Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I wasn't prepared...

...for the challenge of a life of raising two babies.  Even though my dad continually told me the quote, "One is like none at all...and two is like 100."  And I hate it that he's right. feel guilty about not being able to give enough attention to Elizabeth.  It kills me to not be able to pull her on my lap every time she asks. get excited about meat on sale at the grocery store and multiple coupon inserts in the Sunday paper. love my husband so much more today than on our wedding day. cry harder when I see my daughter missing her grandparents (Chris, you're included!) more than when I do. be surprised when there is an episode of Sesame Street I haven't seen. wish I had bought stock in paper towels, Kraft cheese and diapers...seems like we never have enough! find my 19 month old standing on the kitchen table this morning...awesome. feel so helpless in the middle of the night when one baby is nursing and the other baby is crying and your husband has to work the next day so you don't want to get him up. miss the many friends that helped us so much after Elizabeth was born and wish they could meet Rachel. feel so blessed and fulfilled every day that I'm home with my children.  Thank you, God!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A week with Grandma...and a little of this and that

Mom got to come down and spend her spring break in our calm and quiet household (ha!) and meet her newest granddaughter for the first time.  We had such a wonderful visit and, at week's end, I was crying like a baby (of course) and missing her like crazy.  Scott and I never cease to enjoy seeing our parents interact with our kids - there is just something about it that makes us miss being around family.  Rachel turned a month old on Thursday - is that hard to believe or what?!  Elizabeth is such the little mommy and has figured out how to open the wipes container and pull one out after another, regardless of my insisting that, "Those cost money, honey!!"  As soon as she gets up, she asks for the baby and precedes to run in her room to wake her up.  Yesterday, she really shocked me.  While running through the living room, she tripped over the bouncy chair and started screaming.  I was in the process of loading Rachel in her carrier (her LEAST favorite place to be) so she started screaming too.  When she heard Rachel, Elizabeth stopped, jumped up, and ran over to rock the carrier back and forth so the baby would stop crying.  I was so proud of my little girl.  I guess in the same breath, I could tell you about how she tried to bully her sister off my lap earlier that morning, but let's stick with the positive!

A trip to Target resulted in an Easter hat for Elizabeth.  It was a dollar in that front section.  That's also a book on potty training that I'm having her study.  An update on that soon...  Speaking of hats, for some reason, she likes to try to fit her bucket-head into Rachel's baby beanies.  Example:

We got Easter presents from Vegas:  teddy bears bigger than my children (thank you, Grammy)!  I think Elizabeth may like them one day, but as for today, she thinks the shipping box is awesome!

I think my husband is one of the best daddy's I know.  He gives both girls their baths every night and gets them ready for bed while I clean up the kitchen after dinner.  This particular night, we tried out some new pajamas that Amanda and Ben sent for Christmas.  Her last set of pj's tucked in, so he tried it with these...not exactly the most figure flattering on my daughter, especially with the spiked hair and fussy face!

Hello, pretty girl!

More comparisons...ERS on top, RLS on bottom.  And no, we are not torturing our children!

And again, ERS on top, RLS on bottom.  (Piggy outfit dedicated to Linda Tschappat!  We miss you!)

At what age is it not appropriate to have flowers on your rear end?   This picture tells it all with Rachel - we are forever trying to get the burp out!

"So you're saying there's a benefit to not crying?  I don't get fed if I just look pretty!"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday fun

We were perplexed at why the bouncy chair was on the fritz...and then I witnessed this display this morning.

I am just thankful that my baby wasn't in it at the time!  Have a great weekend!

The Great Outdoors...

So Spring has sprung in Tennessee!  Or at least it did yesterday.  We got up into the 60's with beautiful sunshine and the smell of warm weather on the wind.  It's weather like this that makes me miss coaching and being outside for a couple hours a day.  It was this optimistic outlook that I decided to take my two children outside in the backyard.
Our yard is a good size and fenced in.  (That made our search for a rental house difficult, but worth it.)  We back up to woods and there are a couple fruit trees and a storage shed.  It would be the perfect back yard if not for our two bumbling dogs, Tina and Butch.  They have worn paths through the grass where they run back and forth barking bloody-murder at cats, small children and the occasional baby bunny.  Tina at least seems to poop in a general area, making it easy for clean-up, but Butch goes exactly where the urge hits him, so there are landmines all over.  Scott is normally on the money with poop patrol, but it's been too cold to go outside, so we haven't worried about it.  Plus, we've been a little busy with this addition of a small and very demanding mouth to feed!

