Easter Festivities

I love Easter, it is one of my favorite holidays–right behind the 4th of July.  Easter means spring, freshly cut grass, flowers, blue sky, and sun! Living in Montana you do not always get the warmth, but each year it seems to be sunny and green everywhere you look! I have been particularly excited for this Easter because M is big enough to run around and pick things up. We were practicing picking up eggs and putting them into a basket for weeks! Just to prepare for the big day!  Now, I must admit, we did not get her anything this Easter. Why you ask? Well, what does a 14 month old really need. (with my husband in his second year of owning his own business, let’s not get crazy and spend money on things we don’t need).  Besides she has everything a 14 month old could possibly need and M happens to be the only grandchild on both sides of the family.  Even if I mention that she is running short on clothes that fit or her shoes are getting too small, SURPRISE something shows up in the mail.  So for Easter she got a very cool caterpillar tunnel from one set of grandparents and she will be getting clothes from the other set when they arrive in Southwest Montana in a few days!

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This Easter it was only about 45 or 50 degrees, but the sun was out and our house faces the south, so it gets quite warm and comfortable back there (hence M not wearing any tights or shoes at this point).  Although, I have to admit, I was a little chilly at first wearing just a dress.

Being outside is one of our favorite things, M included!  Yesterday we were outside for well over an hour running around, playing with the dogs, and running after run away eggs!  The dogs thought that some of the plastic eggs were their tennis balls and M had a blast trying to get them back!

photo 1 (1) Please forgive our dead spots–our dogs do a number on the grass and it’s impossible to keep up.

I love to watch her run around the yard and enjoy being outside as much as we do! Yesterday, Easter, was the first time she has been outside without shoes on! At first she was not too sure what to do about the grass touching her toes, but that strange sensation quickly subsided and she was running around like crazy once again!

I could not believe how excited she was to find and pick up an empty egg! It was pure joy–seen from the excitement above! She would grab the egg, say “wowww!” throw it and run up to it again and say “WOWWW!”

Yesterday we had the only other family member to our house that lives within a 1,400 mile radius; my mom’s cousin.  We always have a great time with her and are so blessed to have one member of our extended family to share the holidays with.  (I have to admit, coming from a family that shared every holiday with extended family, it has been a hard adjustment. I went from from having 20+ people running around to just my husband and I.  For awhile holidays did not even feel like a holiday, it was just another day.  But it is slowly getting better and I have to make it better and more festive for M..) Easter dinner was comprised of our family tradition–ham, cheesy potatoes, green beans, and berries!  For dessert I made my first ever French Silk Pie. I thought it turned out quite well and needless to say, my family of three crashed around 6:45 yesterday evening.

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Five Great Grandparents

Today I was thinking about how lucky Madelyn actually is. Not only does she have 4 very attentive, loving grandparents, but she also has 5 great grandparents! That does not happen very often! Even though, at times it seems as though they are millions of miles away, she has still had the opportunity to spend time with each one of her great grandparents. Although, I think everybody involved would admit it is not much as we would like.  Little miss Montana has grandparents in Minnesota and California and great grandparents in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California–see the problem?  We try to see everybody as much and as often as we can, but life (and let’s be realistic, money) seem to hinder that a tad.  Both sets of her grandparents come to Southwest Montana whenever time allows in their busy schedules and we try to go see grandparents and great grandparents when time allows us.

I must admit, it is much easier to go visit her family in Minnesota and even Wisconsin because it is a quick plane ride (2 hours and 20 minutes to be exact) NONSTOP to Minneapolis.  California on the other hand, well even my husband admitted, we may not be doing that very often while Madelyn is so little.  There is always a connecting flight and 90% of the time we are delayed for one reason or another and have to sit in an airport for a good 3-5 hours before our next flight. The last time we went to California we waited in Salt Lake for 9 hours! NINE HOURS with a 9 month old!! That was probably the hardest nine hours of our parenting careers! In all the trip took over 16 hours; it would have been faster to drive the 14 hours back to Northern California–and probably less stressful!

We are very blessed to have family that adore Madelyn so dearly! This spring Madelyn and I will be heading back to Minnesota for a long weekend to visit her aunts and uncles, grandparents, and I believe both sets (4 out of 5) of her great grandparents will make an appearance too! Nobody has seen Madelyn run around yet, so it will be very exciting! In June my in-laws house will be done (they purchased a house a few miles from us) and they will be here a lot this summer–hopefully California grandma great will be able to come for a visit too!  Late July our little family of three will be meeting the rest of my side of the family up in Canada at a fly in fishing camp for a week where she will get to experience all the exciting things I did every time we went there growing up! I am particularly excited for Canada because there will be 4 generations up there celebrating one of the best times a family can have together in one of the most cherished places my family has.  And lastly, this fall James is planning on taking Madelyn to California for a long weekend (all by himself!).  He is nervous about it but he also see’s the merit in it; his grandma is 93 years old and may not be able to travel to Montana this summer with his parents.

