Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Baking Fun & Babies Update

Good news to report on the sleeping front...last night we tried putting Duncan down in his crib in the nursery for the first time and he and Caroline both slept soundly! We put him in there after his 11;30 p.m. feeding when Caroline had been asleep for four hours. I woke him up at 2:30 a.m. to eat and then he went right back to sleep until 5:30 a.m. After that I put him back in the Moses basket in my room - I could tell Caroline was on the verge of stirring. My biggest concern about their sharing a room was that they'd wake each other up. I'm sure that will happen some but at least we are off to a good start.

Playtime yesterday morning. Caroline loves to pet Duncan. She gives him the biggest grins. Yesterday afternoon we all went to Duncan's two-week check up. He is almost back to birth weight (7 lbs, 12 oz) and has grown 1/2 an inch. Ryan and I stood him and Caroline up to each other and he already comes up to her chin. He's not going to look like the little brother for long!

And in the new show over the past couple of weeks has been the Great British Bakeoff. Season 1 is on Amazon and its a great show to have on in the background when puttering around the house. I LOVE Mary Berry. And what a name for a baker! Anyway, it inspired me and mom to do a little baking one night last week after the babies were in bed...

Mom made this Strawberry Pie. We gobbled it up in no time. And I may have had a few pieces during middle-of-the-night nursing sessions! Ryan's brother and his family are coming for Memorial Day weekend and I may just make another one.

And we made King of Norway Cinnamon Rolls (found here) in celebration of Norway's National Day on May 17. We froze them so I'll have some easy breakfast options in the near future.

Not in the baking category, but Mom also made us this Beef Stew one day in the crock pot. She used sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. It made enough for the three of us to eat on one night and then we froze the left overs.

And I'm back on my summertime smoothie kick...

Here's my current favorite: 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1 cup frozen berries, 1/2 a banana, 1/4 cup raw oats and a dab of maple syrup. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Weekend Recap: Coffee and Babies, Picture Perfect and Opa!

Mom left on the train at 5 a.m. on Friday. I was sad to see her go, but so thankful for our time together!

I imagine Mom is going to sleep for the next week! We had such a wonderful two weeks. Ryan worked nights the last week she was here so it felt a little like a slumber party all week. We'd wake up at 3 a.m. to feed Duncan and talk and then go back to sleep. (I've since discovered that Ryan has no interest in middle of the night nursing and talking bonding). Like I mentioned in the last post, Caroline's verbal skills went from a grunting, gutteral sound to actual babbling with "gaggaaa" and "baabaaba." All thanks to hearing the two of us talk non-stop!

Pace came over Friday morning before work for coffee and to meet Duncan. I love breakfast dates!

College friends are so special. I'd never have imagined our freshman year in Martin/Stockard that 14 years later we'd both be living in the same neighborhood in South Carolina. And yet we were able to pick up where we left off after 10 years of not seeing each other except at the random wedding!

Ryan got home mid-morning and has the next week off. He only got two days when Caroline was born and so we're so thankful for this family time! And are soaking it in with lots of afternoon snuggles...

and walks...

and play time. What's more fun that a box? Surely not that pile of toys...

Saturday morning we loaded up and went to Duncan, SC (it was meant to be, right?) for some family photos. I cannot wait to see them. 

Our "sneak peak" on Facebook:

Saturday evening we had some friends over to watch the Preakness. I made mint juleps and we ordered a pizza. It's hard to believe that two weeks ago when we watched the Kentucky Derby that I had no clue Duncan would start his entrance into the world that night! 

I love how Caroline is really trying to jump into the story telling here. 

Once again I lost $5 to Ryan. I was pulling for Nyquist and he went with Exaggerator. I've got to quit losing money to him! For the Derby, I'd picked Exaggerator and Ryan had chosen Nyquist. 

