Saturday, November 19, 2016

Two Months!

The very best thing about Hallie turning two month old is that she sleeps! At night! We really didn't expect that to happen after our experience with Emma, the child who has always stayed up at night.  But Hallie is sleeping a solid 6 hours almost every night now, and she even slept 8 hours once! (Hallelujah, praise Jesus!) Dan and I immediately felt human again after she reached that milestone.  The only thing we changed was putting her in her car seat to sleep at night. We had done the same with Emma when she was a baby, and it helped some, but not as much as it has with Hallie.  I think being in the car seat makes babies feel like they are being held while they are sleeping, and elevating them prevents reflux. Hallie will sometimes sleep flat on the couch or a bed during the day, but usually it's only a short time before she's awake again.

We love that she's not a big crier. She is almost constantly snorting, panting, and grunting, though. We call her our little monster, because if you couldn't see her laying there, you might think there was some sort of terrifying creature in the crib.  When she wakes up hungry in the middle of the night, I usually hear her snorting and catch her before she works herself into a full cry, so no one else is disturbed.

She's giving us big, beautiful smiles every day now, especially in the mornings. She's just beginning to pay attention to the world around her, and enjoys when we take her around the house or outside to look at new things.  She has begun to notice the sounds and smells of mealtimes, and will loudly protest if she's left out while everyone else is eating! We often take turns holding her and feeding her a bottle during meals so we can get some bites of food in, too.

We've experimented with different formula types, and have settled on the Similac for Spit-Up brand. It has some added rice starch to make it thicker, so it stays down a little better for Hallie.  She gets pretty upset when she spits up, which I can understand because it's just gross.

Right after Hallie turned a month old, Dan's coworkers threw a baby shower for her.  It was the sweetest thing. They gave us a generous gift card from Babies R' Us, as well as a few personal gifts. They even gave Emma a baby doll and stroller, so she can take care of her new baby at home while we are taking care of Hallie.  We were so blessed by their love and thoughtfulness!

Emma loved helping Hallie open all her cards and presents

The beautiful cake and cupcakes

Emma holding her new baby, just like mommy.

Dan's coworker, Martha, and his Headmaster, Kathy, loved cuddling with Hallie

The lower school principal, Barb, and the coordinator of our shower, Jen. 

 The week before I returned to work part-time, I joined my coworkers for lunch. These ladies had surprised me with a baby shower before Hallie was born, and they loved meeting her in person!

One of the rare occasions when we got Hallie all dressed up

People say she looks more like me than Dan. This was her reaction when I told her that her bib said "cute like mommy."

 She's giving us the happiest smiles each day, which is the best thing ever!

Emma loves to help take care of her baby sister, and checks on her often to see if she needs anything.

I told Emma that we had to watch Hallie carefully when she's sleeping on the couch so she doesn't fall off.  So Emma sat beside her to make sure she was safe. And to poke her in the forehead.

This looks like a sweet moment, but I'm actually keeping Emma from growling and pouncing on Hallie like a lion. She likes Hallie to look at her, and has discovered that the best way to get her attention is to scare her to death. Heh!

In the sunlight, Hallie's hair looks a little bit red. I think it shows up in this picture.

Also, she is so cute when she cries. :)

I'm trying to get a nice picture of the girls together each month, so we can see how much Hallie grows and changes. The outtakes are the best part.


LOL! Nope. 

That's better!

Our baby girl is getting cuter and more fun each week. We love having her in our lives!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

October News and Festivities

The month of October was packed! The big news first: we are not finished with our new kitchen yet. My parents have not only been gracious enough to let us live in their townhouse for four months now, they, along with Dan's parents, have put tons of work into helping us paint walls, do yard work, and make progress on the kitchen renovation. It's taken forever because we can only work at the house on Saturdays and occasionally Sundays, but it would take so much longer without their help! And we are saving tons of money by not hiring contractors.  We've ordered cabinets and are ready to install them and the new flooring, so it will look more complete very soon!

We've created the open concept between our kitchen and den that we've always dreamed of having.

