Always Be My Baby

Tonight as I put Jack to bed I was overcome with so much emotion. I closed the last page of our bedtime story (Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?) and looked over at him as his eyes fluttered open and shut, open and shut.... he was trying so hard to hang on, but sleep was creeping up on him quickly. As sleep finally took him, his binky fell out of his mouth and I thought my baby doesn't look so much like a baby these days.

This little boy, clutching his golden retriever stuffed animal and wearing his monkey pajamas, looked so big to me! My heart just ached... he is growing up so quickly and there is nothing I can do about it. Oh, but Lord, how I long to! How I long to shield him from this cruel world and every possible heartbreak within it. How I long to help him maintain his innocence that only a child can possess forever. How I long for him to always put his little hand in mine when we're silently walking side by side together. How I long for him to always call me "Momma."

Yet, at the same time, I long for him to grow up. I want him to experience the richness that this life can offer. I want him to achieve things he never thought he'd be able to and feel pride and joy. I want him to love. I want him to overcome fears and hardships with dignity and grace. I even want him to fail a little bit from time to time so he remains humble and can see that he can rise up from the ashes of defeat. I want him to live a full life, but in order to do that he has to grow up.

And isn't this the constant pull as a mother? We want them to always be our baby's but also we want to see them grow up to become the beautiful people we know they were created to be. They are pieces of our soul living outside of us who we want nothing more than to harness back in but know we need to let them grow --to nurture and instill as much goodness, faith, kindness, gentleness, and love into as we can --but, ultimately, let them go.

I never want to let him go.

So tonight my prayers for this beautiful, little boy were accompanied by tears. I prayed for his future and for the man he will one day become, but I also prayed a prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving that this little being is my son. That I get to wake up every morning to hear the pitter-patter of his still chubby little feet running down the hall... That I get chocolate cookie mouth kisses... That I get squeals of delight and tickle fights... That I get to play trucks and choo-choo till my back is sore from bending over... That I get to see things as new and exciting through his eyes... That I get to read bedtime stories and give goodnight hugs...

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to be this little boys Momma. Help me to be a good one.


Eleanor | 6 Months

I cannot believe my little Eleanor Joy is 6 months old! How did half a year already fly by?? She is still the happiest baby I've ever met. Super sweet and always ready to give anyone the most perfect smile who looks her way.
Eleanor Joy likes...
taking all the diapers and other supplies out of the diaper caddy...everyday...multiple times a day...
her brother's toys
Huck and Herschel
the exersaucer
lotion messages
"chasing" Jack
her binky
the ergo
Eleanor Joy dislikes...
when mommy leaves the room
eating solids
sleeping in her crib
Health: Ellie weighed 17lbs and measured in at 26 3/4 in. at her 6 month wellness check up! She's gained 5lbs in the two months since I've cut dairy from my diet. She still can only tolerate baked in dairy through my breastmilk while cheese, butter, and all other forms of dairy are still a fail. She is doing so much better though! She is still in size 2 diapers (although I think we're almost ready to move up a size), but is now in all 9 month clothing.

Nursing: I have no idea how often Eleanor nurses during the day. I quit trying to keep track. She is very squirmy and easily distracted while eating so I feel like we do a lot of quick nursing sessions many times a day. At night she has gone back to only nursing 2 times.

Solids: Eleanor tried solids for the first time this month! Her first food was sweet potato, and since then we've tried banana, avocado, applesauce and pears. She hates it all and usually refuses to open her mouth after the first taste! What a difference from her brother who seemed to never stop eating once he got that first taste of solids!

Sleeping: I don't even want to talk about it... I seriously think I breed the world's worst sleepers. When Ellie hit 6 months we were on a good sleep schedule. She was napping well and doing okay-ish at night. She just moves sooooo dang much in her sleep and is almost crawling, so I decided it was no longer safe for her to nap in my bed and starting putting her in her crib for all naps and the beginning of her nighttime sleep. OH.MY.WORD. We have some serious sleep issues now. Girlfriend does not like her crib...

She is still doing 2 naps (sometimes 3) a day but will only sleep for 30-40 minutes at a time in her crib. On a bad day, she gets 1 hour total of naps. On a good day (meaning Steven's home and I can hold her after she wakes up to finish napping...) she gets 1.5 - 2 hours tops. It's bad, ya'll. And I know she can self sooth because I've seen her do it while spying on her like a crazy person through the monitor! 

