Eleanor Photo Project

A year ago I started a new tradition. My sister-in-law told me about a woman who photographed her daughter every year in her wedding dress. What a neat photo montage to have on your daughter’s wedding day…or just to have. So last year I pulled my dress out from the back of the closet and captured these fun pictures:

…and yesterday I finally got around to pulling out my dress once again. Eleanor already looks so beautiful in it! I wonder if she will think the dress is hideous or gorgeous when she grows up? Maybe she’ll ask to wear it. That is, if we don’t tear it up in our yearly photo sessions.

Other fun things to do with your wedding dress…trash it! Or just jump in the lake in it!

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Question…should I hold the same tradition with Ruthie using my dress? Or any other fun ideas to do for daughter number two? As a second daughter I want Ruthie to have all the same experiences and memories and traditions that I hold with Eleanor. But maybe there is a different one I can start with Ruthie, so they each have their own unique tradition. Thoughts?

Happy Monday all! I hope you made it through. We are just hours from bedtime and I’m looking forward to some quiet time once the girls are in bed.

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Ruthie Jeanne Five Months Old

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Look who is five months (and a lot of days) old! Ruthie is getting so big and every day brings us more and more joy. Look at that incredible smile! (I know I keep saying that)

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This month was full of new milestones for Ruthie. She is sitting up now. Tentatively at first, but confidently now. She takes baths with Eleanor now sitting up in the tub and it is so much fun to watch her splash and play with her big sister. Eleanor can sometimes be too rough, she doesn’t know her own power. But Ruthie takes it all like a champ. She gives Eleanor these questioning glances, not quite sure what to make out of her antics. But sometimes Eleanor manages to make her laugh and smile.

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Ruthie was baptized on June 7th. It was a gorgeous day. Many of our friends came to church with us. We hosted a giant potluck after to welcome Ruthie into God’s family. Our church is incredibly supportive and loving of our little family. They are so important to us, especially since most of our family is a thousand miles away.

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This month I traveled to Missouri with the girls but left Alex behind. So we scooped up our favorite babysitter, Sarah, for the trip and it all worked out brilliantly. We also celebrated Ru’s “gotcha day” (the day we found out I was pregnant). We took our family to the park and out for fries and a coke in remembrance of my pregnancy. Those nine months were not fun at all, but the five since then have been amazing!

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We took Ruthie swimming for the first time this month…and many more times since. She loves the water as long as it is not too cold. She will sit up and splash and watch her big sister play. We have dunked her under a few times and while she is surprised she doesn’t seem too mad at us!

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This little girl brings so much joy and light into our lives. She is probably the smiliest baby I’ve seen (and Eleanor was pretty smiley!) When she is happy she is SO happy. But when she is upset, she makes it known. Ruthie is incredibly persistent. She will fight sleep until she is blue in the face. And when she gets tired of her carseat the whole car sure knows about it.

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Ruthie is so active and alert these days. She loves to play. We traded in the swing for an exersaucer this month and she loves it. She is content in there for nearly an hour some days. Her favorite toys include Sophie the Giraffe and our little Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes toy. These are both serious must-haves for four to six month olds. I don’t know what it is about the giraffe. We didn’t have it with Eleanor. But it is absolutely her favorite. It must just be the perfect size and texture for her little hands and mouth.

Also this month we switched over from the bassinet/co-sleeping to a Rock N’ Play. It felt like a silly move since we knew we would be sleep training soon and would only use it for a month. But for that month it really helped our sleep. She still nursed as frequently but we all slept much better with her in the Rock N’ Play.

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I am not going to dwell on eating and sleeping much here. It really wasn’t any better than last month. But spoiler alert: it has all changed now and I’m excited to write more about it in our six month update.

Ruthie is such a fun addition to our family. And now she is getting older she is so playful and fun. Life is really starting to find its rhythm and I can’t help but think that our family is complete. My two girls completely rock my world and I am really loving being a mom of two right now. I would not be ready to add to our family anytime soon but I’m leaning on God to help us decide how to move forward. I love that God was completely in control in timing our babies and creating our family and I trust him to provide best for us.

