Friday, July 31, 2015

Eighteen months!

It seems change and travel have grown up our girl a lot this month. She is so chatty, curious, and independent.

At one and a half, here's a bit about Charlotte Adeline. 

She weighs 23 pounds and is 33.5 inches tall. Those stats put her in the 57th percentile for weight and the 93rd for height. She wears mostly 24 month or 2T clothing. Her shoes are a size five. 

Charlotte loves: playing in water, dumping water all over herself at the dinner table, books, animals, taking a bath, riding in the stroller, being outside, using the iPad, stuffed animal friends, her "new" toys that have been packed away for the last month, playgrounds (especially slides and swings), watching other kids play, looking out the window, balls, balloons, her baby (in momma's belly).

Charlotte does NOT like: sitting in her car seat, going to bed without reading at least four (and preferably many more!) books, and receiving help when she wants to do something herself

Charlotte is good at: waving to people, climbing, going down slides, cleaning up her spilled water, putting things away and taking them out, recovering from minor injuries (she makes a face that shows she is in pain, then kind of grunts, then usually moves on). 

Words: same as last month, but also: yaya (slide), yogurt, hummus, helmet, airplane, mommy (and still momma, used kind of interchangeably), daddy, bee-ba (blueberries), Cutie, hola (said while holding a cell phone- or remote control- to her ear and pretending to call someone), Bitta Bitta (book), turtle, rhino, moon, boat. [Wow-- that's a LOT of new words this month!!]

Favorite foods: fruit (especially berries), hummus, chicken sausage, yogurt, cucumbers, ranch dressing, hamburger pieces (with ketchup, of course!), pasta, and scrambled eggs (praise the Lord that she is eating eggs again!!). 

Big things this month: our cross country move, of course. But also-- transitioning to one nap... While we were driving, Charlotte consistently took a short nap in the morning and in the afternoon. Once we arrived, though, we realized that she definitely was ready to just take one nap. There were a few crazy days where we were all overtired and confused about the schedule, but I think we have a pretty good rhythm now. Charlotte gets up between 6:30 and 7 am. She naps around 12:30 can sleep until about 3pm. If the nap goes well, we will do bedtime between 7 and 7:30pm. Sometimes she plays in her crib for a while before falling asleep, but she isn't crying so I don't mind :)

Parenting challenges: how we discipline this beautiful child in a way that shows her love, yet teaches her to be respectful, kind, patient, and gentle?! This is a constant challenge; one at which we regularly fail and occasionally succeed (we think!). 

Charlotte girl-- we are so proud of you. We love you! You make us laugh and cry and shake our heads in bewilderment. We pray that you will grow in the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Happy half birthday, sweet love! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pregnancy update 6: baby #2

How far along: 30.5 weeks

Total weight gain: about 20 pounds. With Charlotte I gained about 25 in the entire pregnancy, so I'm feeling a bit nervous to already be at 20 pounds- with 10 weeks left to go! Eek!

Baby news: we pulled a few boxes of baby things out of our moving POD last week. I spent part of a day going through it all and admiring the sweet little things we had stored. I realized this boy has more clothes than I thought... A pleasant surprise. 

Maternity clothes: nothing new, but I have a lot of really great clothes that I still like. My favorites are my maternity tanks from Target (so long and thick and stretchy!) and my new-ish maternity denim shorts. I'm wearing everything that's comfortable and loose nowadays, which pretty much disqualifies my maternity jeans. Maybe when it cools down a bit I will bust those out again. But maybe not. ;)

Pregnancy symptoms: tiredness, some heart burn, impatience, serious insomnia when I go to bed at night, multiple late night/ early morning wake ups to use the bathroom. 

Thoughts: I've been kind of weepy and sentimental lately. Also, overwhelmed. We are house hunting and dealing with a bit of the "18 month sleep regression" and adjusting to life in the Pacific Northwest and figuring out how to make connections here. So yeah, I'm feeling tired and overwhelmed. 

But also-- I cannot wait to meet this little dude!! 

Will he look like Charlotte? Will he look like Joel? What will his temperament be? How will delivery go? What will our life as a family of four be like? So excited and curious!! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How to drive across country with a toddler, part 1: hotel stays

So, this morning as Charlotte was peacefully napping in our hotel room, I start mentally writing a blog post. I'm highlighting all the things we did well, and bragging on my amazing, wonderful, flexible daughter. 

And of course, tonight, as I'm actually physically typing out the post, Charlotte is rolling around in her bed, talking to herself, after standing up twice and asking for water at least three times. Humble pie for dessert, me thinks. 

But the imperfection of tonight's bedtime aside, we have been on the road in our cross-country move for over two weeks now. We should arrive in Washington tomorrow night, and we won't have to travel again for a long, long time [Praise.The.Lord]. 

