Sunday, February 22, 2015

Baby Names.

Well, I think we're done having babies.  Before you get all "never say never!" on me, I know.  We could change our minds and we have no plans to do anything permanent to prevent more kids right now, but I feel like we're done.  Trevor feels like we're done.  (And not just because Niko was a boy, don't get me started on that perfect family nonsense.)  Also, mind your own beeswax.  If we do change our minds some day (many years from now), I imagine we will start from scratch with names, so why not share our favorites for now?

I just can't name a baby until we meet.  I like having options and seeing their squishy face before choosing.  We decided to go with family (or family+friend for Niko) names for middle names which mostly made things easier, but did provide some restrictions.  Baby names have also been pretty top secret during pregnancies for us because everyone has an opinion and I'm just not interested.  The suspense is fun, too.

For Myra, our top girl names were Myra and Anissa.  Our top boy name was Silas, but we also liked Liam (though I really don't think we would have picked it).  We didn't get too into boy names since we found out Myra was a girl at 20 weeks.  Click here to read Myra's birth story.

For Niko, we did not find out the sex until he was born.  Our top girl name was Esme and top boy name was Niko (Nikolai), but Judah put up a good fight the last week or two even after he was born.  I struggled with names enough, I just kind of let it go once we had names we both liked.  Not knowing the sex definitely made this process more difficult.  Heck, I even got so desperate I wrote to Swistle!  See the link here.  I really loved, and still do, the names Rissa (girl) and Chester (boy), but Trevor didn't love either of them like I did, especially not the yucky teasing nickname that came to mind with Chester.  Click here to read Niko's birth story.

Fun fact about our kids' names that we didn't realize until we already decided we liked Niko (Nikolai) a lot and I did some Googling:

From the Latin Nicolaus, a derivative of the Greek Nikolaos (victory of the people), a compound name composed of the elements nikÄ“ (victory) and laos (the people). The name was borne by St. Nicholas, a 4th-century bishop of Myra who is regarded as the patron saint of Russia and Greece, and of children, sailors, and wolves.  (from Baby Name Wizard)

Oh, and their first initials are M and N, as in in Minnesota.  Filing that away for future tattoo ideas...

Throughout pregnancies, these are the other names we tossed around.  We wanted something unique, so anything "top 200" or "up and coming" was out.  Many of these names are pretty popular which is why they didn't make the cut.

Some favorite baby naming websites are: Swistle, Nymbler, Baby Name Wizard, Nameberry, and the good old Social Security site.  The book Cool Names for Babies was a fun and different read, too.

Esme (first choice girl name for Baby 2 thanks to Swistle suggestions)
Anissa (this was #1 for our first pregnancy and our second choice for Myra)
Delilah (the song Hey There Delilah was very special to us during our first deployment together)
Mila/Myla (this was Trevor's inspiration for Myra)
Nell (second choice girl name for Baby 2 even though it's already being used in the family)

Niko (Nikolai)
Silas (this was #1 since our first pregnancy but got too popular for us)
Percy (I still love this, but would have needed a longer version and wasn't sold on Percival)
Judah (our initial thought for Niko. but after three hours we still just couldn't commit to it)
Chester (though it wouldn't have made the cut because people are cruel with nicknames)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Niko's Birth Story.

I started this a little early so I could keep all my end of pregnancy updates in one place.  Click here for Myra's birth story.  All the awesome photos are courtesy of the fabulous Angie Knutson Photography (AKP in captions), the cell phone photos are property of yours truly ;)

January 21, 2015, 37 weeks.  168 pounds (up about 30-33 pounds from pre-pregnancy).  Cervix high but very soft, dilated almost 3cm.  Group B Strep test: negative.  37 week update with Myra.  37.5 week appointment with Myra.

January 22, 2015, 9pm.  37+1  Feeling crampy, like menstrual cramps, not Braxton Hicks.  I assume it's nothing exciting, but I'm naturally dying to know when this baby will come so here I sit wondering... It went away after maybe half an hour.

January 27, 2015, 1pm.  37+6  That strange feeling you get in your back when dehydrated, like my kidneys hurt.  I've actually had more water so far today than usual.  I also feel a bit flushed randomly.  Clearly I'm aware of every little thing these days...

