Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Extra NINO Pics

*Make sure to read the entry right below this one first to get the story!

The joy of the Moby wrap is that it fits anyone of any height or size. Here are some pictures of Daddy wearing Molly, and also a pic of lovely Aunt Gretchen wearing her!





The joy of the Moby wrap is that it fits anyone of any height or size. Here are some pictures of Daddy wearing Molly, and also a pic of lovely Aunt Gretchen wearing her!

N.I.N.O. - I did it!!!

For those who don't know: NINO stands for "Nine-In-Nine-Out" and refers to an organization/group who support "baby-wearing" or using slings and wraps to carry babies during the first nine months of their lives. There is a TON of well-documented, positive research about the benefits of baby-wearing, and the NINO group is a support group.

As for my story, Aaron and I used a sling for the first few weeks of Ben's life, but we didn't really know what we were doing. It wasn't super comfortable, and we somehow came up with the strange idea that we shouldn't use it too much because it made him sleep "too deeply for too long" which we worried would make him sleep less at night. (Keep in mind that this was our colicky infant we were talking about!! Here he was, sleeping contentedly in a sling whenever we wore him, and we took this as a bad
thing!!??!!) So after about 4 weeks, we never used it again.

Well, sometime after Ben was quite a bit older and before we were pregnant with Molly, I heard about the NINO organization. I looked it up to see what NINO stood for. When I read "Nine-In-Nine-Out", I was incredulous. I thought, "sure, maybe we could have worn Ben for a few more weeks, but there is NO WAY HUMANLY POSSIBLE that someone could wear their baby until they are nine-months old!! No way!".

But as Molly's birth got closer, I starting thinking about the logistics about holding a newborn and still being able to play with a 2-yr-old. So I did a little further research (Thanks Mothering Magazine Online - MDC!), and talked to some mamas who had been there and done that, and decided that I should give baby-wearing a little more of a try the second time around. Though I knew my first step would be to find something more comfortable than the Target brand sling we had used for Ben, which had since been recalled for it's habit of breaking!!

So, again after much MDC and other research, I decided to purchase a Moby wrap. Now, I am not kidding at all when I say this: this Wrap was a life-saver, back-saver, arms-saver, Gift from God Above to mothers!!! I used it almost daily for SIX MONTHS!!!! It was the single biggest factor in me surviving the transition from one child to two. I could wear Molly in the wrap, asleep or awake, facing front, facing back, and even laying down, and still have 2 arms free to play with Ben.
Then when she was bigger and really only wanted to face forward, I switched to a Hot Sling (which is so easy to find now that I actually bought mine at Target!) She could be cradled in it first, and as she has gotten older, I now use it to hold her on my hip so my arms don't get tired. Especially on walks outside, in the mall, or at church when I need to sing.

So, I just had to write about this experience, and share my own joy and surprise that, though I have never actually joined an NINO group, I have actually worn a baby for 9 months, and, in fact, since I just wore her this morning (her 10-mo-birthday) while I was vacuuming, I see no end in sight!

Enjoy some pics!




Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm back!!



So sorry that I have been MIA lately. First of all, things were crazy with cousin Anna’s 1st birthday (Wow! Can she possibly be 1 already!!? What a wonderful girl!), family visiting, and the Thanksgiving holiday. Then, much to our delight, we have been without an internet connection for over a week. AT&T was supposed to update our account. Instead, they deleted it. And, apparently, what took one mouse-click to turn off, takes 8 days to turn back on. Argh!!! Anyway, we are back on-line as of this evening, so I am going to try to put together a blog or two that I have been wanting to write over the past couple of weeks.

Here are a couple of highlights:

-Molly learned to clap last week! You go girl! She loves to show off her newest talent. Its so funny with babies...how one day they can’t do something, and then one day they can! I’m so proud of her getting this.

-Ben tried out a Montessori Preschool that we are considering for next year. Aaron and I had to visit and observe first, and then, on another day, I took Ben back and he participated in the preschool morning for 45 min. It went pretty well, but we still have some discerning to do. It’s hard to know if this style of learning is the right choice or not for preschool. We’ll see what happens.

-Molly also learned to wave to herself in the mirror last week. She will sometimes wave to Daddy or Mommy, but she mostly prefers to wave to herself;)

-Ben has been more creative and imaginative than ever. His thought processes are really getting complex, and his pretend play skills are developing a ton. He is also staring to “get” playing games together like Bingo and Candyland. Not always…and I don’t try to push the idea of a “winner” versus a “loser”, but he is following the process of the games more and more.

-Molly has also learned to click her tongue in imitation. She continues to babble all of the time, and it is so fun to watch her enjoy making a noise intentionally. She loves the attention and praise that she is getting. Its amazing to watch a baby as her little mind “turns on” in developing language and motor skills…to watch her discover that she can affect our reactions and her environment. She is a wonder!! And I love this age!! It’s my reward for surviving another newborn;)

-Ben can pedal a tricycle. This is probably something that he has been ready for for ages. However, we just didn’t have a trike. So I never knew if he could or not. Well, my mom had one in her basement, and he got it out, got on, thought about it a bit, and took off riding around the room like an old pro! I was so proud of him. This was one of those skills that I knew other kids his age were doing, and I felt a nagging sense of neglecting him by never getting around to giving him the chance, but now I see that he can do it perfectly, and I am so glad that he’s so good at it! Indoors, at least. I think next spring and summer are going to be great for some real riding!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Benjamin is 3-yrs-old!!

My teeny baby, the amazing little person who made me a mama, the most perfect son for me in the whole world, turned 3-yrs-old this week.

I have been trying for days to sit down and reflect on this birthday...trying to blog something about it for my own sake, and for the sake of any readers out there! But two things have stood in my way: #1. Things have been CRAZY lately. Both kids have had colds, my wonderful in-laws were in for a visit to celebrate the big day, and several other things have kept me away from any free computer time. And #2. I just haven't known where to start, what to say, how to begin. So tonight I found myself with a few free minutes, and I thought I would just start tying and see what I come up with. Though I don't have much time tonight, so I may have to reflect more later.

A couple of thoughts:
-It really, truly seems like it was just a few months ago that I found out I was pregnant with him, and that he was born. My entire life up until the positive pregnancy test with him seemed kind of slow. But from the day that I discovered (unexpectedly) that I was pregnant with him, straight on through until today, time has FLOWN by.
-I can still remember, strikingly clearly, the first few moments of realizing I was pregnant. Sheer joy and sheer terror at the same time. And, even then, I had some sense of "him"...this little person who would be joining my life...who would be mine to raise for a little while...and then would be his own person some day. *And, yes, I did know he would be a boy, on some level. I knew with Molly too, that she would be a girl. Can't explain it, but it's true!
-I, of course, still remember the moments of his birth. So proud of myself for having the natural birth that I had worked so hard to prepare for, so exhausted and exhilarated at the same time, so COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY that there was an actual baby in my arms that I was the mother of...fully responsible for, despite the fact that I had no idea what to do with him!!!
-I remember spending the first few (very rough) months falling deeply in love with him, while at the same time, despairing that I couldn't seem to meet so many of his needs. *For those who don't know, he was a very colicky baby, until a trip to the chiropractor at 4 mos old changed it all for the better for us.
-I remember finding so much delight in both him and in myself that, as a team, the 2 of us were actually a mother/baby unit...learning together, figuring it all out together, making both mistakes and delightful discoveries together.
-I LOVED so much of his journey into becoming a toddler. I have worked with toddlers for years in my job as a speech-therapist, and I felt really prepared to mother him as he left his infancy behind and started walking, talking, growing, learning.
-Discovering his intelligence, his ability to pick things up so quickly, his ability to love others, his delight in the parts of the world that are particularly delightful to him, his demeanor, his joy at accomplishing something, his imagination, his trust in me...so many things that have been wonderful over the past 3 years.
-And lately, really watching him stop being a "toddler" and become a "child". It's funny, as much as I was so ready to have him become a toddler, I am just as much nervous and not ready for him to be a little boy. I think a big part of it is the change in my role as a mother. When you have an 18-month-old, your main goals are pretty simple: give them unconditional love, consistency and security, and have fun showing them the world! But with a 3-yr-old, there are so many "big" questions that I have to start seeking answers to: preschool...where, what type, does it matter either way? Where will he some day go to school? Or should I home school him? How is his emotional development doing? Have I helped him have the confidence that he will need when he starts going to preschool? Have I prepared him enough? Should I "teach" him things like numbers, puzzles, and such, or should I continue to just let him discover the world around him based on what he likes (pretty much still trains and cars and trucks)? What will his friends be like? How do I steer him well?
Anyway, I still feel like I will do a good enough job with him, it's just that my anxieties about his development are changing as he gets older, and I am nervous for his journey in this big world!! He is just such a huge part of my very heart and soul, and I hope that the world is gentle and kind with him...he is such a "golden boy" as his Nana calls him, and I would give anything to ensure that his little spirit is never crushed. I don't want to protect him from the world, necessarily, I just want to make sure that he is loved enough to be strong and brave to face all that will come his way!!

