My Dad

I am writing this post in honor of my dad who would have turned 66 this past Tuesday. It has been a month since his passing and as expected I sometimes find it hard to believe that I will never see him in this lifetime again. In reality even though I live in the same town as my parents in the past months (years?) I did not see my dad very regularly. Over the past seven years his health had been declining and he did not want his kids to see him in this failing state. He wanted us to remember him as he was: the fun, loveable dad who was always up for an adventure. Even though I did not see him frequently I still find myself thinking, “I wish I could ask dad about that,” or “I wonder if dad has heard about that.” Not having lost someone this close to me in a long time I’m not use to these thoughts but I am sure they will last for awhile, maybe even forever.

My dad was such a good father and I was daddy’s little girl all the way! I think if he could have he would have given me the moon!

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He wanted to give my brother and I the kind of life he could only have dreamed of. He liked to expose us to things that the “average” person wouldn’t have done like SCUBA diving and down hill skiing. This meant we took lots of trips to fun places like Cozumel, Colorado, Vancouver and many more places.

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We also took many many family vacations to Disney World. I have to admit when I traveled there a few years ago without my parents I really missed them! Disney World is connected to family in my mind. We had so many experiences there as a family and mad such good memories.

I know that dad had a hard time watching me grow up and he wanted me to stay his little girl forever. I remember when I was in 8th grade and I decided to redecorate my room AND got contacts within the same week. He was so sad that I was growing up!

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I know he would have really liked it if I had grown up to be an opera singer. When I was younger I felt like I had disappointed him by choosing a different path. I know that he was proud of me and that he just wanted me to use my gifts and talents.

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For all the important events in my life and even the not so important ones my dad was there with a video and a still camera in hand (or he hired someone like at my wedding!). I think I get my love of capturing life from him. He was so proud of everything I did.

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(I’m pretty sure this is a picture of us using a self timer on a camera he gave me).

I miss him so much! But the hardest part for me is knowing that my kids won’t have him as a grandpa. He would have been such an awesome grandpa!

It was hard for me to see him suffering both physically and emotionally with his medical problems. I could see in his eyes how sad he was that he couldn’t be the kind of grandpa he wanted to be. I find comfort in the fact that he is now at peace and I look forward to the day when I will be united with him again.

I will always love you daddy!

Photo: #throwbackthursday me and dad<br />
circa 1980. Miss you so much!” src=”<a href=https://scontent-b-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/t1.0-9/p600x600/1965011_10152250789103118_755023008_n.jpg&#8221; width=”551″ height=”551″>

Everly Laura 4 months

Well hello there!

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What oh what can I tell you about my sweet Everly? I feel like since the last time I wrote so much has changed! That’s what life with baby is all about, nothing ever seems to stay the same for long!

For one thing Miss Everly is still growing and growing! I had her in for her 4 month well check and she weighed in at 15lbs 12oz and was 26 inches long! She is completely in 3-6 month clothes and quickly growing out of them!

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Ha! Ha! Hunter’s butt photo bombed the picture!

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He just had to get in on these pictures!

Everly started daycare when she was 12 weeks old and so far it has been going really well! It took a few weeks but she eventually got comfortable taking a bottle. AND she started falling asleep on her own for naps! I have my child care provider to thank for that. Of course, since she is busy taking care of the other kids she can’t spend a TON of time rocking and soothing Everly to sleep and she certainly can’t nurse her to sleep like I like to Smile. So she puts her down awake but before she gets too tired and crabby. Sometimes she cries but my childcare provider doesn’t let her cry very long (5-10 minutes) before comforting her. I am not sure how long it takes her to fall asleep at daycare but when I do this at home she rarely cries for more than 5 minutes and NEVER for more than 10.Most of the time she doesn’t cry at all and just chatters away until she falls asleep (except for today when there has been far too much crying!) When it works  it’s AMAZING! It gives me a lot more time to spend with Hunter. However, her naps aren’t always very long. Sometimes if she wakes up early from a nap at home and Hunter is napping (or not napping!) I can nurse her back to sleep for a loooooooong nap. I could never have even imagined trying this with Hunter. Some might say it’s because he was my first baby but I honestly don’t think he was ready to put himself asleep until he was older. Everly has also been doing well at night. She usually sleeps between 6 and 8 hours wakes up to eat and then goes back to sleep for 2-4 hours. Of course we have our off days/nights but for the most part we are getting good sleep!

She is such a happy and easy going baby! Always full of smiles and “talking”

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She is getting so strong! She doesn’t mind tummy time and I’ve seen her flip from her tummy to back a few times. She is really trying to flip from back to tummy!

