Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in a Nutshell

January: Celebrated Kylie's 2nd birthday and my mom's 50th. Kylie learned to count and identify various colors. I took on some small sewing projects.
February: Announced that we were expecting Baby #2. Josh's Valentine's Day gift to me was a pair of tickets to see "Wicked" in the spring.
March: Josh took over almost all of the parenting responsibilities due to my rough pregnancy, during which time Kylie learned how to identify almost all of the letters and symbols on the keyboard. She enjoyed any free time outside she could get!
April: Learned that Kylie would have a little sister. Josh and I had a wonderful weekend together in Toledo, OH where we saw the musical "Wicked." Enjoyed celebrating Easter.

May: Surprised Josh's parents in Washington and had a wonderful time with his family. Spent tons of time outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Learned that there was a possibility that we would have to move to Utah so Josh could keep his job.

June: Josh played on a softball team with my Uncle, brother, and dad. Began potty training Kylie (...then took a break!)
July: Celebrated the 4th of July with my entire family. Received the proofs from my maternity photo shoot (and LOVED them).
August: Completed a series of crafts, including the baby's crib bedding. Moved into our own apartment. Welcomed Summer Danielle into our family after a very long, difficult pregnancy.
September: Adjusted to life with a new baby! Summer received her baby blessing.
October: Enjoyed a beautiful day at the pumpkin patch with some friends. Celebrated Halloween with a football theme.
November: Celebrated my dad's 50th birthday with some gag gifts. Enjoyed Thanksgiving with my dad's family. I visited the ER twice for an allergic reaction and spent an evening in Urgent Care due to a severe stomach flu. Learned that Josh would no longer be required to move to Utah to keep his job!
December: Finally got Kylie on a better sleeping schedule after struggling with it for MONTHS. Enjoyed the Christmas festivities with the family.
All in all, it's been a pretty crazy year! We took a few trips, endured a difficult pregnancy, welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our lives, and spent plenty of quality time with family and friends. As I reflect on the year I am reminded of how truly blessed we have been, and although things were not perfect (far from it), we have grown tremendously and appreciate the many good times we have had. We feel so fortunate to be employed, healthy, and surrounded by our loved ones. This past year has been interesting and we look forward to a new year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas All Month Long

In our family we have several Christmas celebrations throughout the month of December: a church Christmas party, a family party, another smaller family get-together Christmas Eve, etc. By Christmas day, we're ready to relax and just enjoy time at home, which is exactly what we did. Since we kind of celebrate during the whole month, I realized that I couldn't just share a "Christmas post." So, I'll back up a little bit.

Kylie loved helping me decorate the tree this year. So much, in fact, that she felt the need to continue decorating long after I finished. It may be difficult to see clearly in the picture, but Kylie put a red marker cap and Summer's pacifier clip on there. Guess where we found our laundry key??
As I mentioned before, my brother was able to come home for our family Christmas party. Kylie had tons of fun playing with her Uncle "Kah-wo."
You know that Geico commercial that talks about the little pig crying "wee, wee, wee" all the way home? That's what this video reminds me of :)
Christmas Eve we went to my parents' house for dinner. Kylie enjoyed helping Grandma make cookies. So did Kramer...
The girls were showered with gifts that night. We found that Kylie really didn't enjoy opening the gifts much, but once they were opened, she had to play with them immediately.
I have to share this: my mom made me a recipe book! When we lived with my parents, I cooked dinner every night (except when I was pregnant) and so I became well acquainted with my mom's recipes. Once I moved, I hardly had anything to work with. This book is AMAZING. She made this adorable cover...
...typed up each recipe, alphabetized them all, and then categorized them. I love her.
Summer is so young we really didn't get her anything for Christmas. The Bumbo chair was her one and only gift, and I can say with confidence that she likes it very much.
Now on to Christmas morning. We had been prepping Kylie all month long about Santa Claus bringing her presents, finding things in her stocking, etc. I was shocked on Christmas morning when Kylie was not excited. AT ALL. She wanted to sit down and watch TV with her sippy cup of milk like she does every morning. When Josh and I started opening our gifts, she showed a little interest, but it really didn't hold her attention. The video depicts about the most excitement she showed all morning.