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(Eleanor wanted in on the picture taking this morning!)

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I just can’t get enough of Ruthie! She is the sweetest, best thing in the whole wide world. I love you Ru!

Ruthie Jeanne Three Months

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…or three months and 10 days. Whoops, I did it again. I’m late. And to be quite honest, I sorta threw this photo shoot together so I could have something here to present. I’m not terribly happy with the photo quality, but I love Ruthie’s expressions.

At three months old, this little girl has come to life!

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We have hit so many milestones this month. Ruthie has mastered rolling over from her stomach to back. And just the other day rolled from her back all the way to her stomach. Now she is doing both at least daily. She moves all over her play mat and I am never guaranteed she will be in the same place I left her.

She drools like crazy. Most people comment, oh she must be teething. However, babies start drooling around three months because their saliva glands are developing. They don’t know what to do with all the moisture in their mouth. I think it is in preparation for solid foods soon. How are we half way there already!?

She has this amazing smile that lights up the room. It is so huge and wide and she will just sit there smiling with her mouth wide open for minutes. Literally minutes. It’s amazing to see in person! She loves to smile at faces. I can usually coax a giant smile out of her just by looking at her.

Ruthie joined us for an epic road trip this month, visiting Missouri, South Carolina and Florida for the first time, meeting her Aunt D, cousins, Great-Grandma and more! We had a blast and she was a trooper through it all. She screamed a few times to be let out of her carseat, but overall handled the long drives very well. She also managed through all sorts of odd sleeping arrangements. The best was in her carseat on her stroller for a makeshift bassinet.

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She is growing! She gained over a pound this month and grew 3 1/2 inches. She now weights 13.14 pounds. Those arm rolls give it all away.

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Her hair is gone. It is choppy and looks cut off and what is remaining is just barely hanging on. She is rocking a pretty decent bald spot in the back, and basically all around her head. I remember this stage with Eleanor and am encouraged it will be filling back in soon.

Ruthie’s eyes remain blue and she is still resembling her daddy most of all, but we always hear she looks just like Eleanor! However, looking back at Eleanor’s three month photos, they look so different! It’s fun putting some of my favorite baby outfits on Ruthie that Eleanor used to wear. She is now in 3-6 month clothing and these are some of my favorites! Our friends also gifted us hand-me-downs from their daughter which I’m loving. It is fun to see Ruthie in clothes that are different than what Eleanor wore too.

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I just stopped swaddling her arms when she sleeps. So far the transition has been pretty good. She has a harder time falling asleep, and we have only had a few of the really long afternoon naps since, but our nighttimes don’t seem to be bothered. We also use white noise and a pacifier to help her fall asleep. Ruthie still eats several times at night and if I had to guess I would say I nurse at least 6 times a day. Probably 7. She is a very efficient eater and nursing does not take long. She also continues to make huge messes when she is eating but not as bad as a few months ago. Ruthie also spits up a lot but her doctor is not concerned since she is gaining well. In general breastfeeding is not as easy this time around. It amazes me that it could be so different.

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Ruthie now seems to enjoy tummy-time even more than laying on her back or sitting in the swing. She plays and plays, grabbing toys and her dresses and our fingers. She is very active and spends much of her day hanging out on her play mat. It’s somewhat of a relief to be a little independent from her. I love that she is growing up and developing her personality.

I love watching Eleanor and Ruthie interact. Ruthie sometimes seems confused by her big sister. I’m not sure she understands why Eleanor is always in her face. But mostly she loves Eleanor’s antics and watches and smiles at her.  Eleanor adores her little sister and asks to see her the minute she wakes up in the mornings. Usually Ru is still asleep and I have to keep Eleanor away from her. And occasionally Eleanor sneaks in to wake Ruthie up from naps and I have to bite my tongue. It’s charming, albeit incredibly annoying.

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I can’t believe how quickly these months are flying by! While days are sometimes long and trying, I really enjoy being Ruthie’s mom so much. I’ve worried often about my changing relationships with my girls. How I will be the best mommy to both. How I will distribute attention and affection. And how I will make sure Ruthie has every opportunity and advantage as Eleanor. While Eleanor made me a mom, I truly believe it will be Ruthie who makes me a great mom. I know that I will be challenged in great ways and together with Alex and these girls, God is shaping us into a family that will glorify him. These three months haven’t been easy, but they have been full of joy that Ruthie brought into our family.