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She is reaching for everything and putting it in her mouth too. Our thrush is finally gone and the doctor said she is doing great!

Some things I feel I need to work on is getting her out of her swaddle (she’s starting to resist it) and getting her fully into the pack ‘n play and out of the rock n’ play which I still use at night or when I hope she’ll take a long nap.

She got to spend some time with her cousins and aunts and uncles at her brother’s birthday party and even got to wear a fun party outfit before she grew out of it!

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Uncle Mark can always put her to sleep!

I feel so lucky that God has blessed me with son AND a daughter. I love watching Everly go through all these infant changes that seem to happen so quickly. I sometimes feel like I don’t remember what Hunter was like at this age because I was SO TIRED. I am trying my best to soak in these days and make memories of even the littlest moments!

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Game Changers!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE bring a mom! Becoming a mom for the first time was AMAZING but also life changing. Becoming a mom for second time with my babies being less than two years apart was also a pretty dramatic change. It became very evident that there needed to be some adaptations made to our life to make this transition a little easier. Enter two “game changers” that I made to help make things just a little easier.

Number 1: I chopped my hair!

Before:

Before hair

After:

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I have pretty much had the same hair style for several years and just go in and have it trimmed every couple months. Now an then I would have a little more cut off than usual or once I tried bangs. I have REALLY thick heavy hair. With the longer cut it looked ok if I let it air dry but with this cold winter there was no way I was going to sit around or go out with a wet head BUT it took me FORVER to blow dry all that hair. I know a lot of moms pull their hair back into a pony tail but I couldn’t do that because of the weight of my hair I would get headaches. This was often really annoying in the summer when I wanted to stay cool. I just didn’t have time to deal with it. I looked up some pictures of shorter hair cuts and brought them in to a new to me salon (The Orange Pearl)  and a new stylist I was trying because I had a coupon. Some how she knew EXACTLY what I needed. Honestly my hair cut looks nothing like the photos and is A LOT shorter than I was thinking of going but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! It is so easy to manage and it feels so light! I am using less shampoo and I only need one towel when I shower (I always needed to wrap my hair in a separate towel or it would drip all over me). If I don’t have time for a full shower I just put some product in it, give it a little fluff and it looks pretty decent. I am spending a lot less time getting ready in the morning which is so helpful when you need to get three people out the door and to and from daycare and work at reasonable time.

Speaking of getting around town…. we bought a mini van!

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I have wanted a mini van ever since we had Hunter BUT it wasn’t really necessary and we wanted to finish paying off Brian’s truck before buying another car. With the addition of miss Everly it became very evident that we would eventually need a bigger car. With two car seats in my Saturn there was only room for one other passenger and if you wanted to take a stroller anywhere forget putting anything else in the trunk (and this was only the single stroller!). I had been researching mini vans and decided on a used Chrysler Town and Country because it was affordable AND had lots of bells and whistles. I absolutely LOVE the automatic doors and the easy Stow and Go seats. Plus the back up camera and cool audio system are pretty great too. We even have a DVD player which I think will come in handy on road trips. I don’t mind driving a bigger vehicle and I LOVE all the space!

The kid’s first ride in the van

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So yeah! Two changes that have helped us ease into this new normal. Could I have lived without both of them? Sure! But they sure have made life a lot easier! Now I feel like I’ve got it all! I’ve got the kids, the mom hair cut, and the mom car!

Turning 2!

I was planning Hunter’s two year post in my head for a long time and had planned on writing it soon after his birthday, along with Everly’s 3 month update. Sadly, my dad passed away the day after Hunter’s birthday and our world was turned topsy turvy for awhile. Things have seemed to settle down a bit and we are once again adjusting to a new normal, which has been tough since I still wasn’t fully adjusted to the “other new normal” of being a working mom of two little ones!  I hope to write a tribute to my dad soon but right now I’m still processing and grieving my loss.

On to my two year old! We celebrated Hunter’s birthday with a gathering at Grandma and Grandpa Cuckoo’s house. Just so you know Hunter calls them this because they have a cuckoo cuckoo clock!

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We celebrated with Hunter’s aunts and uncles as well as his cousins and Grandma Chi Chi (my mom). We  had pizza and of course cake and ice cream. Hunter enjoyed eating his cake this year much more than he did last year!

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He also really got into his presents this year. Sadly I don’t think I have any still pictures of him opening them! He got some Duplo’s, clothes, trucks, and more!