As you can see, I am so conflicted about him getting older (as I am sure all parents experience). He is such a joyful child, and I am proud of him and all his accomplishments, and I love to watch him grow, but I already miss the softness that was in his cheeks and hands when he was 18-mos-old, the chubbiness that used to be in his legs and arms...now they are so lean and muscular. I miss his little words like "yo-gret" and so many others that have now gone by the wayside. I miss when he was in my arms and on my hip all day long...now that he is so big, if we are visiting friends, I can go an entire day without holding him at all. But seeing the pride in his eyes as he fully dressed himself this week, and pedaled a tricycle around by himself at my parents house, seeing him love being a brother and work so hard to keep Molly happy...I know that so much of the best is yet to come!

He made me a mother...my darling son.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Benjamin Aaron Schiltz

Here are 2 pics from this time last year, and 2 pics from this week!



Sunday, November 9, 2008

"Benja"


Couple of quick Ben stories:

*He has been so amazing with the transition to becoming a brother. Recently, though, he has taken to acting like a little baby on and off throughout the day. I don't know if its just a random coincidence or if it is part of his acceptance of Molly, but it has been his favorite game for a couple of weeks now. He likes me to feed him bites of yogurt, and to carry him like a baby. He also loves to make "baby sounds" which are really just (incredibly annoying) very high pitched squeaks. I don't really mind much, though, because he has done so well so far, and if he needs to do this to keep processing it all, then fine by me. But I sure won't mind when this stage is over!

*He likes the taste of Children's Motrin. We gave him some this week when he was running a fever from an ear infection (thankfully this was his first one in 18 mos!! So glad his ears have generally been fine). But now that he is fine, we won't give him any "purple medicine" and he is not pleased about this. Tonight in the car, Aaron and I were explaining to him that he could only have "purple medicine" if he had a fever. So he asked if we were going to put the thermometer in his mouth when we got home to see if he had a fever and could have purple medicine. I said, "Sure! Why not?" So then, in a fit of inspiration, he proceeded to stick his hand in his mouth and announce, "You know what? I feel a little tiny something in there! I think it's a little fever!" (It didn't work...no purple medicine for him tonight;)

*We have come to the end of an era with Ben. Though there are still a few precious words that he mispronounces because he is so little, most of his speech is quite clear. But our favorite mis-pronouncement has just left us. Since he could ask for it by name, Ben has been calling yogurt "yogRET". But this week, he has figured out the g and the r, and is now exclusively calling it "yogurt". I will admit that I am sad to see it go. It was such a sweet little word. And since he still LOVES yogurt and eats it every day, it was so cute to hear it every day!

*He is still generally a GREAT kid, but I will admit that he has been a little touchy lately. I read somewhere that some kids don't do the terrible two's, they start early around 18 mos, and then are good until 3. And I am starting to think Ben is one of these kids. 18 mos to 21 mos was a little rough, and now that he is almost 3, we are seeing quite a bit of struggling and whining. There is almost always a clear reason (i.e. hungry, tired, having to do a lot of non-preferred things, etc.) but he is definitely a little "squirrely" as we like to call him.

*He is still absolutely amazing so much of the time, and is still a source of so much joy to us!! I do so love that little guy!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Sign Says it All...

Be patriotic...be selfish...be thoughtful...be whatever...but for the sake of those who sacrificed to give you the right(especially women and people of color)...get out today and VOTE!

Here are some pics of our house today, and the kids with me on my way to be EN-franchised!!



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Did I Blink or Something?



-Seriously, I think that I must have blinked or something, because all of the sudden, when I am looking at Molly, all I can think is, “Where did my new, little baby go?!!!”

-Don’t get me wrong, she’s still plenty young…our days of nursing, sling-wearing, cuddling, bite-size food-feeding, staying in one spot on the floor-playing, and generally being a well-attached baby and mama are still going strong. It’s just that, all of the sudden, I realized that, while she is still a “baby”, she has turned a developmental corner. She has left “infant” behind in the dust, and has “toddler” in her sights in the distance.

Here are some observations:
-She doesn’t mind having her clothes changed. As a newborn, every time there is a clothes or diaper change, it was full on water-works. The change in temperature and comfort were SUCH an insult to little Miss Molly Moose Mouse. Now, she thinks it’s no big deal. It’s like she’s thinking, “Alright…clothes change…no biggie…I can roll with it, Mama!”

-She WANTS to be mobile. She’s not quite ready to crawl yet, but she is very aware that there are things out of her reach, and if she stretches VERY far, she can get some of them when she is sitting. And on her tummy, she is finally starting to reach for things and play on her tummy, rather than just fuss that I insulted her by laying her on her tummy on the floor instead of sitting her down.

-She is SO good with her hands and has such good dexterity. I remember Ben being good with his hands at this stage, but I think Molly might have him passed. She tries to put rings on a stick, and is so good at picking up small objects, and putting small things into rather small containers and holes. She can also pull things out of really teeny spaces, as well.

-She has gotten so patient. Ben went through this stage, as well. Although there are times that she wants/needs more attention, there are also lots of times that I can just sit her on the floor with some interesting toys or objects (ex: a whisk from the kitchen), and she will just quietly play and explore for such a long time. I love to watch her be so thoughtful in her play (and I love keeping her busy for a quick break sometimes, I’ll admit it!) And if I am in the middle of a chore, such as dishes, I can just keep encouraging her and keep giving her new things, and she will just keep going without much of a fuss, usually. *Actually, BOTH my kids are really good at this. Ben has been great lately at trying new things and really engaging in his own play for long periods of time.

-Molly has really started to enjoy the swing in the back yard. Thanks to our wonderful families, we have gotten the back yard cleaned up and useable, and my dad even built a swing set for the kids. We now have 2 swings out there, and it is so fun to go out and put both kids in swings and see them laugh and interact with each other while they are swinging.

-She loves to laugh. She's not cracking up all the time or anything, but it is much easier to make her laugh than it was to make Ben laugh. Part of that is because she has such a great older brother around, always eager to try to make his little sis laugh!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Random Thoughts...


Just a few quick stories to share:

-In yet another indication from Molly that she is more than ready to eat, she just doesn't like the home-made organic food that I give her, she got a hold of some "Fruity Cheerios" from a kid at a playgroup last Friday, and gobbled them right up! Oh, what a terrible mama I am...feeding her this terrible organic stuff, where there are glorious foods such as "Fruity Cheerios" out there in the world!!!

-Ben woke up last night after he had been asleep for about 45 min because he had to go to the bathroom. This is really unusual, so Aaron (who went to get him) was, at first, tempted to be frustrated, but quickly changed his mind when, as Aaron picked up the warm, groggy, and cuddly little boy from his bed to take him to the bathroom, Ben said, "I am the snuggliest, sweetest boy in the whole world, aren't I, Dad?" while leaning his head on Aaron's shoulder. ADORABLE!!

-Molly gave Ben some kisses today for the first time! Usually she is trying to lean away from him because he is just a bit too much for her, but today he kissed her and she thought it was so funny. She laughed out loud, and then leaned in to him several times for more kisses. Such a sweet couple of moments!

-Molly learned to scoot backwards when she is sitting up today. She can only do it if she is barefoot and on the hardwood floors of my parents home, but, hey...it's a start toward mobility!!

-Ben has been talking about being "brave" a lot lately. A quick example, when he first started going to the Zoo with Miss Robin (his Monday morning babysitter), he was too scared to go on the carousel. But they went again today, and he told me that he "was very brave and sat on the carousel" all by himself! And when he had to get a bandaid on his finger for a little cut, he told me, "I will be brave, Mama, you can put the bandaid on."