#tbt Eleanor Margaret Two Months

This post originally posted on January 6, 2013 on VeganFaith.com

Eleanor Margaret turned two months old this weekend.  Oh my.  How she has changed! My little newborn is all baby now, complete with chubby cheeks and a big round belly.  She makes us laugh every single day and keeps us on our toes as she continues to change and amaze us.

At two months old, I can hardly remember what she was like as a newborn.  We spent Christmas with my sister and brand new niece Kolbie.  Although Kolbie was born bigger than Eleanor, it was hard to imagine my baby girl ever being that tiny.  Eleanor is so big now and full of personality.  Where she used to only smile while sleeping or on accident, now she will smile at you.  We make funny faces and voices and noises and she is so amused.  She makes these laughing motions but no noise comes out.

Highlights this month were Eleanor’s very first road trip to Missouri.  She was such a good girl in the car and slept most of the way.  Traveling with a baby hardly added any extra time to our trip.  Eleanor also miraculously grew eyelashes this month.  One day there were none, the next they were there.  And I am obsessed.  Everything about her amazes me.  I still look at her every day with wonder and awe at what God has done for us.

Of course we are still loving our little photo shoots, and this week Alex was with us to help get lots of smiles out of her, as evidenced by all these happy photos.  I think her photo shoots will have to be a two person job from now on.

I can’t say enough about her, or enough about how much I love being her mom.  Despite loving our time together, we decided to start taking her to the babysitters twice a week so I can get work done at home.  I was amazed how completely ok I felt dropping her off with Shannon.  Of course I trust Shannon, probably more than myself, with children.  Loving and trusting your babysitter makes it so much easier to leave your most precious cargo behind.  Eleanor sleeps all day when she is there.  It is my theory that she just misses me so much that she doesn’t want to wake up and deal with me not being around.  Good theory, right?!

Sometime this month I realized I could be Eleanor’s mommy and be myself all at the same time.  That realization allowed me to let go of some lingering pressure and have more fun with this new life.  Now I get out of the house without her, workout regularly, and enjoy my time spent with her even more.

At two months we still don’t have a schedule.  Feedings and naps are still by Eleanor’s request.  I actually don’t mind.  Because we are nursing, we can go with the flow, and no matter where we are I can feed her.

While we were on vacation we switched over to disposable diapers, but now that we are home we are using cloth again, and loving them even more than before.  She fits into her BumGenius pocket diapers really well now and they look so cute on her.  They are velcro and so easy to change.  We love them very much!

Eleanor has been a great sleeper since the beginning but this month she has amazed us with longer stretches of sleep.  We got our first six-hour stretch on Christmas Eve that left us refreshed and joyful on Christmas morning.  Since then we can usually count on at least a five- or six-hour stretch every single night.  Otherwise, there is absolutely no pattern.  Sometimes she is in bed at 8pm, other nights we try and try but she doesn’t go to bed until 11pm.  The biggest change this month is having to physically put her to sleep.  When she was just a newborn all she did was sleep, but now we have to pull out all the stops: swaddle, pacifier, white noise, etc.  Most of the time it isn’t so bad, and it gives Alex a very important role, he is almost always the one to put her to bed at night.

We have a big month coming up for Eleanor.  She will take her first airplane ride when we travel to Chicago.  She is also getting her very first pet.  I hope they fall in love with each other and are the best of friends!

Happy Two Month Birthday Eleanor! We love you so much!

Ruthie Jeanne Two Months

Ruthie Jeanne Two Months

Look who is two months (and 11 days) old! I’m a little behind obviously. Story of my life these last two months. But this post is not about me (thankfully). Let’s talk about my sweet daughter Ruthie Jeanne.

She graced us with her presence three days after her due date (but 13 days after I had hoped), but she hasn’t been late since. She was early to the party where developments are concerned. This month she rolled over, not just as a fluke but many, many times! She has also started smiling these giant open mouthed grins all the time. And once or twice we think we have even caught her laughing! To compare, Eleanor was three or four months old when she reached these milestones.

