Friday, February 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, Bennett!

I can't believe it's already been a year. 

One year.

As I sit here typing out this blog post, I remember that a year ago last night I was having to pause throughout dinner to prepare for contractions. Last night at dinner I had to keep cutting up little pieces of oven-fried chicken because Bennett was simply shoveling it in his mouth. A year ago last night I walked into the bedroom to lay down with a Hypnobabies track, questioning whether that night was the night. Last night I had a little boy walking around the house after me, following me into the bathroom for shower time, which he loves and dances about when we sing "Shower time, shower time, show-show-shower time!"

Looking back, I remember such sweet moments surrounding his birth. Michael being so perfectly present and supportive, the nurses cheering when the midwife pronounced me 6 centimeters dilated upon arrival at the hospital, the utter relief when I heard Bennett's first cry, the joy when he nursed so naturally, how ravenously I ate the little breakfast tray.

The mommy amnesia helps. It helps me forget how dramatic Bennett's entrance was into this world (even if the drama only lasted several moments), or how exhausting, frantic, hormonal and unpredictable those first few months were. (Reading back through this blog, including Bennett's Birth Story, is a good reminder.)

It's so strange to remember the time before B was a part of our family. He's so ingrained in it now. So much a part of our hearts. Just today June's teacher sweetly told me just how proud June is of her little brother, and how she talks about him so much and how she lights up when she does. She adores him, and he absolutely loves her too.

And now he's a year old already.

There are more posts to come with his monthly pictures and some birthday celebrations. But for now, I just want to say how loved this little boy is, and how grateful we are for all the joy this past year has brought us.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Amber Teething Necklaces and Bruce Willis

Bennett's having a bear of a time with teething. 

He's always trying to bite everything. His clothes, my hands. Apparently he bit a friend at school doing the same thing that he does to me...grabbing his friend's hand and stuffing it into his own mouth as a chew toy.

And then another day, he cried so hard for so long at daycare that they called and asked me to pick him up. I managed to get a late emergency appointment at the doctor's (suspecting an ear infection) but there was no obvious problem. The only thing she found was his teeth, two of which were just barely under the surface of the gums.

That night I went out and bought an amber teething necklace. 

The whole thing is very woo.

Amber teething necklaces are something I've read about a lot of women supporting. I've also read a few theories of why amber (fossilized tree resin) would work, ranging from the 'out there' (it works on magnetism, internal balance, etc) to the scientific (when against the warmth of the baby's skin, it releases a pain-fighting substance called succinic acid). Apparently the lighter the amber, the more of the substance it has, and it needs to be directly against the skin to work.

Anyway, I felt terrible for my boy being in pain and I was pretty desperate, unable to continue with him at home with me. So I was willing to try anything.

I have to say, I'm really charmed by how cute it is on him. 

He wears it under his clothes when he's awake. When he's dressed, you hardly see it (and he doesn't pull on it, thankfully). And we move it to be around his ankle under his pajamas when he's sleeping. 

And for some reason, I feel Bennett was really channelling Bruce Willis à la Die Hard in this picture. Something about the muscle tee and cargo pants and necklace. And action pose.

Not a perfect likeness, but there's definitely something there.

Anyway, it's hard to say if it's working or not. He has stopped being unusually fussy at school. He's going down for naps much easier at school, which was a struggle for a while. At the same time, it could be anything, or just the end of a bad phase of teething.

I'm keeping the necklace on. I just like it at this point. I might not be able to definitively say that it's working on him, but at least it's not hurting him. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy "Valentimes"

June still says "Valentimes" despite correcting her a few times, so I've just given in. 

Valentine's day started off on Friday with the school party, of course. June got to pass out her valentines to her friends and in turn got a bag of loot to bring home. We sent June with some store-bought Frozen themed cards, but we taped a glow stick to each one and wrote "Let it Glow" on them. June even signed her Valentines this year!

On Saturday I took June to gymnastics and then we went out grocery shopping. Our friend's husband was out of town for the weekend so we invited her and the kids over to have a Valentine's party with us. Michael and I had celebrated the weekend before by going out on a hot date, so we were happy to share the actual day with friends.

After naps, we walked down to the park to meet our friends. The kids played for a while, kicked the soccer ball for a while, then argued over the soccer ball for a while. (Preschoolers, am I right?)

Then we all headed back to our house for dinner. We had breakfast for dinner, which meant scrambled eggs, sausages, fruit and pink heart-shaped pancakes!

After dinner, we had a rave. (Minus the drugs, naturally.) We turned off the lights, turned the (princess) music up and broke out the leftover glow sticks from June's valentines. The girls loved it and had so much fun jumping around, but it was also so fun to watch Bennett and his little friend, Will, play with their glow sticks too. 

I put Bennett down to sleep, then it was time for dessert. June and I had made some sugar cookies the night before. (It was a bit of a fail. I used a sugar cookie recipe that wasn't intended to be rolled out, which I didn't realize until a little too late. So we just did anyway. They turned out so flat and rather blob-y, but Michael had the great idea to go back over the finished cookies with the cookie cutter.)

We decorated the cookies with little sandwich bags of colored icing. (Another fail. I bought whipped icing because I like the texture, but the more I stirred it to mix the food coloring in, the more it deflated. So I ended up with about 1/3 the icing that I started with.)

Then our friends left and it was time to snuggle on the couch for a bit.