-Molly has starting randomly raising her right hand. I will be holding her and we will be walking into a room, and she will just raise her right hand as if to say, "Into the kitchen, we go!!" She will also do it to people sometimes. Recently, she did it to Uncle Martin, as if to say, "Hey! What's up? How's it hanging? I like you, Uncle Martin! But don't think I want you to hold me...just Mom can hold me...but I did want to give you a quick shout-out and say hi!"

-Ben has also been using some "big" words lately. My favorite is: participate. I said once that I was frustrated because I needed him to participate when I was getting him dressed, and now he loves to use the word, though it sometimes comes out "lissipate". He also tried to say "ridiculous" this week, though it first came out "redicleeous". And "regular" becomes "reg-lee-er".

-Ben has also been exploring the idea of time lately. 2 examples: 1. If there is something I want him to do that he is not interested in, he will look at his pretend watch and say, "Sorry, Mama, I don't have enough time to put on my shoes. Sorry." 2. If we give him a time-out, we will tell him he needs to sit for 2 min. He will often then yell, "NO, not two minutes...three minutes!!" Sure thing, buddy, three minutes is fine with us;)

-Molly isn't saying her first word or anything, but she is starting to cry "mamamama" specifically sometimes when she is upset. I remember Ben doing this at around the same age, and it is just unbelievable to think of my little Molly-Mouse gaining so many skills and moving toward saying her first word!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is there anything better than a Daddy?!!

I know my kids love me...I am blessed as a mother to have such wonderful kids and to have them both very well attached to me. But I do need to point out, also, that Aaron is a "Daddy Extraordinaire!" Here are a couple of pictures and thoughts:

*For the first few pics...my question is this: "Is there anything more tempting than a Daddy on the floor?" If you want to get your kids to pay attention to you, all you have to do is lay down in the middle of the living room floor. Within seconds, your kids will be stuck to you like glue!

*Next is a picture of bath time. I do quite a bit of the parenting around here, being a stay-at-home-mom and all, but there are certain times that Aaron is the go-to guy, and bath time is one of them. Now that the kids can bathe together, it is so sweet to watch from a distance and just see how they respond to him and hear how wonderful he is with them

*Also included is a pic of Aaron with Molly. Though I am still her true, true love ;), she is bonding much more with Daddy. Every night now, Aaron puts Molly to bed. He takes her in her room and they have a sweet routine that they do and she always relaxes and usually falls asleep on his shoulder as he snuggles/walks her down. They both seem to really love the time together and the routine they have worked out!





Monday, October 13, 2008

Molly-Mouse

Molly has been developing so much lately!
Here are a few highlights:

-She is not crawling yet, but she has figured out the idea of "mobility". A couple of days ago, she figured out how to turn herself to the left and right while sitting up. She can spin all the way around now! I left her in the living room with Ben when I was doing dishes the other day, and overheard her making some noises. I came back in, and found her facing the opposite way from how I had left her. At first, I thought Ben had moved her, but then as I sat down next to her, she moved her legs and turned toward me! It's so sweet to see her learning! And now, when she wants me to pick her up, she will launch herself toward me. And when she is sitting and something is out of reach, she has started trying to lean forward and get onto her belly to get it. Though she can't quite do it yet, but I'm sure she's close!

-If she wants to nurse now and I am holding her, she will just start leaning down and to the side until I pick her back up to keep her from falling out of my arms and then sit down and nurse her! So cute.

-She still doesn't LOVE to eat exactly, but I think the problem may be with what I am serving;) Aaron and I decided a long time ago to try to feed the kids all organic/all natural foods until at least their 1st birthdays. So Molly has been mostly getting home-made and store-bought organic purees. Well, we were at a Chili Dinner this weekend, and my dad was with us. He was holding Molly and she was getting a little fussy. He asked if he could give her a saltine cracker to play with. I figured, "Sure, why not? She doesn't eat any of the solids I give her and only seems mildly interested in the purees, there is no way she will eat any of the saltine." Well...she ate 3!!! So this whole time it turns out that she just wanted a good, salty, buttery, bleached-flour cracker!! Who knew!??

-She has started taking some wonderful naps. Not every nap, but, if we have quiet days at home, she will sometimes take naps from 1.5 to 2.5 hours long. It is SO nice! Ben and I can get some great play in, and I can get some work done around her. So great!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Gym Class Pics

Here are a few pictures from a gym class that Aaron and Ben took at the YMCA this summer. It was such a great experience. In regards to the importance of kids having both a mother and a father: I have noticed that Ben is MUCH more physically active and experimental with Aaron. He will try things with Daddy that he would never try with Mommy. So after noticing this, and acknowledging that Ben's nature is to sometimes be a lot more cautious than his peers, I suggested that Aaron do the gym class with him as some special Ben/Daddy time.
It worked out SO well. Ben learned all kinds of new things, and in general now is much more physically comfortable with trying new things. Enjoy the pics!




Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pictures from June 2008

I am WAY behind on adding any pictures, so I thought I would just do several different posts over the next few days and try to get some of this summer's pics added. Here are a few from June. There are 2 cute pics of Molly and Daddy together...this was when she was REALLY teething and was working on getting her 2 bottom teeth in. There are a couple of cute pics of Ben in the yard. He never liked slides until this summer. And he has really developed a love of digging in the dirt and exploring outdoors. I love it! It has been a great summer for walking outside and spending time checking out plants, bugs, dirt, walnuts, mud, alleys, cracks on the sidewalks, etc. And the last one is just a cute one of the 2 kids.





Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mama...do you got me?

Ben has been so sweet lately!

We have spent A LOT of time together recently. Aaron has been working crazy hours because his hospital is going paperless...all the doctors will be doing their documentation on computer directly, and he has been working 12-hour shifts during this transition. So Aaron hasn't had a day off in 9 days, and is working another 12-hour shift tomorrow. Due to this, Ben and I have had been spending lots of time together, and he has been really sweet with me.

Here is one of my favorite stories.
He has been trying all sorts of new things lately...like going down the BIG twisty slide at the park. He has always been drawn to the slide, but never confident enough to go down. Well, we went to the park with Aaron a few weeks ago, and Ben and Daddy did the big slide together, and that was just the confidence booster that Ben needed. So today he decided that he would try it, but he needed me to go up to the top with him and stand right behind him as he started down. As he sat there, and geared up his courage to head down, he reached back and grabbed my leg and asked, "Do you got me, Mommy?" I said, "Yep, buddy, I'm right here. Go on ahead." He then scooted his little rear end right off the edge and onto that gigantic slide. It was SO precious!!

*He has asked me this for a lot of "brave" moments lately. He doesn't really need me, he just needs to know that I am there. Talk about melting my heart!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Molly's First Meal

*I learned an important lesson this month. Not all babies are ready to eat at 6 mos. of age.

Now, I know this may not seem like rocket science to everyone, but I will admit that, given the fact that so many people start their kids on food as early as 4 mos, even despite the APA recommendation of waiting until 6 mos., and given the fact that Ben INHALED his first meal of solids at 6 mos, without missing a single drop, I have always secretly thought in the back of my mind that waiting till 6 mos was the "right thing to do" but that kids were often generally ready before this time.

I started having a few doubts about this a while back when Maria started baby Anna on solids. They waited the full 6 mos to give her some oatmeal, geared up for the big "first meal", and then proceeded to video Anna absolutely hating and gagging on almost every bite of that "glorious" first meal. At the time, I thought that it was just a consistency thing...maybe they had made the oatmeal too thick. But over the next few weeks, as they tried other foods, it still took Anna a little while to seem like she was actually enjoying eating. So, it started to seem possible that maybe she just wasn't quite there those first few weeks.

But I still figured that Molly was going to LOVE eating. She had just about every sign of readiness: sitting independently, pincer grasp, 6 mos old, etc. And she had been watching us closely during meals, and grabbing for food when she was near it. Plus, she has been watching big brother Ben eat, so I figured that she had so much in her favor, that she was going to take to eating just as easily as Ben had.

Um...boy was I wrong.

Our video of Molly's first meal doesn't look like Anna's in terms of the gagging, but in terms of the baby quickly making it clear that she is not interesting in having anything put on her nice chew-toy spoon, it's pretty much identical. Of the 1 ounce of food we gave her, maybe 95% of it came right back out. And by the end, she was completely uninterested. I was shocked!

Since then, she has continued to turn her head from, spit out, or otherwise dislike: oatmeal, sweet potato, peas, and applesauce. So I'm starting to think that it's not a taste thing here!

