Thursday, January 19, 2012

Little Brother

I have been thinking it's time to share JUST about Little Brother. Off we go!

  Little B turned 4 months on January 7th.  It is amazing how much personality has come out in the past 4 months.  He has been smiling quite easily since about 3 months old and he most recently started the to roll from back to tummy which only serves to frustrate him since he hasn't quite mastered rolling to his back yet.  I have found him sleeping on his belly when I go to nurse him in the middle of the night during the past week or so.  He has mastered moving his hands to grasp things and has started to discover his feet.  He enjoys having his fist in his mouth just like Big Brother (still does!) especially when something is exciting or startling to him.

He came into the world looking for food and he hasn't stopped looking since!   We remember the nurses all remarking about how strong he was during his first 2 days of life.  This continues to be true of Little Brother.  Little B is very easy to read.  He gets really mad really fast when he wants something but as soon as he gets what he wants he soothes very quickly.  He has strong opinions about when he doesn't like something and he's physically very strong.  He is very good at pulling my hair out and grasping at shirts, blankets, etc.  Yesterday I was attempting to buckle him in his car seat to go to the library and he made his body stiff like a board so that I had to physically push him down and make him bend.  He was also yelling at me at the top of his lungs.  Once buckled and realizing we were going somewhere, he turned off the crying and gave me a big smile.  SERIOUSLY?!  He has been exploring his vocal range, too, with squeals, baby laughter and lots of sounds.  I love listening to him vocalize!

Little Brother is definitely an outward facing babe.  He does not really cuddle (unless you count how he snuggles for feeding).  He likes to face out, taking all of Big Brother's activity in and who can blame him?  He's very different from Big Brother that way, though, as BB was an 'arm pit' child as my Mom calls him.  He really wanted to burrow into you and snuggle whereas Little Brother's favorite soothing position has been the football hold where he lays on your inner arm facing out and frequently nods off in that position.  Another funny Little B fact is how he prefers the car to be moving at 50 mph or faster.  When slowing down for a stop light or going at a slower speed, he frequently gets fussy, although I think he's getting a little better about traveling in his car seat at all speeds (see - he really likes to be always on the go - already ... ).

At his four month well check on Friday, our doctor remarked "I think you are going to have your hands full with this one."  Yes, I have thought that ever since he began rolling, kicking and constantly moving inside my belly.  He weighed in at 15 lb 3 oz and he is now 25 inches long.  I asked her about some very prominent veins by his eyes and she said they will fade as he grows but right now they look like a baby tattoo - and it's true - they really do! :) She said we can start him on solids as he seems ready which I honestly think he is ready I'm just not sure I am ready for all of that to start.  Sigh.  I'm adjusting to this 'new normal' of time going by twice as fast with the second child.  I feel like I blinked and he became 4 months old.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Catch Up

We have been experiencing many 'new normals' around here over the past month.  Many of these have kept me very busy, so please excuse the lack of blogging!  Here is our Christmas catch up:

We have traditionally spent Christmas Eve with Ross's family and this year was no exception.  It was great to be together.  One 'new normal' we experienced with them was opening our gifts to each other in a more purposeful way.  In the past, there have been piles of gifts given out and torn into and it's been kind of hard to 'take in'.  This year, gifts were handed out one at a time and Grandma Diane requested that the kids acknowledge the gift giver before tearing into things.  It was really nice to watch each person open their gift and to see how the different kids immediately wanted to play with their new presents.  I think we all enjoyed a 'new' way of doing the gift thing.  We also decided to have the cousins exchange 'names' this year so there weren't as many gifts to dole out and 'get through' and I think the kids didn't even notice a difference.  We are all trying to save on space in our homes so in an effort to not be too excessive, I think this worked out.  Unfortunately, I forgot the camera for the Manders' family Christmas, so I'm missing any pictures from that gathering and Little Brother's first Christmas experience over there.

