Jul 26, 2011

Sweet Home Alabama (and Atlanta)

For the past three summers, J's Alabama family, Grandpa T and Grandma L, along with J's Grandma B have come to visit. Two of those three summers they have come to meet their new granddaughters. Lily's arrival this May meant that we had some introducing to do since they couldn't be here when she was born. We had a wonderful week enjoying their company and traveling to some of our favorite SD destinations since J was able to rearrange his work schedule a little in order to have his days free.

For the past two years, Grandpa and Grandma have come to visit during our favorite sporting event of the year, the Tour de France. J and his dad spent many a summer on bike tours in addition to watching the Tour. J has taught me all about the race and now we watch it together every summer. Having his dad here to watch and discuss makes our summer viewing even more enjoyable and special. Having to plow through four hours of tv coverage a day gave Grandpa some time to really get to know baby Lily.

Lily getting in some quality cuddle time with Grandpa

Grandpa and Grandma really like Stickley furniture and they have some to adorn their beautiful Alabama craftsman style home. They found out that the SD Museum of Art had a Stickley exhibit so we headed down to Balboa Park for a gorgeous afternoon at the museum and around the park. Though Kate was pretty well behaved in the museum, she didn't understand why she couldn't run around and sit in all the Stickley chairs. We didn't stay for long and instead went outside to check out the pond and botanical garden.

In front of the entrance we found a bush full of tons of beautiful monarch caterpillars.

Grandpa gave Kate a closeup view of the caterpillars

We spent our second day at the SD Wild Animal Park (aka the SD Zoo Safari Park blach!) It was a bit warm but we had a great day checking out the animals.

The lorikeets really loved Grandpa T's green shirt.
Maybe they thought he was a giant lorikeet

Grandpa T really wanted to get in some beach time while they were in SD. In addition to some body surfing and trying to get Kate to take a dip in the water, he is a great sand castle builder and made Kate an entire village.

Kate had just as much fun building the castles as she did knocking them down.

Lily slept through most of her first beach outing which was a-ok with me.

Grandma L got in on the beach action and showed Kate all the shells she found.

In between the trips around town, Kate got to spend some quality time hanging out with the family at home. She had a great time showing everyone her stuff and learning a few things in the process.

Kate and Grandpa sitting down to enjoy the Three Little Bears

Relaxing with both granddaughters

While they were here, the fam taught Kate some nifty yoga moves that she has been perfecting since they left.
She is especially good at downward dog

During Grandpa and Grandma's visit, Great-Grandpa M and Great-Grandma R came to meet Lily, too. We had a great time visiting with the whole family together.

Three generations of Ryans. Missing daddy for the four generation shot.

After Grandpa and Grandma left, one of my best friends from high school came to visit us from Atlanta. We love having her and we miss her tons. Kate really took to her on this trip and has been asking about her for days.

Kate is finally learning to smile for the camera.

One last pic before Auntie K headed back to Hot-Lanta.
"Goodbye, Auntie K, don't stay away too long.
(10 bonus points for anyone who can identify the source for that quote)

Overall, it was a great July filled with loving family and friends. We are already looking forward to the next time that everyone can come out to visit and can't wait until the girls are ready to visit the South.

Our August should be just as fun. With Kate's second birthday on the horizon and Lily starting to seem more like a person, we are excited for my last three weeks of vacation.

Jul 14, 2011

A little peek into my day with chatty Katie

In a previous post I mentioned my conversations with Kate and how she loves to say my name over and over again whenever she wants to tell me something. Kate was in fine form today and had said Mommy about 100 times already before we pulled out the camera. And this was the fourth video we shot. Here is just a little snippet of Kate in full "mommy" mode.

PS- I usually don't ignore her for this long. Normally I answer her right away but we wanted to see how long she would go without me responding.

This is how I feel sometimes after a long day of Mommys. Apparently her behavior is a toddler thing if we are to believe everything we see on tv.

Jul 11, 2011

A Real Girl

"To become a real boy, you must prove yourself
brave, truthful, and unselfish."

~ Pinocchio

Lily is a little over 6 weeks old and things are starting to feel a little more under control and consistent. Though Lily still likes to surprise every so often and wants to eat every hour or scream in our faces for no apparent reason, our nights definitely seem to be falling into a pattern.

When we went to our one month check up, the doctor reminded us that at about 12 pounds babies start to sleep for longer stretches at night. When I weighed Lily a few days ago she was knocking on 12 pound's door which explains why, for the last week or so, Lily has slept for a solid 5-6 hours at night. Last night she surprised us with an 8 hour stretch. I was happy for the extra sleep, but I am not expecting a repeat any time soon. I hope to be proven wrong.

Along with the extra sleep, Lily has started to hold her head up more consistently and has given us a few smiles here and there. She is definitely starting to seem more like a person and less like a screaming alien with a noodle for a neck.

One of the best tummy times thus far. Please forgive the horrible hair.

Smiling at Mommy. This one was clearly intentional and not gas-related.