Two can be such a fun age, especially with our little chatter box. He just goes on and on about anything and everything. He repeats everything we say (so we have to be careful!) and his memory is incredible. He takes such joy in the littlest things. I love watching his face light up over a truck or other toy (but mostly trucks!). Two can also be challenging. Of course I have heard of the “terrible twos” and I have definitely seen this side of my little man. For the most part it hasn’t been too bad BUT since Everly came along we have had to work on discipline, which has mainly been time outs. He’s such a smart little guy and you can see it in his eyes when he knows he is doing something wrong. I have experienced a full on sobbing hysterically meltdown due to be giving him a time out. I try my best to talk about what happened and why he got a time out but I am not sure he totally gets it every time. He has also expressed some aggression in regards to sharing toys at daycare. This has been really challenging to address since he doesn’t do this at home. For the most part he is my sweet kind delightful boy and turning into such a good big brother!

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I recently started giving Hunter and Everly baths together and for a guy who likes to get pretty wild in the tub he is very gentle and cautious when Everly is in there with him. I usually get her out early then Hunter and can have at it!

Sleep has gone pretty much to hell! He has been fighting, resisting, and skipping naps A LOT! And believe me he still needs them! He is one crabby beast if he doesn’t get one. I’ve read up on this and most “experts” say to keep attempting naps at least giving him some quiet time. Only problem with this is he is NOT QUIET! He doesn’t cry but he yells and screams and jumps around his crib (we have not transitioned to a big boy bed, I am too afraid he’ll tear his room apart!). I will often times go in to check on him (to make sure he hasn’t pooped!) and lay him down reminding him he is suppose to be napping. Sometimes he falls asleep. This would be ok but by now it’s getting pretty late in the day! I don’t want him to nap too late because then he won’t go to sleep at night! Even if he falls asleep late at night he still gets up between 6:30am and 7:30am and is usually crabby! It’s kind of a nightmare to tell the truth. Not really sure what else to really do about it!

We have also ventured into the world of potty training! I have pretty much dreaded this BUT would love to only have one baby in diapers sooner rather than later. I owe a lot of thanks to our daycare provider. She is starting to train her daughter and often times sets the other daycare kids on the potty at the same time (she has more than one potty). One day Hunter peed in the potty! I was so pumped! We recently bought a little potty chair (only had one that sat in the big potty) and we ask him if he wants to sit on it several times a day. He usually sits while we read to him but had yet to really produce anything. Today he told me he wanted to sit on the potty to read and he actually went potty! I never thought I’d be so excited about a bodily function! Thus far we are taking a relaxed approach and still wearing diapers, kind of seeing where it goes from here.

Can’t believe my sweet boy is 2! Not sure if I will continue these monthly updates and just occasionally update on Hunter. I try to soak up as much alone time I can with him (when Everly is sleeping). I do miss all the alone time we use to have but I don’t think he does. He LOVES his daddy! It’s ok, I can deal with that! I love watching our family evolve and change and I know this is only the beginning!

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I want to remember

I don’t know what it is about having a second baby but I find myself (usually in the wee hours of the morning) soaking in every aspect of my little girl and trying my hardest to capture every little thing and hold it close in my heart. I don’t know if it was because I was so overwhelmed becoming a new mom or because the sleep deprivation was such a shock but I feel like I forgot all the “little things” about Hunter when he was an infant. Maybe it’s because Everly is a second child and I know how fast that first (and second!) year go by. Or maybe it’s because Everly will most likely be our last baby that I find myself cherishing these little things that make her her

. These are the things I want to remember

I want to remember how soft her fuzzy little head feels next to my cheek. 

I want to remember how squishy her cheeks are when I kiss them

I want to remember how her sweet eyelashes rest against those cheeks when she is asleep

I want to remember her pretty pink lips and how relaxed they look when she sleeps

I want to remember how she opens her mouth wide and smiles when she sees me

I want to remember how she falls asleep while nursing with her head resting against me, so happy and content

I want to remember how she gazes up at me with her blue eyes while she happily nurses.

I want to remember how when her brother is around he is all she can focus on

I am sure there are so many more things I should be remembering but these are the ones that come to mind!

My advice to all new parents CHERISH EVERY MOMEMET. These little ones are such a blessing and a wonder!

Hunter James: 23 month update!

Whoa! Just one month until the little man turns 2! So hard to believe! I am pretty sure the second year went faster than the first year, especially the last two months with the addition of Miss Everly!

Hunter is starting to embrace his roll as “Big Brother”

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Hard to get a good picture of this guy since he is ALWAYS. MOVING. And it’s very hard to convince him to wear a shirt that doesn’t have a vehicle on it! As I mentioned in Everly’s post she is starting to interact and laugh more. Guess who she finds the most interesting and funny?

