We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. - I Thessalonians 1:2

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Rocker Boy

Underneath the clothes...
...a "Dad's Rock Star" onesie (thanks neighbors).

The clothes?A shirt with a guitar on the front (and guitars on the thermal looking long sleeves) and some Converse sneaker looking socks (thanks Mom). The link isn't to his exact socks, but he has four pairs in different colors that look like the two on the left. And yes, we have the above outfit in a bigger size for next winter...so excited (thanks friends)! Despite being a skinny little guy, Brennan's pants stay up well because his cloth diapers are bulkier than disposables. I do intend to post later about the whole cloth diaper thing...but for now, it's going well and is way easier than I thought. We're only using a couple of disposables a day right now and it's just for those middle of the night changes when we're really not coherent enough to mess with the cloth. But like I said, that'll be a whole other post.

Totally a rocker boy, which totally makes his Daddy happy. Brennan definitely likes music already-- especially his dad's. Here he his just a week after coming home from the hospital, enjoying some time on his sensory mat and listening to Daddy sing. We didn't hear a peep from him the whole time Eric played.
~Melody :-)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Intentional Time

After the success of my Mommy/Daughter date with Cate two weeks ago (the one-on-one time did wonders for her soul and she was a much more patient and helpful big sister afterward), Eric and I decided we really needed to be intentional about giving her that time. That time to be a big girl and do the things Brennan can't do. That time to have Mommy's and/or Daddy's undivided attention. Last weekend, Cate and Daddy got dressed up and headed to the Symphony.The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra does a couple of concerts a year that they dub "Lollipops" concerts. They are geared towards younger kids in several ways: they're early in the day, they have musicians in an "instrument petting zoo" beforehand that show the kids how the instruments work, the concerts are an hour or less, and no one frowns or makes a face if a kid talks through the whole thing. Last Saturday's concert focused on the music of Mozart. So while Mommy stayed home with Brennan, Cate and Daddy found their seats...
...and watched a show (I really need to teach Daddy how to use my camera--he did well though).Eric said Cate got a little bored towards the end, but then it was over and she's talked about it a lot the last two weeks. What really amazes me though, is that when Cate hears a piece of classical music she's heard before, she can tell you where she's heard it. When one of the Mozart pieces started playing on her Little Einsteins game (she can only play with this when I'm nursing or changing a diaper-- it's a wonderful distraction), she said, "Mommy, it's like the concert." Another song on the same game prompted her to say, "Mommy, it's like my phone" (referring to her toy phone ring-tone).

Today I had planned to take Cate back to the little boutique where she took art classes in the fall. We didn't purchase the whole session/series, but plan to pay as we go on weeks we can make it. Eric has to staff workouts most Saturday mornings right now, so getting to art class depends on if I can get the three of us fed, dressed, and out the door on time. We made it on time today, only to find out it was canceled (we didn't know b/c we're not on the phone chain since we didn't pay for the whole session). Cate was really bummed because she had been looking forward to painting or doing something. Brennan was sound asleep in the carseat/carrier, so I made a decision to take her to a local paint-your-own-pottery studio. I wasn't sure if she'd be old enough to enjoy it or not, but she picked a piece and jumped right in (and all I had to document the moment was my cell phone).
She chose an owl bank and loved painting all of the different colors on him. The first thing she added was a smile.After 25 minutes though, she was just done. She wanted to paint something else even though the owl wasn't quite done. I rallied her and got her to finish the owl. Next time we'll go with something smaller.
The other part she didn't quite "get" was that we had to leave the owl there to "bake in an oven" and that we could come and get him next week. She wanted to take him home right away. Finished pictures will come next week. Luckily, Brennan stayed like this the whole time: Next Saturday will be a day totally focused on Cate as my sweet girl turns three. Yikes! She is officially a "preschooler" and not a "toddler" anymore as far as parenting books are concerned. We weren't going to have a party, but decided a small one with close family and our small group friends (the kids are Cate's friends by default...haha) was in order. With so much attention paid to Brennan lately, Cate deserves a celebration on her special day!