Kate has also seemed more interested in Lily lately. She has been asking us to put Lily on her lap and loves to give her hugs and kisses. Lily doesn't seem overly interested in Kate yet, but she doesn't seem overly interested in anything other than eating at this point.

Kate really seemed excited to share some space with her sister...
and Lily looks pretty amused as well.

We are looking forward to the next few weeks as Lily really starts to wake up and becomes more and more like a real person. It seemed like Kate really started to get some personality around 3 months so we are half way there, but the smiles are already paying off.

We can already see some fun similarities between the girls. Apparently Daddy's lips are very dominant as is his curly hair. Lily's hair looks like it might be curly as well.

"Ok, Daddy, enough with the camera already!"

Jul 4, 2011

Sisters, can't live with them, pass the beer nuts

When I found out I was pregnant people quickly started asking me whether I wanted a boy or a girl. Since we already had Kate I didn't really care either way. I figured that J probably wanted a boy and I would've loved that for him, but I also thought it would be wonderful for Kate to have a sister.

I have a wonderful, beautiful sister who I adore. I won't say that we were always the best of friends growing up (though she will deny it, she was a little bratty at times) but as we have gotten older we have grown a lot closer. I thought it would be great for Kate to have the opportunity to have a sister despite my fears that they will hate each other for a few years around their teens.
Auntie Ti-ti (as Kate calls her), 3 month old Kate, and Me

My hopes for Kate to have a sister won and though J was a tad disappointed to not have a boy to carry on the Ryan name, I think he was a bit relieved that another girl meant significantly less pre-baby shopping needed, though I strongly believe that Lily shouldn't have to have all hand-me-downs and we have made a few Carter's runs since she was born.

Unfortunately for J, there were a few must-haves on the new baby list. Our car seat had reached its expiration date and we needed a new double stroller so off to Babies"R"Us we went. After a few trips, we picked out a beautiful new car seat and heavy, cumbersome double stroller. Yes, we have become "those" people with the mini-van and the giant stroller.

Kate needed to make sure that the new car seat was safe and comfortable for her new baby sister. Looks like it gets the Kate seal of approval.
Can you believe how big she is?

The big day came and I don't think Kate had any idea what was about to hit the Ryan household. She did really well meeting Lily for the first time, but when we first showed her the baby she said "butt" a few times and pointed to the baby. We still haven't quite decided if she was trying to say "pet" (i.e. she wanted to pet the baby) or if she was already calling her sister names. We hope she was just trying to be nice.

Kate, wearing her Big Sister shirt, at the hospital after meeting Lily .

The whole family in our first photo. Kate appears to be pretty excited.

Is that a look of terror in her eyes? Or just wonder? I imagine she is thinking something like "She is so small!" or "Is that ours?" or "What is that thing you are holding?"

So far, things have gone fairly smoothly with the girls. Kate seems relatively uninterested in the baby except for short spurts when she wants to hold her hand, kiss her, pat her, etc. She can be a bit rough with Lily especially when Lily is in her swing (Kate thinks that Lily is as much a daredevil as she is and really wants to get Lily's swing moving) or when Kate is trying to climb up on our bed. We have to remind her not to stick her fingers in Lily's eyes, and, when she isn't trying to steal Lily's pacifier, she is shoving it into her mouth whether she wants it or not.

Kate taking a peek at her new sister and plotting ways to send her flying in the swing. Though it looks like she is trying to introduce Lily to Pooh, she is really just using him as a tool for distraction.

Lately, Kate has been asking us to put Lily on her lap. It lasts about 20 seconds until Kate decides that she is "all done." It started the other day when we thought it might be a good time to try to get some pictures of the girls together. Now that Lily is a little bigger, she is more able to hold her head up and is a little less susceptible to Kate's "loving" touches.

Though the face on Kate says, "Why is she in my chair?" and "How do I get her out of here?," she was very gentle and really enjoyed sharing her prized furniture with her sister.

One of Kate's new favorite things to do with the baby is to rest her head on top of Lily's. It was really cute at first but now she wants to do it all the time, and Kate's head is really heavy. Lily hasn't complained yet so I am guessing it doesn't bother her too much.

"Alright, mom, I will kiss her. Love you baby Lily."

For the most part, things are going pretty well with the girls. Kate seems mostly happy with our new baby. I hope she continues to love her as much as we love her, though I am sure they will have their moments. I can already hear the "Mom, Lily stole my shirt" and " Mom, Kate is hogging the bathroom" arguments that is the rite of sisterhood but until then I assume they are going to be the best of friends.

And when they grow up, hopefully Kate will be as lucky as I am and will have someone in Lily who is not only the best little sister but also an amazing and adoring aunt to her children just like I have with my wonderful sister.

Auntie Ti-ti and Kate painting a banner to welcome home Lily.

Jul 2, 2011

Kate: 22 months

Don't think that because there's a bunch of new baby stuff going on around our house that Kate is being forgotten about. She makes sure that she is right in the middle of the action. It has been a busy few months for Miss Kate and she continues to grow and learn. She surprises us daily with new words that we don't remember teaching her (the latest is heart), funny behaviors, and, unfortunately for us, some pretty good tantrums. She is almost two you know and has to share Mommy and Daddy's time so I guess she can throw a tantrum here and there.