So knowing all this, and being drugged by the sunshine, I pulled on shoes and socks and hauled them outside (ow-sigh, as Elizabeth says).  As we entered the garage (which has a door to the yard), I realized that I didn't know how I was going to get the sleeping Rachel into the stroller while containing the ever-energetic and now very excited Elizabeth.  Looking back on it, I should have just closed the door, but I was in too good a mood to think clearly, so I trapped Elizabeth between my knees (so thankful my garage doesn't have windows) and strapped Rachel into the stroller.  And out we went.  
Almost immediately, Rachel woke up and started screaming and Elizabeth stepped in dog poop.  I tried pushing the stroller into the sun...scream.  Push the stroller back and forth gently...scream.  So I picked my baby up and followed a step behind my giggling (and running!) toddler.  She surveyed every square inch of the yard, picked up every leaf she found and handed it to me (yeaf!), and picked up every stick and handed it to the dogs.  (Butch took them all, you know, just in case they contained some sort of food.)  After 45 minutes of fun and trying to figure out if I should just throw my daughter in the bathtub with her clothes on, I announced that we were going to go in.  And that's when the fit started.

Of course, Rachel was starving, so she was screaming anyway and now Elizabeth went alto to her soprano wail.  My child has picked up this habit of making her legs go limp underneath her when she doesn't want to go where you want and drops to the grass like a sack of potatoes.  So I'm now dragging one crying child and carrying one screaming baby who is trying to gnaw my shoulder off and I am stuck with the dilema of going back in through the garage or going straight into the house from the deck.  I chose deck and proceed, all while promising to feed Rachel and give Elizabeth all the Cheerios she can eat when we get back in the house.  The deck offers its own temptation of dog water, and Elizabeth goes straight for the bowl and starts her screams anew as I grab her hand.  I kick off my shoes and pin my daughter between my knees again to get her shoes off (one handed, while still holding the baby) as I can only imagine the amount of dog poop accumulated on the bottoms.  I straighten up and reach for the knob...the door's locked.  I had locked the door.  Now I feel like crying.

So after getting our shoes back on, getting back down the steps and into the garage, I stripped my child down to her diaper and scrubbed her hands until they were pink.  I got Elizabeth some Cheerios in her "O's sippy" (this little container with a lid that's supposed to be spill-proof for toddler snacks...the biggest crock I have  ever purchased since she has found a way to dump out all the O's and just eat them off the floor) and collapsed into my rocker to nurse Rachel.

Day 1 of playing outside...done.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Scott's wisdom

I love it when Scott is able to sneak home for lunch with us.  I think we were most spoiled when we were at Gardner-Webb and lived about two miles from campus and could come home and have lunch together.  We've always said that we would like to live closer to where we work so we could enjoy that again.  But anyway, today Scott was close by for work so he stopped and had a sandwhich with me.  Elizabeth had already gone down for her nap so it was just the two of us and he was looking around our ramsacked living room while I fixed egg salad.  I hadn't gotten a chance to pick up the house yet and she had pulled down almost all her books to the floor, looking for the Elmo one to take with her to nap time.  He said, "I love it when I can see her path through the house, almost like the little boy on that cartoon strip, Family Circus."  

I had never thought of my messy house that way, but he was right.  There was a puzzle piece stuck in the corner of the couch and then the siloh was torn off the Fisher Price barn where she'd tried to pull it out onto the rug unsuccessfully.  Of course, you have the books, and then the B was laying in the middle of the rug, next to her shoes and a blanket she'd brought in from her room to lay down and watch her shows on.  The sippy was still on the foot stool, where she set it after she got a drink and the rocking chair was pulled out at an angle in order to reach the buttons for the baby swing.