~Melody :-)

PS...Sorry for the long post. Thanks for hanging in there and reading with us.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Month Stats

Brennan had his one-month checkup today and our pediatrician said he's just perfect (I'm pretty sure she says that every baby though). He weighs in at 9 lbs 2 oz (falling between the 25th and 50th percentiles) and is 21 inches long (25th percentile). He's definitely smaller than Cate was at this age, but then again, he also came out almost 2 weeks earlier than Cate did. And he's got plenty of time to grow. I'm just proud of the fact that he's gained over 2 pounds since his birth day. I promise no growth hormones go into my milk. :-)Cate goes for her 3 year checkup in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure what all it entails, but I'm pretty sure she's healthy. My only concern at this point is potty-training. She's not freaked out by the potty anymore and will gladly sit on it after each diaper change. Unfortunately, she has yet to actually put any of her business (#1 or #2) in the potty. The constipation issues and subsequent Miralax regimen she was put on in the fall set us back a little bit. I know she won't be in diapers forever, but some days I feel like she's the only almost 3 year old still wearing diapers. And it's not for lack of trying, because I feel like we've tried just about every strategy in the books. She is just stubborn (not unlike her mother).
She continues to be a proud big sister (she loves when they both wear their penguin shirts).

My one-month post-partum checkup is tomorrow. I haven't really exercised at all since having Brennan because I didn't want to risk undoing any of my stitches from the incision. I'm hoping to get the all clear tomorrow so I can at least get back on the treadmill or the bike trainer once or twice a week. Not that chasing a pre-schooler and tending to a newborn aren't workouts themselves. I did have to get my incision checked about 2 weeks post-partum and was already down about 20 pounds (roughly half of what I gained). Granted, 7 of that was Brennan and a few others of those were all the other lovely things that cause weight loss right after giving birth. The other 20 will be a little harder to lose. I just keep reminding myself that it's a marathon, not a sprint.

With Cate, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight at 10ish weeks post-partum. But I was definitely not in the same pre-pregnancy shape. Some of my clothes didn't really fit again until I quit breastfeeding her when she was a year old. I kind of expect the same this time around too. I wasn't in as great of shape pre-pregnancy this time though (in the months before getting pregnant with Cate, I ran 2 half marathons, 1 full marathon, and countless 5 and 10K races). To be honest, I didn't see much point in spending time away from Cate, at the gym, to get back in shape when I knew we'd have at least one more kid and I'd just have to do it all again. This time though, since I'm pretty sure we're stopping here with two, I think the gym and I might rekindle our relationship. But first, we'll have to see how tomorrow's checkup goes.

~Melody :-)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy One Month Birthday

I can't believe that it's already been a month since Brennan was born! Time is flying by much faster than I would care to acknowledge. Although, I am thankful that time has brought about healing and more energy for me as well as adjustment for Cate. There is a part of me that is about 90% sure we won't have any more children, so I just want to hang onto these baby days as much as I can (yes, there is still that 10% that thinks a third might be fun in a few years, but I kind of blame that on the lovey-dovey-cuddly post-partum hormones). Those are thoughts for a whole other post.

This morning I thought for sure that Brennan would sleep right through his one-month birthday. He sleeps a lot-- I'm not complaining. He loves sleeping on his tummy. No, we don't put him to sleep that way. But if he falls asleep having tummy-time on the floor, I tend to leave him that way for a little while. And if I'm just reading in bed while Cate is having some Daddy time, I usually put him on his belly next to me. But even on his back, Brennan is still a good sleeper. Still just waking up every 3-4 hours to eat at night (or sometimes waking up because he's spit his pacifier out).
Luckily, he decided to show his pretty baby blues to us this afternoon.
Cate clearly takes her role as big sister seriously.
And in other news, I was able to enjoy not one, but two dinners out this weekend. Friday night, the four us headed to a restaurant that has deep-dish Chicago-style pizza. We'd been wanting to try it for awhile now. Some of my co-workers happened to be there as well, so it was fun to introduce Brennan to them. Last night, Cate spent the night with Eric's parents so I got to have dinner with my boys. Brennan slept through all of the noise at Olive Garden while Eric and I enjoyed dinner and a piece of tiramisu for dessert.

Lately these days, I just feel like one blessed mama. I won't lie, those first couple of weeks at home with both of them were rough. But we're settling into a nice little rhythm. I'm just hoping now that the weather starts to get warmer next month so we can enjoy some walks outside. For now though, I have someone's 3rd birthday party preparations and a couple of knitting projects to keep me busy indoors (not that the kids don't keep me busy enough).