Ruthie is sweet, beautiful and predictable. And yet I’m surprised by her all the time. I am surprised when I see her sitting on my bed and realize that she really is mine. I’m surprised when I see her in her daddy’s arms and notice how much they look alike. And I’m surprised by just how much I love her this month. When I look at her my heart swells a million times.

She is predictable in all the other ways. I can tell exactly when she is hungry and wants to nurse, or when she needs a nap, or when she just needs me to smile at her. I remember walking around with Eleanor for hours saying “I just don’t know, I just don’t know.” But this time around, I feel like I know.

She quickly picked up the EASY routine. Eat, Activity, Sleep, You. Of course the You part is supposed to be “me time” and that usually doesn’t happen with a toddler around as well. But surprisingly I find plenty of time to get the house chores done and play with my littles, and yes, even eat and shower.

We had a quick trip to the doctor today for Eleanor so I took advantage and weighed Ruthie: 12 pounds, 12 ounces. She has rolls deeper than even Eleanor’s were. She is still in 0-3 month and 3 month clothing but I have recently pulled out a few 3-6 month outfits.

In regard to sleep: it’s spotty. Her naps are pretty predictable. We always swaddle, use a pacifier and usually white noise too. She is still napping four or five times a day for about 45 minutes or an hour each. On days when we are home and on a pretty good schedule she will take longer naps. Morning naps lasting up to two hours and afternoon naps up to four hours! Those are glorious days, but then I also miss her. She almost always naps in her bassinet or in her car seat when on the go.

Nights are all over the place. She is great about nursing and falling right back asleep, however some nights she is up to nurse every two hours, and other nights we get longer stretches. Recently she slept from 10pm until 4am and that was glorious! But those types of nights are few and far between. I am settling into this reality of sleep deprivation and not letting it control my attitude. I am trying to go to bed earlier and even nap some too.

There are so many things I don’t want to forget about Ruthie, and I already feel the days whisking by and the weeks rushing past. I never want to forget the way it feels to pick her up and nuzzle her cuddly little body. Or in the middle of the night when I let her sleep on my chest for a while before placing her back in her bassinet after nursing. I never want to forget the way her mouth curls into a smile a little at a time and ends in a ginormous grin. She is amazing, and each day we see her personality shine a little brighter.

The other day she did my absolute favorite thing: she smiled up at me while she was nursing. I know this is so silly but I waited for it and waited for it and then she did it. I just love that smile so much.

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Eleanor Margaret One Month

Last week I posted Ruthie’s one month update. For fun I thought I would repost Eleanor’s one month update for comparison. This will be a fun #flashbackfriday! (This post was originally published on VeganFaith.com on December 6, 2012)

Today is a big day!  Because one month ago today my little girl was born.  We had a long journey to bring her here.  By this time on that day we weren’t even close.  But what she took out of me that day, she has more than made up for since by being such a lovely baby.  I honestly can’t get enough of her.

She is funny, and serious, and makes the best faces.  She has all these quirks that she takes after from me, and she just makes me deliriously happy.  Every day spent with Eleanor is a blessing.

Her many funny quirks:

  • The stink eye- sometimes when I go to open my eyes, one always stays closed.  Unfortunately, but really funny, Eleanor gets that from me.
  • The wrinkly forehead- yup, that she gets from me
  • The snorting
  • The duck face- sometimes I will just sit around with my lips pursed out, and Eleanor does that too!

Yup, in many ways she is definitely her momma’s baby.  But in others she is all her daddy.  I think she gets her calm, laid-back ways from him.  She is sweet and gentle and I’m pretty sure that is all Alex.

I mentioned a few of her milestones earlier in the week but she continues to change and amaze me every day.  On Tuesday I could put her rattle in her hand and she would hold it for a second or two and unknowingly shake it around.  But just this morning during a diaper change, she reached back behind her head and grabbed it (probably on accident) and then held it and played with it for the duration of her diaper change!  I am so proud of this little girl!

SUPER GIRL!

