Monday, February 20, 2012

Life Is Good

We're slowly adjusting to functioning as a family of four. It seems pretty easy when Bryan is around, or when both of the girls are happy and content. But it's kind of amazing how quickly it can all become chaotic when both of the girls need attention or food or clean diapers or holding... or all of the above. Thankfully, the peaceful joy outweighs the chaos.

Here's a clip from when Elaina was 5 days old. I'm amazed that she's been able to hold her head up since the day she was born. Her neck just keeps getting stronger every day.

This little girl certainly loves it when we reinvent a womb-like environment for her. Warm, tight, and preferably next to breathing and a heart beat, although some other rhythm will do.

(15 days old.) Naturally, she loves the Moby Wrap (or rather, my version of the Moby). I'm not sure why she is such a serious sleeper. Maybe she just doesn't approve of the light.

I love the squeaky sleeping.

Elaina is eating well, gaining weight, and making lots of dirty diapers and laundry. She usually is awake for an hour or two in the mornings, and she's always calm and happy. If she's awake in the evenings, she is usually upset. The fussiness usually carries on into the night. So we're always tired, and taking advantage of as much cuddle and/or nap time as possible.

There has been an awful lot of this lately:

(15 days old.)

(19 days old.)

Then this morning, Chloë was sweet and cuddly, and Elaina was alert. Her eyes are working much better than her first days of life.

I love my girls.

Monday, February 13, 2012

20 Months

It's amazing how big and grown up 20 months looks when compared to a newborn. Chloë suddenly seems very big in so many ways. It has been such a joy seeing her developing in her role as Big Sister. The first couple of days she was a little unsure of the whole situation, but even in this short amount of time she has adjusted really well. Every morning she asks where baby is, and gently strokes Elaina's hair, and gives her head or cheek dozens of gentle little kisses. She continues these affectionate gestures throughout the day. She has gotten used to the idea that babies just cry sometimes, although at first it greatly troubled her, often resulting in a few tears of her own.

She loves to watch us change Elaina's diaper, or get her dressed. "See?" she asks, and we pull a chair next to the changing table so she can watch. She was awfully upset about Elaina's umbilical cord, asking "aht's dat? aht's dat?" while shaking her head and crying. We tried to explain it, telling her it will be gone soon, and then Sister will have a belly button. Chloë didn't seem convinced, and for several days would sadly say "cord", and cry and shake her head every time she witnessed a diaper change. When it finally fell off, we showed Chloë that Sister had a belly button, and that the umbilical cord was all gone. "All gone!" she rejoiced, obviously relieved.

We had to explain to her that not everything of similar likeness should be toasted. She loves to say "cheers!" and crash her sippy cup into my glass. Or her silverware into my silverware. Or carrot sticks, or books, or iPods, or recently, babies. There were a couple of instances where she tried bashing her baby doll's head into Elaina's head and say "cheers!" but we managed to stop her just in time. We have explained that babies are not for cheers-ing.

She really is such a wonderful big sister.

She is becoming quite creative and in-tune with things her freinds are doing. She loves to run around with a squirt gun, pointing it at random objects (we're trying to teach her not to point at people), making gun sounds "psew, psew" while she pretends to shoot things. We've never taught her this, so she must have picked it up from some friends or something.
After seeing how much fun she had with friend's little tea set, we got her a little set of plastic dishes. She loves them. They are strewn about our living room every day, either on our coffee table, or in our entry way, which seems to be her kitchen. We also pulled out a little pot and a little frying pan for her to play with, and let her have a rubber spatula. She was thrilled. She loves to stir and "mix" and make "din-ah" (dinner) and makes "soup" and "cah-yee" (coffee). Sometimes there are duplos or pieces of crackers involved in this creative process. She always brings a bowl or cup to someone, offering to share her imaginary creation. It amazes me how creative she is, and how natural it is for her to copy what she sees her parents doing.

(My favorite part is when she goes to pour water from her sippy cup(which she isn't supposed to do, and says "No. Mess.")

Speaking of which, she just randomly started saying "sah-yee" (for sorry) when she bumps into something. A few days ago, she bumped into the wall, and without skipping a beat said "sah-yee!" She also started say "b'ess you!" when one of us sneezes. She even says it if Elaina coughs a little while she's eating. She picked up the word "yeah" recently as well. She used to just echo us in affirmation of what she wanted ("Do you want some juice?" "Doose," she'd say, nodding.) But now, she just answers "yeah," and it's really pretty adorable.

The other day, she found a little mischief to get into. I feel like I have the house decently toddler-proofed, but sometimes I leave interesting things in reach of little fingers. For example, my mascara.

It was all over her face, hands, shirt, and when I found her, she was painting the floor with it. That kid.

The other day, a spider ran across the floor (gotta love old houses), and she was running around and almost stepped on it. "Bug!" she exclaimed, and I jumped up and told her to stay back, and not to touch. Then I grabbed a rubber spatula and smashed the big ugly spider. Chloë burst into tears, sobbing into her hand, distraught at the demise of the bug. We tried to console her by explaining that spiders were bad, and they can be ouch, and so we squish them, but we don't squish good bugs like butterflies and ladybugs. That seemed to help a little. Her sympathy for the dead spider was very sweet.

