Thursday, August 30, 2012

Room Sharing

Nate and I debated back and forth the merits of Laura and Gavin sharing a room.  Our house has three bedrooms, but we also have Nate's saint of a mother (and often my saint of a mother, too) watch the kids two days a week to save on day care.  My MIL lives an hour and a half away, so she stays over on Thursday nights.  Which means she needs a comfy bed.  So while Nate and I briefly entertained other arrangements, it made the most sense to have Laura and Gavin share a room.

It's a small room.  I blogged about it in March, when Laura got her big girl bed.  So I was really nervous about one child keeping the other awake at night.  Laura didn't sleep through the night for the longest time.  What if Gavin was the same or worse and kept Laura awake with him? 

So I kept Gavin in the bassinet in our room for a really long time.  Then we went to Cape Cod, where we all four shared one big room.  Laura slept through Gavin's little noises just fine, so I thought maybe Gavin could move to the crib.  Except he had a cold and was coughing so much.  Plus, he'd spent the first so many weeks sleeping on the inclined hammock of the bassinet and I wasn't sure how he'd do flat on his back.  So I moved the bassinet into the guest room.

Then we went to Seattle where we all four shared a small room.  Laura once again slept through Gavin's little noises without incident.  I discovered that Gavin slept fine on a flat surface as long as he was swaddled.  So when we got back from Seattle, it was time to commence Operation Room Share.  We put Laura to bed, kept Gavin up for a while, then put him to bed.  Laura slept through Gavin's midnight snack, and we were all happy.

The next night, Laura went to bed at 8:30 as usual.  Gavin fell asleep downstairs at 8:40.  We moved him upstairs.  He slept through the night.  Fluke, right?  Except that the next night he fell asleep at 8:40 again, and slept through the night again.  Maybe another fluke.

Except that it's still happening.  Gavin wakes up some nights, but is quickly settled again after a quick snack or a re-swaddle.  He really loves to be swaddled, and is a great sleeper.  But better than anything Gavin has (or hasn't) done, has been Laura's attitude.  She loves having Gavin in the room with her!  She wakes up every morning, just so happy to see her brother smiling at her from the crib. 

[caption id="attachment_1674" align="alignnone" width="224"] We woke up hearing Laura reading her favorite story to Gavin. Precious![/caption]

We had one night where I wound up moving Gavin into the bassinet in the guest room, since I was terrified for some unknown reason that he'd wake Laura.  When Laura woke up, she was distraught over the empty crib!  "Why Gabin in his bassinet?  Why he not in the cwibby?"  She is just so sweet.  Gavin has spent every night since in his crib.  He's learning to self-soothe himself back to sleep, rather than absolutely needing a snack. 

So room sharing?  Has been a phenomenal success.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Best Wishes

I have so many future blog posts swirling in my head.  Getting back to work.  Laura and Gavin sharing a room.  Our transition from exclusive breastfeeing to almost-exclusive formula.  My pride in Laura being a nice kid.  My fear of one day having to read certain books with my children.  These are all important posts, for another day. 

Earlier this week, my brother-in-law announced his intentions to propose to his girlfriend of three months.

I am shocked and gasping and reeling at the quickness of it.  Three months!  They met online!  We haven't even met her!  He is rushing in so fast!

I want to be horrified.  Part of me is a little horrified - he has rushed into so many things so many times, only to fail.  But there is another part of me that wants so badly for my brother-in-law to be happy.  To finally have a good outcome.  To maybe grow up a little bit.  Three months isn't all that short a time is it?  For two 33 year olds to know their minds? At nineteen, didn't I know for a fact that I would marry Nate, even though we'd only "dated" for three months?  Sure, we waited a few more years to get married.  But our feelings toward each other and our future together never wavered.

So why not?  Why not propose to a girl with similar values, hopes and dreams when you are 33 and anxious to get started on family?  Why not propose to a girl equally excited for a future with kids and pets?  Why not be hopeful for something good, after so much bad? 

So to my dear brother-in-law, here is a wish and a prayer that this time you are right.  That this girl is your "one."  I wish you the best.  I support you, and hope I can meet this girl soon!  Best wishes to the bride-to-be, and congrats to the groom... But please also know that inside my head is spinning.  WOAH.

Pouring my heart out

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Take Your Gavin to Work Day

I'd like to start this post by reminding you, my dear readers, that Gavin is a really happy baby.  He doesn't need much in life beyond a bottle, a swaddle blanket, and a toy or two.  And even as happy and "easy" as he is, yesterday left me completely exhausted!  I don't know how you work-at-home moms do it.  Or you mom-at-work moms.  Or frankly, you stay-at-home (which is really work) moms.  HOW DO ANY OF US DO IT?!  That is not the point of this post.  The point of this post is to show you how cute my kid was at work all day! 

