Thursday, November 3, 2011
But here I am. I refuse to give up and at some point, I will do an extra post to make up for it.
So much has happened with Ellie in the last few weeks. She got her first two teeth within 3 days of each other--they're the bottom middle ones and she is adorable. I'm very grateful that she's not a chomper while nursing. She doesn't show them off very often but they're well above the gums now. She's also this.close to crawling. She gets up on all fours as often as possible and rocks back and forth, but hasn't figured out forward movement yet (though she does sometimes end up going backwards). I also appreciate that she waited until a normal age to start crawling. She's been able to sit for a while, and also get herself onto her stomach without falling, but now she's trying to get herself from her stomach into a seated position. She hasn't managed it yet but it's coming. She can also stand on her own for brief periods as long as you give her some back support. I'm just astounded at how strong she is.
She's been talking for two months or so. Just a few words and she doesn't say them often, but they clearly have meaning. She says Mama, Dada, na (for nurse), and broh (for brother). Jason and I think she's working on da (for dog) and also heh-oh (for hello). The last one sounds a lot like uh-oh and I thought that was what she was saying for a long time but she didn't seem to care when I would repeat it back to her. When I say "hello!" after she makes that sound, she gets all excited.
The boys are just enthralled with Ellie. We chose to have another child because Jason and I wanted another child, but watching Patrick and Melkamu with their little sister is just as close as it gets to perfect happiness. They are sweet with her, always wanting to make her happy and smile. Patrick loves to hold her and Melkamu loves to make faces to make her laugh. They are excellent at trying to make her happy if we're in the car and she's crying, and she loves them more than anyone else in the world. We wanted our children to be close to one another and it's so wonderful to see them caring so much about each other.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
The year has been a year of transitions. Having a third child in general is pretty easy--a lot easier than I was expecting it to be. Ellie as a third child is challenging. She's got SUCH a strong personality. She's amazingly sweet and lovable but never, ever stops. Anything. I have to hold her legs still while she nurses and even so, she's windmilling her arms around when I do that. She flat-out refuses a bottle or sippy cup of pumped milk while I'm gone, which means she nurses most of the night. The idea of her sleeping through the night is laughable. Co-sleeping is saving my sanity.
I'm still sane. Shut up.
The boys are great. Melkamu is thriving in pre-K and loves it. He's learning to write and all sorts of other things, and he loves his class and teachers. He'll be 5 in less than 3 weeks and has been eagerly anticipating his birthday party (which isn't even scheduled yet) for months and months. Patrick is doing well in second grade. He's in the regular gifted program and also the separate math gifted program, and those are keeping him challenged. That's been a problem for him in the past--he doesn't like to fail and so he'll only do things he already knows how to do--but he's really starting to step up and try new things, and be persistent in figuring them out! We're thrilled. They're playing with robots and doing programming in the gifted program and it sounds like lots of fun!
Jason's been in transition all year with regards to jobs. First, his job ended in February. Then he had a temp job in South Carolina from June through July. Then he had a temp job here for three weeks in October. He's starting a new temp job here mid-month. He likes the variety of the document review, which is great, and there's a lot of flexibility with it, so it's actually working out well for us. If it were a steady job, it would be perfect for him. But the temp jobs are doing well enough for us and we're maintaining.
Caesar is in transition--we think. At his annual appointment in July, we were told that he has a splenic tumor and only had 1-3 months to live if it was cancerous. There was an 80% chance that it was cancerous. We elected not to have it removed and biopsied because at his age (he turned 12 last month), it just seemed like unnecessary pain and trauma for him without much gain. He's at the top end of his expected lifespan anyway. So we figured we'd just love on him and make him as comfortable as possible. He started getting skinny and we were watching for signs of pain or discomfort, knowing that we'd have to bring him in if that happened.
He's doing fine. We started feeding him a bit more and he plumped right back up. He doesn't seem in pain at all. He seems completely normal. Maybe he lucked out and has a benign tumor and we'll get to have him around for years to come! (I hope, I hope.)