January 28, 2015, 38 weeks.  173 pounds.  Fifty percent effaced and I thought my doctor said +1 station, but the online notes say -1, dilated 4-5cm.  Fundal height (uterus) has been measuring right on all along, but today measured 32-33 weeks.  Doctor and I both assumed all is well (I figure baby is just settling in, but she said that doesn't typically change measurements), but ordered growth scan/fluid check ultrasound just to be safe.  Baby's head still measuring 2 weeks ahead (Myra had/has a giant head, too), baby's stomach measuring right on, and I didn't look when the tech checked the legs though I was very tempted.  Weight estimate was 7 pounds, 2 ounces.  My doctor emailed in the evening and said baby's growth and amount of fluid both looked great, so all is well.  I'm aware the dilation doesn't mean anything will happen soon, but it likely could happen quickly when it does.  Today was enough of a push to get me to install the car seat bases in the car though.  I haven't packed a hospital bag yet, though I don't really need much.

38 weeks + 6 days
February 4, 2015, 39 weeks.  171 pounds.  I lost a few pounds during my last week with Myra, too.  I've been pooping at least twice a day for over a week now, my body is running out of room and/or getting ready...probably both.  Doctor said "definitely 5cm...5+" today, but the online notes say 5-6cm, 50% effaced, -1 station.  Belly measured 37 weeks today.  I had what felt like Braxton Hicks contractions exactly 6 minutes apart for 30 minutes tonight, then nothing.  With Myra, real labor contractions definitely felt different, so I wasn't holding my breath.  Myra has been extra clingy and had a couple wonky nights of sleep--maybe she knows something we don't?!

February 7, 2015, 1-3:30am.  Contractions that felt like the real deal (and not Braxton Hicks).  They were 8-12 minutes apart and not super regular, so I kept waiting "just one more" to wake Trevor.  Finally at about 3:15am I decided I should wake him.  I said "I think we should probably call your mom," (to come stay with Myra) and his half-asleep response was, "Why?"  Anyway, his alarm was set for 3:30am since he had to get to drill.  Of course, once I woke him they stopped.  He was all "do I get ready for drill? Are we having a baby? What is happening?"  I told him to go about his morning and if they continued, we'd call his mom and the photographer.  They didn't and I fell asleep sometime after 4am.

February 8, 2015, 11:30am.  I lost a glob of mucous which felt like a small water leak, but nope.  Lost a little more later in the day.  I guess I could say I had more nesting urges today, nothing actually useful, of course.  Our kitchen needs to be cleaned something fierce, but instead I organized clothes and picked out a bunch that need to get donated.  I also organized baby carriers and our newborn cloth diapers, which I suppose is helpful.

February 9, 2015, 5:30am. Trevor's alarm woke me up, went to pee, had a small gush of fluid.  It seemed very watery and I had some contractions that didn't feel like "it," but went to the hospital to have it tested for amniotic fluid to be sure...negative.

February 10, 2015 39 weeks+6 days.  Same fluidy feeling this morning, I'm assuming yesterday was watery mucous and today is more of the same.  I had some random contractions throughout the day, but this is also my work day so it could be because I'm more active (SO MANY STAIRS!).

39 weeks + 6 days, February 10, 2015
February 11, 2015, 40 weeks, 170.5 pounds.  Was up from 3:30ish-4:30ish timing contractions.  Some were not so obvious, frequency varied a lot, and ultimately they stopped so I went back to bed.  I overslept and didn't wake up until 8:15, weekly baby check appointment at 8:45.  I rushed myself and Myra out the door, grabbed some Kix for her to eat on the go, and headed to my appointment.  We ran into Keithia in the waiting room.  At my appointment, I filled my doctor in on the fluid stuff and random contractions.  I was still 5-6cm and baby's heart rate was a little slower than the 110s.  When she was listening, she also heard a brief decel in the heart rate and decided to send me (and to Labor and Delivery for monitoring then she'd come meet with me to discuss options.  I asked for clarification and she said I would likely be induced (to some degree at least) but we'd know more after some monitoring and testing for amniotic fluid again.  Since the secret is out and we all know 2/11/15 is Niko's date of birth, I will do the rest in more of a bullet format since that's how I kept track.  I apologize in advance for bouncing around past/present tense.

9:35am I arrived at Labor and Delivery with Myra.  When I came two days prior, they had me in a triage room for monitoring/testing, but today I went right to a delivery room.