(That's Michael's shirt from Copper Mountain - he recently got back from a ski vacation with two friends and I'm endlessly jealous. I'm sure he's equally envious of a work conference I have coming up in Baltimore.)

The next day, Michael got tickets to see Disney on Ice. I persuaded him to let June go in one of her princess dresses. As is usual around here, I put the TV on while I did her hair to keep her still. That's how we came to have this adorable sight of June watching the Cinderella ball scene. I wish you could have seen how she was carrying herself, delicately walking around, hands placed just so.

Michael didn't wear a full tuxedo because he is a stick in the mud.

So that was our Valentine's Day, which took up the whole weekend. And the weekend before, if you count our hot date!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Around Here Lately

Playing at the park:

A Super Bowl party at our friends' house:

The hostess made brownie footballs:

June napping off some illness:

And joined me on the couch for a little nap. I couldn't feel my arm by this point, but I still didn't want this snuggling to ever end:

Leaving the one rogue broccoli alone a little too long, so that it actually flowered:

Science experiments with June using the Science Kit she got for Christmas. This one was leaving eggs in white vinegar. After two days, the shell is completely gone, leaving the egg intact under the membrane, which is soft and bouncy.

Michael picking a million lemons off our tree. During one nap time stretch, I zested and juiced all of them, freezing basically all of it. 

Needing something to make out of lemon juice, I made lemon curd for the first time ever. Then I realized that I didn't have anything to put the lemon curd on, so June and I made lemon scones!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Discovery Museum - Space and Science Center

June has a new teacher at daycare, who we adore. This new teacher has come in with a lineup of serious lesson plans, which started out with dinosaurs and then moved on to space. June got so into space (and meteors in particular - ??) that we decided to feed the interest and take her to the local space museum

It was cute, even if it was a little small. (After going to the Indianapolis Children's Museum, everything will probably seem small.) We got to see some cool stuff, from a pretend space station kitchen to a replica of the Mars rover to a somewhat random collection of animals on display. So I present a few pictures we took from the day!

June's class has moved on to learn about 'healthy bodies,' which I find to be slightly less inspiring. Maybe June and I can go back in the garden and study the one broccoli plant that survived the winter despite my having abandoned the garden to pests and pooping neighborhood cats last fall? 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bennett at 11 Months

Bennett's 11 months! Although these pictures are more at 11 months plus a week. This month has been busy with Bennett getting sick, then June getting sick, and all sorts of adjustments.

His words are still limited to "Mama," "Dada" and sometimes "Ha" ("Hi"). He also blows kisses and gives big, lengthy open-mouthed kisses while staring into your eyes from an inch away. He waves, although the waving is more and more looking like the sign for 'milk.' Speaking of signs, he does 'more' pretty consistently. Although he also just bangs his hands on the table when he wants more.

He went through a period of not eating much while he was sick, but is doing better now. His favorite things to eat are pear spears and banana pieces, but he eats almost everything that we eat now. The folks at daycare say he loves mashed potatoes and crackers. (He likes to carb up.) And soup. Our little old man loves soup.

Sleep's about the same. He goes to bed at 7 and will often wake at 5 and sleep again until 6:30 or so after eating. Sometimes he'll sleep a little longer, but then he might not go back to sleep. There's nothing like nursing a baby boy at 5:30 AM, head tipped back and eyes closed to try to maintain that sleepy feeling, only to feel a baby hand slowly creep up your face and fingers into your nose. You open your eyes and look down at a baby with eyes wide open and a big smile on his face.

He's got 8 teeth now. Three on the bottom, one of which just poked through. Four on the top, one of which is new. He's been so lobsided for over a month now, with three teeth showing every time he smiles.

He took his first steps! We just happened to be FaceTiming with my In-Loves at the time and he let go of the couch and took 4 or 5 steps to his daddy! It was so exciting, and he smiled at us as we celebrated. Since then, we've gotten him to take some steps in between us, and I got to show off his moves in front of his teachers today. But his very favorite activity is still walking around the house while holding onto my fingers for support. Seriously, some days it feels like we've walked miles in circles around our house.

We can't really tell what color his eyes are. They seem mostly gray with some brown in them. They're probably on their way to being completely brown, but who knows?

He's definitely going through some attachment/separation anxiety/mommy phase stuff. When he's home, he desperately wants to be held by me, walking around holding my finger or playing next to me while I'm on the floor. He also started fussing when I dropped him off at school (which he never did before). I mean, it's cute and all, but I'm looking forward to a time when cooking dinner does not involve a heavy baby on my hip and/or crying baby on the floor, pulling on my pants, desperately trying to get me to pick him up.

He really is such a sweet little guy, and he's becoming such good friends with June. June always wants to play with whatever Bennett's playing with, even if it's the most boring thing ever. 

"But I wanted to play with those four blocks by knocking them over!!"
"June, you can play with literally any other toy in this house right now, and you have lots of cool ones to choose from."

But she also has a sense for when he's about to start crying or fussing, and she has a few things she'll try (all on her own) to prevent it. One is making this loud, sudden exclamations. It usually startles him and then he laughs. Or she'll read him a book called "Peek-a-Who?" Her standard go-to when we're in the kitchen is to take out some bowls and wooden spoons and tauntingly start banging on them. That one gets him every time. 

Bennett: A sucker for kitchenware

Less than a month until his first birthday!