Anyway, it's required a constant shift around here to stay balanced this year and that killed me for writing blogs. But I'm going to make the committment that BOTH OF MY READERS will find new posts every day this month. And there will be pictures. Lots of pictures.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Seriously, people don't believe us when we say she doesn't nap. They think she probably naps but a little less than other babies, or a little less regularly. But it's true:
Ellie. Almost. Never. Naps.
There was one day when we thought she'd had a great napping day. She napped for about 90 minutes and we were thrilled. Of course, she did those total of 90 minutes in 5 separate sessions, none of which were longer than 25 minutes. Generally, she'll sleep for a total of 30 minutes a day.
Did I mention she still doesn't sleep through the night? 'Cause she doesn't.
To be honest, it really doesn't bother me that she doesn't sleep through the night. She'll sleep in her pack n play in our bedroom for a few hours, then I'll get up and go into her room with her. We'll nurse and co-sleep the rest of the night. It doesn't feel burdensome and I know that it's limited in time, so I'm enjoying the extra cuddling time.
But this video? That's what she does. And just so you know, she never did fully fall asleep in there. When I took her out, she acted as though she'd never been tired at all. She stayed up until 7:00, then slept for 10 minutes, then woke back up.
Her total napping time today (in 2 sessions) between 7:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.? Less than 30 minutes.
Watch and be amazed ;-)
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
My brother came to visit last week. It was great. He hadn't made it down here since Patrick was just under a year old (though we've seen him when we go to NY) and it was so nice to have him visit. The kids just loved having him here. Well, Ellie took a couple of days to warm up but the boys had a blast playing soccer and reading and generally being insane with Uncle Sean.
My camera's flash card is missing. I am freaked out because my regular laptop has already died and ALL of my digital pictures are on it. I know those can be saved, so those don't worry me too much, but every baby picture of Ellie since about 3 months on is on that flash card and I have no idea what happened to it. I'm about to conduct a completely throrough search that involves moving major pieces of furniture and/or appliances as necessary until it's found.
Melkamu loves loves loves pre-K so far. He gets to play with his friends everyday again (he's been out of daycare since shortly before Ellie was born) and is so proud to have little homework assignments to do. Yesterday he got to fill in a page all about himself and he drew pictures of our family, glued on wooden beads, and wrote his own name. It's awesome to see how much he loves school already!
Ellie's decided that moving is fun. She actually decided it months ago when she started rolling but now she log-rolls, wiggles, army crawls, and squiggles until she gets where she wants to go. It's surprising how fast she can move when she wants! Today, for the very first time, I watched her pushing herself up as high as she could on her arms and also trying to raise her bottom at the same time. Since she can get her knees under herself and push already, once she manages to get her bottom up with her arms also, she'll be off and crawling. I hope I'm not off on my crawling estimate of 7 1/2 months but I'll be surprised if she's not crawling by then.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
It's been a good week for us, in case you couldn't tell :-)
Monday, August 8, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
You may have noticed that I disappeared for awhile. I know you were anxiously awaiting another installment of The Morrey, The Merrier's antics because it is such a shining beacon in an otherwise dreary day. I'm sure that this blog signifies hope, love, light, and courage that brings you joy and happiness.
The silence coming from your end suggests that I might have been mistaken. How embarrassing.
It's been an interesting summer at Casa Morrey. Jason was gone for 7 weeks. It was a tough 7 weeks, though I have to admit that I feel something of a sense of pride that I managed to hold everything together on my own. We saw Jason several of those weekends and I did have a lot of help. Jason's wonderful mom came in to help me during a week when my babysitter was away, other friends helped when I had meetings, and my dad came to help during finals--but all of us were surprised and thrilled when Jason was able to come home for good at the same time!
Despite being insane with work (3 classes, 2 of which I'd never taught fully online before), I survived the summer home with the kids by not sleeping much and consuming copious quantities of sugar and caffeine. The boys say they had a good summer and that's really what matters--they were already going to be dealing with enough with Jason being gone, so I didn't want them also to have a mama that was always working during the day. We had fun with playgroup, lots and lots of playdates, trips to Charleston and Florida, and canning.
