Monday, November 23, 2015

Letters to my Girls-Six Months

Dear Orth Ladies,

It will be Thanksgiving in 3 days and I haven't even done this month's post. This shows just how crazy busy this month has been!

To Lorelei: Are you 4 yet? Because really, I've had enough of this "Threenager" nonsense. Every day you're pushing limits, seeing how far you can go and what you can get away with. Basically, driving your poor mom crazy! Side note-you're working on your pronouns and it is hilarious. You keep switching "her" and "she". As in: "her no want the cookie" and "that is she's milk". I try to repeat with the correct pronouns, but listening to you is so funny!

To Amelia: aka Miss Grabby Fingers. You are awake so much more now, which is fun, but boy do you want to grab everything! The doctor gave us the okay to start introducing solids, which you currently have no interest in. But boy do you love the kitchen table. And spoons. And the dogs. And everything that is not actually food! Also--you are sleeping through the night! In your own crib! Woot woot!

Mom and Dad

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Letters to My Girls-Five Months

Dear Orth Ladies,

Another month just passed in the blink of an eye! It seems like just yesterday it was summer and now it's October! We just keep trucking, negotiating our way though the next day and disaster! This month we have been dealing with ant invasions, mouse invasions and a broken dishwasher! Oh my!

To Lorelei: You have become a fantastic hiker! Really! Over the last month, we went on three different three to four mile hikes and you have come through it like a pro! You love to explore, draw in the dirt and look for rocks, leaves (and mermaids, if we are on the water!) Our newest favorite hike is to Mori Point. We eat lunch in the back of the Explorer, then walk one of the dogs out along the boardwalk or up the hill to the point. Either way, the view is fantastic!

To Amelia: You just want to be held. All. The. Time. You are such a happy girl, as long as you are being held. Otherwise, all bets are off. We've successfully transitioned you to the Pack and Play (more or less), but you hate napping in it and really hate being alone. You seem happiest strapped to mommy's back! You are so much more aware now--always looking around. You can't sit up or roll over yet, but you are on your way!

A few extra pics from this month's photo session:


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Letters to My Girls: Four Months

Dear Orth Ladies,

It's been a crazy, busy month. Preschool has started and we've been enjoying the last bits of summer, with lots of trips to the park, the beach, the zoo and even a family trip to Gilroy Gardens and apple picking at Gizdich ranch. We finally got a new car--mama's little car just wasn't cutting it anymore. Now we've got a nice big Ford Explorer with enough room to haul two girls, two dogs and all our stuff to Grandma's house! In more exciting news, the quail have hatched. We started with 24 eggs, 14 hatched and we lost two, So  now we have 12 balls of feathers and fluff living in Amelia's room for a few weeks!

To Lorelei:
You have been giving us emotional whiplash these days! You can sit for hours playing with your sticker books, princesses and doll house. Then you turn around and are the clingiest little girl, needing tons of cuddles and holding on to our legs, refusing to let go! I hear a lot of "Mother! I NEED you!" Not going to lie, it is exhausting!

To Amelia:
You are bundle of smiles. A smile machine, as it were. While your sister was stingy with her smiles--you really had to work for them--you give grins to everyone who looks your way! You are getting more into a routine. You take three naps a day: morning, afternoon and evening, then you sleep at night. You are ALMOST sleeping through the night. Although, you have absolutely no interest in moving out of the bassinet. I keep trying to introduce you to the Pack and Play and crib and you do not like them at all. You have a bit of a cold, so I'm going to try introducing them again when you aren't so congested.

We love you bunches,
Mom and Dad

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Letters to my Girls-3 MONTHS

Dear Orth Ladies,

We just keep on doing. Just as we get into a routine, it changes! Mama's back to work and Lorelei is back at preschool! Working in the PJCC garden is great, but I also feel a bit like I'm running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. Trying to get the garden back in shape, making schedules for the preschool classes, planning volunteer's a lot of work! Especially when I only had two to three hours three days a week to do it. Now that preschool has started, I get a solid four hours, which should be great.