9:40am Nurse speaking as if I'm staying no matter what.  I thought this was brief monitoring then we'd discuss.  I tell Trevor to leave school now since it looks like I really am staying.  I call Christy and she is coming ASAP.  Myra is so interested in all the buttons and lights and I'm stuck in bed connected to stuff.  This room is so not toddler friendly.

9:50am I call Keithia to see if she can come get Myra.  She's actually still at the clinic (connected to hospital) so she is there in a few minutes.  She takes Myra to our house in my car to wait for Christy,

10isham Official clarification: definitely staying.  It's baby day!

10:30am I've been monitored for a bit now, I'm having contractions every 8 minutes but not feeling a thing.  I tested positive for amniotic fluid, so no clue when my water actually started leaking!  This makes me a little nervous about a c-section because I know there's a bit of a timeline once water breaks and mine could have ruptured days ago...  I have awesome veins and have always been an easy stick, but apparently threading was a different story, took three tries to get a good one.  I will be getting fluids, antibiotics (since water ruptured and not sure when) and starting small with pitocin to help get things moving.

10:43am Still 5-6cm dilated, cervix thick ("like your cheek"), still feeling nothing but epidural will be ordered soon (I will want it eventually, so just getting it done)

11:15am Trevor arrives at hospital with my hospital bag--I had nothing with me since I thought this would just be another weekly check.

11:35am Contractions every 3-5 minutes.  Ordering epidural now.  I am still not feeling contractions at all, some may disagree but how amazing would it be to not feel any?? I love science.

12:20pm Epidural in, contractions every 3 minutes, everything looking good.  My HR 66, BP 122/71.  Baby's HR 122.  I'm 6cm and have a peanut shaped yoga ball between my legs to help dilate.  Angie (photographer) arrives sometime around here.

12:50pm I can still feel my legs, but they're warm and a little numb.  The hospital's internet seems to have Netflix and Pandora blocked.

1:30pm Contractions 2.5 minutes apart.  I wanted to take a nap, but no luck.  Trevor and I watched House on his laptop.

2:51pm 8-9cm and cervix is very thin, awesome progress.  The nurse says I'll be done in an hour...not sure if she means done done or just done dilating.

3:02pm They're bringing in the rest of the birth equipment, a cart with all the instruments and what not.  My epidural was great but I could feel contractions in a small area of my lower right abdomen.  This happened with Myra, same spot, and they fixed it for me.  This time, the nurse told me it was normal and would help with pushing.  It was not a big deal - it hurt but I could still talk through them.

I forget exactly when, but sometime in here I am now 10cm.  Nurse has me do one push and says she'll call for the doctor if I can get baby's head pushed down a bit.  I win, doctor coming.

3:25pm I start pushing.  (I know this because they told me how many minutes of pushing it was and I obviously know what time baby arrived)

3:37pm It's a boy! (We didn't know the sex until birth) Six pushes that felt like 60.  8 pounds, 12 ounces, 21.5" long.  Apgar score 9.

We had a name picked out, recently revisited our lists and couldn't decide between two names.  We both thought the other name at first, but for one reason or another neither of us could commit.  Around 6:30pm we agreed to stick with our original choice, Niko (knee-co).

How did we come up with Niko?  Well, for the most part, Trevor did.  Once again, I was struggling with names.  I made a couple lists and Trevor thought they were okay, but didn't love any.  I finally told him I had a name or two of each sex I really liked and if he wanted something else, he would need to make a list of his own.  The first name he told me was Nikola.  Where on Earth did that come from???  Nikola Tesla was a Serbian inventor (among other things).  Trevor likes his work and it's fun that he's Serbian and Trevor has been deployed to the Balkans twice.  So, we tweaked it a bit and he will legally be Nikolai, but we agreed we both really like Niko so we're going with that straight away.  Random history lesson: after agreeing we both liked Niko (Nikolai), I did some Googling.  I came across this link and what is one of the first things on the page?  MYRA.  "Saint Nicholas, also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra (Demre, part of modern-day Turkey)."  Woah.  We knew nothing of this or the fact that "Myra" had anything to do with ancient Greece.  Niko's middle name is Jeffrey which is the name of Trevor's dad, two of my uncles, and a very dear friend of ours who passed away in November 2013.  Jeffrey just made sense; there was never even any discussion about a middle name.

