*If you're interested in photos only, scroll on down and skip my blabbering!*
Pretty sad that I haven't touched this blog since Elliot's third birthday last summer. Hm. We found a new kind of rat-race with both adults working, full-time child care needed, the wear-and-tear of being pregnant, and the demands on a first-year teacher for Pat. Very little extras got done this past fall. In fact, things that weren't extras fell through the cracks!
We had a lovely vacation in LA and Portland, seeing family and friends, for almost 3 weeks before the above started in full swing.
We managed a quick trip to Twinsburg mid-November and then to the farm for Thanksgiving, knowing that the holidays would be in Chicago because of the baby being due shortly thereafter. November was a tough month- I had that nasty upper respiratory virus for too many days (cough lingered a month!), felt drained anyway, and with some switches to the babysitter schedules, Elliot seemed to be in a never-ending rut with all routines. I found myself saying, "We are doing everything wrong!" Luckily, it was a phase and has passed, overall.
This was the first time we have not traveled for Christmas in 15 years, we estimated. Not knowing anything different than packing up and trying to catch as many people in Ohio as possible, I felt spoiled with the downtime and relaxation we got at home while we were on break in Chicago. My mom, dad, brother, and 3 nephews came up on Christmas night for 2 nights. It was a really great time and made it feel more like the holidays.
On January 9th, Leah Rose arrived. Her much anticipated birth started off with a few days of inconsistent contractions, then WHAM- she decided it was time. I had tea with a friend at 2:30p, things came on heavy around 3p, water broke at 4p, we made it to the hospital downtown by 4:45p and she arrived at 5:06p. No time for anything. Made it in the door- was 10 cm dilated- the nurse and Pat sprinted me through the halls to the elevator (like a movie, I swear!), and I think I was only in the delivery room for 10 minutes or so. Two pushes and she was out crying.
It was a crazy experience- just the opposite of Elliot's birth. Leah weighed 7#4oz and was 19" long. She learned to nurse almost immediately and has been doing so non-stop, it seems, ever since! Again, quite different than Elliot!
And Elliot napped through the whole thing.
Leah is a good sleeper, so far, doing 3-4+ hours often after she eats. She rarely fusses a lot. The issue is that when she is up, she'll nurse 2-3 times in a few hours, almost like she needs to catch up for those hours she slept away. She's wearing me out and I'm having a little trouble getting a balance. Actually, a lot of trouble. I know it's temporary and we'll get in sync soon, as the first weeks are rough and an adjustment. I think I let the situation get pretty bad before I started some intervening and now I'm hoping to heal quickly and get in our groove. Sorry if this is too much information for any readers! It's our hourly reality here.
We had a rough night last night but we know these will come and go. Pat's already beat with his teaching duties but I enlisted his help all night last night. The little lady must be growing fast, as we had to resort to an extra bottle to satisfy her hunger, eating almost double what she normally does.
Elliot has been doing ok overall with the new addition. He acted out quite a bit in the beginning- but he also had 10/11p bedtimes, was shuffled a bit, and has had to learn to curb (or try to curb!) his aggressive nature. We are trying hard to not bark at him every time he does something wrong or too close to Leah, as he is learning. It's hard to hold back and switch into teaching mode, but I don't want him to resent her or think he's always doing something wrong. I hope it works. He certainly is interested and requests often to hold her. After much coaching, today, he called me over to show me how he was ever-so-gently petting her head, a change from what he thought was gentle before.
We've already gotten out a few times. Elliot has a little art class and tumbling class through the park district that is just a block or two away. That's been our outings- get bundled, strapped in, all covered, go to class for 45 min, hit the playground on the way home, then head home. With the temperature dropping in the next day or two, we may be homebound for a bit.
I've been comparing Elliot's photos from his baby book to Leah. They look similar, but not the same like some siblings do at this stage. Then I realized that I grabbed all that information and photos from this blog, where I chronicled everything. Thus, the push to get going on this so we don't fall too much into that second-child rut of not documenting anything. We already have fallen short on capturing photos and moments and it's a little disheartening that this doesn't bother me more!
We have had some wonderful visitors so far who have been so helpful- Aunt Maryann came, bringing loads of food and activities for Elliot. He had a ball with her. Then, my friend, Stephanie, from college was passing through on her way to a cruise and helped out by keeping Elliot while we ran to the doctors and did a much needed Target run. Other friends have come by with meals and treats and we feel very loved.