The thought just made me smile today - the different perceptions of "mess."  He's always said that he didn't care if the house was a wreck when he got home from work because he could see what we'd done all day.  Maybe I care about those things too much - I know they are only this little once.  I pray for the ability to relax and just enjoy my time in the "circus."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mommy's little helper

I am amazed by how much Elizabeth impersonates me.  When she was in the church nursery the other day, she was playing in the play kitchen with a play cell phone propped on her shoulder.  ha!  That's how I cook dinner most nights.  She's really taken on the roll as mama's helper since the new baby has come.  Not to say she doesn't have her share of trying times...

Maybe it's my fault, for needing my house to be clean and picked up...I have really been trying not to let the little things drive me crazy.  This is an example of "Hurricane Elizabeth."  

And you thought Boppy's were just for nursing...I missed the picture of her watching tv, "surfing" on both arms.

Here, she has pulled out her (formerly) clean blanket and sheet out of her drawer.  She brings them in and lays down on top of them and pretends to snore.  Of course, I make snoring sounds with her.  This happens at least twice a day.

She has a slight obsession with her dirty clothes basket.  The other night, she brought her dirty clothes in the kitchen and threw them in the washing machine.  What a good helper!

Speaking of good helpers, that same night, Rachel was crying in her bouncy seat while I was finishing the dishes.  I hadn't gotten to her yet and Elizabeth came running in to see what was wrong.  She looked at Rachel, looked at me, and grabbed the burp cloth and flung it over her shoulder.  She then squared up in front of the chair and started reaching in to grab her sister.  I beat her to the punch and got Rachel and thanked her for caring about the baby...I think that may be one of those mental photographs I keep forever.  

Here is a shot of "little mommy" with her burp cloth.

She wants to see if Rachel wants a piece of the alphabet puzzle.  I guarantee you, it's the B.  Chris got her this wonderful toy that has a million pieces with little pegs on them that we've all stepped on.  Everytime Elizabeth comes in the room, she grabs it and dumps it on the floor, then fishes out the B, which she calls "D."  She runs up to me, "D!"  Holding the B out so I can have it.  "No honey, that's the B," I say.  "B," she answers.  Then runs with it to Rachel, "D!"  You can see why my husband isn't jumping at the chance for me to homeschool our kids...
I love this picture.  This expression is so Rachel.  "What in the world are you doing, kid?!"

Pinching pennies...

When Scott and I joined our bank accounts and started to talk about the financial part of our relationship, he let me be in charge of the checkbook.  I am anal about saving and keeping track of finances and he was trusting enough in my skills.  I've always felt blessed by this.  When we made the move to Nashville, it was a pure leap of faith for many reasons.  One of the most significant was that we were decreasing our household income by me staying home with the girls.  So I had to become tighter on the budget than ever. 

I have learned a lot about couponing and finding sales and stretching a dollar through this entire process.  But I admit it - I am cheap.  When our January electric bill came back to be $275, I almost croaked.  So I turned the house thermostat down low and put space heaters in all the rooms and only turned them on (to 65!) when we were actually using the room.  There is no colder feeling than to step out of the shower when your bathroom thermostat reads 59!!  And then to come out and see your husband on the couch...
I realized I was probably being a little ridiculous then and turned everything up a couple degrees.  Now this was all before the baby came, so please don't think I'm freezing out a newborn for the sake of saving a couple bucks.  Although I will say that we saved over $100 on February's electric bill by putting an extra blanket on the bed.

This being said, I have come to the conclusion that some things are worth paying full price for, even if I don't have a coupon or it isn't on sale...which is saying a lot for me.

1.    Name brand garbage bags with the odor blocker.  I bought generics the last time and they stink to high heaven.  Luckily, we average filling up about a bag a day right now, so they're not in there that long.  But still, they stink.  Never again.

2.     Dreft for a new baby.  There is just something about that smell of new baby clothes washed in Dreft.  We were given a bottle with Elizabeth (thanks Tammy!) and bought a bottle for Rachel.  After it's gone, her stuff will get tackled by All like the rest of ours.  But until then, she will smell like a baby.

3.     Speaking of smelling like a baby, Johnson's baby lotion.  I will not buy generic.  As long as my kids will let me slather them with the pink lotion, I will.  

4.     Crackers.  I don't know what's the difference between Ritz and the store brand, but they taste completely different.  Normally, I do have a coupon for these, but if I don't, I'll suck it up and buy the Ritz.  Same with goldfish...uh-na-na's, as my daughter calls them.