After the first 3 days of trying, she became so sick of the "eating" game, that we gave it up for a while. She even stopped reaching for food at meals. If I handed her a toy, she would grab it, but if I handed her a spoon with food on it to just play with, she would drop it right away, or not take it at all!! We started just offering her an empty spoon again to let her play, and the first time she took it again, she pushed it too far back in her mouth and gagged herself:( Pretty much bad all around.

Now that she is just about 7 mos, we have discovered that she will chew on a biter biscuit for quite a while, and she will eat a little bit of pears, and now applesause too if Aaron gives it to her. But, generally, she is still exculsively nursing.

I know this will not be the case in a very short time, so it's not a problem at all. In fact, we just saw Anna last weekend, and she ate all kinds of food like a champ! So we are purposefully backing off and letting her go at her own pace.

And it has been good for me to be humbled a bit. Sometimes I feel like I read so much and have so much experience with little kids that I think I know all the answers. A little bit of humble pie never hurt anyone!! Thanks for teaching me, Molly!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Benner

Here are a couple of random Ben stories that I have been meaning to record!

*His language is SO strong for his age, but I still love it when he gets something a little mixed up. One of my favorites lately has been an issues with pronouns. Instead of "her/him/me" he tends to use "she/he/I". He will point to Molly and say, "Hey Mama, look at she!" Or "look at I!" Its so cute!

*When I am putting Ben to bed at night (It's ALWAYS me lately because he chooses me every night! I know it will be Aaron again soon, so I am loving it!) we start with saying our prayers. And he isn't quite sure about the whole "talking to someone we can't see" thing, so I just started simple and we start every night by just talking about things for which we are thankful/things that have made us happy. This week, the first the he said when I asked him what had made him happy today was, "YOU!" Talk about melting my heart! He has also recently prayed in thanksgiving for dress-up play clothes, his froggy boots, his trains, all his family, his imaginary friends Monis and Budis, and flowers. Thanks God!

*One night, a few months ago, I put him to bed and turned out the light, and he kind of freaked out a little bit, worried about the bugs flying all around the room. Well, there were no bugs in the room, of course, so I just comforted him, and kind of forgot all about it. Just this week though, he was standing with me as I turned off the lights, and he looked up at me and then waved his had around in the air in front of his face and asked, "Mommy, why are there little black bugs in the air?" It took me a moment, but then I realized that he was noticing that, when you go from light to dark, and your eyes adjust from using mostly cones to using mostly rods, sometimes it can look like there are black dots/spots everywhere until your eyes adjust. I couldn't believe that he has gotten so observant and was able to notice this, and do his best to explain it to me! Fascinating stuff...watching a little person grow!

*He has been really into the idea of family lately. When we are all 4 together on the bed or at the table or something, Ben will point out, "Look, it's the whole family together!" It's really sweet to see him identifying with us as a family, as starting to make more sense of his place in our lives and in the world.

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's a GREAT time to be an American voter!!

When I was a little girl, my mom and dad told me that I could be anything that I wanted to be when I grew up. But, I can (honestly!) remember looking at all the white, male faces of all the past presidents and thinking, "yeah right...I can be a lot of things, but there are some things that I could never be."

Well, now that I am a mother myself, I am in the same position that my parents were in...trying to be both honest with my children, but also optimistic and encouraging of high aspirations and confidence. So, with that in mind...I have to say it is an AWESOME time to be an American right now.

Ben has been mildly aware of the political landscape around us these days. He has caught me reading stories or watching a news program of the presidential and vice presidental candidates. And since I almost never watch t.v. around him, he has been observant and asking lots of questions. And I have been JOYFULLY answering. It gives me unspeakable pleasure (and pride in this often crazy American society) to realize that his very first introduction into American politics...his very, absolutely, FIRST impression of the office of the President and Vice President...will include two white men, a BLACK man, and a WOMAN!!!!! Amazing!

He knows the names Barack Obama, John McCain, and Sarah Palin now, and has named one of his cars John McCain (ironically, it was an old-looking fire truck!) He thinks that he would vote for John McCain, but that I should vote for Barack Obama, and he would like to race Barack Obama some day! (I think he is still trying to figure out "race for the presidency" versus "running a race" :)

Anyway, whatever your political views are, I encourage you to stay positive about this year's election. No matter who wins, a 232-year-old barrier will have been broken, and, I believe, that we, as a country, will be the better for it!!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Molly-Bolly

We have another tooth! The second bottom front tooth is through! It came in today! Hopefully little Molly Woggle will be a happier girl now that her little teeth have made it through.

AND...

She can sit unassisted!!! She will occasionally still tumble over if she is reaching too far for something and forgets to catch herself, but otherwise is pretty much independent...literally just as of today!

I can't believe how quickly she is growing up!

Ben has been so adorable with her lately, If she is upset, he will come up to her and say in a really sweet high voice, "What's the matter, little Molly girl? Are you ok? Do you need brother?" It is the sweetest thing in the entire world. In the morning, she usually wakes up after the rest of us, and Ben loves running into the room as soon as he hears her. I put her on my bed, and he loves to crawl up and snuggle her. (It IS the best time of day to snuggle her...she is a fresh, sweet, bright-eyed little cherub whenever she wakes up for the morning or from a nap). And she is really responding to him, too, these days. She lights up when he comes in the room and starts waving her arms and reaching for him.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Why, Mama?"...

Ben is in a fascinating "smart" stage right now...let me explain what I mean first, then I will tell you about it. He (and just about all kids) go through various stages/cycles all the time. Sometimes it is a gross motor cycle, when all of the sudden I will realize that he can jump off the couch and land on two feet without help or fear, or a fine motor cycle when it will dawn on me that I am not helping him at all as he uses the toddler scissors to cut paper, and he is flawless at putting together great train tracks, or a "self-help" cycle where suddenly he can put his shoes on himself and can mostly dress and undress himself (mostly;).

But one of my favorite cycles is the "smart kid cycle" that he goes through from time to time. The interesting thing about Ben is that, right before he makes a big jump in cognitive skills, he stutters. It is like clockwork...all of the sudden I will notice that he is stuttering on and off throughout a couple of weeks, and then all of the sudden, the stutter is gone, and he is smarter/more verbally developed then before.

He has just finished a stuttering cycle, and has spent the last week completely inundating me with questions. And, his favorite question these days is "why?" Some examples: "Why is it called a fire truck?" "Why did they name Granny's street 'Briarhurst'?" "Why is Mack and Jelly (Mackind Avenue Deli) closed right now?" "Why did Nana and Papa go home?" "Why do we live on 'Devonshire'?"

And the cute thing is that he is only interested in hearing the "real" answer. He is not ok with me just making some quick response. He really wants to hear all about it, and wants to know what my best guess is, even if I don't actually know the real answer...like why Granny's street is named "briarhurst"!

Also, he is TOTALLY in to hearing "stories" right now. Every day I hear "Tell the story of ..." and he will reference any number of past experiences we have had. This weekend, Aaron's parents were in town, and Ben must have asked Papa to tell one particular story from his childhood about 25 times. Papa was so patient, and pretty much told the story 25 times! Aren't grandparents awesome!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

She's growing up!!!

Molly has a tooth!!

I can't believe it! Even though Ben got his first tooth at this exact same time (5.5 mos), it seemed so perfect with him, but with Molly, it seems like she shouldn't be getting teeth already! But, today (Aug 10th) the first one appeared! It's the bottom right front tooth (same one for Ben). And the other bottom tooth isn't too far behind!

And, after my last post, when I talked all about how Molly was still so sweet and little, all of the sudden this week she seems like she is growing up so much...
-She is sitting up with just some occasional help with balance.
-She has finally decided that she likes the stander/exercauser, and likes to play in it.
-She takes a bath sitting up in the bath ring now. In fact, she and Ben have shared all of the last several baths together!
-Though she still LOVES me, she finally likes Aaron, too. When he walks in the room, she gets really excited!
-She has started babbling! Lots of "buh, buh, buh's" and raspberries. Still some screeching and yelling, but she is definitely aware of her lips now and likes to use them!