At night, I put her in her crib and sometimes she'll give me a 6 hour stretch before waking to nurse. At that point I move her to my bed, nurse her, and she usually will wake one more time to nurse before morning. Lately, though, she is fighting being put in her crib for nighttime sleep, too. I'll rock her, put her in crib, she wakes up anywhere from just a few minutes to 40 minutes later and I have to start rocking her all over again. But if I just put her in my bed for the night right away she sleeps like a rock (a squirmy rock) for a good 6 hours before she nurses. 

We were doing so well before I made the switch to her crib... *sigh*
New This Month: Eleanor is ALMOST crawling. She scoots / army crawls where she wants to go and is pretty good at it! She will get up on all fours and rock back and forth, too. So, so close! She loves bouncing in her exersaucer and just being around the family... including the animals. When she sees Steven she just stares as if she's in awe (like in the picture above) and gives him the sweetest smile. She definitely still prefers her momma but is fascinated by her daddy and big brother, Jack. She is happy to play all day.. who needs naps anyways?!?! When she first tried solids she wasn't too impressed, but now she just downright refuses them. She does love to sit in her highchair and be apart of the dinner table discussions along with everyone else. Also this month I've noticed that she seems to no longer mind being put in her carseat! Very rarely will she cry when being put it. Now she just contently enjoys the ride or takes a quick snooze. But, hands down, the best thing about this month was her saying her very first word...."MAMA"!!!!!
Eleanor you are the sweetest, little girl and I am so glad that you are mine! My world has become a better place with you in it. I'm so glad I get to be your MAMA! Happy half birthday, baby girl!


Eleanor | 5 Months

*RANT* Why is it that I take Eleanor's monthly photos on the 4th of every month without fail but I cannot, CANNOT, get my act together to write these updates in a timely manner?!? She is growing and changing so much month to month and I'm going to forget it all!!! I want a Peter Pan baby that just stays little forever... *END RANT*

Eleanor is 5 months old and simply a superstar. She is the sweetest, most happy and content baby. She truly is such a joy to me and Steven (and even Jack Jack)!
 Eleanor Joy likes...
getting her diaper changed
any and all toys
the exersaucer
Huckleberry & Herschel
lotion messages
the ergo
her binky
 Eleanor Joy dislikes...
anyone holding her but mommy or daddy
her car seat
Health: After Eleanor was diagnosed with reflux at her 4 month wellness checkup, my naturopath suspected a possible dairy intolerance and I immediately cut out diary from my diet. I saw a noticeable difference within just 72 hours. Her spitting up completely stopped and although she still burped often I could tell that the gas was no longer causing her discomfort. Her stool went from a runny green to the more normal yellow infant color (TMI? Oops) and she started having bowel movements once a day instead of 1 or 2 times a week! What a difference! At her 5 month weight check she was 15lbs on the dot. That's almost a 3lb weight gain.. that made for one happy, happy momma!! It feels so good to see some chub on my little girl. Since then I've been slowly putting dairy back into my diet. So far baked in dairy has been a pass but cheese and butter were fails.

Ellie is still mostly in size 3-6 month clothes but has already moved up to 9 month sleepers. Still in size 2 diapers.

Nursing: At her 4 month wellness checkup we also decided that more frequent, smaller feedings might be better for Eleanor and her spit up issues since I have an overactive supply. So I've been nursing her about every 2-2.5 hours versus every 3 hours. I basically just read her cues though and nurse on demand whenever that might be.

At night she has gone from 2 nursing sessions to 3 and it is a definite buzz kill...

Sleeping: Eleanor has finally settled into a great nap schedule making it much easier for me to manage my time juggling her and Jack! She takes a morning catnap (30-45 minutes) about 2 hours after she wakes up and then a long afternoon nap (anywhere from 2-3 hours). Sometimes she might even take a second catnap (30 minutes) in the evening before bedtime if one of her earlier naps was cut short.

For nighttime she is sleeping from 6pm-6am but with 3 night wakings to nurse!!! So she's definitely regressed from last month! Super bummed.. could be the 4 month sleep regression? Teething? Separation anxiety? Learning a new skill? Who knows but I am not a fan!