Kate is all talk and play lately. As long as strangers aren't around she is a motor mouth and says my name at least a hundred times a day. Apparently, she has to be sure that I know that she is talking to me before she says what she wants to say. Our typical conversations go like this.

Kate: Mommy
Mommy: Yes, Kate.
Kate: Baby
Mommy: Yes, Kate that's the baby.
Kate: Mommy
Mommy: Yes, Kate.
Kate: Night-night
Mommy: Yes, the baby is sleeping.

I've tried not responding to her every time, but if I don't acknowledge her she repeats my name over and over until I acknowledge her.

Unless Kate is taking a nap or watching Elmo, she is non-stop motion. It is challenging to try to keep up with her when I have a newborn to watch as well. We have had a lot of help from family members so that has been a lifesaver.

Before the baby came we tried to take Kate on some fun outings because we knew she wouldn't be getting out a whole lot after the baby came. Our first trip was to Sea World which Kate is really starting to enjoy. She loves the Sesame Street area and the sea lions.

Her favorite thing to do is run on the bouncy floor in the Sesame Street area. She could stay there for hours. She runs around, carries around their blocks, and throws herself down on the ground laughing the whole time.

Another trip we made right before the baby came was to a little petting zoo in San Juan Capistrano called Zoomars with Papa and Gigi. They have a ton of barnyard animals, but the highlight for Kate had to be the huge pen filled with bunnies and guinea pigs.

You can buy treats for them for $2.00 (best deal ever!!!) and feed all the animals. Papa put a guinea pig on her lap. She wasn't quite sure about him... maybe it was because of his scary big teeth and gaping mouth.

Since Lily was born, we have done our best to keep Kate occupied with trips to the local parks with grandparents and some extra days at daycare. Last weekend our neighbors had a party for their son and Kate got to meet her favorite person in the world. Of course she wouldn't go near him. It's probably because in real life he is GIGANTIC as opposed to how he looks on tv.

We also made our yearly trek to the SD Fair. Kate seemed to really have a great time this year. She tried some gross, but utterly delicious, fair food and checked out the animals in the petting zoo.

She really loved the goats, but was confused as to why this one had four horns.

I bought her some food but the animals were a little aggressive and she didn't want to feed them.

The cow was a whole other story. She didn't want to have anything to do with him.

After the animals, we tried out a few rides. Kate wouldn't ride on the horses on the carousel but did ok on the seat sitting on my lap.

I tried her out all by herself on the baby swings. She didn't cry, but didn't seem to be overly happy either.

Kate seems to be getting used to having a baby around and we are getting more of these faces lately. She is really sweet with the baby but doesn't seem to be as amused with us. I don't know if she is mad at us for paying attention to someone other than her or if this is just a normal stage for an almost 2 year old. I'm guessing it's a little bit of both.

We are going to have a lot of visitors over the next month or so and we are very excited to see some family and friends that we haven't seen for a few months including grandparents from Alabama, great-grandma from Chico, and one of my best friends from Atlanta. At the end of all the company we will be celebrating Kate's second birthday. I can't believe she is almost 2.

We are really excited for an exciting summer with a bigger family and a big sister who is really becoming a fun little girl.

Lily: One month

J, Kate, Willow and I welcomed Lily Elizabeth on May 29th. She weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Labor was, fortunately, very easy and uneventful. I am very lucky in that I deliver pretty quickly... but that doesn't change my mind about having another so don't even ask :).

We are a month in and so far things are going very well. Daddy is slowly getting used to having four girls in the house (even the dog is a girl) and Kate is getting used to not being the center of attention all the time. Lily is a good eater and at her one month appointment weighed in at a whopping 10 1/2 pounds and was 22 1/2 inches long, 86th and 92nd percentile. She's a big girl just like her sister.

Unlike Kate, though, Lily really loves to be held. Kate was a very independent baby, but Lily has been hard to put down- not because we love holding her (which we do) but because she tends to cry when she isn't in our arms. We love holding her, but sometimes a mommy needs a break.

Whatcha looking at? I'm already a sassy girl.

For the most, part Lily sleeps a good portion of the day. The last few weeks she has started to wake up a little bit more and we get a peek at her beautiful eyes. Time will tell the color and whether she also inherited her daddy's gorgeous lashes just like her big sister.

Unfortunately, Lily has suffered some premature balding. J and I looked down one day and all the hair on the front of her head was gone. So, pictures are going to look a little funny for awhile because she pretty much looks like an old, bald man.

We are enjoying having two beautiful girls. Taking care of a newborn the second time around is a much easier endeavor since we feel like we have a better grasp on what to do, but watching after two kids- one a VERY active almost 2 year old- has proved to be very tiring and a bit challenging but we're slowly getting the hang of it.

Though I say this every blog, we'll be blogging much more consistently now that we have another little one to chronicle. I've got another three almost ready to go so keep your eyes peeled.

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