*I think part of the reason that I think of Molly being so little is that her adorable cousin Anna is just 3 mos older than her. But those 3 mos make a huge difference at this age. And every time I see Anna, I marvel at how accomplished she is, and how much she can do, and then I scoop Molly up in my arms and make sure to enjoy her still being little. But really, she is getting to the end of the tiny baby stage, and is really starting to grow on her way toward becoming a toddler! (Thankfully I still have LOTS of time!)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Little Molly Woggle

Here are a few of my thoughts about Molly right now:

*Nicknames: Molly-Lou-Mellon, Molly Robin, Molly Wolly Doodle-all-the-Day, Molly Woggle, Little Miss Moose Mouse, Miss Watermelon, Molly Bolly

*She LOVES me, and I mean like LOVES LOVES me! I have rarely ever seen a baby so attached to her mama, and I have to admit that I love it!! When I come in the room, she just about jumps out of her skin she gets so excited. She will let other people hold her, but if I walk near, she starts bouncing around excitedly and leans towards me, reaching to be picked up. And if she is tired or needing reassurance in any way, she just nuzzles her little, tiny, baby head into my neck and is immediately so contented and calm. If I lay on the bed or floor next to her, she will use all her effort to swing herself around to be touching me or next to me. It is so precious, and one of the most amazing experiences of my life to have this little girl with me!!

*She has really become aware of the world around her lately. She is just 5 mos old, and every day I can see more and more comprehension of the world around her growing in her eyes. She is super aware of Ben now, and loves to watch him. When he starts coming her way, she gets really excited now and tolerates his (occasionally rough) hugs, kisses, and snuggles very well.

*She is rolling over by choice very independently now. It's so cute to see her decide to roll over and just go for it, knowing that she can do it. Watching a baby master a new skill, and then show that new skill off is such a treasure to watch!!

*She is such a calm and happy baby. Other than night-time sleeping (which I don't know if I even have the energy to get into on this blog), she is the least fussy, and easiest baby that I could have imagined. When Ben was this age, I had to spend a lot of time and energy thinking through all of our outings each day so that I could be prepared to meet his needs. With Molly, all I have to do is make sure there is a spare diaper around and a pacifier if she wants to sleep, and she's good. I know part of it is that I am an experienced mother now, but it is still largely just her personality...so sweet, observant, fascinated with the world.

*She has gotten so good with her hands! She can grab just about anything that she wants to. It's getting quite difficult to hold her during a meal these days...she is FASCINATED with food. And it used to be that we could offer her any toy or object to keep her busy during a meal, but now she will just look at whatever we are offering, and if it is not food-related, she will just move her hand away, as if to brush us off! We have started to give her things to "eat" like a whole carrot or piece of celery during meals, and this seems to keep her happy.

*She is still my darling, sweet, wide-eyed, loving little one. She is still such a precious little thing. She is still my "babe-in-arms". She has hardly ever even been in a stroller. Ben and I go on a walk every day, but I always carry her or wear her in a wrap or sling, and it is such a joy! I can't believe that I didn't know to do this with Ben. It's awesome!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Ben-ism"s

Here are a few of the word mix-ups that Ben has been using lately:

-"overfloating" for overflowing (This is in regards to a toilet story that I will post later;)
-"supartment" for apartment
-"Miss Watermelon" for one of Molly's nicknames: Miss Molly Lou Melon
-"yogret" for yogurt
-"Gerger King" for Burger King (He's never eaten there, this is also related to the toilet story that I will post later)
-"cinnamon" for the word simmons in a song we sing: "Shake Those Simmons Down"
-"Old Dan Tackle" for the song "Old Dan Tucker"
-"privaty" for privacy
-"wind-shipers" for "wind shield wipers

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lessons That Can Come Back to Bite You!

Anyone who knows Ben knows that he is a smart little guy. He learns things SO quickly. Which, typically, is a huge blessing to me and is something that I love. However, I have learned that a few lessons can come back to bite...

Lesson # 1: It is not good to litter.
Ooops: Now, every time that we go on a walk, which is every day at least once, Ben is obsessed with seeing trash and wanting to pick it up. He will yell, "Oh, Mama, there is some trash over there...somebody must have forgotten to throw it away! Let's go get it and help them throw it away!" Its not like I don't want him to be a good steward of the earth, its just that I am getting tired of having him filthy from other people's trash. Then I have to spend the rest of the walk trying to find a trash can, and trying to make sure that he keeps his hands out of his mouth!!

Lesson # 2: Nature is fascinating.
Ooops: Sure, a pretty flower or tall tree here or there are wonderful to look at, but a dead bird with gnats crawling in its eye sockets...not so great. Revolting, in fact. However, I have spent so much time encouraging Ben to stop and take time to check out the world outside that he was ENTHRALLED with the dead bird. "Is that bird sleeping, Mom?" Ben asked. "Yep, buddy, it sure is. Look at the nice bugs who are visiting him, that's so nice!" I replied.

Lesson # 3: It is good to poop in the toilet.
Ooops: Now, every time that Ben poops on the toilet, which occurs at least once every day, he is so proud that he insists on showing it to everyone in the house. I can not tell you how many times I have looked at poop in the toilet that was not my own in the past 3 weeks. And, though I am proud of him for being so excellent at using the toilet, I have definitely had my fill of the post-poop "show and tell!" Oh, and its not just me, anyone else at the house during a trip to the bathroom is also invited to the "show and tell". What fun!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Little AP Baby



Quick story about tonight...tried to go out to dinner with some friends, but Aaron had to call me to come home after an hour and a half.

It's sort of strange to be mothering Molly right now. I have lots of friends who separate from their babies all the time. The babies never seem to have trouble with it, and the mamas have no trouble leaving them. But this is not the case for Molly and me. And I accept it fully.

I have chosen to "AP" Molly and Ben. For the unfamiliar, AP means Attachment Parenting. It is a form of parenting that, in general, supports keeping moms and babies as close together as is comfortable for both. If anyone is ever interested, I would be happy to share my reasons for deciding that this is the way I would like to parent my children. But, suffice it to say, I am happy with this choice, and think that it is right for me and my children. The problem is that Molly is...well...attached to me. So, when she wouldn't go to bed for Aaron tonight, and I had to come home to put her down, I can't really find any frustration with her, because I have actively taught her to rely on me to meet her needs and to expect that I will be there for her. She is doing exactly what I have helped her learn to do.

Now that she is 4 months( I am laughing as I am typing this, because, really, in the grand scheme of things, that is really still SO young) I do think that we need to work on her relationship with Daddy, because, though I don't need to be out all the time, I do need to feel like she and Daddy have a good relationship (he needs this too) and I need to know that I can go out for dinner here and there.

So, starting tomorrow, Aaron and I are going to put her down together from now on. Molly has been so attached to me, and SUCH an easy baby for me, that we have just fallen into a pattern where I put her down and take care of the vast majority of her needs. With Ben, we shared so much of the parenting, and so I think we just need to get back to a little more shared parenting.

Hopefully this will bring a new, and more bonded, phase for Molly and Aaron. But I do have to admit that I LOVE how attached Molly has become to me. With Ben, I never knew if I was really meeting his needs, but with Molly, it is so great to know that I can meet all of her needs to effortlessly! It's truly amazing!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bragging Mama...

Hate to be so annoying as to point it out, but my kids are stunningly beautiful. Take a look at these pics!






Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Couple of Things...

-Ben is potty-trained!!! He started last Tuesday, and has just done great! Just one or two accidents, and he's got it! I can't believe that I don't have to wipe 2 rear-ends anymore! Woo hoo!!!

-Molly has found her feet! It is so sweet. I was in a yoga "Mommy and Baby" class this week, and the instructor had us lay on our backs and grab our feet...she called it "Happy Baby Pose". I thought to myself, "Babies don't do this, do they?" Then, that very day, Molly found her feet, grabbed on, and perfectly demonstrated "Happy Baby Pose!"

-Molly is laughing! Not all the time, and it's not a long, drawn out belly laugh, but she is definitely laughing...it's one of the sweetest sounds on earth!

-Things are going pretty well now. Sleep is, of course, our only frustration:) Ben is waking up WAY too early (like 5:30 this morning), and Molly is staying up way too late (like 10:30 last night). If you do the math, you can see that we can't even get 8 hours in even if we tried. Things will be better soon...Molly is transitioning to an earlier bedtime, but she is just not quite there yet. We'll see how the next few weeks go. **If only Ben would sleep in!! Of course, I will be cursing him for sleeping in when he is a teenage, I'm sure.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yes...I'm still alive...


So sorry for the terribly long haitus. It turns out that I am not good at finding time to blog with a newborn in the house. Who would have guessed? ;)

I am still going to post the rest of the birth story at some point, but I figured I should get back in the habit of posting about our daily lives before I loose the skill completely.