Before our trip, I did a bunch of research, and some friends gave me a few good tips. We have had a VERY successful time staying in a hotel with Charlotte and I want to share some of the things that worked for us, in case any of you are crazy enough to plan a cross country trip with a toddler. 

Here goes:

1. If at all possible, stay in a suite every night. We had four nights in hotels and the absolute best experience was one where we had an actual suite... Meaning that Charlotte had an entire living room to herself, while our bedroom door could close and we could talk to each other after she fell asleep, and read with the lights ON. I think sometimes a suite can cost more, but I would definitely say it's worth the cost. 

2. Bring a large sheet and 5-10 thumb tacks. This is so important!! My friend Melissa found this tip and it saved our sanity. Every night, even in the suite, we would section off Charlotte's bed with a sheet, thumb tacked to the wall in two places. This prevented her from looking all around the room as she settled down and also meant that she couldn't see us if she woke up in the middle of the night. She stirred sometimes, but always put herself back to sleep and didn't get us up in the middle of the night at all during our hotel stays. Amazingly, hotel walls are compatible with thumb tacks-- maybe because they are made of sound proofing material...? 

3. Also bring- a fan for white noise, whatever your child sleeps with at night (for us it's a sleep sack and two owl loveys).

4. Keep the bedtime routine as consistent as possible. Every night, Joel said goodnight to Charlotte, then left the room while I turned on the fan (And turned off the light), gave her a milk cup, put on her sleep sack, read three books, and gave a drink of water. I put her to bed more often than he does at home, so we kept that consistency, and her bedtime routine, in an attempt to make things normal. 

5. If possible, use your own travel crib (and also if possible- have your child sleep in it a few days at home before your trip, to practice). Hotels usually have a crib you can borrow, but I really think the consistency of using our travel crib made it easier for Charlotte to sleep in a new place every night. 

6. Only go to hotels with swimming pools. For real. After being in the car for hours and hours, swimming is a great way to get some energy out. Twice Joel took C swimming while I drove to get dinner, got her bed set up, or planned our day's adventures, or just took a short rest. Another night all three of us went together and had a great time. Charlotte LOVES the water, so playing in the pool was an absolute blast. 

7. Finally, try to be patient and flexible. It's not easy to share a bedroom with a toddler, especially under the stressful circumstances of traveling across country. There were many moments of difficulty, particularly the last morning of our travels when Charlotte woke up at 5am. We were beyond exhausted, but just decided to pack up and hit the road, since it wouldn't do any of us any good to hang out in the hotel room being stressed or annoyed. Joel did a GREAT job leading the charge that day and helping me maintain a good attitude. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Pregnancy update 5: baby #2

How far along: 26 weeks (as of July 5)

Total weight gain:16 pounds, as of my last prenatal appointment, which was at 24 weeks. I'm guessing it's actually more by now, but let's just go with 16. Ha.

Maternity clothes: same as before, except Joel's mom bought me a new cute shirt and some AWESOME denim shorts. Loving them both in this hot summer weather!

Pregnancy symptoms: heartburn, back aches, and exhaustion (though of course that could be related to the summer heat, or moving across country, or chasing around a toddler, or waking up with a toddler at the butt crack of dawn...)

Thoughts: Gosh, I'm tired. Was I this tired last time? Is the baby fine in there? Wow, he is strong. What will Charlotte think of him? How will we manage two children? Will they grow up to be friends? I wonder how labor will be this time. I wonder if I'm up to the task of raising a boy. What a privilege to have another healthy pregnancy. Oh my gosh, am I ever tired. 

Dear Charlotte 16; road trip

Dear Charlotte, 

Last Wednesday we drove away from the first house you ever called home. We spent ten hours in the car going to visit your uncle in Ohio, and then six more hours (two days later) getting to Michigan. We've gotten some great play time in already, and a lot of memories are being made. 

I never want to forget your little voice calling, "Momma!! Momma!!",  whenever I walk downstairs without you. I never want to forget your look of pure joy as you splash in the tub or dump water onto yourself with a plastic cup. I never want to forget how carefully your Dada held you as you ran into Lake Michigan, or the way you squealed as the tiny waves rolled over your legs. 

I never want to forget how many baby food pouches you have consumed in the last month [okay, actually, I do kind of want to forget that...]. I never want to forget how much you grew and how many words you learned and how many adventures we had at highway service plazas. 

This is a hard season, little worm. It was a sad transition to leave our home, and it's tricky to maintain a positive outlook as we travel across the country. 

But you, my daughter, you are an absolute delight. 

I LOVE spending time with you and playing with you and caring for you and talking to you. I love you so very much, my babe.