Monday, August 27, 2012

Elyse is 11

This picture will forever be my all time favorite picture of Elyse.  If she's not the prettiest little girl out there, I don't know who is :)
Last night I watched the clock at 10:00pm my time just so I could text Elyse because it would be midnight her time, her 11th birthday.
Being a step mom is pretty amazing.  I think a lot of step moms take for granted how involved they get to be in their step children's lives.  I would love to see Elyse on her birthday.  I wish I could pick her up from school or drop her off in the mornings.  I wish I could help her with her math homework when she doesn't understand.  I wish I could nag her to read her non fiction literature that I know she hates reading it.  I wish she could come hang with me when her mom is working.  I would be happy with every other weekend like a lot of dads get.  I would be happy with anything.
Elyse recently told me that before her dad and I were married she told her friend that she was getting a step mom and the girl replied "Aren't step mom's mean?" & Elyse told her "Not mine, mine's nice."
I'm glad Elyse has a good relationship with me.  I may not always get to see her or talk to her but I make sure she knows I care about her.  I make sure she knows I love her.  I make sure she knows that she is my daughter.  Elyse is a part of my husband.  How could I not love something that my husband helped to create?
Being a step mom has it's challenges.  There are no challenges when it comes to loving her.  The challenges come from the distance.  When I'm at home and I miss her, I can't walk into her room and hug her.  Instead I walk into her empty room and miss her even more.  I look at her pictures that are stored away on the computer and remember her visits and count down the days until I see her again.
We don't receive school newsletters or graded work.  Instead I log onto her school website and check to see when track meets are.  I receive report cards in the mail because her teachers are nice enough to print off an extra copy for the parents that live 3000 miles a way.  I don't get to go to parent teacher conferences, instead I see the days marked as "no school" on her school's calendar because of them and wonder which day my daughters is scheduled for.  I wonder what her teachers say about her.  I order school pictures off of the websites and have to pay extra to have them shipped to my home.
Elyse had her first visit here with Tim & I in August 2008.  She came and stayed in our tiny apartment on a blow up mattress next to our bed. A month later we moved into our home and I knew that I wanted one of the rooms to be for Elyse.  It's not her fault that her parent's are not together so why should visiting her dad not feel like her home?  We got her a bedroom set.  Tim & I went to Target and picked out her bedding.  We filled her closet with barbies and board games.  Her robe hangs on the back of the bathroom door.  Her mouth wash is sitting in the bathroom cupboard right next to her shampoo and conditioner.  When she visits we buy her stick pretzels because they are her favorite.
After Ryan was born it was even more important for me that she feel included.  Yes we had a new baby, but Elyse was still our baby too.  The first time I left Ryan he was 3 days old and I took Elyse to an open gym class.  I had an awful recovery from Ryan and could barely walk, but I wobbled around that gym place to watch Elyse run around on everything.
Two years ago on Mother's Day, Elyse sent me a pink mother's day card.  I have read that card at least 30 times, probably more.  I can even tell you where it's sitting right now.  It's the little things in life that mean the most.
Even though I can't spend her birthday with her today ( or next year, or the year after that..) I want her to know that I think about her all the time.  I've thought about her all day today as I bragged to everyone that my sweet little Elyse is 11!

I miss you so much baby girl.  Happy Birthday :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My 7m old!

I uploaded Jakey's pictures into blogger a few days ago.. but as I write this he is now 7 months & 10 days old!!!  I've said it a hundred times and I'll say it many, many more times as I watch my kids grow up- Time is just flying by!

Jake is just getting sweeter and sweeter by the day.  He is coming out of his grumpy stage :)  He doesn't spend so much of his time whining anymore.  He plays most of the day now.  Him & Ryan just play together for hours.  I just sit there in amazement as I watch my two little boys play together.

Sometimes after he's played for a while, he just lays his head down on the ground for a minute and gets right back up to keep playing.

He went to the doctor for his 6 month check up on July 3.  He was 13lbs 13 oz and 25.75 inches long.  He's on the small size, but he couldn't be any more perfect.  He had to get a few shots, which is always sad but it's easier just knowing that you're doing what's best for your baby.  The nurse let me give Jake his oral medicine stuff myself.