Also, Ellie is still a tummy sleeper but OH.EM.GEE. this girl moves soooooo much in her sleep. Constantly rolling over and changing from right side up, to sideways, then right side up again..

We co-sleep because I am mentally insane.
New this Month: This month Eleanor starting sitting up all on her own like a champ. I love to see her sitting there, toes pointed, reaching for her toys! She is just content to sit all day and watch Jack Jack play or Huckleberry and Herschel walk by. When she gets excited she squeals at the top of her lungs which never fails in getting Jack to laugh and then they both have the cutest little laughing fit. She enjoys jumping in her exersaucer and grabbing anything and everything and sticking it right in her mouth. We got out the highchair this month for her to sit in while we eat at the table.. she definitely likes being apart of the family dining experience and slaps at all our food and mimics us chewing. I know she's ready for solids but I'm not ready and am procrastinating :(. She also had her first stroller ride in the actual stroller seat vs her carseat. Wasn't too sure how she felt about that one! Bath time has gotten so much better though as she no longer freaks out the whole time but actually plays and has even cracked a few smiles for me here and there while in the tub ;). She definitely is a momma's girl and is not happy when I walk out of her sight. If she's on her belly she will do a complete 360 to find out where I've gone to! 
Saved the best picture for last...

Eleanor, we love every minute spent with you! You are happy, curious, and so quick to smile. You bring so much light into our lives and we simply adore you! Love you to the moon and back, Eleanor Joy!


Eleanor | 4 Months Old

Eleanor turned 4 months old last week... this has definitely been the biggest month for Eleanor developmentally. Girl wants to be on the move!
 Weight: 12lbs 9oz
Height: 25in
 Eleanor Joy likes...
(especially her brown+pint crinkle blankie)
diaper changes
her binky
naps in the ergo
watching Jack play
and her mommy
did I mention her mommy?
Eleanor Joy dislikes...
when mommy leaves
loud noises
being put down
anyone but mommy ;)
Health: Eleanor is now completely in size 3-6 month clothes and she moved up into size 2 diapers. Unfortunately, my gut feeling was confirmed at her 4 month wellness checkup and it looks like my little love has reflux. I knew Eleanor spit up what seems to be mass quantities of milk after every feeding and the burping issue that I mentioned before has only seemed to get worse. That fact and along with some other suspect systems (arching her back, interrupted sleep due to gas, screaming before and after spitting up, etc.) had me worried but I was praying it was simply me being paranoid. Ellie is such a sweet, happy baby most of the time it's hard for me to imagine anything was wrong. But when the doctor put her on that scale my heart just sunk. Eleanor isn't gaining weight at the rate she should be. I knew it...but now that it's been confirmed by her doctor we're taking some necessary steps in hopes that the reflux will subside. I immediately eliminated dairy from my diet and started Eleanor on a infant probiotic. I'm also just carrying her a lot more so that she can remain upright longer after a feeding in hopes of not losing her entire meal by spitting up. Praying that progress is made with these adjustments by her next weight check appointment in 2 weeks.

Nursing: No change here during the day.. Eleanor still nurses about every 3 hours. Nights, however, are a different story. Ellie and I flew to NY for my brother Justin's wedding and during our stay she started waking an extra time at night...about 5 hours after falling asleep instead of the 7-8 hour stretch she usually did. She falls right back to sleep after her first feeding and then wakes to eat again 3-4 hours later. Could be that the trip messed up her sleep schedule a bit, could be teething or the 4 month sleep regression, or maybe even another symptom of reflux! Who knows! I'm just thankful she goes right back to sleep with no fuss after feeding each time.

Sleeping:  I definitely don't think Eleanor is getting enough sleep during the day so she's been making up for it at night by falling asleep even earlier! She's out by 6 or 6:30 every night now! That's pretty darn early... Most nights she's waking up around 11 to nurse and then again around 3. She is up for the day by 6:30 usually. I can't complain --12 hours with only 2 night wakings is bliss compared to her brother who at one point was waking 8 times a night to nurse!! I still am not sure how I survived that one.

