Monday, January 24, 2011

Big fun, big ick, and big girl work

Well, the long holiday weekend was a busy one for us.

On Friday we met with Sophie and Emily's cousins CJ and Madee for an awesome trip to The Franklin Institute where Sophie conquered her fear of the giant heart and actually went through it (though came out with Judi holding her but STILL big progress, right?). On Saturday Jim and I took the girls to the Academy of Natural Sciences for an awesome family time viewing the dinosaurs and walking through the amazing butterfly exhibit. Emily LOVED LOVED LOVED it! She made the funniest sounds when in the live butterfly exhibit. Even the staff were looking at her funny because they had never seen such an animated or enthusiastic reaction to it! She sort of made this guttural grunting that reached ever higher ever time she looked in a new direction. I think she was just overwhelmed by the flowers and the misty water and all the beauitful butterflies flying around. If you haven't seen the exhibit, it truly is something not to be missed! Sophie, of course, didn't really love it so much. She was nervous about how loud it was and probably by how crowded it was. I remember taking her last year and she was basically the same way. She wanted to leave way before I did (I could stay in there forever). But it was a fun trip overall and the fun didn't stop there. On Monday, I took the girls to meet up with a friend from work and her daughter that I hadn't seen in a long time who were off because of the MLK holiday. Well, guess what??? We weren't the only ones with the idea to go to The Little Treehouse in Chestnut Hill for some hands-on kid fun. Sophie absolutely loved it there, crowds and all. And, it was really wonderful but I think I don't need to go back for a while and DEFINITELY not on a major holiday in winter where everyone else is looking for fun things to do indoors with kids.

And, of course, after all that fun and exposure to any multitude of germs and icks, I started hacking on Tuesday night. Got a little worse on Wed. Got really bad on Thurs. And, by Friday I was a trainwreck. I was driving around with the girls, stopping when they fell asleep so I could snooze for a few minutes and then waking up when they woke up to keep driving until they fell asleep again. I took the girls to the grocery store and pushed them through the store while in four layers of heavy sweaters and clothes and yet still shivering and shaking from chills. When Jim came home a little early for me Friday night so I could go to bed, I gratefully took him up on the offer and went straight upstairs and didn't move for a few hours. Stupidly, on Saturday I felt a little better so I (wait for it....) went to the King of Prussia Mall with Jim and the girls to kill some time. Brilliant idea, huh? Well, I paid the price for that and by the time I got home from our mall adventure I felt like death warmed over again. Yesterday was also bad and thankfully Jim packed up the girls and took a road trip out to Pottstown to do some visiting so I could rest some more. This was very helpful and I slept most of the afternoon which had to do me some good. Today, so far, I feel better. Let's hope that trend continues and I pray that the girls don't get it. (Poor Jim already had it a week or two ago himself.)

So, here we are starting a new week. Already the end of January. Things are in such disarray around here you wouldn't believe it. I was behind before the big ick hit and now it's even worse. I haven't put up our new 2011 calendar. The laundry piles are now bigger than our bed. There is laundry in the washer that hasn't moved in, I don't know, days. Jim is exhausted from all the extra childcare duty he's willingly been taking on and now has to go back to work. But, look... aren't these girls too cute for words? Yes, they're mine and I'm bragging but give me that, will ya?

In "other" news, Sophie is doing a really great job using the potty. She wears big girl panties almost all the time that we are home except for her nap and at nighttime. She tells us when she needs to use the potty (mostly) and she sits on it and does her "thing" and then we flush, wash and jump around like maniacs and then get a treat. Next step will be to transition from the nap/bedtime to panties and to get her wearing panties to school and out and about. I wasn't sure I was ready for that next step yet but maybe in the coming days we'll start working on that, too. We are so very proud of her and all the big girl work she is going!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2011 is a big year so far!

Wow. So much has happened in the last two weeks since I haven't posted that I hardly know where to begin. Well, let's start with Emily. Emily had been getting up many many times throughout the night for several months now. It was pretty awful. Jim and I would take turns being up with her and usually the person on duty got absolutely zero sleep and was pretty frazzled the next day. So basically for months we have been walking zombies always trying to catch up on the nights we were "off duty" but sometimes feeling even worse (because after a while it's just impossible to feel anything resembling human or functioning). Now before you think we're sleep wussies here (and maybe you still will, who knows) we would put Emily to bed between 7-7:30pm and she would be up at 10pm, 11pm, 12am, 2am, 3am, 4am and then up for day at like 5am. I mean seriously. It was insanity. So it turns out we were making one humongous mistake. We would feed her. We thought she was waking up because she was hungry. We thought we needed to shove a bottle in her mouth and that she kept waking up because she needed to eat. Well, after months of this and having it get worse and not better we finally decided enough is enough. We started "sleep training" her which essentially meant that we were both resolved to not feed her and let her cry, although while trying to soothe her and comfort her and let her know we were there for her, all night long if needed. The very first night, we comforted her and she was not real happy but she slept a bit more and did not get up every single hour to eat. The second night of it she only woke up once all night long. And, since then she now only wakes up once (around 4-4:30am) to eat. Jim can get her back to sleep after that feeding but so far I can't so it still is tough to get up that early with her but man, what an incredible difference to actually get a solid stretch of sleep between 10-4am!!! It's made a ginormous difference in our world! So, yay emily and yay us!! PROGRESS!!!