Saturday night went much better sleep wise than Friday night. We divided the night and Ryan took the first shift and just brought Duncan to me to nurse and then at 2 a.m. I took over. So we both got a good chunk of sleep. Sunday was Duncan's two week birthday and we had several firsts...

His first trip to the park. Caroline was anxious to show him how much fun he'll have in a couple of months. This girl loves the swing!

And the slide!

Duncan had his first bottle...

And I've promised him that we'll get a blue boppy cover. I've also discovered that we only have pink socks and hats. So that's on the Target list too!

He wasn't very into watching the French Open!

After nap time we went downtown to the Greek Fest at St. George's. It was so fun!

There was a little something for everyone...

We tried to the Loukoumades (Greek doughnuts) and they were very tasty! 

I tried out the Greek wine tasting - glad I can partake in this kind of thing again! My two favorites were "Ariousia Chora" from Chois Island and "Athena" from Evia Island - both were dry white wines.

We watched Greek dancing and heard lots of "Opa!" in the crowds. 

But the biggest hit, by far, was the clown making balloon animals. Caroline was so tickled with her duck. And, so far, has managed not to pop it with her one sharp tooth!

Afterwards, Ryan went to play tennis and I did my first solo supper/bath/bed routine with two!

Getting the hang of this two babies thing. Every time Duncan cries Caroline looks at him like, "What's that?"

Saturday, May 21, 2016

It's great to be EIGHT months

Each and every day with Caroline continues to just be more and more fun. Here are eight great things about being EIGHT months old:

1. Crawling!!! Caroline is on the move these days! She's been on the verge for awhile now, but suddenly this baby girl can move! She'll set her eyes on something like the door stopper or diaper bag and then just take off. Sometimes she keeps one leg out like a kickstand. She'll also get a bouncing start by jumping up and down (while seated) and squealing with excitement!

Mid-bounce, kickstand ready! 

And she's off. I call this "playing Scout" where I toss the ball and she goes after it!

So proud of herself - as she should be - this is a big deal! Also notice how much that one tooth is sticking out! I'm pretty sure she's working on a second. 

2. Starting to want to pull up and stand. 

I hope walking is a longs ways off - Mama is not ready for that milestone!

3. Into everything - no diaper bag is safe!

In other news, toys are vastly overrated. She'd much prefer to play with a cup or a shoe than the basket of toys in the living room!

4. Upgraded from only child to big sis

This picture just melts my heart. She'd crawled into the kitchen from the living room. Mom and I were watching and thought she'd just cruise right by Duncan. When she got to the end of the Moses basket, she paused and peaked in. Then turned around and gave us the biggest grin!

5. Caroline is babbling all the time and imitating sounds. I think hearing Mom and I talk non-stop for the past two weeks has made Caroline anxious to jump in! In the morning when I go in her room she says "hheeyyyy" all drawn out in and in perfect imitation of me!

She'll even talk to the cute playdate in the mirror.

And, of course, to her Pepe.

6. Caroline also discovered the wonderful world of grandparents the last couple of weeks. She has all four grandparents all wrapped up. She loved on everyone and was totally spoiled with attention!

Siggi just left yesterday morning, and we had the best time together. We toasted Caroline's eight months of life with a girls' outing downtown and then happy hour at Roost. Caroline couldn't partake in that, but she thinks her new snack cup from Siggi is the bee's knees. 

Learning all about business from Granddaddy. I love so much about this picture -- the way she's studying Dad's face, him rubbing her foot and that she's playing with my Prince George coaster (thanks again Emily!!!). 

She thinks D is pretty neat! And he and Daddy even dress alike!

Fun with Nana. 

7. New on the food front is eating lunch! Within the last week Caroline has starting to have a small lunch around noon. She's still having a 6 oz bottle when she gets up at 7 a.m. followed by breakfast. Then a 4 oz bottle at 11 a.m. followed by lunch (usually a vegetable and cracker). Then a bottle after nap at 3 p.m. Supper around 5:45 p.m. and then a bedtime 4 or 6 oz bottle after bath. I've tried to pump enough so that her first bottle of the day is mainly breast milk. She's also gotten really good at holding the bottle! New foods for the month include fish, beets, plums, chicken, eggplant and zucchini.