In a move that is beyond my comprehension, day care is closed this week for their annual "professional week."  I think they are cleaning and getting ready for the academic school year.  Which is fine.  I just don't understand why they close every single year for this week, the week that public school resumes.  The week that college kids flock back to their dorms.  The week that is the absolute 100% least convenient week ever to find child care.

We shipped Laura off to Grandma's, where she could be a third little girl to play princess with the family my MIL nannies for the first half of the week.  My FIL offered to watch Gavin on Wednesday (tomorrow), and my SIL is watching him today.  That left Monday.  So yesterday, Gavin came into work with me!

The joys of commuting:


I think Gavin enjoyed the train ride.  Like most commuters, he managed to fall asleep just as we were pulling into the station.  I do that all the time, dozing off right when I get the shortest, least helpful nap ever, leaving me groggy the rest of the day.  Which is why Gavin started his work day with a nap:


Yup.  That's my beloved travel bassinet again.  Under an open desk drawer.  With a draped sweater to dim the fluorescent lights.  The nap was all too brief, and soon Gavin was in meetings the rest of the morning.  Meetings with toys, that is:


He took his time at work very seriously, and stopped for a very prolonged lunch.  I kept getting up from the conference room table to head back to work after I'd eaten, but another coworker would see the baby and come in to say hi.  It was a long lunch!  So after lunch, Gavin helped me to catch up on emails and do some data entry:


I guess the data entry was exhausting, because Gavin passed out in his travel bassinet desk with sweater nook for the rest of the afternoon.  I did wake him up to help me with some filing before we left, but he wasn't too thrilled:


Is anyone ever thrilled to do filing?  Actually, I sorta like it.  But I'm definitely the minority.  Gavin did really well for a full day at work.  And while in hindsight, I probably could have brought him to work everyday this week, I'm really glad we have such great family to volunteer their time to watch him!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Planning for Life

Three years ago (almost to the day) Nate was switching to a new career.  A career he had long desired, but had been unable to begin to that point: A career in life insurance and financial planning. 

Three years ago (almost to the day) I was supportive of Nate's choice to move into financial planning, but unsure of the exact importance of life insurance.  It seemed like a superfluous expense, hinging on the threat that I would die someday.  But I quickly learned that life insurance is so much more

Life insurance is more than a lump sum of money for my dependents.  On the most basic level, life insurance is peace of mind.  My family would be taken care of.  Nate could afford to soldier on and raise our family. 

But beyond that most basic level of financial planning, life insurance can be a tool.  A wonderful resource.  Life insurance can be an investment.  We have policies set up for both of our children.  If they mature to healthy adults, that money can be taken out to pay for their education.  If, God forbid, one of our children develops a disease that would otherwise exclude them from qualifying for life insurance as adults, they already have a policy grandfathered in.  I know I am doing my part to provide for their financial futures - no matter the outcome.

And if Nate and I someday want that boat in the Caribbean?  That RV to drive across the US?  We can cash out our policies to do so.  It's pretty amazing: we have insurance to protect our family during our working years.  And when the kids are out of the house, we have the option for cash to have fun!

We tend to think of financial planners who shout "YOU WILL DIE! Protect!" in their most menacing voices, to scare us into buying policies.  I am proud to be married to a man who instead shouts "YOU WILL LIVE! Plan!" 

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month.  Let me know if you are interested in learning more.  I blogged about this to participate in the Life Insurance Movement.  Because awareness is key. #LifeAWARE

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Playing Dress-Up

This weekend found me at the bachelorette party for a dear friend.  My friend loves MTV's "Jersey Shore," so we made a pilgrimage to Seaside Heights, NJ.  We walked the boardwalk, ate all the fried foods, bought purposely-torn black shirts with leopard print lips, and were hit on buy the lifeguards on the beach who didn't care that we were drinking alcohol through penis-shaped straws.  And that was all before dinner.

We dined at the famous Rivoli's (where you can get cannolis) and were astounded by the enormous portions.  And yes, the cannolis are fantastic.  With some yummy, hearty Italian food in our tummies, we went back to our hotel to get dressed for Karma.

We six girls donned the tightest, shortest, most-clubbiest outfits, amidst a sea of press-on nails, ridiculous makeup and champagne.  We were nearly ready to go when someone realized not a single one of us had used (or even purchased) a Bump-it in her hair.  I stepped up to the challenge, with comb, bobby pins, and hairspray in hand:

A few minutes later, we were strutting down the street feeling pretty HOT.  But as we walked down the street to the club, we realized that we were the only ones in costume.  The girls all around us were in the same types of outfits we were - except they meant it. 