My dad and mom are our favorite part-time painters. They are looking for a house to buy, also, and have decided they want one that doesn't require any repairs, since there is endless amount of work needed at our house. :)

When we are working at the house, Emma spends time playing with her toys and reading her books that have been packed away for months now. But her favorite way to spend the time is sitting in her tent in the living room, watching a DVD on the laptop and eating snacks.

Although we are still in transition, we've recently become members of our church, Colonial Baptist.  We're excited about having opportunities to serve and meet new friends there. This is our member directory photo.

In other big news, Emma has had two UTIs in the past two months.  She was infection-free for four months after her surgery in April, and now we are back to "normal," unfortunately.  We visited her urologist, who ordered more ultrasounds and tests.  Emma still has reflux when she urinates, and as a result of her many UTIs, her bladder is enlarged. So, it looks like more surgery will be required soon.  In the meantime, we have her eating a high-fiber diet and drinking tons of water to keep everything "flowing". We make her use the restroom every couple of hours to keep her bladder from getting even more stretched out. She also has to take a daily antibiotic (again) and have a bath every night. She is handling all the changes better than we are!

The nightly bath has become a family affair. We all sit around the tub and play with Emma's toys or watch videos on our iPhone.

Our sweet girl seems so healthy most days, and for that we're very thankful!

In more fun news, Emma has made the cutest friends next door at my parents' townhouse. The two sisters are older than her, but they enjoy playing with her and she does her very best to keep up with them.

We celebrated our niece, Naomi's birthday.  All the cousins got to come, and we had a great time!

StoneBridge School had Grandparents' Day in October, and Emma's Grandma, Grandpa, Nana, and Papa were her special guests.

Hallie came, too, and Emma enjoyed showing off her baby sister to her classmates.

Hallie wanted a photo with all her grandparents, too. 

A picture of Emma with her teacher, Miss Butler, who is wonderful!

Our big preschooler!

Halloween is a fun family event with the Jesters, since Dan's brother and sister-in-law, Tim and Dawn, have a great neighborhood for trick-or-treating.  We have joined them for the past couple of years in Williamsburg.
Emma dressed up as Skye from Paw Patrol this year.

The cousins in costumes (left to right): Emma (Skye), Josiah (Power Ranger), Aaron (the Ultimate Soldier), Nathan (Hawkeye), and Benjamin (the Winter Soldier)

Emma only lasted for 45 minutes of actual trick-or-treating, but we had a great time!

Hallie didn't go with us, since it was cold outside and she would've just slept through it anyway.  She decided she wanted to dress up as a nervous NY Islander fan, just like her daddy.

We met Emma and Hallie's younger cousins for a day at the pumpkin patch.
Emma with Naomi, Aunt Robin, and Miriam on the hay ride

Grandpa, Josiah, and Grandma

Emma, Hallie, and I

Emma, Josiah, Naomi, and Miriam showing off their pumpkins and gourds

Hallie picked a pumpkin, too.

Hallie and I have been slowly getting back into shape together, running and walking around the neighborhood.

Dan and Emma occasionally join us and we have stroller races. :)

We joined Emma and Hallie's younger cousins again at Bird Gap Farm recently.
Grandma and Grandpa bought everyone winter hats. They were perfect for the cold, windy day!

Everyone got to feed a friendly llama

These three (Josiah, Naomi, and Emma) are like peas in a pod.  They look like they are plotting something devious in this picture.

Hallie opted to stay bundled up in her car seat and drink milk, instead of playing outside with her cousins that day.

It feels like we've been working non-stop since we bought our new house. It's become our weekend job, and sometimes we don't get to spend much time together since Dan will work at the house and I'll watch the kids at my parents' house. So we took a much-needed day off last Saturday and drove to Knotts Island, NC.  Driving, sightseeing, and relaxing were the main events that day, but we stopped at a local park for Emma to play on the playground, ate lunch at the local deli, and rode the 45-minute ferry that docks on Knotts Island.

Dan and Emma dancing together on the ferry.

My girls

It was the perfect family day! We're looking forward to more of them after our kitchen remodel is finished and we've moved into our house!