Emily is also trying to master the art of standing up by herself. She will hold onto something (an ottoman, her music table, whatever) and then let go with one hand and slowly try to let go with the other. A few times she has balanced herself without leaning on anything. It's been a fascinating process to watch her go from crawling (back in November when Grammy was here) to pulling herself up, to balancing and trying to let go. I feel pretty sure this kid will be walking by 9 months if not sooner!

As for diet, Emily is eating like a champ. This morning she had cheerios, banana pieces and yogurt for breakfast! And, just within the last week we have seen her pincer grasp develop. She is also eating sweet potatoes, pears, and apples and puffs. And occasionally we have given her a roll or a mini-bagel to chew on which she seems to really love! Emily also sat in a highchair out at a restaurant last weekend and did really well with it. She has been sitting in a high chair at home for a few weeks now but that was the first she'd done it out so we are excited by the possibilities that opens up for this family that loves to go out to eat!

Now Sophie is also going through some monumental changes herself. I was going to start Sophie on Potty Boot Camp next week but of course, because she is ALWAYS one step ahead of me, Sophie asked me if she could use the potty and wear big girl panties this week. It was out of the blue and she hasn't wanted to sit on the potty in a long, long time so I had to run with it and we officially started potty training that day. She had about 5-6 outfit changes - all before even going to school that morning but all in all she did really really well. Of course, there have been accidents but there have also been many successes. She loves the thrill of triumph and of course the maniacal jumping up and down and screaming and parading and many treats that happen with each successful use of the potty. We haven't let her leave the house without a diaper on and we're not ready to do bedtime without a diaper but I'm hoping by next week we will start down that path too. The princess finally decided SHE was ready and we couldn't be happier. It's just too cute to see her little bummy in the big girl panties with no diaper bulge anymore. What a big girl!!!!

Sophie just seems to have changed so much in the last few weeks. She kind of had been going through a very emotionally turbulent time there for a few weeks. Now, I'm wondering if she was making this big developmental leap because truly she seems to have matured or something in the past few days and the fact that she wanted to start using her potty and wear big girl panties is well, HUGE, right?

So anyway, that's what's been going on here. We're sleep training and potty training and it's exciting and crazy and wonderful and exhausting all at once. Yay!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Years

Ok, so you get a two-fer tonight! Here are some photos from our time at the truly awesome Free at the Kimmel Center event for families that we took Sophie and Emily to on New Year's Day. It was a beautiful location with free walking entertainment, balloon animals, face painting, music and more. PLUS, you could get an amazing view of the famous Philadelphia Mummers parade while staying nice and warm inside.

Sophie, despite a rocky start and some pretty intensely moody toddler behavior on New Year's Day, LOVED it. She had a blast just walking around the Kimmel, swirling her cape, rocking out to the free music, and going to see the inside of the main theater where the Philadelphia Orchestra plays. She truly was in heaven - just loving it there. She walked around like she owned the place and definitely did not want to leave. It was a great time and we'll surely do it again if they offer it next year. What a great way to kick-off the new year with the girls!

More Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas everyone! Yes, I'm waaaay behind on posting the rest of the Christmas photos. AGAIN. I won't bore you with more blogger woes but look at this funky thing that blogger has done to my photos THIS time. But I just can't take the time to try and re-post them differently so here they are. Some more Christmas 2010 photos for ya....

Christmas was very lovely. Despite my efforts at getting the shopping done relatively early, I was still finishing up a lot (wrapping, more shopping, baking, assembling photo gifts, etc) down to the wire but mostly it all got done. Turns out Jim ended up having off the 23rd and the 24th so we got some extra time together to prep for the holidays and our big feast at our house on Christmas Day. We also got to head downtown to Macy's for the annual Oxenford lightshow tradition (something we weren't sure we were going to get to do this year) which was really nice. Then Christmas Eve we headed over to Dee Ree and Pop Pop's as is our usual tradition. Unfortunately, our girls just can't seem to make it up late enough to see their aunts and uncles and cousins sadly but we had a nice visit with Dee Ree and Pop Pop before heading home to get the girls asleep for Santa's big arrival. Christmas Day we had about 20 family members here for dinner at our house. It all was very nice and wonderful to see family and spend time together. Then, we have had the week together (with Jim off from work) to try and recover and have a few more fun family outings. We got to go to the Aquarium and to the Mummers Parade and Free Family event at the Kimmel Center plus a trip out to our favorite smorgasboard and Amish shopping mecca - Shady Maple - with Jim's family. We got to have skype calls with Grandma and Grandpa MacDougall and also with Sophie's friend Kiera from California. And, Jim and I even managed to get an impromptu date night when Dee Ree graciously offered to watch the girls for us one night. Yes, there were some major tantrums (food throwing, juice dumping, scream fests). Yes, Emily was a screaming banshee. A lot. Yes, we are exhausted from waking up with Emmy. But all told it was a really great week and I'm so thankful to my darling husband for taking the week off from work so we could have this time at the holidays together as a family.

Macy's holiday lightshow

Sohie's letter to Santa. Whenever we asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she always said "A Purple Lollipop"

Sophie mailing her letter to Santa