticed there was a new baby room. You did, however, see the TV, the remote control, checked out the bathroom, the bed, and just about anything else you could find. Baby? What baby? But once we were all home, together and alone, you were so excited to hold him, to look at him, and to love him.

Now, you've adjusted to life as a big brother. You notice Reece from time to time, but mostly I think you're just waiting for him to get big enough for you to play with. I love looking back at these pictures of you and seeing how similar you and Reece and look. I'm excited to see how the two of you continue to grow together and watch your relationship evolve.

Just a few Cade-isms that have been shared with me this year (and yes, it's great being friends with your kids' teachers!):
:: when talking about Beethoven in Music class--"Did you know that Beethoven is a really big dog, too?" yes, this kid knows the important things in life!
:: when talking about new books that his teacher had brought into class, she asked if anyone could read the title of one of the books. Cade replied, "Scientific Literature. Hey, my mom teaches Literature!" like it's no big deal that a Kinder student can read the word literature in Q1!
:: one of his teachers came up to me and said, "I just thought you should know that Cade is the best dancer in KA [his class]. The other kids watch him and say, 'but I can't dance like that!'" Oh, Cade.
:: when talking about the ballet The Nutcracker in Music, his teacher played a song and asked if anyone could identify where the music came from. Cade's hand shot into the air and he answered with full confidence: the CHESTNUT!

I love you, little man! Happy birthday!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sleep...what is sleep?

Back in the day...circa head was an ongoing blogger narrative. Everything I did was written out in blog form (in my head) shortly after I'd done it. Whether or not that actually made it into a blog post was determined by how much time I had before that event was overshadowed by something else and changed into a new blog post.

These days the only thing going on in my head are the following 2 questions: when does Reece eat again (maybe me, too?) and when does Reece sleep again (maybe me, too?). As a result, when I actually get a second to sit down and blog, there's little going on up there. I can't think of anything to write about because there are only 2 things I think about. And, inevitably, any writing that I do manage is then interrupted by one of those 2 activities.

Since I am a woman and therefore have the God-given ability (curse?) to multitask and think about 100 things at one time, the only explanation for this is my lack of sleep. Which brings me to the real focus of this post. (And just know that while I've not overtly superstitious, as I write this I feel a need to cross my fingers and my toes, my legs, and anything else that can be crossed. I've knocked on wood and thrown salt over my shoulder. Just in case.)

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that Eric had been telling people that Reece was sleeping really well. I didn't think much of it. He's kind of a people-pleaser, so I figured he was just telling them what they wanted to hear. Then, early one morning, around 5 am, he got up when Reece cried, before I had a chance to. When he returned a few moments later, I asked him what made him get up this time, and he replied, "I get up every time I hear him cry."

Now, I promise my first thought was: that's amazing! What a great husband I have! Even when he has to get up for the day in less than an hour, he's willing to get up with the baby. But, my second thought was: what the heck?? every time you hear him cry?? I was laughing. He was not.

At this point, Reece was waking about 5 times between the hours of midnight and 3 or 4 when he ate. Then, usually, I could count on him to sleep from that feeding until about 7 am. It was just a quick trip in to his room to give him the pacifier and then I was back in bed, but still, that is a lot of interrupted sleep. I usually go to bed around 9, so I was getting one 3 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep usually.

So, I really couldn't believe it when he said that he was getting up every time he heard Reece cry! I know that men can sleep through it, but that was a lot to sleep through, I thought. It turns out that he wasn't just telling people what they wanted to hear, he actually believed it! We had a few days where after the 12-3 stint, he would actually sleep for a couple of hours, so he wasn't eating until somewhere between 5 and 6 in the morning. Eric thought that he'd been sleeping all night long!

This realization on our parts occurred on a Friday, so that night Eric offered to get up with Reece every time (I would just have to wake him up, of course!), since I was pretty exhausted at that point. Wouldn't you know it? The kid actually slept! He woke up once to eat around 3, and that was it! Eric got up and fed him, I got up and pumped, and we were both back in bed within 45 minutes. So, we tried it again the next night, and he repeated the feat. This was over a week ago, and he hasn't regressed yet (enter superstitious acts here).

All of the hard work I put into getting him to nap has paid off, as well. He's finally taking 1 1/2 hour naps more often than not, and the boy will only fall asleep in his crib and without me in the room. What a difference a couple of weeks makes! Of course, now we're only four weeks away from our next plane ride (only a one hour time difference, though) and vacation, so I'm just going to enjoy the good life while I've got it!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Super Bowl and Valentines

So, my husband says that I haven't written a blog post since the beginning of the month, and here it is the end of the month already. He volunteered to put Reece down for a nap, in trade for a new blog post. Hopefully, he's not the only one who benefits from the arrangement!

I finally downloaded the new software that I needed to edit photos from my new camera, but with the fast shutter speed on my new camera, I had over 800 photos to sift through before I could really start editing. And, of course, it's easier to just edit the newest photos rather than going all the way back to Christmas, so here we are.