Christmas Eve night was spent at church.  Ross and I helped to lead the music at Park Free.  After church we came home, ate some dinner and Big Brother enjoyed playing with one of his favorite gifts - a Marble run.  We put out cookies for Santa before BB went to bed and we also skyped with Grandpa Dave so he could 'read' "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to us.  While things may be different with them living in NJ, we are finding creative ways to still 'be together'.  Since I grew up with my Dad reading that story to me every Christmas Eve, I was thinking about how this could still happen and it was fun to try it over Skype.  Christmas day was definitely a 'new normal' since we spent it at home as just the 4 of us.  It was really relaxing and VERY nice to not have to lead a church service on Christmas morning even though Christmas was on a Sunday.  Big Brother was really not super into the Santa thing and really just wanted to play with his marble run, so we let him dictate how the morning would go.  He played and played and eventually we had Quiche Sylane and cinnamon rolls for breakfast and around 11 a.m. he became more interested in the gifts under the tree for him.  So we'd open one and he'd play, open, play, etc.  Eventually we got through the gift piles and he had a blast just hanging out and having some quality time with us.  Little Brother was chilling with us and he got to open a few gifts, too.  For dinner, we tried something 'new' and marinated meat and cooked it in our fondue pot.  It was fun to try!  After dinner and bedtime for Big Brother, I went to the airport to pick up my parents.

One of the biggest 'new normals' of the past month was that our family of four hosted the "Ridder" family Christmas this year.  I appreciate what my mom and mother-in-law do to get ready for these holidays so much more after this year!  The cleaning and preparations that start weeks in advance, the cookie baking, the menu planning, the grocery buying (including plenty of toilet paper and paper towels!), the present wrapping, the brainstorming of possible 'things to do together', and everything else that goes into hosting a family gathering are on top of whatever we normally would do for our family as well as continuing on with 'normal' every day life.  It was all very worth it in the end and my generous parents funded the food bill (thanks Mom and Dad!) and they also splurged for a couple of meals out for us.  

It was a treat to have Jill, Jake, Josh, Ann, Mom, Dad and our family of four together for 2 days.  With each of our individual families living in separate states, it is a rare occurrence that we are all together so I cherished every minute of our 'new normal' Christmas!  I was amazed at how many times the dishwasher ran and how quickly food was consumed and how much brain energy it took to be strategic about things when you are coordinating things for 8 adults, 2 kids and one puppy (the other one stayed at her other family).  I slept really well (between baby feedings) each night - that's for sure!  

During the week my parents were in town, we also spent time with my Mom's side of the family that live in MN.  It's always fun to be with her cousins and catch up with all of those people.  We did some shopping a few different days and we also did a Ridder family photo shoot which was fun but chilly!  We all went to see the Muppets together and we had some quality time playing games.  

To celebrate New Years, we went out to Chinese for lunch with the DeRaads, Ridders and Manders.  After that, we all went our separate ways.  Me and the boys went with my parents to the MOA by way of the light rail so that my Dad could use a flight simulator gift card he had received awhile back.  Big Brother adored riding the light rail.  While Dad was doing his thing, Mom and I had ice cream with the boys and then walked around Nickelodeon Universe so BB could 'look at' the rides.  Ross went off to lead worship but we met up later at our house.  My parents volunteered to watch the boys so we could have a date.  We spontaneously decided to go down to the Ordway to see if we could get educator discounted tickets to Cinderella.  We got there by about 7:20 (curtain was at 7:30) and sure enough, we scored orchestra seating for only 30 dollars a piece!  It was well done and a very enjoyable way to spend New Years Eve.  It was really snowing big, beautiful flakes after the show.  Those flakes made our ride home about 3 times as long as normal and unfortunately, Little Brother was missing his mama - so thanks to my parents for putting up with a very loud, crying baby until we got home.  

Sunday, January 1st 2012, we had the privilege of dedicating Luke.  Park Free was more than willing to have Grandpa Dave do the dedication, so that was a special morning for us.  Jill, Jake and both Grandma's were able to be there, too.  It was a neat way to start off 2012.   

Taking my parents to the airpot after church wasn't too sad because we are all looking forward to being together again in NJ in just a few short weeks.  We can't wait to be in their new house, to attend church with them and to meet people we have been hearing about!  It has definitely helped the post-Christmas blues to have that trip on our radar.  

I'm sure 2012 will be filled with many 'new normals' and I look forward to continuing to reflect on them through this blog!