5.      Razors for my husband.  I can normally find a deal, but I made the mistake of buying him the cheapies one time and he got cut up with them. 

Keep adding to my list!  What will you not scrimp on?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Feeding time at the Shipman house

Rachel is 12 days old today and so far, I've been lucky in the fact that she has slept exactly one hour after Elizabeth wakes up in the morning.  And I am calling it luck because for some reason, as soon as my oldest daughter wakes up, she wants to eat.  "Et! Et!"  She calls for me as she tries to climb her way into the high chair.  And thus begins the mad dash to get something for her to eat while she enjoys her banana appetizer and Special Agent Oso (if you don't know him from the Disney Channel, consider yourself fortunate!).

This morning, I knew I was in trouble when I woke up to both children screaming...which was mostly my fault because my sleeping habits have gone back to heavy since having the baby.  So I change Rachel and strap her into the bouncy chair and then go get Elizabeth out of bed.  Now, my youngest thinks she is starving to death if she doesn't eat IMMEDIATELY when she gets that hunger urge, so she is in hysterics at this point.  I pour some coffee and sit down to nurse her.  And then it begins..."Et!  Et!"  I hear the music of sippy cup being banged against high chair.  My pleas of, "Just wait a minute, honey" are ignored and I hear her begin to scavenge.  "Get out of the trash," I yell from my position on the rocker.  "Et!"  Kitchen cabinets are opened and slammed.  Pots and pans are drug out on the floor.

And then my beautiful child walks in with something in her mouth.  "What are you eating?" I ask, trying not to overreact.  She is always finding crumbs or Cheerios and claiming them before my sweeper does.  She sticks out her tongue and there sits a lady bug.  I almost threw up.  I'm not sure what happened faster - me feeding Elizabeth breakfast or me sweeping the floor.  Is it just Tuesday??!! 

Monday, March 8, 2010

How do you blog with a 10-day-old?

My husband obviously found the sight of me typing with my sleeping baby humorous.  She gets quite needy at night and doesn't really want anyone who can't feed her continuously (i.e. me!).  So after she fell asleep, I hauled her (Boppy and all!) into the computer to update the blog.  Ah, it's the small victories!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tales from the first week

What an adventure, bringing baby Rachel home - and thank goodness for friends, family and a wonderful husband!  Allison was able to come down to be with Elizabeth when we were in the hospital and the house was still standing when we got back!  She left on Sunday and Chris came in her relief.  Even though I feel so much better physically than I did after Elizabeth's birth, it has been so wonderful to have them here to help.

  Chris and Rachel

Rachel is a good baby and shew, does she sleep!  We had a couple hard nights there before my milk came in but now she's fallen into a pretty good eat-and sleep-and poop pattern.  You forget about those little diaper surprises when your toddler is older.  Last night, we had just gotten her down and I brushed my teeth, climbed into bed next to my sleeping husband, rolled onto my stomach (THANK GOD!), took a deep sigh...and heard a small explosion come from the bassinet.  I got up and looked and my sweet (and now smelly) daughter was sound asleep and (I swear) smiling.  So I had to wake her up to one of the things she hates most...diaper changes. 

Daddy and the girls
Rachel, let me see that Pooh hat...

Elizabeth is a good big sister and is more interested in the baby's stuff than the baby.  She "helps" with diaper changes and will bring me everything she can reach...including the open vaseline jar...after she gives herself a facial...awesome.  She loves the baby swing and gives it big pushes every time she walks by.  Yesterday, she tried to swing her Dora ball and then her blocks.  I tried putting her baby doll in the swing, but that wasn't what she wanted in there.  I'm glad we found a spot where I can see the swing from the living room and kitchen and I'm also glad that the thing has straps, as I can see my baby getting launched by my 19 month old in the not so distant future. Chris is her new best friend, as she can play chase without tiring and will body slam her onto the couch at will.  Oh, things will be sad when it's time for her to go back home!

Playing on the mat for the first time.  Elizabeth is givng Rachel a ball to play with.

Suddenly NOT thrilled to be on the mat!

Someone wanted to take a picture...