Soon, I will post the other names from our lists, too.  Also to come, updates and photos of Niko meeting Myra and other family members.  I wanted to keep this post strictly for Niko alone.

Day One

Three days new, Niko's first ride
Day before he arrived vs two days after
We're off to a great start and he's fitting right in!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Comparison of Standard vs Toddler Tula vs Ergo vs Beco Gemini.

After a few questions on the sizing of a Standard vs Toddler Tula, I thought I would just post my own comparison photos.  Then I decided to add an Ergo and Beco Gemini since I have those, too.  The weights listed can be confusing because design varies and there is a large overlap, plus babies and toddlers come in all shapes and sizes.  The weights listed by manufacturers are in regards to safety testing, though they do not necessarily address ideal fit.  Let me be clear, many carriers out there can safely be used for a long, long time.  There is a trend of parents and caregivers feeling the need to 'upgrade' to a bigger carrier when, in reality, the carrier they have would likely work perfectly well for quite some time.  If you're interested in any of these, there are many resources online to learn more; however, I will always recommend trying them in person before buying if at all possible.  Babywearing groups are an excellent resource for this.

The Tula photos were all taken the day after Myra turned two and the Ergo and Gemini photos were taken the day after that.  She had her doctor's appointment that first day, too, so her stats are completely current.  She was 25 pounds, 13 ounces and 35 inches tall.  I would say she is longer in the legs than torso.

The photos are a Standard Cloudy Tula with Warrior's Creed wrap customization (gray Tula with black wrap over it, gray straps visible), Toddler Oasis Tula (purple straps with bright colored thin stripes), Ergo (tan), and Beco Gemini (black with white polka dots).

Though some of the verbiage seems biased, this chart is a great comparison of different features and dimensions for many popular buckle carriers (also called Soft Structured Carriers, or SSCs).  Here is a similar chart to that one.  If you'd like a different visual comparison, click here or here.  Other than just trying them on and finding one that feels most comfortable for my body type, the biggest things for me have been carrier body height and width.  The body height is important because at some point baby gets too tall and can lean too far backwards or side to side, possibly able to completely lean out of the thing.  On the other hand, one wouldn't want a carrier that is too tall either.  As for width, having a carrier that is wide enough to provide proper hip support is important (spreading from one knee to the other knee, or knee-to-knee is ideal).  This makes it much more comfortable for the child and the wearer.  Click here for a good visual of the difference in narrow-based carriers vs wider-based carriers.  Again, one wouldn't want it too wide, though, as that would certainly over-extend the child's legs which would be counter-productive.  From what I've tried, there is definitely some wiggle room in that carriers can still be comfortable for a while even if it doesn't spread completely from one knee to the other (like what is seen in the narrow vs wide link).  I often hear of people wanting to get a toddler sized carrier as soon as their child is approaching toddlerhood (age 1) and, for the most part, that's just not necessary.

And, finally, click here for information from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute on hip health in baby carriers and other baby equipment.

Here are our photos!

Standard Tula, still fits Myra very well especially since she usually likes to have her arms out.  I would absolutely not need to move up to a Toddler Tula with her yet, though I do have one because the print I fell in love with was discontinued.

Toddler Tula, Myra fits fine but definitely has room to grow into this one.  As you can see, it would go up even higher on her if she left her arms inside.  If I were going to keep her in this for a while longer, I could have bounced her down into the seat even more.

Ergo, we snagged one of these at TJ Maxx for $60 and it's been a great carrier for the price.  Many people love their Ergos, but out of everything I have tried, I must admit it is not my favorite (though still a great carrier!).  We had to quit using it for a time because Myra would lean so much and the panel isn't as tall.

Beco Gemini, this was such an amazing carrier for the first 9-10 months.  Myra is still well within the weight limits of it and I could certainly continue using it with her, but as you can see she can lean all over the place in it.  The dimensions are smaller which is what makes it so awesome for a newborn (you can even adjust the seat width to be smaller yet), but doesn't quite contain her anymore.  The headrest can be clipped up, but it just annoys Myra.  For us, the head rest was best used when she needed more head support as a newborn, especially when she fell asleep.

Hope that helps!  Let me know if you have any questions.  Happy Babywearing!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Myra at Two.