She still loves all things musical. She's realized that iPhones all have the magical ability to play "Hallelujah" on YouTube, and she usually watches it several times a day.
She's taken to singing quite often, sometimes something recognisable. Her favorite song to sing is "Holy." She's actually getting good at the verses, but here she is, just wandering, singing Holy.

"Holy, Ho-ly is the Lord. Holy Holy is the Lord. Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord. Holy Holy..."

It has only been recently that Chloë has shown much interest in movies. She'll actually sit for a while and watch what's on the screen. She seems to like Finding Nemo more than any other movie. We all had a nasty flu/stomach bug a couple of days ago, and I was very thankful that we had the luxury of turning on a movie to entertain her for a bit. We were all really sick. I'll spare you the details, but it was a long night and a very long day, and we're so thankful Elaina never got it.

Until next month!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Five Days Old

Elaina is five days old now. I still can't believe she's finally here. We had tried so many methods of naturally inducing labor because my midwife was scheduled to leave town two days after my due date. There were several other very capable midwives available for backup, but I really wanted Noel to be there. She's just so wonderful. So at 39 weeks, I started trying things. I tried castor oil (twice), and so many other foods and herbs and tricks. I got some decent contractions going, especially with the castor oil, but they always died off. It was frustrating. So I was hesitant to believe that I was really in labor on Wednesday afternoon. But when I realized I had to stop what I was doing and couldn't talk to my toddler, I told Bryan to come home. It was a little after 3. Then my mother-in-law came to pick up Chloë, and then Noel and her apprentice/assistant Aki (who is also an RN) showed up shortly after 4.

Then after 6 hours of active labor, she was born. My little girl. My second daughter. My Elaina. Finally.

The labor was just as hard and painful as it was with Chloë, but so much shorter. I was very grateful.

A couple of hours old. Our sweet Elaina.
It was so surreal finally holding her and becoming familiar with the details of her tiny face. In some ways she looks so much like her big sister; but she is her own person.

The next morning, after very little sleep. I was just too excited to sleep. She was here! I could stare at her and hold her, and stroke her soft face. What joy.

Then Bryan's parents brought Chloë home. I was so excited to introduce my girls to each other.

The moment Chloë met Elaina. (Thanks Austin for capturing this and passing it along!)

Chloë wasn't quite sure what to think. All of the grandparents and some of the aunts and uncles were crowded around, making for quite the audience. But Chloë was sweet and affectionate, despite being slightly confused.

The girls with Grams, Pops, and Aunt Laura.

The first afternoon. A nap with my girls.

I love my life.

When she is awake, Elaina is quite the alert baby.

Enjoying life with my girls.

Papa naps with his grandchildren. I called my parents when I realized I was truly in labor, and they hopped in the car and made the four hour drive. They got to meet Elaina just a couple of hours after she was born.

Her eyes are actually a really dark blue. I love it when she is alert, turns to the sound of my voice, and tries to focus on my face.

Kisses from my mom- her Mimi.

My cup runneth over.

This is her grumpy face. Her little brow seems to be furrowed about 90% of the time, whether she's awake or asleep. It's quite the serious look for such a tiny person.

Elaina has a surprisingly strong neck. She only holds her head up for a few seconds here, but she has held it up for a couple of minutes at a time when she's awake and looking around. I'm really impressed. She's just really strong. Trying to get her dressed can be quite the challenge when she flexes those little arms of hers. I now understand those in utero movements. It's not so much that's she's constantly active, but that she's strong.

Our little attempt at a photo shoot. We got a couple of decent pictures, but she wasn't happy about being all alone.

3 days old.

My little family. God has blessed me so very richly.

Here's a video of her sleeping, from this morning. I love the faces and noises, but especially that smile.

We just liked the name Elaina, and have been saying it with a soft "eh" as opposed to the harder "ee". It means "bright light" or "torch." Halcyon (pronounced "HAL-see-un,") is my grandmother's name. My dad's mom. It means "calm," and we're wondering if there's any chance her personality will live up to her middle name.

We're all doing so well. Bryan gets a week of paternity leave, and it's wonderful having him around all the time. Chloë is more interested and affectionate with Elaina every day, and seems to be adjusting pretty well. Elaina is sleeping and eating like a champion. She loves sleeping against a heartbeat, and still has that wonderful newborn smell. I'm taking it easy and recovering wonderfully.

We love our new life as a family of four.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Elaina Halcyon Blakey

She's here. We give thanks to God for his perfect timing, despite our efforts to get her to come a little early. God is so good.

12 hours old.

Elaina Halcyon Blakey was born on her due date, on Wednesday, February 1st, at home with the assistance of our wonderful midwife and her assistant, a nurse. After 5 hours of intense active back labor, she came into this world at 9:24 pm, weighing 7 lbs 14 oz, and 19 3/4 inches long.

Moments after she was born.

We are so thankful to have her in our arms, and we are all doing well. There will be more details and pictures soon.