It did get better though! Just like on Christmas Eve she wasn't too interested in opening her gifts, but once they were opened, she had a great time playing. Here she is with her new skates and medical kit. I don't know that I would trust a doctor on skates... Anyway, she ended up having a wonderful day playing with her new toys.
Kylie really impressed me this Christmas. At first I was kind of bummed that she wasn't excited about opening presents, but that feeling quickly faded when her all-time favorite bedtime story became The First Christmas. (Side note: this book is awesome! Josh's mom recorded herself reading the story and Kylie loves to hear her Grandma's voice every night). Anyway, she loved pointing out baby Jesus, the shepherds, and the star in the book. Also, her favorite gifts were the least expensive ones: bubbles, crazy straws, bath finger paints, number flash cards, etc. She also enjoyed shopping for other people and helping me wrap their gifts. I feel like, even at such a young age, she gets it.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and were able to enjoy the holiday surrounded by friends and family.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Playing Santa

I'm still working on capturing pictures of our Christmas holiday so I'll do an official Christmas post later. Until then, I'll let you read all about my senior moments as Santa (hopefully the kids don't read this post anytime during their childhood).

1. I did not have any tags, bows, or ribbons on ANY of the gifts. I completely spaced.... that's the best excuse I can come up with.

2. Some of Josh's family members sent gifts to us unwrapped with the understanding that we would wrap them before Christmas morning. Don't worry-- Josh was a good boy and he made sure to wrap the gifts and put them under the tree. When I saw them, I said, "Oh how funny! Your family has the same wrapping paper as us!"

3. When it came time for Josh and I to fill each others' stockings, we thought it would be best to take them to separate rooms to be filled so the surprises wouldn't be spoiled. When Josh picked mine up and started to walk away, I said, "Hey, that's mine!" A little too late it dawned on me, Why would he fill his own stocking? Of course he has mine!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Family Christmas Party

For many years my dad's side of the family used to gather together every Christmas Eve. When Josh and I got married and started alternating households for Christmas, my family moved the Christmas party up a week so we could participate too. So last weekend we had the family Christmas party and everyone had a blast.

Kylie could hardly wait to open up her presents
This is the first Christmas in a long time that my older brother, Kyle, was able to be home with us. Ok, so it wasn't technically Christmas, but he was home for the party. This year everyone just bought gifts for the kids instead of exchanging names, which is why I was surprised when Kyle had a gift to open. It was this old school towel. Apparently it was the first towel he ever used at my Grandma's house. We often tease my Grandma about the things she saves (she doesn't throw ANYTHING away), so it was really no surprise that she would pull something like this out.
Ishijah, Kendell, and Sadi opening their gifts
The adults did end up exchanging gifts in a way. We each went to the dollar store and bought 2 items to give away. All of the gifts were put in the middle and we played a form of bingo to win gifts back. The game just continued so eventually you were able to "steal" gifts from other people. It was a ton of fun! Apparently that's what Christmas is all about... stealing. :)
Kramer and I chilling once the chaos died down.

I LOVE this picture of my brothers with my Grandma
The sibs

Sunday, December 5, 2010

All I Want For Christmas...

...is some sleep!

It's normal for parents of young infants to be a little short on sleep, but it's not our infant that is keeping us up at night... it's our toddler! For months we have been fighting tooth and nail to get this girl to sleep, but with very little success.
This picture was taken at 10:00 pm. Josh's exhausted expression in this picture says it all!
Align CenterBottom line: Josh and I were exhausted and Kylie was chronically sleep deprived... seriously. This type of problem happens gradually and I'm pretty sure it started when I was pregnant. Since it was a really difficult pregnancy, most of my attention went to preserving my health so Kylie's schedule slowly faded into nothing. She often resisted naps, crashed in the evening, went to bed very late, and arose much too early= sleep deprivation x 1000.

She became a completely different person that I really didn't want to be around, truthfully. I spent all day everyday walking on eggshells as Kylie rolled from one meltdown to the next. Every time I tried to implement any kind of schedule, Kylie resisted hard and loud so I would just give up-- I was SO tired! I was already tired from taking care of an infant and running a household that I really didn't have the energy to practice much patience with her. But I was desperate for a change that would help us be a happier, more well-rested family. I read 4 books about creating routines for toddlers, but this book has BY FAR been the best. I could kiss the woman who wrote it. She not only provided incredibly helpful solutions (with the reasons behind those solutions) but she also gave real examples of the problems that exist in the first place. I felt like somebody FINALLY understood EVERYTHING that I had been experiencing for months. It was also humbling to realize that I had been doing just about everything wrong.


I have started to implement some of her strategies and have already noticed a huge difference in Kylie's sleeping habits, but also her attitude and behavior. She is a much happier person and I love to be around her again! She is in a good mood when she wakes up, takes regular naps, and goes to bed willingly at a decent time. She can stay focused on tasks for longer periods of time and her day mainly consists of activities instead of meltdowns. Granted, things are not perfect and we still have a ways to go, but the situation has improved dramatically in just a matter of days. Josh and I actually get to spend time together in the evenings again! Let's just hope that things continue to improve.

