Monday, February 28, 2011

Where There's a Will, There's a Way

Katie Anne is a super-duper big sister.  We really could not ask for her to be any sweeter or more in love with SJ than she is.  She loves to play with him, read to him, and show him things - she's got the sweetest little voice when she talks to him, and I love to watch them together.  

Katie Anne's constantly trying to teach him things like his colors, numbers, letters, or the names of things ... today, she was coaching him to name all the vegetables and fruit in her play food set.  He'll probably be a genius - or totally burnout on learning by the time he reaches kindergarten - because she loves to hold things up, name them, and say, "Can you say that?  Can you say that, SJ?"  She loves to play with him, too.  Even though he can't participate too much yet, Katie Anne tries hard to involve him in her playtime.  Here's a picture of SJ enjoying a delicious dinner of wooden food that Katie Anne prepared and served him:

 Katie Anne is a big help to us in taking care of SJ, too.  She will sit beside him wherever he is - Exersaucer, high chair, on the floor - and retrieve the toys he throws over ... and over ... and over without complaint.  She even congratulates him for getting better at throwing things while she fetches what he's tossed over.  So far, knock on wood - I've never seen her get tired of handing him back what he's thrown once.  Godsend

She has a lot of patience with him, especially when he cries - she sings to him so sweetly and strokes his arm when he's upset.  She is a lifesaver in the morning - she entertains him on our bed with all his toys while we get ready for work and never complains about it.  Keeping Katie Anne entertained when we were getting ready for work was so tough when she was a baby - who knew a big sister's constant attention was the answer to keeping baby happy all morning long?

Sometimes, she does bonk him on the head or pull on him too roughly, but it is always out of a good intention like wanting to show him something, give him something, take away something from him that she's deemed dangerous (and that's most of the things in the world, unfortunately for SJ), or kiss him, hug him, or generally love on him too much.  As evidenced by his face in this series of pictures, SJ doesn't always appreciate the love - but 99% of the time, he's just thrilled about all the attention and adores her more than anyone else he knows.


 However, there is one area of SJ care that Katie Anne cannot do at all, and it frustrates her to no end.  It has driven her crazy since the minute he was born, and it still is a puzzle she wants to solve.  The problem is - Why can't she carry SJ around?  She would love nothing more than to hoist SJ up on her hip and walk all over the world with him.  Of course, since he weighs about half what she does, that is not possible.  She's been earnestly working on a solution, and she's yet to figure out a way that she can really do it.  But, where there's a (strong) will, there's a way, and she did find a little fake-out way to pretend to be holding him.  Now she loves to do this all ... the ... time!

She sits on the bed, pulls SJ over to her side, and puts his arms and legs around her like she's holding him on her hip.  Then, she clutches him around his back (and occasionally around his head) and pretends that she's holding him by herself.   If this last picture doesn't show how excited she is to be hanging out with her little brother, I don't know what does!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Six Months Old!

Our little man is 6 months old today!  

I don't have much time for the computer these days ... two kids plus work and everything else along the way is keeping me so busy!  I'm currently about a week behind in my blogging.  I still take lots of pictures of the kids, and I try to sit down and do as many blog posts as I can at once so I can remember these times later.  It seems like every time I sit down to do a big upload/update to the blog, I've got to put another " -- Months Old!" post up for SJ.  I cannot believe he's halfway through his first year!  Babytime moves much faster the second time around!

In a way, I'm very excited to hit the six month mark with SJ ... that means we're halfway through with the insane expense, time, and trouble of formula, bottles, and babyfood.  I am also enjoying play time with SJ so much right now.  I also loved the time between 6 - 9 months when Katie Anne was a baby ... those three months were probably the easiest and most fun of her entire first year for me.  I love this stage of development - sitting up, playing with toys, babbling and being happy without the constant worrying that comes with crawling, pulling up, and taking care of a new walker.  Also, SJ recognizes all of us now, and he loves seeing us.  He's so happy when I walk into his room to get him up, or when he sees me across the room, or when I get to day care to pick him up.  Seeing his eyes light up when I come into his room to get him out of the crib makes me so happy every morning.  Many mornings, with a cranky husband and a cranky little girl (they're both so not morning people), SJ's happy face is the brightest spot in my morning routine.  I hope he keeps his morning person status so I can have a happy morning friend!  So, I'm loving it that SJ is in a really enjoyable stage.  Plus, the sleepless nights and constant care that a baby needs are starting to exhaust me.  At six months old, I am looking forward to SJ sleeping more and needing a little less.