On what would have been Super Bowl Sunday, Eric and Kennedy went out and did the once-a-month homeless ministry while I took the boys home. The sun was shining and Reece was wearing his Seahawks colored shirt, so I decided to shoot a few pictures of them. We couldn't find any good Seahawks attire for Reece while we were in WA in December, and thinking we were going to move home this year, I brought the kids' jerseys home last summer. Cade has been making good use of his Super Bowl shirt from last year, though! (What a game that stream was slower than real time, so I kept getting score updates before I'd seen the touchdown happen, which was frustrating. And, I pretty much missed that last devastating drive altogether while I put Reece down for a nap, but at least I wasn't watching it with a classroom full of sophomores!)

Kennedy saw these pictures as I was editing them, and was very jealous that Cade got his own little "photo shoot" with Reece, so I'll have to get another one with her soon. Unfortunately, the air quality has been really bad lately, which leads to poor light in our dark apartment. We will be apartment hunting this spring, and one thing I'll be looking for is good light (very practical, I know!).

Eric and I took our first solo date since Reece was born on the Friday before Valentine's Day. It was only about an hour long, and we just went to a coffee shop right across the street from the school while the kids hung out with our friends in the school cafeteria. (pretty classy, I know)

On Valentine's Day, Eric took us all out for lunch to one of our favorite spots. We don't eat out much these days, so it was pretty exciting. Then, we came home and made sushi for dinner. I'd been craving it for months, having not had any while I was pregnant, and it tasted so good!

I also attempted to do a little shoot for Reece's first Valentine's Day, since one of Eric's co-workers brought him this bib (because you can actually see what it says, right?!). Of course, every shot ended up being an outtake, but a shot of all three of them looking at and smiling for the camera wouldn't be real life, right? At least this way, we'll remember what they were really like.

This week, there was only one and a half days of school in celebration of Lunar New Year, so we've had a five day weekend. It's funny how much your perspective changes once there's a new baby around. I felt like this week was busy because out of the five days, we had five different activities/outings planned. One of them was just for me, one was just for Eric, one was for the big kids. This felt busy to me and we ended up skipping out on one, but a year ago, we would have had twice as many plans! We are starting to get in a rhythm as a family of five, though.

Next week, we've got a big birthday to celebrate, and Reece will be four months old, so maybe I'll get a few more blog posts done? I'd probably better start now, but instead we're off to celebrate with our little friend who is turning one today!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Reece at 3 Months

Well, I'd had that last post going for awhile. As in, weeks. I had to update it several times, as the post date continued to move away from the events that happened. And, of course, I ended up posting it just days before Reece turned 3 months. What a mom fail. Again. Then, I nearly had it published and Chrome stopped working on my computer (that drama continues). Then, I got really sick last weekend, and I wasn't doing anything. Nothing. Couldn't even open my eyes to read on my phone. I was miserable. And so was Eric, because he had to do all of the work for both of us. Not fun for anyone!

I had to get the 2 month update published, so that I could finally write Reece's 3 month update! I still haven't been able to upload pictures from my new camera because my editing software needs to be upgraded (they get you every time with this stuff!). So, you're stuck with phone photos yet again. (But the lack of Chrome in my life makes that much more difficult than I'd like it to be.)

Anyway, we are all really enjoying Reece at this stage. Sure, he's still not sleeping through the night, but that will happen eventually, right? (If Kennedy and Cade are any indication, then, yes, it will happen eventually! I have to remember that!) He did celebrate his 3 month milestone by skipping his middle of the night feeding for the first time in his life. Quite an achievement! I am very grateful that he only needs that one feed at night, even if he does wake up 4 or 5 times most nights.

He is really enjoying his activity mat and his attention has moved (for the most part) from just his hand to actually reaching out and grabbing toys that hang over him. This keeps him entertained far longer than before. He's also much more generous with the smiles and eye contact these days, which the kids really enjoy. Tummy time is not one of Reece's favorite activities, though. In fact, he usually only lasts about a minute on his stomach, so rolling isn't in the near future. The doctor was impressed with his neck strength at his last appointment, and he spends lots of time sitting on our laps exercising his neck muscles, so I'm not too worried about tummy time.

Reece is finally starting to take longer naps which means that he's in a better mood more often. He's taking a 1 1/2-2 hour nap about once a day (when we're home at least!) He's been feeling pretty chatty lately and will lay on the floor and babble for quite awhile after he's taken a good nap and eaten. While he did laugh for the first time about 2 weeks ago, last weekend he finally repeated the act. And this time, we were able to figure out how to replicate it. It's pretty much the best sound ever!

Reece, like his brother and sister, is still a little small compared to other babies, at least in terms of weight, but he's wearing 3 month clothes at 3 months, which is a good sign. He moved into 3 month pants about a month ago when the newborn pants started to get too short. He was into 3 month pajamas before we even left the States because he's so long. He can still fit into 0-3 month shirts, but he doesn't need to because he has SO many 3 month clothes! He also has outgrown the co-sleeper and is now comfortable in his crib without it. His hair is starting to grow back in, as well. It will be nice when the hair on top of his head matches that patch on the back of his neck! His eyes are really dark, and though they haven't quite turned brown yet, I'm pretty sure that's where they're headed.

Phew! I'm now caught up for the first time in a very long time! Not that it will last long...
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