Hello, December

This sweet girl is already 3 months old!
She is still an easy baby and has plenty of big smiles to share. No, she is not sleeping through the night yet, but she usually only gets up once. You can't tell from the picture but her hair is getting lighter and lighter. I'm guessing that she'll be blonde in a few months. Her hands are constantly in her mouth and she has started to experiment with grasping objects and bringing them to her mouth. We are so happy to have her in our family!
Kylie has really taken to her younger sister. She plays very well with her, loves to make her smile, and even has conversations with her in the car. She sure is loved!

Goodbye, November

It seems like the month of November went by in a hurry! For me, it was a pretty crazy month. I mentioned in my last post that I developed a severe allergic reaction to Gain laundry detergent that landed me in the Emergency Room twice in two days. However, I also came down with a terrible stomach flu the day after Thanksgiving that put me in Urgent Care. Not only did I have the usual stomach flu symptoms, but I had the worst migraine on top of it. Unfortunately, I've had a headache everyday since. I wondered if it had anything to do with my vision, but after a trip to the eye doctor, I've learned that I still have perfect eyesight. As strange as it may sound, I'm beginning to wonder if my wisdom teeth may be the cause. I'll let you know what I find out!

A HUGE "thank you" to my parents and Josh for really stepping it up during the times when I was sick. The kids and I really appreciate everything you did to help!

Despite all of the trips to the doctor, November wasn't all bad. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with my dad's side of the family. The food was fantastic and we just enjoyed talking, laughing, and hanging out with everyone.

The best part of November, though, was getting to celebrate my Dad's birthday. He turned 50 this year so we gave him some special gifts that he could appreciate in his old age: fiber, prune juice, a pill case, reading glasses, adult diapers, denture cleaner, and a cane :) He was a GREAT sport!



We did get him real gifts though, too. My brother got him a Michigan State jacket, and I got a DVD made of some of our home movies. The tape had been broken forever so I got it repaired and put on a disc.

We were definitely thankful for family this month, among many other things. We really have been so blessed!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random


I wish that this post had some kind of theme, but it's completely random.

We have learned that somebody's ticklish!


In other news, I went to the ER twice in two days. On Friday afternoon I noticed that my kneecaps were red and they felt incredibly bruised (for no apparent reason). As the day progressed, the redness and swelling showed up in random blotches on my body: the palms of my hands, my right ear, the back of my knees, my right elbow, etc. By Saturday, I was in pain because the blotches were everywhere and they were very swollen! It was clear that I was having an allergic reaction to something, but I had no idea what. So... off to the Emergency Room we went! I was prescribed an oral steroid and a cream to put on the spots.
(These pictures don't even BEGIN to depict these blotches)
The next morning things seemed to be better, but as I sat through church, they started showing up again and it progressed more quickly! So... back to the Emergency Room we went! I received 2 shots in the backside (OUCH!!!!), and 2 stronger oral steroids. Today I felt much better but the spots are still randomly showing up, then disappearing. I'm about 95% sure that I'm allergic to Gain laundry detergent. I switched to that about 2 weeks ago and I think it just took awhile for it to catch up with me. Now I get to re-wash absolutely everything in my house! The weirdest part of it all is that I'll start breaking out in places that never touch the laundry detergent, like my scalp or my bottom lip. I just hope my prediction is right!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Update

I'm SO sorry that I don't have more pictures to go with this post. I've been terrible at taking pictures of the girls lately, but more will come soon!

Now that Summer is 2 1/2 months, I thought I'd better post her stats from her 2 month appointment!

Length: 23 1/2" (75th percentile)
Weight: 13 pounds, 13 ounces (OFF THE CHART)
We secretly call her "Tank" but she is such a sweetheart! I have to admit that I'm surprised that she's not even close to sleeping through the night yet, considering her size. I thought big babies were supposed to sleep longer stretches! She usually wakes up twice at night, but fortunately Josh takes one of those shifts so I'm at least getting some sleep. Despite that, she's an absolute joy. She is full of HUGE smiles and cute laughs and is pretty easygoing. She recently discovered that her hands belong to her, so she practices opening and closing her fingers and sucking on her fists during her waking hours.

Summer is beginning to look a lot like her older sister. She, too, has blue eyes and her hair is beginning to lighten. It's so hard to imagine hair as dark as hers turning blonde, but we've seen it happen once and I wouldn't be surprised if it happened with her.

Kylie is full of personality, spunk, and energy. She keeps us laughing and keeps us on our toes. One minute she has us SO frustrated, and the very next minute can have us cracking up. She has a very loving nature about her and still has not shown an ounce of jealousy toward her. Quite the contrary. Kylie often requests to see Summer, tickle her, cover her up with a blanket, say hi to "baby Summer" or help put her in the swing. So far she loves being a big sister.To be completely honest-- and in this post I feel I should be-- I have shed many tears over her lately. I'm at a complete loss and many times I feel like an absolute failure. I often lose my temper, react quickly, and say things I don't mean. If a trusted friend treated Kylie the way I sometimes treat her, I would be furious, which leads me to believe that my Heavenly Father must be incredibly disappointed in the way I treat her sometimes. She's not a bad kid-- she's really not. She just has a playful personality which sometimes fosters disobedience. Here are a couple scenarios:

(1) I usually take her to the library at least once a week so she can play with the toys. If another child only briefly sets down a toy that he/she is playing with, Kylie will take it and run away, thinking that the other kid must want to chase her, not realizing that she has deeply upset them.