Jake loves being outdoors.  I'm sure there isn't a baby/toddler who doesn't.  I try to spend time outside everyday- although it's pretty miserable outside right now.  I bought Ryan a swing for his birthday, and he haaates it.  However, Jake likes it and will spend quite a while just swinging in it while Ryan plays.

After 6 months of not having a double stroller for the kids, we finally got one!  It's soo nice to be able to push them both in the same stroller.  Tim & I usually each push a baby in a single stroller.  Jake's always pulling himself up on the little tray and sits up right.  If the stoller is in the living room, Ryan crawls into the front seat and waits for us to go outside.

I had mentioned that Jake started solids.  He usually eats a jar of food for dinner @ 5:30 while we eat on the weekdays.  On the weekends I give him breakfast as well.  He's had pretty much everything; carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, squash, apples, pears, peaches, bananas.  Does anyone else think that baby food peaches smell awful??  He loves eating.  He doesn't really make any funny faces like Ryan used to when he tried new foods- he just eats it all up.

Jake is getting pretty mobile now!  He started scooting all over the floor doing an army crawl about two weeks ago.  Last weekend he started getting on his knees!  He crawls funny, but he's going to get the hang of it and be crawling around every where pretty soon.

Ryan did the army crawl for about 2+ months before he crawled on his knees.  It was nice, Jake crawling earlier is just a little sad.  He's still my baby!  I'm not ready for him to start crawling around yet.  :(

On July 21 we finally moved Jake out of our room!  Ryan stayed in our room in a bassinet for 4.5 months.  We couldn't really move Jake out because we only have 3 bedrooms and Elyse was in town so she needed her own room.  Jake already had a crib, but it was unassembled under Ryan's crib just waiting to be put together.  We finally went to Walmart and bought a crib mattress.  Tim & I set up Jake's crib that night & I was pretty excited to finally give Jake his own bedroom.

I know Jake was excited too because he finally had some space to move around.  He had definitely outgrown his bassinet.  He really loves his crib.  I lay him down to sleep around 7:45 and he falls asleep so nicely.  Sometimes he plays for a little bit with his blanket.  He rolls around.  He turns upside.  He moves a lot in his new crib.

Speaking of sleeping, Jake finally slept 10 hours again last night!  I've heard a lot of people complain about their baby not sleeping.  Jake doesn't really sleep either, but he's my baby and I'm his mommy so it doesn't usually bother me too much.  Plus it's so nice to get that extra time with him in the morning while Ryan is still sleeping.  Last night Jake went to sleep around 8 and didn't wake up this morning until 6:30am.  I fed him and put him back in his crib so I could get ready for work.  I heard him playing for about 45 minutes and when I went to check on him at 7:45am- he had fallen back asleep.

Here is Jake the day he turned 7m. 

Yes, he has his sucker in this next picture.  I've been trying to really limit him sucking on his pacifier.  I feel like every time we ever go anywhere I see all these big toddlers walking around with the pacifiers and they just look funny.  I definitely do not want him on his pacifier past his first birthday.. or 11 months.. or even 8 months old.  Ryan weened himself from his sucker in between 7 and 8 months so I'm hoping I can do the same with Jake.  Today was his first day he didn't have it at all!  Not at nap time and not at bed time either :)  I'm really hoping that this will be the last of the pacifier... but I do think he looks sooo cute sucking on it!

I know everyone has their opinions on formula and breast milk.  I am all about breast feeding your baby---- (as long as it's beneficial to your baby..)  Jakey is 99% breast fed.  I do have a can of Similac Alimentum in my cabinet.  One very expensive can of Similac Alimentum.  He has had about 4 bottles of formula in the past 10 days.  I would love to breast feed him for the next 5 months until he turns a year old.