8. Caroline is trying to figure out this talking thing. She's paying close attention to our mouths when we talk to her. If you say, "Where's Mama? Where's Daddy?" She'll look at the right person! We're working on "Where's Duncan?"

Happy EIGHT Months, Caroline!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Flower Power Prediction & a Sweet Video

We had so much fun trying to guess whether Duncan would be a boy or a girl (remember the Red Cabbage Test back in March which turned out to be 50/50 - right for us and wrong for our friends Kati and Will. They found out a few weeks ago they are having a boy!). Well it didn't dawn on me until we got home that my two hydrangea plants had made their own prediction:

Pink and blue! Last year they were all blue. The color for a hydrangea plant is determined by the soil's pH. An acidic soil makes the blooms turn blue and alkaline soil the blooms will turn pink. My great-grandmother, Mammy, used to bury rusty nails in the soil around her hydrangeas to turn them blue. No clue what turned one of the plants pink!

Sweet Caroline is slowly realizing there's another little person in the house. She's had an awful cold this week and so we've kept them separated as much as possible. My mom has taught her to play "Where's Mama? Daddy? Duncan" and then look at us. It's beyond precious. This girl is also totally obsessed with her Siggi. The other day I was holding her in the kitchen and mom walked by. Caroline reached out and grabbed for her. She hasn't done that for anyone but Ryan and me!

I'm so excited to watch their friendship develop. When my siblings and I would argue growing up, our mom always said friends will come and go, but your siblings will be there for life. And it's so true!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Early Days

Duncan was born last Sunday and the following day we were so proud to show him off to our family and friends. When we were in the hospital with Caroline we weren't allowed to have any visitors (which I totally understand) so it was extra fun having people drop by and since most of our friends work at the hospital it was convenient for everyone. Also forced me to put on cute pjs and make-up. I was so happy to see Sis walk in my room Monday morning! I'm so glad she was able to sneak away from her crew for a day and night. She was a big help with nursing.

Above: Sis, Jordan, Eric with Ryan and Craig and Jennie. Ryan and Eric are tennis buddies and both agreed Eric will have to teach Duncan in a few years! I'm missing a few people who are on Ryan's phone but will add them later!

Look at how proud Ryan is here - Duncan passed his first (hearing) test with flying colors! His first A+!!! Ryan never made below an A in a class until Ole Miss and I talked him into taking a political science class together. After the first week he quit sitting next to me because he said I talked too much. But I ended up with an A and he got his first B! I love reminding him of this. 

Our room with a view. That's Paris Mountain peaking up in the background. As much as we loved our suite, we were ready to get home to our baby girl. Typically the hospital requires you to stay three nights following a c-section, but my determination in getting up and walking around convinced them that I really wasn't going to be talked into staying a third night very easily! On Tuesday we were discharged from the hospital but stayed the day to get as much one-on-one help from lactation as possible. My goal was to have nursing down before we got home. I wanted Duncan and me to learn the correct way and not have to unlearn bad habits later on. Mission accomplished and we got home in time to put Caroline to bed! Mom, Dad and Caroline were waiting on the porch when we drove up. 

I love that my Dad captured this moment!

And this one!

We slept great Tuesday night. Ryan had to wake me up to feed Duncan. The advantage of not being able to lean down to the Moses basket is that Duncan slept on his side of the bed!

Wednesday we started our new life as a family of four! My dad left that morning - he said he'd ceased to be an asset and was becoming a liability. I don't know about that! Mom is staying through this week. 

I told Mom she was Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Patmore and Daisy all rolled up into one. She's probably going to crash and sleep for a week when she gets home. Every time I turn around she's offering be ice water and a cup of fresh fruit. Yesterday I asked for a bowl of cheeze-its and was brought a bowl of strawberries. Memories of my childhood! Ryan was looking for his pajama pants and couldn't believe they were clean, folded and back in his drawer after just one wearing. 