Just a couple of thoughts:
-Ben is a GREAT singer! I just got the best video of him singing, "Blackbird singing in the dead of night". Aunt Gretchen taught him this song, and he knows the whole chorus. It's hysterical to hear a 2-year-old singing: Blackbird singing in the dead of night...take these broken wings and learn to fly...all your life, you've been waiting for this moment to arrive. (Or something like that, he knows all the words, but I don't!)
-Molly is starting to feel more like a baby every day. For a while there, she just felt like a warm, peaceful little extension of me. But as each week passes, I can feel her separating her identity from mine bit by bit. Case in point...she is sleeping in her bed in the other room, rather than in my arms! Good girl!
-I am so proud of Aaron. He has been having a hard time feeling bonded to Molly. But instead of just letting himself stay frustrated, he has focused his energy on taking any possible opportunity to hold her and have fun times with her. And, though it has only been a few days, she is already responding to him so well, and has been giving him the most wonderful smiles!

One last thought: though there have been some hard times these past 3 months, I would say that our lives are actually going VERY well right now, and it is such a blessing to just feel happy. Nothing is perfect, but we are all happy, and we are all in love with each other...does life get any better than this?!!
Oh, and also, Ben pooped on the potty today!!! That's partly why I am so happy...I just had to help him with one clean up wipe, rather than scrape poop that has been smushed to the fullest capacity of a diaper off the butt of a toddler!! It's a great day!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Birth Story - Part 1 - Through the Valley of Darkness





After a LONG delay, I'm finally back (at least a little bit!) I have discovered that it is quite difficult to find time for blogging now that I have two kids...who knew?!! I hope to get back in the habit of posting regularly soon, but I have currently been using my tiny bits of free time to finish writing Molly's birth story. However, as you will soon see, because I have been writing it in little bursts, it has become something of a mini-novel. So instead of trying to post the whole story in one gigantic post, I have broken the story into 3 main parts.

Here, finally, on the eve of Molly's 2-month birthday, is part 1.
(I will add pics to this story as soon as blogspot gets their stuff working again...argh!!)


GETTING CLOSER…ALMOST TIME!

This story really begins several weeks before Molly was born. Here is a summary of the thoughts/feelings/emotions and events that led up to the birth of Molly Ruth Schiltz.

Aaron, Ben and I spent the month of January enjoying our time together without a newborn in the house. We got everything ready for the baby to come, and talked a lot with Ben about what his new little sister would be like and what she would need every day (lots of sleep, cuddles, and milk!).

We also did our traditional belly painting. It was great doing it before Ben was born, but even more fun doing it this time for Molly, because her big brother LOVED this little “welcome baby” ritual of ours.

I was pretty tired by the end (more than with Ben) but tried to continue exercising, eating well, and practicing my “hypnobabies” homework as preparation for another natural labor.

Finally, February arrived, and we started to gear up for her arrival. Let me share a bit about where I was mentally with the impending delivery. I had always heard that second-born children are typically born earlier than first-born children, and that girls often are born earlier than boys. So because this was my second baby, and I knew she was a girl, I began to think that she would arrive on or before February 7th, the day that I would be 39 weeks along, and the same day of pregnancy on which Ben was born. So as we got closer and closer to the 7th, even though my due date wasn’t until Feb. 14th, I began to pay attention for signs of labor coming.

At my doctor’s visit the week of the 7th, my doctor checked me and said that I was already 4 cm. dilated and 75% effaced, and that it looked like labor would start at any time. The baby hadn’t “dropped” low into my pelvis yet, but other than that, all signs were looking like labor was close.

So when Feb. 7th came and went, I have to admit that it was a particularly hard day for me. Even the happiest pregnant lady is getting uncomfortable by 39 weeks along, and I knew that the baby was technically “ready”, so it was hard to think that the baby was definitely not coming earlier than Ben, and that, now that my mental due date had passed, there was no telling how much longer I could be pregnant!

After whining and complaining all day on the 7th, I woke up on the 8th with a fresh outlook and a resignation to welcome the baby on whatever day she chose to be her birthday, rather than to wish for an end to my wonderful pregnancy with her, and an end to my last days with just Ben. (My apologies to anyone who was around me on that day!!)

This turned out to be a VERY good thing. Out of the blue, Ben woke up on Friday, Feb. 8th with a fever and flu-like symptoms. He was sick until Sunday, and I was so thankful every day that I didn’t also have a newborn to take care of, when little Ben was so sick and needy. I figured the baby knew what she was doing and didn’t want to come when Ben was sick, but that now that he was healthy, she would come any time. And, in fact, all day that Saturday I had LOTS of early contractions and felt that we might be within about 48 hours of labor.

Then, the world turned temporarily upside-down. I woke up on Monday, Feb. 11 with full-body aches and chills, a fever, a cough, and, in general, feeling more sick than I have felt in my entire life. I thought it was the flu, but it turned out to be some other unspecified virus that was going around. I was so unbelievably sick! I was essentially bed-ridden for the first 4 days. On the 5th day, I went in for my weekly OB appt. and my doctor couldn’t believe how sick I still was after 5 full days. She ordered me to stay in bed and rest as much as possible over the weekend to try to fight it off.

Thankfully Aaron took her seriously, and I pretty much just slept and rested all day Saturday and Sunday. By Monday, I was mostly healthy, and by Tuesday, I could officially say that I was now just needing to recover my strength, but that I wasn’t really sick anymore.

It was the strangest experience. I essentially just lost a week out of my life. My due date passed without me even noticing, and each night I would pray that I didn’t go into labor, because I knew I didn’t have the strength for a natural delivery, which is so important to me, much less the strength to care for a newborn. Then, on Tuesday, Feb 19th, I began to pray that labor would at least hold off until Thursday, the 21st. I would hit 41 weeks that day, and I felt that if I could make it a few more days, I might have the strength I needed for delivery.

Interestingly, though I was (and had been for 2 weeks) 4 cm. dilated and so “ready” physically to go into labor, my contractions almost completely stopped when I was the sickest. I didn’t have any for days, and then they only gradually started to come back as my strength returned. It was amazing to think that my body knew to turn off all labor prep and focus on healing. My doctor said that it was particularly amazing because usually strong illnesses at the end of pregnancies cause women to go into labor, rather than have labor stall.

So, amazingly, we finally made it through the waiting, Ben's illness, and my illness. I made it to 41 weeks (and was so happy to still be pregnant...pretty uncommon for a woman who is THAT pregnant!) I said many prayers of thanksgiving for both the return to health, and the strength for the now definitely impending delivery. And I said many thanks to baby Molly for being patient and waiting to come out until I could be healthy.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of Molly's birth story!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Molly Ruth Schiltz


(Please forgive me! I am still trying to get pictures loaded and firgure out how to post everything...that...and I have a newborn and a 2-yr-old to take care of!!)

Announcing the arrival of Molly Ruth Schiltz!

Born Feb 23, 2008 at 12:55 a.m. after approximately 2 hours of labor! We made it to the hospital with only about 25 min to spare! She was ready to be born!

Weight: 8 pounds, 4 oz.
Length: 20 inches.

Birth story and more pics to follow.

Big brother Ben is doing great. He loves to give her sweet kisses, and consoles her when she cries (which thankfully isn't much yet!)

Can't wait to post more!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It's the little things...

One of my favorite things about Ben right now is the amount of joy he takes from such relatively little things in life. Here are a few examples:

-After he eats most of a sandwich, we let him open it up and pull it apart to (messily) eat the rest. He LOVES it!
-Today, we were driving home from a friend's house and, per his request, we drove down the ALLEY instead of the street...SO COOL!
-One of his all-time favorite activities right now is to take the cushions off the couch and drive his cars along the bottom of the couch. He can literally play at this for hours!
-Flour...plain, white, baking flour is one of his other favorite things now. We put some flour on a baking sheet, and then drive cars through it and scoop and dump it...so much fun!
-He is seriously in love with washing dishes right now...and oh SO helpful!
-He loves singing songs together in the car when all three of us are driving somewhere together. He likes to decide who sings when...Daddy first, or Mama first, or everyone together.
-He still loves to snuggle every day!
-He loves it when he pretends to be either a kitten or a baby and I play along really convincingly.
-He loves to answer my questions with a fake word, or take a word like "play" but say it in a silly way like "plee!".
-He loves any food that can be dipped. For example, he didn't want his turkey for lunch yesterday, but when I let him dip it into his orange juice, he then ate a ton of it!!
-He loves to talk about foods that he "doesn't" like, and then he will try it, and go on and on with me, back and forth, about how we are both so surprised that now he "does" like it! (Especially cottage cheese!)