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The day after Everly was born was one of the coldest opening of deer hunting in a looooong time and since then the weather has not let up one bit! I’m talking highs not above zero with bone chilling wind chill readings. As you recall just before she was born Hunter really started walking so it has been hard to take advantage of this new found ability outside. One day grandma and grandpa Johnson were over and grandma suggested that grandpa take Hunter for a walk since it just happened to be a day that the high wasn’t in the negative! We bundled him up and they walked to either end of the block. Since then, there has been about two days I have felt comfortable taking both Hunter AND Everly out side for a walk. And it is so much fun!

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Everly all tucked away in the Ergo!

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We discovered a Little Free Library about half a block from our house and Hunter thinks it is the greatest thing!

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There is also another one about a block down and across the street. We’ll have to check that one out next time!

Another fun winter activity that we just tried was going to the Family Fun Center  (basically an indoor play ground!) at the Y. He has gone several times with his daycare provider but my mom and I took both kiddos there this past week and it was so much fun! I love seeing the joy and excitement on Hunter’s face as he runs around. I am REALLY longing for nicer weather when we can hit up some of the parks. He wasn’t really walking the last time I took him to the park so I can only imagine how fun it will be.

And it wouldn’t be a post if I didn’t mention sleep which is actually going pretty well. We had a few weeks there where he was resisting and skipping his nap. Brian and I would spend the nap time hours trying to rock him and settle him down. A friend of mine (hi Becky) suggested that maybe he didn’t need help settling down but he was displaying some typical  toddler behavior and resisting his nap as a form of independence. By constantly going in and interacting with him he thought nap time was play time. Since then when he has resisted his naps I go in an gently but firmly tell him that it is nap time and he needs to rest. Then I lay him down (no snuggles or rocking), tell him I love him and leave. I usually only have to go in once (maybe twice) and he goes to sleep. He has hardly even resisted since implementing this strategy. He has skipped a few naps at day care which is odd since he usually sleeps better there but other than that all is well!

Hunter continues to delight me with his amazing language skills and his joy and excitement for EVERYTHING. I look forward to watching him continue to grow in his role as big brother and I know this next year will bring many more adventures!

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Everly Laura 2 month/10 week Update

Hello there! Having a little down time while both of my little munchkies are napping! I am feeling a little more like I am getting use to the “new normal” especially on the days I am home. Now, when I go back to work in two week ( Sad smile) that will be a whole different story. I can get out of the house at a reasonable time with both kiddos ready to go, the only problem is I only have time to brush my teeth and run a brush through my hair.Showers are still at a minimum and I wear the same pair of sweats several days in a row.  That probably won’t cut it at the office!

What can I tell you about my little Everly? Well for one thing she is NOT little! At her 2 month appointment she weighed in at 13lbs and measured 24.8 inches long. She is in the 93 percentile for weight and the 99 percentile for length! Definitely bigger than Hunter was at this point! She is quickly growing out of 0-3 month clothes and I am getting ready to switch her diapers to size 2!

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This month we also saw our first smiles and laughs!

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She also is “talking” she coos and chatters away. She’s got to make her voice known with that chatty big brother of hers!

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Her dark hair is starting to fall out and in the next picture it looks kind of red. I seem to remember that Hunter’s looked a little red too and we know what a blondie he turned out to be!

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At her appointment she was also diagnosed with thrush which means I too have it. It’s really no big deal basically just a yeast infection in her mouth which I will leave up to you to conclude where I have it Smile. It isn’t painful to me and doesn’t seem to bother Everly since she is obviously eating fine. The treatment is just kind of annoying and time consuming. I hope it goes away soon!

She is actually sleeping pretty well. She has slept a few nights for 5-6 hours (which feel glorious by the way). She usually has one really long nap (yesterday it was 4 hours!) and then several short naps throughout the day. The hardest part of the night is the evening. I fight to get her to take a late nap because I know if she won’t she will be a beast in the evening. One might think that this would result in an early bedtime but if she hasn’t napped properly she fights that too or goes down easy but wakes up 45 minutes later. I know from experience that this is all pretty normal. We still don’t have a real schedule yet, and I haven’t had her try and fall asleep on her own since she usually goes down pretty easily with nursing or rocking BUT I know when she goes to daycare in a few weeks our care giver won’t be able to devote as much time to this as I do. I know it will all work out in the end.

I’ve been building up a nice supply of expressed milk in the freezer, only problem is I can’t get her to take a bottle! I am going to experiment with different types of bottles. Definitely something to work on! I also need to get her out of the Rock ‘n Play and into the Pack ‘n Play, she’s getting to big for it anyway! It’s hard though when she’s sleeping so well as she is!

That’s all for now! Can’t believe she’s already two months old!

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