And because we don't have any other projects going on right now, we've also decided to expand our about 20 to 24! We bit the bullet and decided to raise a flock of quail. We've been talking about it for a year now and we are all very excited.Well, Amelia doesn't really know what is going on, but the rest of us are excited! It's going to be a great first taste of responsibility for Lorelei. Her job will be to collect the eggs and check the food and water. Right now, we have 24 eggs in our incubator. Lorelei has been dutifully checking on her eggs every day, every day saying "my eggs hatch today?" It's super cute!

To Lorelei: I love you, but some days you make me CRAZY! We've been having a run of No Naps. This makes mama very sad, as I treasure that quiet time to eat a quiet lunch, get things done or take a nap myself. Normally, I just let you play quietly in your room for an hour or so. But today, during your quiet time, you peeled the paint from your bedroom door! What the heck, friend?! Most of the time you are this amazing, loving little girl though, so I'll take the occasional bouts of crazy!

To Amelia: Every month it feels like you are changing and growing more and more! You are awake and alert so much more these days and are meeting so many milestones. You hate tummy time, but you can push up on your arms to look around! You are discovering your hands and will just stare and analyze them for ages! You are also a Clingy McClingerpants! You always want to be held and fed and will fuss and fuss until you get your way. Speaking of which...I think you need to be fed again!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Letters to My Girls-2 Months

Dear Orth Ladies,
Our lives seem to be growing and changing every day since Amelia joined our little crew. I wasn't planning on returning to work after Amelia was born. In fact, the plan was that I would stay home, pull Lorelei out of preschool and homeschool, and rent out the guest room to make up the difference. But as I said, things keep changing. I was offered a position as the garden manager and preschool garden teacher, which I could do while Lorelei is in preschool. When I am just doing the gardening, I would be able to keep Amelia with me--strapped to my back--and in J-Care while I'm actually teaching. The cost of this--minus the cost of preschool--would equal the amount that a renter would bring in. Basically, I would get everything I wanted: still working a bit, Lorelei could still be in preschool, I can keep Amelia with me, and we don't have to rent out a room (and I'd get my office/sewing nook back!) Win win win!

To Lorelei: We seem to have fallen into a groove this month. It was hard at first, really hard, but you are enjoying the activities I have planned for us. Every day, you ask me where we are going today! You're getting more used to having your sister around and have even changed your opinion of the dogs. While before, you never wanted them near you, they are now your best buddies. You love to pet them, chase them and have them join you in your bed at night!

To Amelia: You are growing so fast! Stop it! But not really. It's so fun to see you develop. You are great at holding your head up and love sitting up with help from us. You are even trying to stand up--your legs are so strong! You are going to be an early walker for sure!

Love you both bunches!

Mom and Dad

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Letters to My Girls-1 Month

Dear Orth Ladies,

You have been sisters for over a month now. It seems incredible, but it's true! It's been amazing watching your relationship--granted, Amelia isn't contributing much yet, but we've been loving watching you learn and grow, Lorelei! As for your dad and I, we are learning and growing, too. We've really started seeing what's important. Not in some sort of metaphysical "important," more like "what is necessary to get through the day". Mostly, it's a question of how much something is worth to us. Is it worth it to buckle both kids in the car, get where we are going, unbuckle them, put Amelia up in her wrap, and wrangle Lorelei (and at least one My Little Pony) to get something. Which is why mommy is still out of rock sugar for my tea and coffee, coarse ground pepper, and translucent makeup powder.

To Lorelei: Big Sister-hood has not been the easiest transition for you (which has made it more challenging for your mom and dad!) You love your new sister, it's obvious, and you want to hold her and kiss her and play with her. Unfortunately, you also have had to deal with not being the center of attention any more. You show this with being more aggressive with the dogs--either chasing them, or hitting, kicking and throwing things at them--and being more defiant with mom and dad. There has been A LOT of time out time. You especially want more Mama Time. I've been working hard on having Lorelei and Mommy time--doing activities together, like baking treats, doing projects and just cuddling.

To Amelia: We are still getting to know just who you are, but let me tell you, it was love at first sight! At first, we thought you look just like your sister, but you've been working to show us how different you are! Physically, you are looking more like your mama with a rounder face, delicate features and more chunk to your body. Personality-wise, you hate to be left alone. While Lorelei was happy to sit in her swing for hours, you will only tolerate it for about thirty minutes, before you want to be held again. While it's difficult to get things done, there is something so amazing about cuddling with a warm, soft baby!