Ryan's parents stayed until Friday and were a huge help keeping Caroline entertained and Dennis tackled Ryan's to-do list that he's had since March. Poor Caroline woke up from morning nap on Wednesday with a cold! This was the only picture I snapped of the two babies together before she got sick. We've been keeping them apart since then, and it's really missing up my picture taking plans! I think she's turned the corner though and is healing!

Ryan and I took Duncan for his follow-up pediatrician appointment and he was up one ounce since his discharge weight. The doctor was impressed and said he'd see us in two weeks! 


Three Dennises - Dennis Carl, Dennis Ryan and Duncan Dennis - aren't they all good looking fellas???

Mom and I took Caroline and Duncan on their first double stroller walk! The stroller is a City Mini GT with a pram insert for Duncan's side. I so wish I'd had this for Caroline. I always felt like if she'd spent time in the car seat running errands that I didn't want to leave her it in any longer to go for a walk. 

If you've followed this blog for awhile you may remember when we had a rat problem at our house in Jackson (or I may not have put that on the blog - can't remember - I swear we are not messy people who attract large rodents). Long story short Scout learned the term "go get the rat" and can track down and kill just about any thing. He is part Catahoula Leopard and those dogs are breed to hunt boars in Louisiana swamps. While we were in the hospital Ryan's dad noticed that there was a family of possums living in the workshop. When we got home Ryan took Scout to the workshop and that crazy dog promptly killed two babies. This made me cry and they didn't tell me the rest of the story until it was all over. Later that day Ryan noticed there was a baby possum curled up all snug in my fairy garden! Scout killed it and I asked Ryan why didn't he take a picture first!!! Three down. Then the next day or so my mom went out on the porch to take out the trash and Dennis quickly took it from her and suggested she go back in. She questioned what he was doing (along with Ryan and our neighbor Don) and he replied possum hunting. Scout got the rest of the family (the adults were the same size as him!) except for one adult who they all thought was dead but was really just playing possum. He scattered off when they quit looking! 

Back to my cute babies...we've had lots of fun facetiming aunts, uncles, cousins and great-grandparents. Here's Duncan with Aunt Laura and Uncle Thomas. These two are expecting a baby girl this fall and we are all so, so excited!!!

And his first bath at home!

Friday was Ryan's last day off for the week and we wanted to take Caroline to do something special. We planned on going back to the zoo but when we pulled up there were about 15 school buses in the parking lot so Plan B was Falls Park. 

All ready!

We forgot bread so Ryan used Caroline's teething crackers. If he had any idea how much those organic kale crackers cost at Whole Foods he would not have been so generous with the water fowl!

This park is so pretty it almost doesn't even look real! 

Friday night our friends Amanda and Brandon came over to meet Duncan. She is expecting their first child any day now --- a little boy to be named Polk. We sat outside and visited. Caroline projectiled up her bottle and Brandon was a little shocked - he'd never seen that before! She was okay - just all stopped up with her cold. We sat out on our back patio and had a wonderful visit (after Scout licked up the remenants of the bottle from the of many talents).  

On Saturday Ryan started back to work and Mom and I took it easy. Caroline took an extra long morning nap and Duncan and I had a great visit with Richard who brought over some supplies from Maggie. Including this great Nesting Days wrap. 

And we're spending lots of time outside alternating from the side porch to the back patio and swing. 

We've been calling Duncan "little man" since day 1. He just looks like a little man. So his official song is Sonny and Cher's "Little Man." (It's also the song on that cute Amazon commercial with the miniature pony that the other horses are scared of and so his owner orders a large doggie door so he can come inside). Caroline's song is "Sweet Caroline"...I know we are the only people with a Caroline who've ever thought of that one!

Enjoying each moment and soaking up this special time with sweet babies!