(2) When I take her out of her carseat and begin heading inside our apartment building, she will just linger outside in between people's cars, throwing berries in puddles or picking rocks up off the ground. This wouldn't be such a big deal if it wasn't freezing outside and I wasn't carrying a carseat, diaper bag, Kylie's blanket that she refused to carry on her own, and fiddling with keys. I often have to run Summer up the 3 flights of stairs to our apartment and leave her there (screaming or not) just so I can run all the way back down to the parking lot to carry Kylie back up. I'm scared that one of the these days she'll dart out into the actual parking lot and get hit.

I mentioned before that mealtimes and bedtimes are always a battle, and I'm not exaggerating in the slightest. When I wake up in the morning, I can predict that Kylie will not eat breakfast or lunch, but instead will have a large sippy cup of milk and will at some point request a large cup of juice. During her naptime (even if she seems exhausted) she will not sleep, but will play in her closet or ceaselessly jump off her bed. At night, she will pick at her dinner, but not eat any of it. At bedtime, she will request a piece of bread and a sippy cup of water (which she will only spit out all over her bedsheets) and will not fall asleep until at least 10:00, sometimes later.

Truthfully, it's exhausting. I strongly believe that parents needs to have quality time together just as a couple, and we rarely get that anymore. I hate that we're often still dealing with 2 overtired kids at 10:00 at night.

I've come up with a basic question: Is she spirited or just overtired? My guess is that it's both. She used to be such a piece of cake, even easy most times, but now I think she just needs more activity. On the days when I'm brave enough to venture out with her for an activity, she may take a nap for me because she's exhausted some of her energy. But I know for a fact she's not getting enough sleep, even with a nap. She'll get maybe 8 hours each night when she should be getting close to 12. She's just full of a bunch of second winds and my attempts to catch her "windows" are often failed ones.

Anyway, I'm not trying to complain or receive sympathy. I'm just telling it like it is-- it is very challenging, frustrating, and exhausting. I'm doing my best to solve these problems and get this girl back on track, but it has taken me months to even come up with the basic question.

I'll do a real update soon (hopefully one with better news and more pictures!)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Kylie Funnies, Part II

Kylie had a few more funny moments since I last posted about her.

-Lately, almost everything Kylie requests is a piece. For instance, she will ask me for a piece of milk or a piece of buttons.

-The other day Summer was sitting in her swing while I got dinner ready and she happened to spit up. Kylie noticed and exclaimed, "Oh, goodness!"

-While Kylie and I shared a bowl of popcorn she noticed the kernels at the bottom of the bowl. She promptly ate one and said, "That's amazing!"

-On another occasion when Kylie and I were sharing a bowl of popcorn we were practicing answering the question "What's your name?" After identifying all of the members of the family, she pointed to the bowl of popcorn and said, "What's your name? Popcorn? Oh, hi, Popcorn!"

-Kylie and I were sitting next to each other on the couch when my stomach growled loudly. She looked at me with a very confused expression on her face and said, "Mommy go stinkies?"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trunk or Treat

Yesterday we attended our ward Trunk or Treat and had a blast! It has been insanely windy here the past few days, so we weren't really able to decorate our trunk very well. However, we did have a theme: FOOTBALL.

Ever since Summer was born I have often thought of her as my "linebacker baby" so that's what she got to be for Halloween. Hopefully she doesn't develop a complex about it later :)
I made sure to give her a nice big flower bow and pink socks so nobody would mistake her for being a boy. (The pink socks actually work out quite well considering that October is breast cancer awareness month and all the real football players are playing in pink anyway!) I love how in this picture it looks like Summer is saying "Time out!"
Kylie was our cheerleader. She only went to a few cars to collect candy during the Trunk or Treat and that seemed to satisfy her. I'm not sure if it was because of the wind or if she has a hard time delaying gratification and just couldn't stand having uneaten candy in her bucket.
The rest of us went as football fans!
It wouldn't be a true fall activity without having donuts and cider. Kylie loved the powdered donuts... can ya tell?
Since Dad is in the bishopric he got volunteered to participate in a mummy wrapping contest.
Despite the windy Trunk or Treat part, we had a great time getting dressed up, eating great food, playing fun games, and socializing with friends.