We love you to pieces, our two best girls!
Mom and Dad

Monday, May 11, 2015

Letters to Amelia--Your First Week

Dear Amelia,

Today, you are three days old, and you have been home for more than two of those days. It's strange and surreal actually having you here, instead of in my tummy. I was going through my calendar and saw that I have a prenatal appointment scheduled in two days. Guess that's what happens when you show up a week early!

You remind me so much of your sister at times and other times, not at all. I remember being so NERVOUS those first weeks with your sister. We were co-sleeping, since that was the only way she would sleep, and I kept reading so many contradicting opinions about why we should/shouldn't co-sleep. Then I was worried about whether she was eating enough, whether I was making enough milk, blah blah blah. With you, we've had to hit the ground running. We're co-sleeping again--since, like your sister, you won't sleep any other way (except of course for the middle of the afternoon, when you will sleep in your swing just fine. What's that about?)--but this time, I'm not terrified I will roll over and smother you. You're nursing like gangbusters--pretty much whenever you aren't sleeping you're nursing. Mostly though, we're figuring out how to balance taking care of and bonding with you and being there and not letting your sister feel left out or neglected.

While we are still learning all about you, there are a few things we've discovered that, of course, melt our heart:
-you have long, long fingers and toes, just like your daddy
-you absolutely hate being cold. It's May and we've had you in a long sleeve onesie and socks, with a pair of pajamas over those!
-when you sleep and right when you wake up, you make the mouse-y squeaky noises that are just too cute.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Amelia Margaret, the Day You Were Born

Well, I always had the feeling that our little bean was never going to wait until May 15th. Just like her sister before her, she was eager and ready to see the world!

The day started normally enough. I knew it was going to be a busy one. It was a Thursday, so I was up early moving the car (fie on those street cleaning mornings!) And then I was cleaning the house. Just a bit of sweeping and organizing, since we were going to be visiting with Brian's Grandma Lou and Great Grandma Ellie that afternoon. Lorelei and I hit the farmer's market, then headed down to Foster City for a prenatal massage. It was a full hour of heaven. I may or may not have fallen asleep for part of it! The night before had been rough. Miss Amelia had kept me up kicking until about 1 am, and I woke at 6 to move the car. We got home with enough time for Lorelei to take a short nap before our guests arrived.

Much to our surprise, it wasn't just BeeBee, Grandma Lou and Aunt Ellie, but Melissa, Logi and Edson as well! Suddenly, our house was filled with toddlers running around and causing mayhem and a whole bunch of us adults there to watch them do it! It was as if someone was looking down on me and saying "Are you ready for this!?!"

That night, after dinner, I wasn't feeling too awesome. I chalked it up to a long day, and a lot of french fries (we took the kids to The Habit for dinner). So I went to bed with the plan to wake up, take Lorelei to school, go swimming and finish up some work I had to do. Clearly, Amelia had a different plan.

I woke up at 1 am feeling like I had to pee. I got up and peed on the floor. Not normal. I went to the bathroom, cleaned up the bedroom floor and walked around a bit. No contractions. So I went back to bed. About 20 minutes later, the same thing happened. Had to pee and dripped all over the floor. Now while my bladder control hasn't been fantastic lately, that is not my normal thing. But still no contractions. So I put on my robe and walked around a bit more. Packed Lorelei's lunch. Emptied the dishwasher. Folded some clothes. And then the contractions started. I called in to Kaiser and they wanted us to head in. So...I called in the team!

Mom hopped in the car and headed in from Sacramento to be with Lorelei. Bonnie hopped in an Uber to join us at the hospital. Albert knew he was on call for Lorelei in case she woke up. We let Lorelei know that we were going to the hospital because the baby was ready to come, and we were on our way.

