Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Quilted Love

When my sister and I were born Mama Jean made us each a small quilt, and Mom has continued this tradition with her grandchildren. Here's Caroline with her quilt when she was about three weeks old - the same age as Duncan now! How is it that this little baby is now crawling and following me around the house? 

Caroline loves her quilt and reaches for it at every nap time. When Ryan and I announced we were starting the adoption process, Mom got right to work on this quilt. She had no idea that the process would go so quickly, but was able to finish it by the time Caroline was born!

For the second born (and third) grandchildren in each family, Mom has had small quilts made from a quilt that great-grandmother and grandmother began. Duncan's log cabin quilt was begun by his great-great-great-grandmother, Phoebe Jane Valentine. Mommy Fincher, my great-grandmother, worked on it, but never finished the quilting process, and Mama Jean saved it and gave it to Mom years ago. Mary Thorne and Poppy have matching ones. 

The pattern on his quilt is called log cabin and is the quintessential American quilt design. It's full of full of symbolism - the red square in the center of each block shows the fireplace as the heart of the home. The darker material around it stands for the dark and hard times in family life and the lighter material for the fun and easy side. Such treasures for me and them!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Paternity Leave

I'd envisioned Ryan's week of paternity leave to be all lazy mornings and snuggles with our babies on the sofa. Somehow we seemed to run around most of the week! And our plan to not take Duncan anywhere and expose his little immune system to the big bad world went completely out the door by Monday morning...

After getting them both feed, dressed and a morning nap for Caroline, we realized we had one and half hours to run our errands before the next round of feeding/napping needed to begin! So we edited our list down to the two essentials - BuyBuyBaby (Ryan calls it BuyBuyMoney) and Target.

Caroline showed Duncan the ropes of riding in the buggy at Target. She remains the happiest baby I've ever known. Her enjoyment of life is infectious, and I think even the Grinch would melt at her smile!

Having a car seat in the cart and Caroline sitting up front may be the perfect budgeting tool - there's no room for any merchandise! 

After a morning of shopping, Caroline and I relaxed in the hammock and watched Ryan work in the yard. 

Two babies are so fun!

Our Bouncing Babies class has been on hiatus for the month of May, but the library held a play date last week. Caroline showed off her crawling skills. She sat in my lap for the first song and then was off and explored every toy, baby and corner of the room! It was fun to see our friends and tell them about Duncan - he'll get to go with us soon!

Caroline is getting faster and faster every day with her crawling. And she's also really trying to just walk. She'll do the perfect down dog and then take a few steps. She's also into pulling up on anything and everything. We've baby-proofed and I've started vacuuming every morning - anything she comes across goes right in her mouth! It makes me a nervous wreck! How in the world do so many pennies and paperclips end up on our floors?

We did some yard work and I finally got my new window boxes painted and planted. Now just have to keep them watered!

And visited with friends. Lillie is half-way between Caroline and Duncan. Isn't she just the cutest?

And lots of suppers on the porch. 

Ryan built a movable backboard for our workshop door. We're looking forward to lots of tennis this summer! 

Ta-da!!! We had a great long weekend with Ryan's brother and his family. I'll blog about that soon, Today I'm on my own for the first time, and Ryan has started a new rotation that's going to keep him very busy for the next four weeks. So far, so good - we've all had breakfast so that's a start!

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 kitchen...my 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!