Has it really been 8 months since we last talked?!

Wowa! How did time get away from me? It’s been since August! Our life has changed substantially over the past 8ish months! My sweet baby started to crawl in late September and she started to walk 3 days after her first birthday in February! cupcakeMy little bug at her first birthday, very excited about her first cupcake. Although I have to admit, she was much more interested and fascinated by all the attention she was getting and was feeding off of it like crazy!

In addition to these huge milestones she is babbling like crazy and says “mamma,” “dada,” “daa” (for dog), “hi,” and her latest word is “uh-oh” although sometimes she forgets the “oh” part.  She has been baptized, is a swimming fiend, and loves to be outside!  She loves outside so much that she uses the doggie door to get outside.  My husband and I are convinced she thinks she is a dog.

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Interestingly, she is quite agile going out the door and very quiet (sometimes I don’t even hear her, she loves to sit by the patio door, so most of the time I think she is doing just that). She knows she is not supposed to go out the door, however she just can not help herself when her two doggies go out. She loves to feel the wind in her hair (what little hair she has), loves to play in the grass and dirt, and chases the dogs around the yard with a tennis ball.  I was actually quite surprised how quickly she learned to run over unstable ground!

James has been extremely busy with his landscape business and loves every bit of it.  He just won a bid for the landscape and irrigation for a new school that is going to be built next summer!! This summer he is extremely busy with all the houses and one large, 80-plex apartment complex that is being built right now. I have been enjoying my work, teaching my exercise classes and am very excited to start my summer hikes with the residents. I did some investigating the other day and I found out that the average age in my exercise class is 89 years old! I love working part time, although some days I can not understand how time gets away from me!

As much as I would love to rewind and tell you all about the last 8 months in full detail, it is not realistic. I would never catch up to my current happenings and would always be playing catch up.  So let’s just make a deal and start from right now and I will continue to fill you in from now on.

Keeping up with Life

Our little family of three has been busy the last 6 months…

I never really thought that I could be so busy!  I know people tell you once you have a baby that your life will never be the same and you run out of time continuously, but I guess it is one of those things that you have to experience before you get it.  Every spare moment I have seems to be instantly filled with something, whether it’s sweeping the floor, doing the dishes, sitting, or petting the dogs–yes, I now pencil in time to pet the dogs.  Work has been going great–busy, but wonderful. My chair fitness has been going great, we have an average of 26 people; functional strength (weight lifting) is picking up steam, and summer hikes are a blast! We are going all over the valley, one step at a time!

James  and one of his old coworkers started their own business three weeks before baby M arrived.  He has been extremely busy and has been working 6 to 7 days a week on a normal basis.  Baby M looooves to hang out with daddy when he is home. All I have to do is say “Daddy!” and she gets so excited and starts to smile and/or laugh!  (I am still holding out that her first word is going to be “mamamama…” but at this point I am not holding my breath–turns out my daughter is a total daddys girl!)  James has been having a blast working but doing landscaping is very tough. He no longer likes the hot, sunny, 90 degree days like I do!

Baby M is as busy as the rest of us! She has been busy talking, laughing, and eating her feet! She is also figuring out how to sit up all by herself! In addition–she is EATING! Eating real food!  She loves it!  I have not been following the “rule” of introducing one food per week, starting with the vegetables.  She started off eating ice cream at my grandparents house in July.  Since then she has had croutons, french fries, sucked on a pickle, and has eaten real baby food.  I decided awhile ago that we were going to make her baby food since the packs or jars of food are super expensive.  So we bought a baby bullet (yes we caved for the baby expensive bullet, but the jars are so cute with the smiley faces on them and I couldn’t resist.)  Baby M has had bananas, apples, peaches, peas, carrots, sweat potatoes, and avocado–she is a big fan of all of them! Each morning we have a 2 ounce jar of a fruit with rice cereal in it; at night we have a vegetable or two.  She is a big eater!

Baby M is also quite an active little thing! She laughs at and loves the dogs–giggles whenever they walk past her or come up to her. She also acts pretty hurt when they walk right past her without looking at her.  At 6 months old she is able to sit up all by herself and I can tell she is very proud!  Her newest trick is getting her diaper off. The other day I thought it was just a fluke that she got the tab pulled off, so I put it back on, then it happened again and again.  I turned around for 10 seconds and she had gotten her diaper completely off and was rolling after my two dogs LAUGHING!