So, I think this will be pretty random because I just want to attempt to document Myra at this age.  I hope technology is kind and Myra is able to read this when she is older, so it will be addressed to her.  Prepare for proud mama gushing.

My last pregnancy update with Myra
Myra's Birth Story
Myra's First Week
Myra at One Month
Myra's First Birthday
Myra's First Birthday Party
Myra's Second Birthday Party


I can't believe two years have passed since you joined our little family.  It's getting harder and harder to remember what life was like before you came along.  All day yesterday I was thinking about the day before you were born, two years ago exactly.  I had a doctor's appointment, was 3-4cm dilated, had my membranes stripped, and went home.  We were trying really hard to get the basement finished up, so Daddy was hard at work and I was doing what I could to help by painting trim.  I remember lots of intermittent walking on our treadmill, too.

You are so smart!  Your gears are always moving in a very obvious way and you got your mama's killer memory.  You remember words no one can ever recall teaching you (earlier this week you pointed out a hippopotamus in a book-you even said the whole word, where did you learn that???).  You know all of your colors in English and most of them in ASL.  You consistently count to 13, occasionally skipping the number 2, and sometimes you can get to 15.  You know the difference between 1, 2, and "many."  When you see two of something, you tell us.  Examples: two people sitting down is "two sits" and when Daddy and I drink milk at supper you say "two milks, daddy one milk, mommy one milk, two milks!"  The first time we noticed this was at Christmas.  Both your Grandpas were in the same room and you looked around, thought for a second, and said "two Grandpas!" completely randomly.  You know many shapes (circle, square, triangle, star, heart, and some of the others are hit or miss).  And you combine all these things-for example, "two blue stars!"  You have quite a few favorite books and have much of those favorites memorized.  You also know most of the songs you sing at school (Tiny Turtle, Twinkle Twinkle, etc.) and some "normal" songs (I listed your favorites later).  You know a handful of letters (M for Myra, M for Minnesota-you know how this one is different for the U of MN logo, A for Ali, B for Baby, R for Rowdy, D for Daddy) and can recognize a few words by sight (Myra, pop, Army, Mommy, Daddy).

Speaking of all that, your vocabulary is incredible.  You know so many words in English (no joke, SO MANY WORDS), a lot of ASL, and some Spanish (though we could be better about this one, you catch on so quickly!).  Knock on wood, we have yet to have *any* tantrums and we agree it has a lot to do with your amazing ability to communicate...and your generally easy going temperament.  You remember what people say (Grandma says, "hi lovey," and Daddy says "hi punkin").  You remember events like crazy.  We went on a few rides at the Mall of America with Jon, Moe, and Ernie over a month ago and you still talk about it probably five days out of the week.  You went in the combine with Papa Jeff and Grandma in October and you still remember and talk about that, too.  The other day you said something about Daddy being at school and I said he would be home soon because he was driving.  You said "Daddy driving silver car."  You copy me when I am on the phone.  I've spent half my life lately on the phone with the clinic so it's a lot of "okay....okay....yep...sure.....yes..." and trying to keep a straight face with your cute little voice copying me in the background is difficult.

You are so kind.  You are consistent with saying please, thank you, and you're welcome-you even remind other people to say it when appropriate.  You enjoy sharing things with others, especially food, and if we say "no thank you, that's for Myra" you say, "nice offer though!"  When you toot, you say, "Myra tooted. Pardon me."  The same goes for when someone else toots, "Daddy tooted. Pardon me."  When you hear a baby cry, you ask "matter baby?" as in "what's the matter, baby?" And when someone says they are sad, you say "problem?" as in "what's the problem?"  You love to help, especially when it comes to putting things away.  You'll tell us "together, mommy myra teamwork."  If you find garbage or recycling (you know the difference), you'll bring it to the right place.  We rarely struggle to get you to put your toys away.  We almost always help you do it, but you don't put up a fight.  You seem to understand the concept of sharing.  When you give something to someone else, you say "nice, sharing."  And, because you're hilarious, you use it to your advantage, too.  You love to drink out of my water cups.  Sometimes I tell you "no, that's mommy's."  You quickly smile and say, "Mommy sharing.  Very nice." as you take a big sip.  You know when you do something you shouldn't have either because it was "naughty" (though we don't use that word) or just weird.  You say "why do that??"  Like when you take off your socks then try to put them right back on, you'll say "why do that?? mommy help?"  Or when you splash to much in the tub, "why do that??"  You make this adorable squinty face, usually when you have done (or are about to do) something you shouldn't.  You'll splash around in Rowdy's water dish and when I notice you freeze and make the squinty, cheesy smile face.  We have to be very intentional to not give you positive reinforcement on that one because it cracks us up.