Yup, she’s a rock star!

So at One Month here are some stats about Eleanor:

  • She is over eight pounds but we don’t have an exact number
  • And is at least 20.5 inches long
  • She is fed only breast milk and is eating like a champ!
  • Currently she is only waking up twice at night, once after a 4 hour stretch, then after a 3 hour stretch, then usually we get about 2 more hours and are up for the day.
  • Her naps are sporadic, sometimes really long, sometimes really short
  • She loves the Moby Wrap–it is the key for getting her to nap for a long time
  • She gets out of the house at least once a day (per mommy’s request)
  • and can grab and hold her rattle, no interest in any other toys
  • She loves Dave Matthews…it always quiets her in the car
  • She has been given a pacifier just once and she enjoyed it quite tremendously
  • And she absolutely cannot wait for the arrival of her cousin…any day now!

Please hurry baby Kolbie!

The first month of Eleanor’s life was marked by many guests and visitors.  She loved getting to meet many of her family members, her church family and so many of our friends.  She hasn’t traveled very far yet, the furthest being Winston-Salem, but all that will change in the next month as we take her on her first roadtrip.  She will also become quite the socialite soon with so many holiday parties, but this month we were homebodies.  Our only adventures included trips to the movie or grocery store.

It has been quite the whirlwind of a month.  It has gone so quickly, yet slow all at the same time.  Time is sort of warped at the moment.  I am anxious to see how she continues to grow and develop but I want her to stay small all at the same time.  Grow she must.  So this blog will be my way of freezing time.  Thanks for indulging me!

Love her! – See more at: http://www.veganfaith.com/2012/12/december-sixth.html#sthash.5nWPfK5a.dpuf

Ruthie Jeanne One Month

Although today is Ruthie’s two month mark, I want to go back and celebrate Month 1!  Since I haven’t yet taken her two month photos, we will play a little catch up.

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Meet Ruthie Jeanne. Our bright and beautiful second daughter.

Our first month together was rocky. I often tell others that becoming a mom of two was way harder than becoming a mom of one. I have all these issues with being a second child and try as I might, they play out in our day to day life. My mind is constantly working to make sure that everything is fair. That I do everything the same. That Ruthie knows I love her just as much as Eleanor does.

But then I worry about Eleanor’s feelings. Will she be hurt if I give Ruthie too much attention? Is she jealous? And I find myself holding back with Ruthie to make sure Eleanor knows she is still my little girl.

And back and forth it goes…it’s called Mom Guilt.  And if you are a mom you have experienced it. It may not look like this, but it pops up in many different areas.

Ultimately I know that showing Ruthie love is teaching Eleanor how to show love. And I also know that it will never always be fair. But if I set that precedent then my girls will come to expect it. But maybe just maybe if I acknowledge and accept that it won’t always be fair, maybe my girls will also acknowledge and accept it. (fingers crossed)

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Ruthie turned one month old on February 19th. She weighed in at exactly 10 pounds and measures in the 75th percentile for weight. Yet only the 25th percentile for height. The entire first month she looked identical to Eleanor- at least to me she did. However, at one month old I am finally recognizing Ruthie’s distinctions. Her eyes are quite different, more almond shaped. And her smile is a gorgeous, giant, open-mouth grin that begins just in the corner as a smirk and works it way around her whole mouth. It is an amazing site to see and at one month old we were starting to get more and more of these.

Her ears are also different. Different from Eleanor’s, but also different from one another. One of them is a little more flat on top and we playfully call it her elf ear. Both ears also have a cute little dimple in them about halfway up.

Oh, and the hair. That beautiful blonde, sometimes red hair. I wonder what color it will be when she grows up. I have to admit, I love Ruthie’s blonde locks so much!

We have several nicknames for her…Peanut (which I don’t like but keeps slipping out of my mouth), Pumpkin, and most often Baby Ru.

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I am glad our first month is over. As a mom it is hard to say that. I don’t want to wish away the days. But it was hard. Not for any specific reason. I just didn’t know how to adjust. But I am happy to say that we are past that. I am back to the momma who wishes time would stand still and my babies would never grow up!

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