By the time we got to the hospital and got ourselves all checked in to our room, it was almost 4:30 am. I'd been in labor for about three and a half hours, and the contractions were very manageable. Just breathe through them. Since I had GBS, I needed to have an IV and antibiotics right away. They plugged me in (after considerable effort, I might add. They had to put the IV into the top of my hand instead of my arm, which was uncomfortable at best.) Then they hooked me up to the fetal monitoring. We had requested intermittent fetal monitoring--which means two very different things to us and the hospital staff. To them, intermittent fetal monitoring means 20 minutes on, 40 minutes off. During which I needed to be lying down. Not ideal for laboring. Anyway, the point was moot, since I also needed to be in the bed to get the antibiotics which would take an hour to administer the first dose. Brian and Bonnie stretched out on the pull out couch, and we all fell asleep for about two hours.

We woke around 8, and we all had some snacks. The nurse came in and disconnected me, which was great because A) I had to pee, and B) the contractions were getting stronger and I really wanted to be out of the bed. Over the course of the next few hours, the contractions went from every 5 minutes to almost on top of each other. I labored on my yoga ball and I labored while hanging on to Brian, with Bonnie rubbing my back (which was awesome). I really wanted to get in the shower, but just as we were about to do that, the nurse came back in for more fetal monitoring and my next dose of antibiotics--which was only supposed to take 30 minutes.

Those were the longest 30 minutes ever.

By the time I was done with the antibiotics, I was swearing and I felt like I was frothing at the mouth. I needed to get OFF the IV and I needed to get OFF the monitoring. Luckily my midwife (who was fantastic) told them to get me off of them and to use the biometric monitoring instead--which we had requested initially, a request which had been ignored by the first nurse. I was ready to get in the shower, when I felt like I needed to push. Somewhere amid the grunting and the swearing, I found the serenity to calmly state "I would like to be checked. I feel like I need to push." My midwife came in, took a look and said (against our request to not let me know how far along I was ) "You're at a 9, but the cervix is really soft. Listen to your body and push if you need to." Then she told the nurse to get everyone in the room. Now.

And so...I pushed. I was on the very edge of the bed on my side, clinging to Brian's neck and grabbing him for every contraction and every push. It was hard and it hurt. And I wanted to be DONE. Since Brian was occupied supporting the rest of me, Bonnie grabbed my leg and held it high (and pretty much got a front row seat for the rest of the show). After two rounds of pushing I heard them say "she's crowning" and I reached down and felt the head. Knowing I was so close, I pushed as hard as I could and I was finally done! All said and done, it took 9 hours. It was 10:15 am. She weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces, and was 21 inches long.

They put Amelia on my tummy and with the help of our midwife and the nurse, the cord was clamped and cut (by Brian) and I pushed the placenta out. I don't really remember that hurting as much as it did!

We were transferred to the Mother and Baby rooms and had visits from Grandma Chris and Lorelei, Poppy Jeff, BeeBee and even Auntie Mel, Logan and Edson! My required food of choice for admission: a Lobster Roll from the Lobster Shack across the street. After 9 hours of labor, it was the MOST delicious thing ever! They even tossed in a free pink strawberry soda, when they heard that I had just given birth to a baby girl!

The next step--and probably the most difficult one, outside of actually giving birth--was getting out of the hospital! While our midwife was fine with us leaving after 6 to 8 hours, the pediatrician on staff...not so much. She wanted to observe Amelia for the next 15 hours. Hourly checks all night, uncomfortable beds, plus hospital food? No thanks. After many dire warnings about checking out AMA, and promises to come back in the morning for a pediatrician appointment (with OUR pediatrician) and the heel stick test, plus a full two hours to get all the paperwork done, and we were out of there!

Our first night was pretty fantastic. During the day, Amelia slept most of the time and wasn't too interested in nursing. When we got home, she continued to sleep. We set up the Rock and Play next to our bed, strapped Amelia into a swaddle and set the timer for 3 hours. Every 3 hours, I would get her up, nurse her, then strap her back in. I think I got more sleep that first night than I had for the entire two weeks before!

So far, Lorelei seems pretty enamored with her little sister. She wants to hold her all the time and loves singing to her. She's also a little jealous, which is natural. We're making sure to give her lots of mommy and daddy time, but it's still a lot of changes for her, which is hard...for everyone!