OK, *I* had fun with canning. I can't vouch for the kids. They had fun with the berry picking and the farmers' market outings to get the things that went into the canning process, at least!
I'm sensing thoughts of "Where are the damned pictures?" from your end of the computer. I'll just get to them, shall I?
Friday, June 10, 2011
We're keeping busy. Last summer I worked while being home with the boys and didn't do a great job of keeping work separate from spending time with them. I was so focused on getting the work done that I spent way more time working during their awake hours than I would have liked. That's changed this summer. I do some work during the day but mainly while they're in quiet time. Most of it gets done after they go to bed. I'm spending more time letting them have fun this summer--we've been going swimming a lot, going to our playgroup, just spending time with friends. The kids haven't gotten really bored yet (of course, it's only been 3 weeks) and I find it's easier when they're not bored. I have a couple of things I'm saving for rainy days or those times when they get really bored.
OK, I know you're not here to listen to me blather about things like that. I actually have some more substantive posts that I'm slowly writing piecemeal but it's hard to find time to do this at all. Ellie is getting more and more fun lately. She isn't screaming as much of the time, to the rejoicing of my ears, and spends an awful lot of time cooing and babbling and such.
The kids are particularly cute these days. Last night they were all sleeping in amusing ways, so I broke out the camera! It's 95 degrees here (76 in the house). The boys consisently choose to wear fleece and flannel pajamas. I don't get it.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
I'm teaching two online classes and a face-to-face lab class this summer. It's a huge amount of work but so far it's going OK and I'm keeping up.
The biggest adjustment for us has been Jason's work. As you know, his job ended in February and he's been looking for a new one ever since. He got called by a legal temp agency about 2 weeks ago to do a job for most of the summer, which was great...
...except that the job is in South Carolina. We live in Atlanta. Atlanta is not in South Carolina. Atlanta is too far from South Carolina to commute.
This poses several challenges. First, a normal summer schedule at my college is two classes--the summer semester is only half the length of a normal semester, so there's twice as much work each week as in a normal spring or fall semester. I took on a third class because Jason wasn't working and it would help us financially. However, I also arranged these classes so that I could still be home with the kids in case Jason got a job (silly me expected that if he got a job, it would be here). Hence, I leave to teach my lab two nights a week at 7:30 p.m., when the boys go to bed, and do my online classes whenever I have a free minute, and most other evenings.
So basically, it's worked out like this: I am currently working 50% more than full-time, while also home full-time with the kids, one of whom is a newborn who doesn't sleep through the night and won't take a bottle. (Don't ask me how it works to be a full-time SAHM and a full-time WOHM/WAHM at the same time. There is no answer.) Jason is renting a room in a house in South Carolina and came home last weekend, but won't be able to come home again for several more weeks because he's expected to work on the weekends. Which means I am also doing everything around the house that I'd normally do plus everything he normally does. Like mowing our lawn. Have you seen our lawn? It's like mowing a black-diamond ski slope in 95F temperatures.
I miss Jason and his lawn-mowing prowess.
The kids are bearing up as much as possible. Melkamu says "I miss Daddy" at least 10 times a day. Patrick will be doing something and say "I have to remember to tell Daddy about this when we talk to him." We're doing all we can to keep up and keep the house together.
And we really, really miss Jason. It was such a nice surprise to have him come home last weekend--we didn't know he'd be able to but they apparently got their first weekend off--but know that he won't be able to do it often. He won't be home for Father's Day weekend, and our 12th anniversary is the next day. That's particularly hard, knowing he won't be here to celebrate his first Father's Day as a dad of three.
We'll adjust as much as we can, and hope that he's home as soon as possible.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
I finally got Eleanor smiling on camera! This is the cutest picture ever. She still has her dark blue eyes but they are starting to turn a little more gray. She is such a sweet little girl. Definitely more temperamental than Patrick was as a baby, with her own ideas on everything, but sweet as can be. She rolled over front-to-back for the first time at 5 weeks, 5 days old. I told her how impressed I was and promptly told her not to do it again--she's too young to start things like that ;-) She weighed in at 11 lb 10 oz at 6 weeks old, up from her birth weight at 8 lb 14 oz. She comes with me to teach my pharmacology class each week and either stays with my department chair or sleeps in the sling while I talk.