~Melody :-)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cute Rear and Tiny Shoes

I love this little monkey bottom. Yes, the little man is wearing pants now. They're still a little big (the 0-3 month size), but they stay up.
These shoes, a gift from my Aunt, are also a little big, but stay on.
I still can't believe that Brennan is almost a month old. He's technically four weeks old today. Crazy! If I were on just a regular paid maternity leave with no unpaid time off, I'd be halfway through it already. Thankfully I've got several more months off, even if they are without a monetary paycheck.
~Melody :-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mommy/Daughter Date

After Friday's fail of a first outing, it became clear that Cate was in need of some serious one-on-one time with Mommy. Abby Girl Sweets, a local cupcakery, used to be a couple of miles away in a neighborhood that borders ours. But for some reason, they closed up shop and moved downtown. My sweet girl loves her some cupcakes (and so does Mommy), so I would've driven farther than downtown to get her a good cupcake on our mommy/daughter date. We picked out our cupcakes--vanilla buttercream for her and cookies and cream for me--and sat down to enjoy.There's nothing like time with my girl and a good cupcake.
I think our little outing did both of our souls some good. Definitely a Saturday well spent. Eric got to hang out with his little wingman, I got some time with my girl, and I think we're going to keep these dates pretty regular. Cate's already asking to go back. I think I'm going to have to find some other sweet shops/bakeries for us to visit.

~Melody :-)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

On My Own

I'd love to say that my first solo outing with both of my kiddos was a smashing success. But here's the real story. I did manage to get all 3 of us dressed and out the door by 10 am (small victory). Cate's been a little stir crazy lately, which means she has a TON of extra energy since she's cooped up all day-- which means she's not really napping and going to bed later. So I figured the perfect destination was the indoor playground at our church, Kid City. Kid City is open every day and our church always has free, fresh brewed coffee. The plan was to head the 1.6 miles to church, grab a cup of decaf, and hang out on the benches with Brennan while Cate wore herself out in Kid City.

What really happened? This girl...
...who normally runs into Kid City and cries when we leave wouldn't even go in without me holding her hand. The playground is a couple stories tall. I couldn't just leave Brennan. I decided the best move was to just go home. But Cate didn't want to leave either. She threw a small tantrum to let me know this. I'm learning a lot about grace and patience as Cate continues to transition into her role as big sister to this guy:When she sees that Mommy's or Daddy's hands are free, she wants to fill them. And we do want to hold her, play with her, and just cherish our sweet first born. But that doesn't mean we can just leave Brennan two stories down below on a busy indoor playground. We finally did leave and we went for a short drive on which no one cried (another small victory). As Brennan gets bigger and the weather gets warmer and Cate settles down even more (she's doing great though, better than I expected, but it's still hard), I know things will get easier and we'll be out of the house and playing at Kid City, the park, the museum, the library, the zoo, etc. with no issues. But for now, we'll probably spend most of this week at home again. And I'm totally okay with that. I'm okay with curling up on the couch to read...
...and watching my girl prance around in her fairy wings (thanks neighbors)...
...we'll play with Play-Doh......and other fun "prizes" that Mommy stocked up on prior to Brennan's birth in order to reward good, helpful, big sister behavior (shown here with her prize of Button Art)...
...and there are always puzzles to put together (just got another one today from another awesome neighbor)......and if it wasn't evidenced by some of those above photos, we'll spend quite a bit of time in our jammies.

I don't want to rush things. And surprisingly, I'm in no hurry to get out of the house...it's just downright cold out there. Eric is fantastic about giving me some time to myself. On Friday, after this epic fail of an outing, Eric took both kids after I fed Brennan and allowed me a couple of hours at Borders to just browse all of the yummy books. We may try Kid City again at the end of this week, but it's supposed to be cold, so we might just stay home too. At least at home, things are going well on my own.

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Brennan isn't sharing a room with Cate yet. In fact, he'll probably be in with Mommy and Daddy until he sleeps pretty solidly through the night. One baby up in the middle of the night is enough for us. But I do put Brennan in his crib every few days or so. Sometimes it's so I can help Cate get dressed. Other times it's while Cate and I snuggle together during naptime (he stays quiet for the most part). Still other times it's while I put away their laundry or clean up some of the books and games we've moved in there.
While Cate still has her moments where she wants someone else to take Brennan or home or wants him to go back in my belly, she's starting to get more curious about how to care for him. When he cries, she says "It's okay buddy." She tries to put his pacifier in his mouth when he loses it. She watches while I change his diaper and tells him "Shhh" (he pretty much hates having his diaper changed. Probably because it's cold.
But mostly, she just watches. I find her many times throughout the day just staring at her new little brother. Much like I find myself doing too.
~Melody :-)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Smiley Guy

I have all kinds of pictures of Brennan and Cate from these first two weeks home, but they're on my camera and I haven't uploaded them to the computer yet. So for now, enjoy this smiling little man, snapped on my cell phone last Sunday morning. Eric and Cate headed out to church while I stayed home with Brennan and snuggled in bed. He was all smiles having mommy to himself.