He's pretty much just tons of fun these days!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The calm before and after the storm

Great news...I woke up today, and it appears that I am still human! I don't feel anywhere near "healthy" but I do feel human again, so I am very excited! Now I can think about recovery, and start gearing up again for this baby. It's funny, we were so ready for her to come a couple of weeks ago, then last week's terrible illness arrived and basically erased an entire week from my life and brain and consciousness. Now today the sun is shining, and I feel like the first breath of health is returning to my body, so I am praying for a few, restful days to recuperate so that I can be refreshed and ready for the little one's arrival.

Thanks so much to everyone for the kind thoughts and support this past week!

And a million thanks to my mom...I don't know how I would have survived if it wasn't for the help with Ben so I could rest!

Also, a million to Aaron...I slept 12 hours Fri night, and then took 2 naps on Sat, and still went to bed early. I slept 11 hours last night, and already feel a nap coming on. He has taken full parenting duties, and instructed me to rest as much as possible, and I think it is finally what is turning the tide. Ahhhh....sleep!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

THE-WORST-DAY-EVER!

You know it's a terrible day when you find yourself sitting on the floor with your toddler, and you are both crying uncontrollably. He's having a tantrum, and you are the sickest you have been in probably over a decade. This was the state of the Schiltz house at 10 a.m. this morning. And I am not exaggerating at all. In fact, I should probably add, in the interest of full disclosure, that we both had disgusting runny noses, were extremely in need of baths/showers, and one of us was naked.

All I can say is that this was a dark, dark day, and that I survived by the grace of God, the help of my mother who came over for a couple of hours around lunch, the help of Aaron's mother who sent a box of cookies that pulled Ben out of another tantrum later in the day, a sweet visit from my brother, and some kind words from friends who called or offered help. And, of course, my husband who took over when he got home from work and sent me to bed.

In the end, though, I have survived it. The baby is blessing me by continuing to stay in rather than come out (who would have ever guessed a couple of weeks ago that now, at her due date, I would be praying for another week of pregnancy?!!) I am going to take that MUCH needed shower, and then I am going to bed! This day is GONE! I think I hear a choir of angels singing!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Patience...patience...

Well, we are playing the "baby waiting game" around here, as I'm sure you all know. To be honest though, I'm actually still feeling well and haven't yet hit the "baby come out!" point anyway, so things are good!

I did learn a little lesson in patience, though. Last Thursday, Feb. 7th, was the same day of pregnancy on which Ben was born. And, though I am fine with this little one taking all of the time she needs to be ready, I had spent this entire pregnancy assuming that I would have her before the 7th. So many people tell you that second babies come earlier than first ones, and I had already dilated and progressed so much at that point, that I really was expecting to not be pregnant anymore after the 7th.

So, to be frank, I was a cranky, crabby person all day on Feb 7th! I would not have wanted to be around me! My apologies to Aaron and Ben, and anyone else who had to be around me! I kept thinking, "What is she waiting for? I know she's more than capable of being outside rather than inside!! Why do I still have to be big and pregnant and uncomfortable? I am never able to make real plans because I don't know when I will be in labor? I'm so tired of preparing for labor, too...let's just get this done already!"

And then, on the morning of Friday, Feb 8th, I found out why she was waiting...Ben woke up sick with a fever! I am SO glad that there wasn't a newborn here needing love and attention, when the one we already have was very needy and very sick! I'm so glad that she was safe and didn't get exposed to any germs, and I'm so glad that I got to just hold and soothe and cuddle Ben with undivided attention through his fever and sickness one last time. Even though I know he would have been fine, I would have felt so bad for him having to be taken care of by someone else. When kids are sick...they just need and want their mamas!

He was a little better yesterday, and seems nearly 100% today, so I figure that if she hangs on until at least tomorrow, then we will be relatively germ-free again, and she can come safely when she is ready.

So, as we approach our due date of Thurs, Feb 14th, I will just keep being patient, and belive in my heart that she knows when her birthday should be, and that she will let me know when it is good and safe for her to be here!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The End of a Pregnancy...the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

Well, tonight at midnight I will hit the 39 weeks mark, which is the day that I delivered Benjamin. It is surreal to have made it here, because part of me assumed that, because this was a second baby, she would come a bit earlier than Ben did. But it has acutally been nice to have a little more time than I first thought I would. I was very ready for Ben to come by this point, but I have only just recently begun to feel "ready" with this one. It's amazing how every pregnancy and every baby truly are different.

Now that this pregnancy is coming to a close, I thought I'd reflect a bit:

THE GOOD
-I am SO lucky and SO thankful to not have so many of the yucky end-of-pregnancy curses that so many women get. No swollen hands or feet, no carpal tunnel or high blood pressure. No sciatica or nerve problems. No round ligament pain at all, which really bothered me with Ben's pregnancy. No yucky rashes or even stretch marks yet. I'm not even that big, honestly. My uterus height is still at 35 cm, but baby looks great, so, since everything is looking good, I can just enjoy being on the smaller side.
-This baby is getting so close that I can just love her and enjoy the idea of holding her soon with all my heart! We're past so many of the worry points in pregnancy, that there is a pretty great chance that we will both be healthy and together soon.
-I still have a pretty good amount of energy.
-I have eaten WAY better than I did with Ben, and I feel so healthy for it and am proud of myself!
-I have gained exactly how much weight I wanted to (I'll tell you only if you really want to know!)
-The house is clean (mostly, Ben did just dump a bowl of raisins onto the floor this morning that are still waiting to be picked up!)
-I can breathe pretty well now that the baby has dropped, and my heartburn is MUCH better.
-I really haven't had any aches or pains other than my back, and one spot where I get kicked a lot from the inside (it's a pretty amazing feeling, for anyone who is male or hasn't been pregnant! But sometimes a certain spot can get a little sore.)
-The baby is wonderfully active, so I never have to worry if she is ok.
-She gets hiccups all the time, which I think is so cute! I can tell what they are much better this time around.
-I think I am more emotionally ready to welcome a baby into my life this time around...I know what it means to do so.
-She is generally in a good position for a nice, anterior delivery.
-I have really enjoyed doing the HypnoBabies program as preparation for birth. I definitely feel relaxed and ready to take on labor (most of the time!)
-Prenatal yoga is still AWESOME!
-The baby's things are clean and ready.
-We have a name that Aaron is in LOVE with, and I think it is so sweet how much he wants this name!
-I am already 4 cm dilated. I LOVE that my body goes ahead and gets some of the work of labor taken care of for me before I have to deal with a single "real" contraction! I think this is one of the luckiest things that happens to me! My heart goes out to every woman who has to start at 0 or even 1 or 2.


THE BAD
-The weather forcast is awful for the next few days, so unless she waits, we will again be having a baby and bringing her home in frigid temperatures.
-I am having tons of cramping, which just doesn't feel nice! Labor...either start already, or leave me alone! Especially tonight when I am going to bed!
-I have to go to the bathroom a minimum of 3 times per night....literally...I'm not exaggerating. (And you should SEE me crawling over Aaron to get out of the bed in the middle of the night. He has repeatedly offered to switch sides, but I like my side...the poor guy just has to deal with a gigantic, groggy, very-pregnant lady flopping around trying desperatly to get off the bed.)
-Tying my shoes has become a major feat of acrobatics!
-Getting off the floor would be much more easily accomplished if I had a rope and pulley system installed in the house.
-My back hurts...escpecially if I have been driving in the car.
-To keep my posture in good shape to continue encouraging anterior placement, I can sleep in exactly 1 position...all...night...long. It just sucks!
-And speaking of sleep, I need about as much as my toddler needs these days to survive. I start to get panicky if I am awake after 9:30 p.m.!
-Also to keep my posture in line, I have to set the seat in the car like an 80-year-old! I am so upright I am practically leaning forward! Aaron laughs at me each time he sees me get in the car. (I would laugh, too, if I could see myself.)
-Speaking of seeing myself, there is a lot of myself that I haven't seen in months! (It's just weird to have no idea what your stomach looks like at any point below your belly button...seriously...pull up your shirt right now, look at your stomach beneath your belly button, and imagine being completely unable to see it. See, it's weird, right?)