My baby girl is growing up way too fast, but we are loving every day of it.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Caesar likes having Ellie down at his level.
Patrick and Kamu love Ellie to pieces. They sing songs to her when she cries, hold her hands, give her hugs and kisses, and are really gentle with her. Kamu occasionally gets a little tired of how often she eats ("You nursing the baby again?!?!?!") but other than that, his transition to big brother has been remarkably easy--much more so than I'd expected. He does take advantage of anytime I put Ellie down to cuddle with me but that's certainly to my benefit as much as his :-)
Eleanor doesn't mind tummy-time too much because it gives her easy access to slurp on her fist, which she loves. (And yes, I know she's in pink and flowers and ruffles in this picture. Some of it is kind of cute. Most of it makes me itch.)
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Eleanor is starting to get onto somewhat of a more typical newborn schedule. She's up a little more often at night, to the detriment of my sleep, but we do often take a morning nap together. Actually, in the last few days she has started to take a morning nap and an afternoon/evening nap, so it's a little more predictable. She's much more alert during the day, which is lots of fun. While she still cluster nurses, she doesn't generally do it for 3-4 hours at a time anymore...it's usually only 1.5-2 hours, which is a vast improvement. Lately, she's decided that she won't cry when she's not hungry or overtired as long as you don't stop moving. "Moving" involves bouncing her, swaying, and walking--all at the same time. Sometimes it alxo involved patting her back and shushing her. This may be why I've lost weight so quickly.
We are indeed lucky to have our baby Ellie in our family!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
She is the sweetest, most content baby most of the time. When she is awake, as long as she's not hungry, she is happy to play the tongue-sticking-out game, the finger-grabbing game, etc. She can hold her head up for a few seconds at a time and enjoys looking all around. She likes dancing around the kitchen and prefers hip-hop to anything else I've tried, though she will tolerate country and rock. She likes to be held all the time and is sleeping with me in the nursery for now because she doesn't like to be alone in the bassinet. She'll wake up a few times to nurse at night but I fall back to sleep once she's latched on. We generally get a 4- or 5-hour stretch of sleep (after a 3- or 4-hour stretch of nursing--she is a cluster nurser to the nth degree) and a couple of 2-3 hour stretches out of her. Yesterday and today, Ellie and I got up with the rest of the family while Patrick was getting ready for school, then took a 3-hour nap after he left. Given that she's a newborn, we're reasonably well-rested. I don't expect it to last but each day she goes like this is certainly helpful!
But woe betide you if she's hungry.
Ellie doesn't cry. Ever. If she's not hungry, she's not crying--she's either sleeping or happy to be awake, looking around with her big blue eyes. If she's hungry, she screams. There is no warning beyond some squirming and turning red for a few seconds. Then she yells with all her might until she has no choice but to take a breath. She flails her fists (Patrick came down the other day and said "I got beat up by a baby girl!"). She arches her back. She turns bright red. She tries to nurse on your chin or arm, or any other body part she can get her mouth on. She is the angriest, hungriest baby ever because the food is not there RIGHT THAT SECOND. It doesn't matter if she's eaten 2 hours before or if I'm just switching her to the other side after finishing the first.
If the food doesn't come fast enough, in her opinion, she does what Jason calls "playing dead" (this only happens if someone else is holding her). She stops crying and goes entirely limp. She closes her eyes. As soon as I take her, she immediately opens her eyes, yells at me, and starts trying to nurse through my shirt.
Today, I had the selfish notion that I should feed myself--after all, if the food source does not occasionally get nourished and watered, she has trouble producing food for Her Highness. And shamefully, I wanted warm food--clearly, that was taking way too long. Jason was holding Eleanor. He tried rocking her. She yelled. He tried putting her in the bouncy chair. She screamed. He picked her back up and rocked her some more. She yelled louder until her voice started going hoarse, then played dead. (This all took a grand total of no more than 5 minutes.) Mind you, I'd finished feeding her right before I handed her to Jason.