Today, we actually did venture out to church, but we sat in the atrium and watched the service on the TV screen. While Brennan eats pretty predictably every 3-4 hours, I wanted to make sure I had quick access to the nursing moms' room just in case. And I didn't want to disrupt anyone sitting around us if he started to fuss. We'll probably start leaving him in the nursery in a few weeks.

We've actually had a few outings this last week. Yesterday we went to Maggiano's with my parents, brother, sister, and grandmother (mom's mom) to celebrate my grandmother's birthday. We've been to Target a couple of times as well as the Starbucks drive-thru. I have not ventured out on my own with the two of them and probably won't for at least another week or so.

My recovery is going great, but I don't want to overdo it. I'm down to over-the-counter pain meds twice a day, but still can't do a ton of heavy lifting. I am allowed to drive again and I did escape to run a couple of errands last week when Eric got home from work. It's supposed to be really cold and snowy here this week anyway, so I'm not in a hurry to get out of the house anyway. Thank goodness for our finished basement, Play-Doh, and tons of new Christmas toys and books.

Keeping Cate entertained while tending to Brennan's needs is tough. I'm not going to lie. And the last two weeks have brought some frustrating moments. But we're all learning together to adjust to life as four. Eric has been a rockstar. He lets me sleep in until about 30 minutes before he leaves for work. And more than once last week, he brought me breakfast in bed to enjoy in peace and quiet. Naptime is a challenge with Cate as she is sleeping in later too (since I'm not working, she doesn't hear me getting up), but it also means that since she is cooped up in the house all morning, she's not tired by naptime. We're working on this though. Cate has been a rockstar too-- usually helpful and understanding and not trying to test me like she did that first day home with them both.

Aside from my family coming for a visit this weekend, a friend from high school whose husband was in town on business, brought her kids (her son is a couple of weeks older than Cate and her daughter is a couple of months older than Brennan) over for a visit. She also brought gifts, lunch, and paid for dinner. Our older kids had a blast playing together and we had fun catching up. A couple from our small group brought over dinner another night last week and we had a wonderful time catching up with them while our kids all played together. We truly are blessed to have such awesome friends and family rallying around us as we learn how to navigate the waters of more-than-one-child parenting.

So all in all, I can't complain. Brennan is sleeping like a champ-- waking at night only when he needs to eat (which is every 3-4 hours). He's an efficient little breast-feeder too, which makes those middle-of-the-night feedings go quickly. I will admit that being at home with two kiddos has it's challenging moments (and we're only two weeks into it), but as the weather warms up and Brennan gets some meat on him and Mommy gains confidence in going out with two, things will get better. For now though, I'm content to snuggle up to my kids, face the challenges as best as I can, and just soak it all in. It'll only be like this for a season.

~Melody :-)

PS. Look for more pictures later this week.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Go Redhawks

Our alma mater is playing in the Godaddy.com Bowl tonight. Even our littlest future Redhawk is ready to cheer them on.
~Melody :-)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

First Bath

Like his big sister (shown below in February of 2008):
Brennan was not a fan of his first bath at home...
...until he was out of it.
~Melody :-)

**Pics taken last week. First bath was on 12/29/10

Monday, January 3, 2011

Resolutions and a Simplified Year

I kept my resolutions simple last year. I always figure that tangible and realistic resolutions are the best way to set yourself up for success. Last year I resolved to:
1. To be present
2. To learn how to knit and sew more
3. To make more of an effort to grow spiritually

I think being pregnant with Brennan sort of forced me to be present. I didn't want to miss a moment of being with Cate while she was still our one and only. Yes, there were preparations to be made for Brennan's arrival, but I found myself looking days and weeks (and occasionally months) down the road instead of years.
I don't know that I learned to sew much more, but in the knitting realm I have moved beyond scarves and dishcloths. I finished a newborn blanket for Brennan, which he has already been lovingly wrapped in several times.
I also started a hat on circular needles for Eric. Obviously we're in the midst of adjusting to life with two kids and recovering from the c-section, but hopefully I'll finish this by Valentine's Day. I also have the stuff to start a blanket for Cate. Bigger needles and chunkier yarn should make it go much faster than Brennan's blanket. Eric got me a sock creature making kit for Christmas, so I'm excited to spend some time making some cute animal friends for my kiddos.
And 2010 was definitely a year of spiritual growth and reconnection-- starting with the FREE journey we did at church during Lent last year and continuing right on through this fall's Healing and Deliverance class I took at church. I dealt with some of my strongholds and personal "demons"...namely perfectionism, anxiety/worry, and fear. And I've come out much stronger in my faith as a result. It's not "over," and in fact, it's never going to be "over" on this earth, but I have a lot more confidence in dealing with my strongholds when they rear their ugly heads.