Jakey-  You are so sweet and so cute.  You fill my heart with so much joy.  You make our family complete and we are so blessed to have you in our lives.  I am so amazed by you and your perfection.
<3 Mommy

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

71 Days Of Summer.. Continued.

It seems like Summer Break was just starting.. & now it's over and I'm getting ready for my 5th year of teaching second grade.  Starting a new year of teaching is always exciting, but I'm always missing my babies when I'm not with them.

I had high expectations for this summer, but mainly I wanted to spend time with my 3 beautiful children.  We spent 30 days with Elyse this summer from June 5th- July 5th.  30 days seems like a long time, but it's not when you think about the 156 days it had been since we'd seen her last and the 130+ days until we see her again.

She came into town and she was so happy to be here and she was really wanting to see the babies.  I woke up Ryan and Tim woke up Jakey so they could spend some time with their big sister.  Ryan was a little shy at first but quickly became a wild child with her.

On Elyse's first night here I crossed something off of my Summer Bucket List- take a picture of all 3 kids.  Check!

Take the kids on a photo shoot and get a picture of all 3 of them and lots of individual pictures.  Check & Check!  ... Except Ryan & Jakey's are somewhere in the computer and I don't feel like searching for them.  Tim did get a lot of great shots of Elyse though.

Spend lots & lots of time with Mommy & Daddy.  Check!

Take the kids on a picnic.  Check!  I had a super cute picture of Tim & the kids on our picnic but I lost it when I lost pictures off of my memory card.  I came onto blogger a couple weeks ago to post some pictures and my pictures were gone!!!  I went downstairs and started crying.. came back up and posted it on my facebook.  Thankfully a friend was telling me about a photo recall progam she had previously used, $29 bucks later I had over 500 pictures back.  A few were ruined though- like the picnic picture.

Take the monkeys to the splash pad.  Check!  Except Jakey & I just watched.. he was not a fan of the water.

Bake with Elyse.  Check!  Elyse is quite the little cook.  She was wanting to cook for us all the time.  She likes to pretend cook too.  She was always asking us what she could get us to eat and drink.  She's like your own personal little chef.

Jakey getting cuter and cuter by the minute.  Check :)  Could this kid get any cuter??  No, probably not. 

Play outside.  Check!  The weather wasn't always nice, but the kids still loved playing outside.   We had gotten these big boxes from Ryan's birthday presents and Elyse had fun pouring rocks over them again and again making Ryan laugh hysterically.  Look at his little fists- can you tell he's excited?

 More outside playing.  Tim, Elyse, and I trimmed up our trees and bushes in the front yard and cleaned out the rock path coming up our front porch.    When we were done Tim got the water hose and sprayed the kids.  Ryan's diaper was so gross I had to take it off and then we just gave him his first bath with the water hose.

Spending time with Daddy.

Jakey ate his first bowl of cereal!  6/19/12  It was also the day that he rolled over for the first time from back to front.

Lots & lots of walks.  Check!

Signing up Ryan for gym class.  Check!  If your toddler isn't in a gym class- go sign them up!! Cutest thing ever.  Ryan LOVED it.  I can't wait to sign him up for the next session.

Jakey started solids shortly after his 6m birthday.  Of course- he started on carrots just like all the other special little people in our lives.

Elyse had a brilliant idea for the kids to get into Ryan's crib.. so she climbed in and asked for me to put Ryan and Jake in there with her.

Our last night together was fun.   We spent our night sitting on a blanket in a parking lot watching the fire works.  --- Jakey was sleeping in the car!

We went to a birthday party.  I like going to little kid birthday parties.  Ryan had a lot of fun and kept running over to and climbing into the jumping castle.  His little friend Brody turned 2.

& another thing I wanted to do was put Ryan in swimming lessons.  He did his lessons for 4 weeks.  We practiced swimming under water, kicking, blowing bubbles, doing monkey walks, climbing out of the pool and doing back floats.  He was the best one in the class ;)

One of my favorite things we did this summer was go to the water park on Jake's 6m birthday.  For obvious reasons, I didn't take my camera.   Elyse woke up soo excited and said "Today's going to be the best day ever!"  & it was :)

So there you have it.. My 71 days of summer in 23 pictures.