 

Madelyn Month By Month

photo 2 (13)Born February 13, 2016 at 8:20am. Happy and Healthy and the love of our lives!

It took a while for us to get to know each other and how we worked together as a growing family. When we got home all three of us just looked at each other not knowing exactly what to do.  Luckily Madelyn was (and still is) an amazingly easy and happy baby.  She made it quite a bit easier to adjust to parenthood for both James and I.  We were fortunate to have family come and help us for the first few weeks.  After that James went back to work and Madelyn and I were home trying to fend for ourselves.  We did eventually get the hang of things but the first month was pretty hard! I was scared to go anywhere with her because I didn’t know what to do if she cried in public or my gosh! What was I to do if she had a dirty diaper in the store or god forbid if she got hungry!! (Good thing my mom was here and she helped me navigate my first Target trip, grocery store run, and both of my parents were here for our first dining out experience.)

The first few weeks were pretty rough–Sleeping was not happening (of course), I was truthfully having a very hard time having something NEED and depend on me 24/7, and nursing was turning out to be a nightmare! I always thought nursing was one of those things that both mom and baby would be able to do naturally. Man was I wrong! I was blistering, cracking, and by day 5ish (I say -ish, because I really don’t remember and had no sense of time at that point.) by day 5ish I was crying every time she needed to nurse and she was crying because she was upset because I was pulling her away from me because it hurt so badly.  My mom may have even shed a tear or two and James felt so bad for both of us.  Luckily the hospital I went to has two AMAZING, LIFESAVING lactation specialists who helped me immensely! If my mom had not convinced me to go see them over the first few weeks, I would have stopped nursing.  After seeing them it was a night and day difference!  Oh and by the way, when people say all modesty goes out the window after having a baby is 100% true! Before having Madelyn and people told me this I thought-Ha right! There is no way I am going to whip my boob out in front of people, I will never change in public, ect.  Well coming from the most modest person on the planet, I can tell you, after having a baby you seriously do not care!

The first month was very challenging, but it was a great experience.  I We had many meltdowns, sleepless nights, a momentary thought of MY GOD WHAT DID I DO, and so many fun memories, and exciting changes that all three of us went through!   I would not change anything, I was totally in love with my daughter the instant she arrived and nothing could ever change that!

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One Month Old!!

My in laws arrived just before Madelyn turned one month old.  They were very helpful and we enjoyed them coming to meet her! Having family around has been a lot of fun!

Madelyn slept through the night for the first time at 6 weeks old. I was terrified when I woke up in the morning and realized that I didn’t get up to feed or change her at all the night before. I ran into her room and probably scared Madelyn to death by picking her up so quickly to make sure she was alright.  Madelyn and I also started getting the hang of things!  I was also realized that I will not die if I take Madelyn out in public.  Take a deep breath–It’s ok if she cries, she will poop, and probably will eventually need to be fed while in public.  No worries! I figured it all out! I could change and feed her in the car and yes, she will cry in public at some point. I started going to a moms group which includes my boss, her best friend, and another very nice girl!  They were quite excited when I started to come along with them because they all have little boys!  We hang out for a few hours each week, going for a hike, coffee shops, pie cafe’s, ect. and talk mom talk.  Turns out mom talk is quite hilarious!

IMG_0483Two Months Old!

The smiles started in March and have not stopped since! Madelyn also started to coo!  It was so cute. Both James and I fell in love with her noises.  At this point I could not ever imagine my life without our beautifully perfect little girl!  It also started to blow my mind, we were in the swing of things and I was able to take care of Madelyn, go grocery shopping, clean the house, and do the laundry!  It’s the small things–I was thrilled every time I got the laundry done and dinner done in the same day. Who I am I kidding!? I am STILL thrilled if I get those things done on the same day!

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Hike with my moms group.  I am not opposed to breast feeding in public, but I personally don’t feel comfortable with it. However during our hike Madelyn decided she was hungry and when Madelyn gets hungry, she GETS HUNGRY!  So I broke it all out and fed her.  Luckily I had my awesome support system there to hang out with me.  These cute kiddos ranged from 6.5 to 8 months, while Madelyn was a small 2.5 months old when this picture was taken.

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Three Months Old!