So for 2011?
1. To enjoy being at home with my kids for the next 8 months. It's a fabulous opportunity and while I'll miss the classroom (it already seems strange to know I'm not going back to work this coming week), it's time I won't get back. It may try my patience over and over again, but in the end it will all be worth it. I'll be a better mother and wife for having spent the time at home and a better teacher for having taken the time off.

2. To make more of an effort to get outside...on walks, at the park, etc. This was hard this past year since I spent most of it pregnant. But I'm looking forward to days spent in the backyard, at the park, and on walks. Especially since I'll be home during the day.

3. To create more-- whether it's through knitting, art projects with Cate (and later, Brennan), playing with Play-Doh, sewing, cooking, baking, photography, whatever. And to not be afraid of the failures. My best creation as of late though:
So yeah, pretty simple, unexciting resolutions. I could say I resolve to lose weight, but some of that is already happening naturally as I nurse Brennan and my body adjusts to not growing a human. Some of it will require a little more effort though. I could say I resolve to learn more about photography, which I want to do, but like all things, that takes time, time potentially away from the kids, and I honestly don't know if I'll have that this year. We'll see. For now though, I think 2011 in general is shaping up to be one of simplicity, and I like that just fine.


Some of my 2010 "bests":
Best book I read: The Help
Best album listened to: Jack Johnson's To the Sea
Best new restaurant discovery in Cincinnati: Nada
Best purchase: I never thought I'd say this, but I think getting a mini-van was one of the best things we've done. It's been practical and now that we have two, it makes even more sense.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Happy New Year

I'm not going to lie. 2010 is going to be hard to beat. Although I won't miss being pregnant, which I was for most of 2010. Not that Brennan was a difficult pregnancy or anything...it just gets old after 9 months and really uncomfortable towards the end. As I sit and write this, our little man is 9 days old! Here's a picture of him on his one-week birthday:
Cate is still a proud big sister. She's definitely tried to "test" mommy a few times by doing things she knows she's not supposed to do when I'm feeding or changing Brennan (aka: I can't put him down and she knows it). I've heard this is totally normal though and will end soon. Really though, I can't complain. She's been pretty awesome about the whole thing. I think it helps that friends and family who come to meet Brennan also come bearing gifts for Cate.
Incentives work well for her right now too. And I'm trying to be very intentional about my time with her. For example, the other day I told her that if she could be good while I nursed Brennan and not rip pages out of my Bible (which happened to be sitting on the coffee table and she was threatening to do it), that we would play with Play-Doh when I was finished. She put the Bible down and walked away, still whining, but crisis averted. We played with her new Play-Doh ice cream set that she got from Eric's parents later on that day (a gracious friend called right as she was starting to melt down with the whole page-ripping incident and asked if she could borrow Cate for the afternoon-- I didn't turn her down).
So all in all, it hasn't been a bad first week home. Brennan is a snoozer for sure. He wakes up enough to eat and fill his diaper and is pretty much out. I'd say he's awake for one, maybe 2 hours total each day. He might actually be awake more-- like when he's in his bed at night-- and we're just not awake to notice his eyes are open. At first this concerned me, but his primary job is to grow and if he's eating, wetting, and pooping, he's fine. Just a sleepyhead.

And for the first time in probably over a decade, I fell asleep before midnight last night. Don't worry, I had to feed Brennan around 11:50, so we did see the ball drop and Eric did go into the kitchen and poured us each a small glass of sparkling wine to mark the moment. We spent New Year's Eve decorating some penguin cookies from a kit a friend bought for Cate:
Cate decorated two and Mommy decorated two.
We all ate one and there was one left over for Cate to enjoy today.Today we celebrated the New Year with the purchase of a new washer and dryer. I know you're jealous. Our dryer went ka-put a couple of days ago and we figured we'd just get the washer too. Nothing fancy or front-loading. Just your standard Maytag washer and dryer. And they won't be here until the 12th. So we'll be spending tomorrow doing as much laundry as possible at Eric's parents' house in order to make it through to the 12th.

I also started thinking about resolutions, but since this has been a long enough post, I think I'll save that for another post.

Happy 2011!

~Melody :-)