However, knowing that this is (barring any surprises in the future) my last baby, I am also sad to see this mid-year milestone arrive - the beginning of the end of the baby stage.  Because I have KA to compare him to, I know how quickly this is going - I don't think I realized it with Katie Anne, but I am well-aware that time is zooming past this second time around.  At night, when I'm sitting with SJ in his room in the semi-dark without distractions, I try to very actively enjoy, take in, and remember the feeling of holding him.  As I sit there, giving him his bedtime bottle and watching him sliding into sleep, I am amazed by how big he already is - how much his face has changed in just a few months.  I know it will seem like no time before he's walking, talking, and wanting to do everything on his own just like his big sister.  Katie Anne doesn't want  - or need - very much help from us anymore, and I know SJ will be independent very soon, too.  Then, my days of holding a baby every day will be over.  So, as very tired as I am, I am trying to force my brain to lock the last of the baby days in my house into my memory.

At 6 Months...
SJ eats three square meals a day of baby food.  He's just moved up to Stage 2 foods, and he loves any food that isn't green.  He would eat fruits all day long if I would let him!  I let him try his first sippy cup today with water inside ... he enjoyed chewing on it, but I don't think he drank anything from it.  SJ takes about 5 bottles per day, between 6-8 oz each.  Unfortunately, he still doesn't hold his own bottle, although he tries!  If the bottle is almost empty or if he's got somewhere to prop it, he can hold it for a few seconds on his own, but that's it. 
*SJ is doing better about sleeping through the night.  He usually goes to sleep early around 6:30-7:00, wakes up around 9:00-10:00 for a bottle, and then sleeps for about a seven hour stretch.  That means he wakes up between 4:00-5:00 for a diaper change and bottle.  Then, he'll sleep another hour or two before he's up for the day.

*SJ is sitting up on his own, rolling both ways, and chewing on everything.  He loves to play with toys - especially a little orange vinyl dinosaur that's his absolute favorite.  His favorite activity is playing peek-a-boo with his burp cloth!  He loves to sit on the floor, surrounded by toys, and play for a long time.  It's time to put the Bebe Pod away because he's great at sitting up all on his own.  He enjoys his Exersaucer, too - but the swing is a no-go for him.  He still hates it.  He rolls and wriggles and army crawls all around his crib at night - we're about to have to remove the bumper because he's pulling it down and chewing on it.  He hasn't gotten any teeth yet, but he's definitely teething because he drools nonstop.  He loves to laugh and giggle - Katie Anne is by far the funniest person he knows.  He has a very pleasant personality and is a GREAT rider in the car - he likes to play with his playbar and little toys in his car seat. 

I don't think we take enough videos of SJ, so I made a long one of him today to try to catch some of his six month old self for posterity!

Katie Anne's First Field Trip

I can't believe how fast Katie Anne is growing up.  Really, really ... really growing up.  It is crazy - but it's true.  It just seems like Katie Anne's gone from a little girl to a big kid so quickly lately.  She's almost four years old ... she's sounding out words and writing her name ... I just signed her up for public school last week ... and she took her first field trip today!  That's right - Katie Anne is old enough for field trips, and she took her first one this morning to the fire station.  I wish I could've been there to see her and all her friends on their first field trip, but I don't have any leave time left for this year after my maternity leave.  Luckily, Saunders has flexibility in his work schedule, so he was able to be there.  He met her class at the fire station and got lots of cute pictures of her and her friends on their big outing!  She had an amazing time and learned a lot about community helpers, fire trucks, ambulances - and the loud sirens!

Here she comes!

Rockin' her cute new haircut at the fire station:

Look at that cute kid!

Getting ready for the big moment - hearing the siren!

The siren definitely made the biggest impact on her - it was all she wanted to talk about when she got home!