THE UGLY
-Up until last weekend, I would have said "My feet!" But thanks to Helen and Tony, I was able to get an AWESOME pedicure at Elayna's last weekend, and, if I do say so myself, my toes are looking beautiful!!! Thank you so much, Nana and Papa!!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

What a great day, Mama!

As you all know, we are getting pretty close to the arrival of our much-anticipated and much-loved second baby. There is a big part of me that is just so ready to meet her. I can't wait to have her in my arms and to kiss her little face and feel her little back...and just generally adore her. However, her arrival will, of course, end life-as-we-know-it around here for both Aaron and I, and expecially for Ben. Because of this, I have been almost hyper-aware of every sweet moment that Ben and I have been sharing lately, and today has been an especially good day.

Here, in an insufferable amount of detail, is our great day:
(Read this unbelievably long post at your own risk!)

Ben slept in till 8 a.m., which was an amazing gift in and of itself! And, after waking up rested and refreshed (which for me is quite a feat at this stage in a pregnancy), he and I both started our day together in wonderful moods! We snuggled together on "Mommy and Daddy's bed" for quite a while, and then he played his favorite game of "Excuse Me, Mama, I Need to Drive My Cars on the Couch", while I made us our current favorite breakfast: waffles/wheat corn cakes (whichever we have in the freezer) with raspberries on top. He and I just sat together and ate and talked about everything and nothing. Then, he had a marvelous time mixing the remains of his raspberries into the remains of his syrup and drinking it! Nothing like a little sugar high to finish up breakfast!

After this, he asked to play his new favorite game which is to "Go in Ben's Room and Talk." (Yes, this is exactly what he calls it..."Can we go in Ben's room and talk?") He made this game up last night when Katie Grealis was visiting. He just took her into his room, and hung out for a while, talking. Well today, we played this for almost an hour. He just kept walking around the room and talking about anything that came into his mind. He showed me every nut and bolt and spring on his crib and talked about how he has "used a screwdriver before to build this crib...right here, see Mama". He talked about every stuffed animal in his crib and about how he will snuggle with them. "See, this is my horsey and I snuggle him when I take a nap. And this is my blue bear, and this is my white dog. Yep, it sure is!" He talked about the little step stool in his room and how "it is just perfect for me". He just kept going and going! He is SO chatty these days.

Then, he wanted me to put him in his crib so he could point out some of the screws and springs agains the back wall, so I put him in. Normally this is fine, but he started jumping around a bit, and ended up baning his chin on the railing, and giving himself a little bit of a bloody lip. He wasn't upset for long, though, because he then got his favorite "medicine" for a mouth injury...a scoop of ice cream! It even had chocolate chips in it, or, as Ben says, "cho - lit" (it's hard to write, but he pretty much says it the exact same way that Forrest Gump does in the movie when he says "Life is like a box of cho-lates.") After that we shared a banana, during which Ben exclaimed, "We are sharing very well, aren't we Mama? Yep, we sure are! Isn't that nice!"

We then proceeded to run to Office Max to do some "shopping" according to Ben. He was (and always is) SO good in the store. I don't have to put him in a cart, or even hold his hand. He just walks around with me and explores all kinds of things. One thing that I think helps keep him so well behaved is that I do try to give him freedom when there is no good reason not to. For example, he had a BLAST climbing in and out of all of the office chairs on display. We didn't have anywhere else to be, and he was being safe, so I just let him go for nearly 20 minutes. He had so much fun! He also insisted on handing each item to be purchased to the cashier. He has been really into this. He also likes to swipe the debit card. It's funny, it's second nature to him to see us using plastic to pay for things, but that is something I never saw once as a young child. Times sure have changed! Before we left, he did, sadly, get his hand stuck in a sliding glass door. He was standing at the door with his face up against the glass, watching a delivery truck bring in boxes, and the door suddenly opened and pulled his hand into it. He cried for a bit, but made a good recovery. No ice cream "medicine" necessary!

The library has been catching his eye as we drive past it for the last few weeks, so we headed there next. In the past when we have gone, he has mostly just stood at the full wall of windows and watched the traffic on Hampton go by. But today, for the first time really, he was VERY interested in the books. We sat on the floor next to a book shelf, and flipped through a HUGE assortment of tractor, train, and car books. Interestingly, Aaron and I have tried not to force "boy" things on him at all, and have even actively worked to cultivate interestes in both "boy" and "girl" things, but there is definitely something to the "Nature" theory over the "Nuture" theory. If given the choice, at least at this age and developmental stage, he will ALWAYS choose the machine or automobile over any other choice. After reading about 20 books, we did head to the windows and really enjoyed watching and talking about the traffic for a while. Then he looked across the street and noticed "Noodles and Company!" Oh, the joy!! Immediately I heard, "Mama, can we go eat noodles for lunch please?" It was such polite asking, and I don't know how easily it will be to get out once the little one joins us, so I gave right in without a fight! (read: Mama loves to eat here and she just got lucky that he asked for it so she could pretend it was his idea, not hers!)

He ordered for himself, "Can I have noodles, please?" And we just sat and talked and had a great lunch together. Eating is another thing that is going wonderfully these days. For the vast majority of meals, we can just hand him his food and his fork, and he will eat the meal with us perfectly. It's so nice to have him be so independent in this. It's hard to even remember the time when we had to spoon-feed him every bite of solids. We shared a couple of bites, and Ben remarked, "That's nice sharing, Mama! Good job."

We headed home and played together for a little while, then read some more books, and then he went down peacefully and quickly for a nap.

After a good nap, I had to put him back in the car because I had a speech therapy session that I needed to attend. We headed to Aaron's hospital to trade cars and do the "kid switch". Ben was SO chatty the entire time in the car. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day (a little freaky for Feb 4th, but I'll take it when I can get it), so we had the windows down. A very "stinky" school bus drove by and Ben wrinkled up his nose and stated, "I smell something!" So we then talked, at great length, about how the bus needed to go to the mechanic to get fixed and then it wouldn't stink anymore. Ben summed it all up with, "He needs to go to the mechanic and get fixed with Bess Tom!" (Tom Bess is a mechanic we sometimes use, and Ben always talks about him when we are getting a car worked on.)

Aaron said that the two of them had a wonderful time driving together and playing together in the early evening. They also got to go on a great "Run, run, run" in the jog stroller. When I got home, Ben greeted me with a shout, "It's Mama! Mama's home!" What a great way to be received! Then the 3 of us just played together and had a peaceful evening. Near the end of dinner, Ben was in his chair and Aaron and I were finishing our food when Ben decided he wanted to snuggle with me. "Mama, I want to go to you!" he requested, and then held his hands out expectantly. So sweet!

After a bath, we cuddled together on the couch and talked about our great day. We brushed his teeth, which runs something like this: First, I let him brush by himself for a minute or so. He is really starting to get a good brushing movement down, rather than just chomping on the brush, which he used to do. Then he gets to choose either Mama or Dada to help him finish. Lately, he always chooses me for some reason. Then I brush more thoroughly as we list all of the things he ate that day that we have to brush off. I don't know how the food list got started, but it has been a great trick to keep him tolerant of us brushing his teeth. He then made a quick phone call to Nana and Papa (with Daddy's help and with the phone on speakerphone to help with understanding, our most-helpful phone trick!) and he was so sweet saying, "I love you Nana! I love you Papa!". Then he and Daddy headed into his room and he went down for bed just as peacefully as could be.

The amazing thing about a wonderful day like today is that the entire day passed without a single tantrum, power struggle, or disagreement. He just went along with me and I went along with him, and it was like we were two buddies just spending our day together! Aaron and I were questioning tonight, do we think that we are finding him to be so wonderful and in such a delightful and more grown-up stage right now because we are trying to savor this time with him before we have another one who will need us, or would we think this is an amazing stage even if we weren't expecting. We both agreed that he is just in an awesome stage!! If I had been blogging when he was around 21 months old, there would have been a LOT more frustration in what I had to say. And we may soon head back in to a more difficult time, but, in the meantime, things are sure GREAT now!

Anyway, thanks or "I'm sorry" to anyone who actually sat through reading this gigantic post. I just know that these days are so sweet and I will never remember what they are truly like if I don't record it somehow. And, I am still getting the hang of blogging...this is the second time that I sat down to write a couple of paragraphs and ended up writing a book! I promise I'll get better. Either that, or there just won't be time for mini-books once I am raising 2 kids, so the problem will fix itself!