When I sat down to nurse her 30 seconds later, she was all sweetness and light as soon as she latched on. She spends 99% of her day like that. It's only the other 1% of the day when she's hungry and not actively eating that she turns into this 9-lb raging red ball of baby.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
I started having the contractions that ultimately led to her birth at about 11 a.m. on March 6, while I was waiting for Patrick's Sunday school to end. We got home around 1 p.m. and I told Jason that I was having contractions about 4-5 minutes apart and had been for a couple of hours. "So, just another Sunday?" he asked. "Yep, pretty much," I told him. I'd had contractions like those multiple times in the last few weeks. One of those times they were like that for 22 hours, so I didn't read anything into them.
They started getting the tiniest bit stronger and around 3 p.m. I decided to take a nap. After laying in bed for about 15 minutes, I had one and actually felt downward movement from the baby, so I thought I'd call my midwife and give her a heads-up that something might be happening (this will be a recurring theme). I had a contraction while on the phone and apparently my midwife said to herself "Oh yeah, she's in labor." She called her apprentice to let her know.
I got up since I didn't like being in bed anymore and just hung around downstairs for a couple of hours. My midwife called back around 5:30 to see how I was doing and said she and her apprentice would just come over and see what was going on. They came around 6:15 or so and listened to the baby's heartbeat, asked how I was doing, etc. Around 8 p.m., we'd put the kids to bed and everyone started bringing equipment in from the car. I called my friends who were coming and told them that the baby would probably come that night. Mind you, I didn't believe it but figured that if my midwife was bringing things inside, it was a reasonable thing to do.
My friends got there within the hour and we all sat around waiting for something to happen beyond the contractions. And waiting. And waiting. They were pretty regular and certainly stronger compared to earlier, but I didn't buy it. I did get into the birth tub at one point but my contractions basically stopped after that, so I got back out and went back to what I'd been doing.
I did a lot of laboring like this. Jason was an awesome coach, of course.
Still, we kept on all morning. I spent some more time in the tub, more time laying down, a little more time sitting. I was able to eat and drink as I needed. The kids were awesome--they watched videos on iPads and played upstairs and read some stories. My friends Rachel and Lovisa were fantastically helpful--making coffee, entertaining the kids, helping me with whatever I needed, keeping me entertained between contractions. We talked a lot and it gave Jason the freedom to help me emotionally and physically. He was the one always there wherever I was, to help keep track of how things were going, giving me lots of excellent massages, encouraging me every minute.
Everyone else knew what was happening. I, despite being the one actually in labor, didn't really believe it was going to happen. At 3 p.m., we heard Patrick's bus come by and Jason remarked that Patrick could have gone to school that day. I said "No, the baby will probably come today so I'm glad he stayed home." And immediately, everything picked up. I went into transition and had a couple of contractions that had me sobbing. My midwife checked me because I felt like I wanted to push and said "There's the baby's head."
Me (now sobbing semi-happily): "Oh, I'm so glad. I was afraid you'd check and I'd be like 5 cm." Everyone else laughed but I'd been serious--that's how much in denial I'd been all day. (Mind you, it was the one and only time I was checked.)
Push #1 was at 3:02 and was so intense that I felt there was no way I could do it (I yelled a lot more this time around than I did with Patrick). My water broke with push #2. I could feel the baby's head with push #3--that was when the kids came in and I told them that it was OK if I yelled, it was hard work but I was OK. Push #4 had the baby's head out. Push #5 brought our beautiful baby out into the world at 3:18 p.m., screaming and pink and perfect and chubby.
I asked Patrick whether he had a brother or a sister and he said "Brother." Then someone moved the umbilical cord and asked if he wanted to look again, and he said "It's a girl." We told him her name so that he could share it. Melkamu came over and touched her head, smiling the whole time even though he'd said he wanted a brother. I said that she was so big and thought she was around 8 lb--my midwife said "Maybe 7 1/2 or 8 lb." And I said "She has hair!"