It was a fun night.  I loved dancing for hours on end with my friends.  I loved watching all the other people in the club.  I loved playing dress-up in a ridiculous dress with 4-inch high hair and bright red lips.  I am also so glad I am not actually living that lifestyle.  The biggest sign for me that I didn't fit in with the crowd: I was smiling too much.  What a great way to not fit in.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Three Months

Gavin turned three months old on Saturday.  Three months.  I can't believe it has already been three months!  And yet, here I sit at work.  My third day back after three wonderful months at home with my little family. 

Whenever I am asked to describe the sort of baby Gavin is, all I can think is "He is such a good baby."  It's the same phrase I have heard my mother use in describing him.  And it's the caption on the photo Gavin's teacher sent to me from school this morning.  Gavin is such a good baby.  He truly is.

He is the happiest, snuggliest, giggliest baby I have ever seen.  I thought Laura was happy - but she was nothing compared to this kid.  Sure, he cries when he needs something.  But only a little wail once or twice.  After he knows you've heard him, he stops crying and waits patiently for help to come.  O_o 

Gavin is full of big gummy smiles, but I think not for long.  He is a drooly face, with his chin all drippy and slobbery.  His hands are always in his mouth, unless he's taking a break for a snack.  I feel like teeth are imminent. 

Gavin loves his toys.  Loves them.  He was starting to get a little bored with his gym mat, so he's already been spending time in the exersaucer!  He tries so hard to reach the piggy - his arms aren't quite long enough yet!  But he'll play with just about anything.  Especially if he can get it in his mouth (see above). 

He also loves his big sister.  Gavin lights up when he sees her.  And the feeling is mutual.  Laura plays with him so sweetly, sharing her toys and making sure he has a pacifier - whether he wants one or not.  I'm really enjoying watching their relationship develop.

Gavin has spent the last week sleeping in his crib in the room he is sharing with Laura.  They are both doing really well sharing the room, and neither has woken the other yet.  Knock on wood, because I probably just blog-jinxed myself.  We did discover in moving Gavin to the crib, where he is lying flat  (he was inclined in the bassinet), that he LOVES to be swaddled at night!  When Gavin isn't swaddled, he sleeps with his arms flung over his head where they flail and startle him.  Swaddling him keeps those pesky arms still, and he calms down into sleep so quickly.  Such a good baby.

And did I mention cute?  Yeah, he is adorable.  And all mine.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Flying Cross Country with Kids

Nate and I packed our bags and flew with the kids to Seattle last week.  Two parents, two kids, three plane seats, two suitcases, two purses, one duffel, one back pack, two carseats, an ergo, a stroller and a partridge in a pear tree.  Oh, and we didn't check a single thing on the trip there.  Are we insane?  Obviously.  But we had a lot of fun! 


[caption id="attachment_1631" align="alignnone" width="300"] Laura and Gavin watching the Olympics during our flight to Seattle[/caption]


Here are a few things I learned on our trip:

1.  Always leave 30 minutes before you "need" to.  And always make sure your alarm clock is actually set!  Nate and I woke up at 5:40, ten minutes before we needed to leave the house Wednesday morning.  Oops!  That patience we packed came in handy sooner than expected!  We made it out the door by 6:00, only to hit major traffic on 495.  If you know 495, you know how awful it can be.  We made it to Dulles at 8:15 for an 8:55 flight.  (Yes, it took over 2 hours to go 58 miles)

We made the flight.  We had missed the window to check bags, but we were able to carry-on all of our worldly possessions.  Here is where number 2 comes in:

2.  Allow yourself to release stress.  For me, this was crying (and praying to St. Christopher) a few times in the car.  And at the ticket counter.  By letting myself sob a few times, I got out the worst of my nerves without turning into a raging yelling hot mess lunatic.  And those tears at the ticket counter?  I think they got us on that flight. 

What I heard: You're too late.
What was actually said: You're too late to check bags.
Result: awesome customer service.

I didn't through a fit, as I might have another time.  I didn't yell at anyone for something they didn't do.  I didn't see red, or feel my ears get hot.  Instead, I burst into tears right there, so sad that we'd missed our flight after flying down the Dulles Toll Road, screeching to a halt at the valet parking (worth every penny), and running with two kids, six bags and two carseats through the airport.  I must have looked incredibly pathetic, because Virgin America (bless them!) assigned us Joshua, who grabbed two bags and a carseat, and led us through every back door he knew of in the airport to get to our gate on time.  I was amazed by the service we received, and truly grateful for Joshua's help!