You sleep great!  Who would have thought?  I mean, if we mess with your schedule, you will sometimes wake up once at night, but really nothing dramatic and you go back to sleep easily.  You go to bed at 7pm and sleep until 6:30-7:30am, but you're so quiet in your crib in the morning I rarely actually hear you before 7 (the monitor alerts make me think you're up a bit before then though).  You also GO to sleep very well.  We do pajamas, brush your teeth, read a couple books, sing the ABCs as we turn on your fan and sound machine, then put you in your crib.  We say goodnight, "I love you" to you and your babies, then you say "bye, Mommy" and off I go.  The end.  You take one nap a day, around 12:30 or 1, and sleep for an hour or so, occasionally 2 hours.  Just in the last few weeks you have been requesting more and more animals sleep with you.  Right now, you sleep with your baby (THE baby), another baby, an Otter Beanie Baby, and an old bean-filled Moose that used to be mine.  Sometimes you want your stuffed bunny or orca, but we try not to get too crazy.  You sleep with a pillow and blanket, but you're super crazy in your crib so you rarely end up with either of them by the end of the night.  Sometimes you actually curl up and sleep right on top of your whole pillow.  We can hear you banging around into the sides of your crib at night sometimes, but you don't actually wake up so...whatever.  [I have a couple screen shots from our video monitor that I will try to remember to add here.]

You are potty trained!  You still wear diapers for sleeping but we'll deal with that in a few months if you haven't worked it out on your own.  When we put a diaper on you, you remind us "only sleeping, learning."  You did have a few accidents in your car seat right around Christmas, but we actually ended up pretty darn busy, messing with your bedtime and naps, and driving more than usual, so we just washed your car seat and tried to be patient. (Edited after bedtime on your birthday: for some odd reason you decided today would be a good day to pee your pants twice then pee on the rug once after we just left you naked.  You also pooped your pants today, but that's actually a bit of progress since you usually poop in your diaper right after waking up from your nap.  Thankfully this has not been an issue since, like, day 3 of potty training, but uff da! Tomorrow is a new day...)

Sorry, couldn't resist.  This photo is from the first few days of potty training.
You are Rowdy are pals.  You like to throw things for him to fetch, sit on his ottoman and look out the window with him, and climb on him.  He is such a good sport.  You feed him almost all of his meals.  We scoop his food out of the bucket then give you the cup.  You carry it so carefully to his bowl while saying "only Rowdy" (as in, don't eat it!).  You dump it for him and we say together, "good boy, get it!" and you are so proud.  He loves to bark at people when they arrive, or even the neighbors, and we just say "Rowdy, you're so loud!" and now you say it, too.

For real, I'm trying to think of some complaints, but I don't have much.  You've had a few moments of whining for no apparent reason, but truthfully, we just ignore you and you get over it pretty quickly.  You sometimes wake up in the middle of the night (nightmare??) which is annoying (especially since I am 37 weeks pregnant right now) but we have dealt with WAY WORSE and you go back to sleep super easily.  You get all sweet and cuddly and ask for "rock rock" and sometimes we give in if we are tired and other times we gently tell you it's time to go back to sleep and you don't usually fight us on it.  I am much more hardcore in this department than Daddy.  He gets a bit grumpy as he's getting out of bed in the middle of the night, but he just melts once he gets to you.  He loves the snuggles.  Just last weekend you randomly started saying "don't!"  I don't know where you picked that up.  We're okay with you saying it, but have redirected you to say "please don't" instead and so far that is working well.