Oh my gosh! I know I am bias, but isn’t she adorable! I think she is the cutest thing on the planet!  At this point Madelyn would go to sleep around 9:30pm and get up around 7:30am.  She would get up once a night most nights, but we still had some of the up at all hours of the night.  I also started working again. Luckily I was able to go back to work part time–2.5 days. It’s perfect! Madelyn is also going to the best daycare we could have every asked for! I couldn’t be happier! Month three was a big month for us! Madelyn laughed! A real, happy, full belly laugh! James and I were fortunate enough to be together for her first full belly laugh. We were laughing with her. It was so cute! Now I try to make her laugh all the time; it only works 50% of the time but I make funny faces and noises 100% of the time! At the very end of month three Madelyn also started to roll over! One night she was pushed up on her elbows, head high up in the air and all of a sudden she was on her back, looking up at me, smiling! She then very quickly started rolling over from her back to stomach.  Now every time she is on her back she ends up on her stomach looking around! She is so very active and we are enjoying watching her grow up so quickly!

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First family hike on my 29th birthday!!

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Four Months Old!

WOW! I can not believe that our little girl is four months old already! She is so big and active!  We had our 4 month doctors visit and she is 11 pounds 12 ounces (6% on growth charts) and 24 inches long (27% on growth charts).  She also had her second round of shots.  She is rolling over both directions, getting those little knees up under her hips and trying to claw her way along the floor, and she is spinning around in a circle on her back and stomach.  This month I can honestly say it feels like she has always been with us. Neither of us could imagine life without her. We are so thankful that she is healthy and happy! We can not wait for her next set of milestones!!

Getting back to “Real Life”

I went back to work two weeks ago–Baby M was 12 weeks old when I went back.  It was pretty hard leaving her, luckily my mom was able to come for the month of May to ease me into somebody else watching Madelyn and her actually going to daycare, starting June 1st.  YIKES!  The first day back at work I had a really hard time until I started teaching my exercise class, then everything fell into place and while I missed her with all my heart, it was not as bad as I thought it would be.  I am lucky and only have to work part time–2.5 days which means I teach my chair fitness class, weekly hikes, and a functional strength class (because if I call it what it actually is, weight lifting, none of my 80+ year old residents would come, because women are not supposed to have muscles..you have to love this generation!!)  Being able to be at home with Madelyn is great! She is growing so much and it is so much fun to see her change daily!  She is trying to roll over, sit up, and is very animated!   She is getting close to laughing and I can not wait until that happens!

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Her first flight to Minnesota to visit aunts, uncles, and great grandparents!

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Her first hike!!

 

 

 

 

Life with Baby M

Where has the last 10 weeks gone?!  I can not believe our little girl is 10 weeks old! She has grown quite a bit and has changed immensely!  She is probably close to 10 pounds now and smiles and babbles like there is no tomorrow! She is even having trouble sleeping because she is too excited that she can talk. Baby M is a ton of fun and James and I are loving seeing her change daily!  I can honestly not tell you what I did with all of my time before she was born.  Nowadays our lives consist of changing diapers, feeding, playing, and sleeping. James loves to try to make Baby M smiles and he just melts when she does smile at him!  Getting up at all hours of the night is not as bad as it used to be, I think it is just routine now and most of the time when I do go get her in the middle of the night to feed her she looks at me and smiles and now even coos at me! It is adorable!!

Baby M’s personality is starting to shine!!  She has been a very curious and happy baby since day one; always looking around at her new world and the only time she cries is when she is hungry.  Baby M gets hangry very quickly–she is a lot like Mommy in that way I am afraid.  Now she is starting to figure out chewing on her thumb, will master sucking her thumb shortly I am sure, and it happens to be her left hand that she always goes for. James and I are betting that she is left handed like her uncle, grandpa great, and a second cousin on my side of the family.  All the lefty’s I know are exceptional so we expect that beautiful Baby M will be no different!  Baby M is also extremely independent already! She loves her cuddles in the morning right when she gets up and again right before she goes to sleep. Otherwise she likes to be left to do what she pleases and does not like the constraints of somebody holding her–she is a big fan of laying on the floor or in her bouncy chair.  She wants to be wiggling and kicking her arms and legs and look around where ever she pleases.  She is also extremely social.  She will sit in her bouncy chair and chit chat with you for quite a while and hand out many, many full faced smiles like the one below after I dressed her in her St. Patrick’s Day best!  IMG_0347.JPGJames and I have been very fortunate, we have two very supportive families that are willing to help us any way possible, even when both families are 14 hours away!  My parents and James parents have come out to visit and have plans to visit multiple times this summer, and I was fortunate enough to be able to go back to Minnesota to visit my family for a week and a half before I start going back to work again in May (YIKES!).  We have been flooded with clothes for our cute baby because one of my older cousins has two girls and she has been handing down clothes upon clothes for Baby M!  I love hand-me-downs! IMG_0306

Baby M loves to go on hikes, runs, and just enjoys being outside! James and I are going to get a baby life vest for her so that the three of us can go by the river or float down the river–a favorite past time for mom and dad!

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