3.  Make sure you know where "Fluffy," the special blankie, is located at all times.  Do not hop into the rental car for an all-day scenic drive without Fluffy.  And if you do forget Fluffy in one traumatic episode, learn from that mistake!  For our trip home, I packed Fluffy in a suitcase to keep it's massive size contained while we went through security on our return flight.  When we checked in for our flight we were able to check all our bags for free!  SCORE!  Except that I forgot all about Fluffy, and left it neatly folded in a checked suitcase.  By the time we got to our gate for our delayed flight, Laura was in hysterics and it was too late.  Laura cried 2.5 hours from Seattle to LAX, until she fell asleep on the tarmac while we waited 45 minutes for an open gate.

4.  Ergo is amazing!  I never wore Laura when she was an infant, as I could never get the Bjorn to fit me comfortably.  I was skeptical of the Ergo, but have used it fairly frequently with Gavin.  After Seattle, I am a complete convert and Ergo lover!  We packed only a small umbrella stroller for Laura to sit in.  I never began to think about packing the monstrous double stroller we have.  I wore Gavin the whole vacation, while Laura sat comfortably in a stroller I was prepared to never see again when I thought we'd miss our transfer at LAX back to Dulles (we didn't, and the stroller came out of the belly of the plane 0n time). 

[caption id="attachment_1632" align="alignnone" width="224"] Laura and Gavin asleep on the flight from LAX to Dulles[/caption]

More to the point, when we finally got to our gate at LAX a whole 3 minutes before our next flight was scheduled to depart, I was able to wear Laura - completely asleep - through the terminal to our next gate (only to discover another 30 minute delay).  Nate helped me transfer Laura from the plane seat into the Ergo as we taxied.  She didn't wake up till we landed in Dulles the next morning.  I was so glad to leave Laura asleep, and was still comfortable with 30 pounds of toddler handing in the Ergo!

[caption id="attachment_1630" align="alignnone" width="300"] Gavin (and his cousin!) playing in the travel bassinet at a wedding[/caption]

5.  If you see a gadget that you think will help you during your trip, follow your gut and buy it.  Nate didn't think we would need a travel bassinet for Gavin, but I bought one anyway.  I am so glad I did.  The travel bassinet by Summer Infant is the best $30 I have spent in a very long time.  Gavin had a place to play and sleep no matter where we were during our vacation - even during a wedding ceremony!  I looked at several travel bassinets, and ultimately purchased the one by Summer Infant because of the toy bar.  I was afraid Gavin might get bored at some point during the trip and miss his activity mat.  The toys weren't quite as stimulating as his mat at home, but certainly did the trick to keep him entertained!  Moral of the story - spend money on thoughtful items.  $30 really can make your vacation that much better!

Traveling with two kids was actually a lot less stressful than I feared.  Packing a healthy dose of patience (something I usually forget on the bathroom counter) really helped.  As did that extra 3 ounces of Sense of Humor in my quart-size liquid carry on bag.  We had a wonderful vacation in Seattle, and would do it again!  Although next time, I might skip the all-lanes-closed traffic on 495, the running through airports, or the delayed return flights!  I hope my experience can help any other moms planning to fly across the country with little ones.  Bon Voyage!

And for full disclosure, I have not received any compensation from any company, ever, for anything.  This was my first flight with Virgin America, but was so impressed with the customer service that it will not be my last.  Ergo has no clue who I am, and neither does Summer Infant.  I have been impressed with products by both companies in my 2.5 years of parenting.  If anyone would like to send me free products to try out, I'm all ears!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to work

I can't believe my time is up. I can't believe I have to go back to work. I also sort of can't believe that I have to go back to work... As in I don't want to go. Like, I want to stay at home and never go back. This is a new feeling for me.

When I went back to work after Laura was born, I was so ready. I needed to get out of the house, to see grown-ups. I was ready to drop Laura off with a room full of other babies to keep her company. I needed a break. Obviously, I had some other issues going on.

I am so glad I am not dealing with PPD this time around. But my heart aches today with the realization that the last three months are over.

Three months of dancing:


Of growing tall:


Three months of vacation with my family:

I wouldn't trade the last three months for anything. I wish I had three more. Think of me tomorrow, as I sob through my first day of work.

pouring my heart out

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Happy Boy

I just need to brag for a minute. Gavin even plays in his sleep.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

All Smiles

Two more weeks of this.

Of gummy grin mornings on the couch.

Of brownie batter smiles.
Of abracadabra hide and seeks.
Two more weeks at home with my babies. I'm so glad I've had this time.