And despite my efforts, Eleanor is officially a tummy sleeper. She actually has been for a while now but I would gently roll her back onto her side or back. Now that has become pointless because as soon as I walk away she rolls back onto her tummy. She also still loves to sleep covered in a million blankets. I let her fall asleep that way and then I go in and remove all the blankets for the night. She is so cute when she sleeps it's hard for me to get anything done.
New this Month: So much! Eleanor did great on her first plane ride. Hardly made a peep and when she did she simply smiled and cooed at everyone who looked her way. I even had a gentleman tell me that she had given him baby fever ;)! She met lots of friends and family while traveling and was seriously just the best little traveling companion ever. Developmentally, Eleanor has been rolling both ways like it's her job! She enjoys playing on her belly and reaching for toys. She can even get her knees up under her like she's trying to crawl away (stop it! just stop it already!) Anything she grabs immediately goes into her slobbery, teething mouth. She also discovered her feet and toes this month, which is always cute! Also, girlfriend can talk! I always thought Jack was such a chatterbox at this age, but I think she's got him beat. She is always cooing up a storm to anyone who will listen. And those legs! Always kicking them making me believe she might just stand straight up and run away! She is a wiggle worm for sure. Also, I don't know if separation anxiety can be a thing this young... but Ellie definitely has it. When I leave the room she puts on the cutest sad face and just starts bawling. It's pretty much adorable...

Even with the reflux issues, Eleanor is such a happy, content baby. I feel so blessed to have her as my daughter. She is so easy to make smile and laugh. Every time she wakes up she smiles and looks at me as if I've been gone for years and she's just so ecstatic I'm back now! I love this sweet girl so much!
Happy 4 months, Eleanor Joy!
You are adored by each of us so very much!


Eleanor | 3 Months Old

Eleanor turned 3 months old on July 4th. My sweet girl is growing up and changing so quickly that I've started taking notes on my phone so I can remember all the new developments and when they happened!
 3 month old Ellie likes...
naps in the Ergo
any and all baby toys
her binky
being wrapped up to her head in blankets
cooing and talking up a storm
her mommy
3 month old Ellie dislikes...
bath time
loud noises
not being able to see mommy
Health: No wellness checkup this month so we just did measurements at home. I weighed her right on July 4th and she was about 12lbs and 24in on the dot. Still in size 1 diapers and almost completely wearing 3-6 month clothes.

Nursing: Eleanor still nurses about every 3 hours during the day and only waking once to eat at night. I do think she has started teething this month, resulting in some fussiness and tugging while nursing. But she is still a great eater and likes to stick to her 3 hour nursing schedule!

Sleeping: Eleanor has actually slept straight through the night a couple times this month! WooHoo! Most nights though she is asleep by 6:30-7, waking once to eat, and then starting her day at 6:30 or 7. I can't complain about that! 12 hours at night is a dream come true to me!! I feel as though her gas issues have gotten a little better and she is stirring less at night because she needs to burp. Now if she stirs I can usually get away with just putting her binky back in and she'll settle herself.

For naps...I've been trying to ensure Ellie gets 3 naps a day. Less than that and this girl can't hang till her 6:30 bedtime! Naps are still a challenge though because she startles so easily and Jack tends to have one volume: LOUD! The easiest way for me to help her get a good nap is by wearing her in the Ergo. She absolutely loves it and in asleep almost instantly and will usually nap 1 1/2 to 2 hours in it every morning. Her second nap happens around noon (or whenever Jack goes down for his nap), and then her last nap is hit or miss in the evenings.
New this Month: A lot of new developments this month for little miss Ellie! She was able to meet Nana and Papa Carroll for the first time in June when they came to visit for a couple weeks. She definitely enjoyed all the extra snuggling and time spent in people's arms. This girl doesn't ever want to be put down if it can be avoided ;)! The day she turned 9 weeks old she rolled from her belly to back. She doesn't do it often but can now officially roll from belly to back and back to belly! Her hand eye coordination is really improving and she is expertly reaching and grasping for her toys. If her hands aren't busy playing with a toy, she's using them to explore mommy's face or trying her darnedest to fit both fists completely in her mouth. Also, this month she discovered the joys of the mirror. Put her in front of that thing and she'll smile and coo nonstop. Probably my favorite development this month though was hearing those first giggles! Ellie is ticklish right under that adorable little chin and also on her tummy. I can't help but blow raspberry after raspberry to hear this girl's sweet giggle!
Happy 3 month, Eleanor Joy! 
You are such a happy, smiley little girl. 
We are so lucky to call you ours.