Listening carefully to the lesson in the fire truck:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Katie Anne's New Haircut

For a few months now, we've been saying that Katie Anne's hair needs a trim.  I like her hair long (even though Saunders does not), and it looked really good as it grew out.  However, it started to get stringy and was in need of some dead end removal.  Unfortunately, this has been met with some serious resistance from Katie Anne ... in her words, "No one cuts my beautiful hair!"  Just the thought of trimming her hair has brought her to the brink of a serious depression multiple times.  So, we've kind of chickened out and avoided the battle with her, and let it get way too long ... and dry and crusty.

Actually, this bad parenting and laziness has turned out to work in our favor.  The split ends make for lots of tangles, and there's nothing Katie Anne hates more than brushing out tangles.  So, every time she's been complaining and crying about the tangles, I've told her that a trim would solve all those problems.  Today, she decided today to take me up on the offer!  We jumped on the willingness to get her hair cut with both feet, and I took her (and SJ, too - who spent the whole time in the Baby Bjorn as happy as a clam) to the nearest quickie haircut place to get that hair cut!

Here's the before shot...
Cute ... but definitely in need of some trimming!
During the haircut...
 I couldn't believe she was so happy and easygoing about it!
 Looking much healthier already...
The finished trim!

She loves her new style - thank goodness!
She also loves Capri Suns, which she almost never gets.  But, after a successful haircut, why not indulge a little with a sugary beverage?
I can't decide if she looks more grown-up or more like herself a year ago with the new style ... but it's totally cute either way!
And, by the way, I was totally right ... the trim has eliminated the daily tangle battle.  So, that's a win-win for everyone!

Growing Up - Sitting Up!

Over the weekend, SJ officially* mastered a major baby milestone - sitting up on his own!


*I say officially because SJ has been capable of sort of sitting up on his own for a couple of weeks, but he wasn't able to maintain his balance for longer than a minute or so.  Plus, he couldn't really do anything while sitting up... all his energy and strength was focused on sitting.  Now, he can sit up and "play with" his toys (aka grab, drop, grab again, bite, sling around, and throw toys haphazardly) for more than five minutes before he gets tired of sitting up on his own.  Katie Anne is loving this new milestone for SJ ... she loves to sit in front of him and pass him toys now that he can sit up!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Date Night

Happy Valentine's Day!
Katie Anne and her daddy had a Valentine's date night together tonight.  Doc's jazz band - The Etowah Jazz Society - had a concert tonight downtown at the Grand Theater.  We all thought about going as a family, but SJ doesn't have the stamina to last through a concert that starts at 7:00 pm after a long day at daycare.  So, Daddy and KA represented the family at the concert.  First, they went out to dinner together - Katie Anne wanted Okinawa, but it was packed.  So, they headed over to Cici's Pizza for KA's favorite - mac 'n cheese pizza - and playing lots of games.  Then, it was off to Chic-fil-A for Valentine's Icedreams.  After that, they headed to the concert.  Daddy reports that Katie Anne's behavior was amazing at the concert... she listened quietly and watched the entire show from start to finish - 1.5 hours!  Katie Anne reports that she really likes jazz, loved the pizza, and thinks the little dog that Daddy brought her home as a special Valentine treat is super cute (she named it Spot) ... but the best part of the evening was the Icedream.  :)

I had a pretty cute Valentine's date, too!
SJ and I just relaxed at home - enjoyed a big bowl of bananas and rice cereal (well, he enjoyed it!), watched an Oprah together, cleaned up the house, and went to bed early!  It was a very happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Surprises

The kids actually got their Valentines early this year!  SJ is just so exhausted after his day at daycare that he's usually falling asleep around the time that Saunders gets home from work, so I knew there was no way he'd really be awake enough to enjoy his Valentine's treats on Monday night.  So, we let the kids open their goodies on Sunday afternoon!
 Waiting for her goodies!
 Opening her treats!
 Katie Anne got two books that she'd really been wanting as well as a Tyrone (from The Backyardigans) stuffed animal - she told me that the Uniqua she got for Christmas needed a friend!
 SJ was excited about opening a gift for himself!
Look at that cheerful little Valentine!
SJ got a soft book, a teether toy, and one of those food nets things as his Valentine's treats!  He got the book confused with the teether and chewed instead of reading.  :)

My parents got Katie Anne and SJ a wonderful Valentine's surprise - a new Radio Flyer wagon!  It is awesome and will definitely come in handy for the beach, Kiddie Day Parade, and walking to the neighborhood playground!  Katie Anne loves riding in the wagon already!