It was an amazing, long day and it is still a little surreal not to be pregnant any more!

Pictures from our first two days:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dear Small Fry--28 Weeks

Dear Small Fry,

Today is not any sort of prenatal milestone. In fact, I'm still not 100% exactly how many weeks pregnant I am. 28, I think. And such is the life, I gather, of the second child!

Today is the day when I realized that it's okay to take time for me...and then to actually do it. I mean, I KNOW it's okay for me to take time for myself, and in fact it's very important to do so. I've read the books, the articles, the blogs, etc. But knowing and doing are two VERY different things. Today, I took a 5 minute nap on my 10 minute break. It seems so simple, but I felt absolutely rejuvenated when I got up the vaguely uncomfortable couch in our staff office.

So far, this pregnancy has been harder than our first. And while it's easy to say "uh oh, signs of things to come" I don't really think so. I think that it is more that I have been pregnant in winter and have a ton of stuff and responsibility on my plate. Way more than with your sister. For instance, I can't just sleep until 9 every day. Heck, I can't sleep until 7:30--since I am usually getting up earlier to get your sister ready for preschool. I am pretty proud of myself though, your room is mostly done!

Things really are getting real though! We've scheduled our Meet the Midwives class at Kaiser, to see who we may be working with when you are born. I've also scheduled a sibling preparation class for your sister. It's exciting and terrifying all at once!

I'm now going to finish my evening taking time for myself by going to bed early. I finally don't feel terrible (it seems like the last two weeks has been the worst ever), but I really just want to lie down in my bed and be comfy. So that's what I'm going to do.

See you soon!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

3 Years Old!

Dear Lorelei,

Today, you are three years old. I find that an awe inspiring and terrifying idea. How did that happen so quickly??? It seems as if this year has gone by in a flash, yet you are so different from your two year old self that I remember so well. Your personality has definitely developed this year and you are very much your own person.

You are Adventurous.
Seriously. You are not afraid to try new things and you warm up to new people and situations really well. You adapted to school like no one's business and are even (dare I say it) very popular among your classmates. This totally throws me, since your dad and I weren't terribly popular in school. You are also physically adventurous--willing to climb to new heights and do things that terrify me! At the park last week, you mastered walking across a balancing bridge and even jumped off a three foot tall platform by yourself!

You are Opinionated.
There are things you like and things you very much do not like, and you are not afraid to let us know which is which! While this sounds like many three year olds, it makes us laugh. You do not like for us to sing or dance at the dinner table or in the car or while you are watching a movie. We need to dance in the living room, to specific music, at specific times (usually before bed, when you are supposed to be brushing your teeth). You also have very definite ideas about what to wear. You refuse to wear jeans or cords at all. Only leggings or tights. You want things to "match" but not in the way most people think of matching. Today, you wore your Frozen shirt with hearts on it with your coordinating black leggings with turquoise hearts and your black rain boots with hearts on them--they matched because they all had hearts. It was not okay, however, that Mommy was wearing a yellow sweater with my blue shirt and jeans. Mommy needed to wear a blue sweater.

You are Kind.
You are well loved by your classmates and teachers. You adore your cousin Logan (something which is mutual). You love giving hugs and kisses to everyone--even the dogs! You pushed down your friend Ruby at a playdate, just to give her an apology hug after. You are looking forward to being a big sister, and love practicing tucking your babies in, giving them bottles and changing their diapers.

You are so Grown Up.
You are mostly potty trained at this point. While you still have accidents--usually when you are too busy playing and having fun to bother stopping--they are few and far between. You have even been consistently waking up from naps dry and have even woken up a few mornings with a dry diaper! You want to read so badly--our bedtime story has become very challenging lately! You want to read me the story, nevermind that you can't actually read. It seems we have a nightly negotiation where Mommy reads the words and Lorelei turns the pages. I guess we may start being a little more proactive in teaching you your letters and sounds! You want to do everything yourself. You pick out your jammies and diapers at night, and put them on by yourself. You want to pick all of your clothes and shoes and do it all yourself, because you are a "Big Girl". But sometimes, you still want to be my baby.

We are very proud of the little person you are becoming. Happy Birthday to my Best Girl!