You're still rear facing in your car seat and will be for quite some time yet.  You don't mind one bit and you are an excellent travel companion.  You're so sweet you even notice when we clean our cars "ooh! clean car!"  You have recently joined us at the table for meals.  You were always right up next to it in your booster chair with attached tray, but we seem to have finally ditched the tray and moved you to the table with a place mat.  I guess that could be one complaint.  You prefer to dump your food on your tray/place mat rather than eat off a plate or bowl.  You used to dump it on the floor when you were done eating, but we have mostly nipped that in the bud.  We were able to teach you that dumping your food on the floor is "rude" and that telling us you are done and handing your plate to us is "so polite" which made you happy.  I already mentioned sleep, but you're still in a crib.  It works, you don't mind, and you don't try to get out, so we're going with it.  We borrowed another crib for this new baby, so we shouldn't have to force you out of yours anytime soon.

I won't get into your diet and food since I have enough posts about that.  Your two year check up is tomorrow, so I will come back to record your stats.  I'm guessing you're mid to upper 25#s based on your last weight check.  [Edit: You are 25# 13oz, 35" tall, and I will have to check online for your head circumference once it's updated.]

Things you like: your baby (good thing we have triplets of her), books, going places in the car, jumping, dancing, water (bath, shower, water table, rain, Rowdy's dish, doesn't matter), sparkles (glittery shoes, clothes, headbands), any headbands (pretty!), art stuff (coloring, stickers, do-a-dot markers "dot dots"), dolls and real babies, helping, bubbles (blowing bubbles, soap bubbles, bubble baths, bubbles in books...), snow (especially eating it), school, blocks, sign language DVDs (rare, but exciting for you), ice water (yes, specifically ice water), drinking "coffee" out of your plastic coffee mug, blueberries, people (you're a total people person), airplanes (you point them out whenever you hear one and mostly know the difference between airplane sound and helicopter sound).  Your favorite songs: Hey Jude by The Beatles, Imagine by John Lennon (piano), Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Mr. Tembo by Damon Albarn, Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, Shake It Off by Taylor Swift,

I just wish I could video you for a whole week and put that on the blog.  I am sitting here typing thinking I am missing so much of your personality, but I don't know how to capture it all in writing and a few photos.  I've been making notes about what to write on this post for a couple weeks now and part of me wants to keep it as a draft so I can add more and more to it.  I feel like a few paragraphs just can't do you justice.  Though we had quite the journey and wait to meet you, you made it known from the very beginning when the time was right.

Jon & Moe's wedding, less than 24 hours after finding out you were in my belly.
You are just weeks away from becoming a BIG SISTER.  I know we will have our challenges and it won't be all magical fairy tale land, but I really think you will adjust quickly and be great.  You love babies (real ones and your dolls) and you love to help.  You've done a great job learning to be "gentle...nice..." and are overall a really great, easy kid.  I have the typical soon-to-be-mom-of-a-subsequent-kid fears about spreading out time, giving both kids the attention they deserve, how on Earth could I make room in my heart to love another as much as I love you, etc.  I know everything will be just fine.  My heart will grow to accommodate the new love.  I'll be tired.  We'll all have moments of frustration.  Though I will no longer have as much one-on-one time with you, you will have a sibling and that definitely counts for something.  I know we made the right decision and the timing will be excellent.  I'm excited for myself and definitely excited for you!

I often wonder if your birthday might be just as special (more?) for me as it is for you.  It is the day you made me a mom, the day we waited and waited and waited for, the day I saw your Daddy become a dad.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!  We love you more than a rambly, mushy, braggy blog post could ever show!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Texas Caviar Recipe.

This one is always a big hit!  With a few substitutions that really don't even matter, I was easily able to make it Myra/FPIES friendly for her second birthday party.  If you want other versions, plenty comes up if you do a Google/Pinterest search of Texas Caviar or Cowboy Caviar.

The biggie for this one is the sauce or marinade or whatever you want to call it.  Chop the ingredients (those that need it) and let sit 6+ hours, ideally overnight, in this sauce.  Drain before serving.

1 cup salad oil (olive, canola, lots of options...we used corn oil this time)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
Heat to boiling, remove from heat, allow to cool, pour over veggies and mix it all together.  Cover, refrigerate, let sit 6+ hours or overnight.  Drain before serving.  Serve with chips, we like Fritos scoops.

For Myra's, we used:
Chopped bell peppers (green, red, orange, and yellow)
1 small can sliced black olives
1 can corn, drained
2 cups white beans (cooked first if using dry, otherwise out of the can and drained is fine)

Other ingredient ideas one could use: pimentos, celery, onion, other beans (we usually use pinto beans), or probably a million other things!  You could also add things like cilantro or lime juice.
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