Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Rowan Michael is 3!

I started this six weeks ago! And didn't finish it, but the intent was there. I can't believe it's only been six weeks since his birthday! Rowan has changed so much in just a month and a half.

I feel like Rowan has always been a little older than he actually is. I've been telling people he's three for almost six months now and tomorrow he will be. He asked me to tell him a story tonight and I told him about the moment engrained in my heart of when they placed his sweet, soft little body on my chest. How he looked up at me without crying and saw me, saw my soul. He was so very aware even then of people and their feelings. 

Rowan is incredibly tender. His first instinct is to be kind. He'll share things with Lyra without prompting, give hugs to her, and ask me if I'm okay randomly throughout the day. Any meltdowns, freak-outs or belligerent behavior can generally be traced to understandable reasons (tired, hungry, socially overwhelmed).

He had a really hard start to 3. We FINALLY kicked the binky out the window. We had been talking about it and prepping him since January and it just never worked out timing wise to phase it out. He would ask for it non-stop the week leading up to it. We told him he could donate his binkies to the babies in the hospital. He has a cousin in the NICU and we had been talking a lot about Baby Kaio. Once the idea was born about giving the binkies to baby Kaio, he was on board. We took him to Game Stop and let him pick out a game. The price was the five binkies which would be donated by the cashier to the NICU. He was all smiles and super proud of himself afterward. That night though. Yeeessh. We were expecting it, but it didn't make it easy. One particularly inappropriate and slightly funny exclamation was that he would go and punch all the babies at the NICU until they gave him his binkies back. Probably one of the worst images I could ever in my life imagine. I know he doesn't understand that implication and was just fired up about being without his lifelong comfort object.

Bedtime now is pretty dreamy in my book if only a little on the long-side.  As Row could tell you with exactness and ease, "Bath, brush teeth, pjs, books, stories (2 made-up oral stories after reading books), prayers and then songs" I am NOT a good singer. I'm even worse with the perpetual cold I've had. The only thing that really gets him to fall asleep though is when I hold him and sing him hymns. I always dreamed of putting my kids to bed with lullabies, but when you have a voice more like William Hung than Celine Dion it doesn't really go your way. One of my favorite sounds in the morning is his little feet padding down the hall where he will go to the bathroom then come and find me. It just seems so grown-up of him to climb out of his bed, open his door and go potty without needing us for any of that.

 After phasing out the binky, moving his small self across the country (after a year of shuttling him from city to city and state to state), Row went a bit biserk. The poor little man. He needed such a large increase of love and attention while he adjusted and I wasn't giving enough of that to him. Luckily, he has settled back into his mostly normal three-year-old self. It makes me sad when people do see his rage and terror side without also seeing the sweet, pureness of him. The other day while doing dishes, Row came up and gave me a kiss on the back of the legs and said " I love you mommy! I'll keep you safe. Does that make you feel happy in your heart?" He also kissed me on the chest today and said "I will kiss your heart so it feels nice and you will know that I love you"

He really has come full circle from even three weeks ago. Sel had the bright idea to make a behavior chart for things like folding his arms for prayer over meals, not hitting, being good at church, etc. He gets a prize every five stickers though we do a bad job of keeping track exactly. I've noticed Row NEEDS at least an hour of focused, loving attention on just him to function at a happy level.

The imagination on this kid is unrivaled. WOW! I'm always blown away when he starts telling me stories and they are so detailed, original, and interesting. The other night he didn't want us to leave the room and said the monster with bees on his hand was behind his dresser. Sel moved the dresser out so he could see there wasn't. Once he left, Row turned to me and said, "The monster comes through the ground like a shadow and THEN the bees fly in my mouth. So he's not behind the dresser right now, but he will come after you leave." I remember being so scared of things like that as a kid and it hurts my heart a little to think his powerful imagination is causing him to distress. Luckily, Row's daily mission is to slay monsters and punch bad guys with his ssssttrong muscles. (He likes to say that while flexing).

He is still all sorts of athletic. I'm always surprised what he can do with that body of his. I am hoping we can get him into classes soon enough where he can run and jump and throw and swing. He picks up on anything sporty within 2-3 tries.

He doesn't have any rock solid friends yet in Nebraska. We do a lot with friends, but there hasn't been one he has bonded tightly to. He had his cousin-buddy live with us for a month and asks about playing with him a lot. I struggle doing things regularly enough with others since it is generally easier to not. It lessens meltdowns, fights, and buckets of tears. People are quick to tell me how I should parent and while I appreciate their concern, I do feel pretty solid on giving Row at least three days out of the week where he doesn't have to socialize. His top favorite places to visit right now are the zoo, children's museum, early education learning center, and art museum. Those all inevitably have kids there to interact with, but it's more of a choice for him to say hi or play with children there instead of having a designated playmate outing.

Row still eats really well and I'm so proud of him when he does. Sometimes I catch myself holding my breath when he's eating vegetables as if I might draw attention to the good thing he's doing and he'll stop. The kid likes veggies and it's not like me passing out at the table will change his preferences (hopefully). He is 77% for height and 70% for weight and even though he looks skin and bones, I have to remind myself he's obviously completely healthy and eats plenty.

I love Rowan so very much. I understand him and appreciate all the things that make him who he is. His laugh is the sound I think of when I need to smile myself. Three years with this guy has changed everything about me and I feel so blessed that he's all ours.

He misses Papa and Mimi so much. I just love how much they love one another. 

He looks SO happy here! This is him at our early education center. That place is AMAZING! Both Row and Lyra could go everyday, but we usually go once a week. They do story time, singing time, snack time and have an outside play area. It's run by early education teachers who go around interacting with the kids, planning activities geared toward learning, and generally being my favorite kind of people. 

I loooove this picture! Row was so excited to see Hannah get married. He kept talking about the temple and Hannah and princess. It was really sweet. 

The splash pad at the zoo is incredible. Rowan continues his three-year tradition of worshipping these things. His sister HATES them which makes her runs for the hills and his whooping laughter and splashing about an interesting balancing act. 

He still loves his weapons and practices with them once a day. 

For his birthday, we took him to his favorite place in Omaha, Pizza Ranch. They have pretty decent food, but the only reason Row really loves it is because of their perfectly sized arcade. His favorite one is Terminator and it's hilarious to see him standing on a chair holding this mammoth sized gun. 

On his birthday, he requested to go to the Children's Museum. The stars aligned and apparently it was national carousel day so he got to ride for free and as much as he wanted. He was in heaven. 

He's such a sweet big brother! He and Lyra have started to  play together more and more. I love how they make one another laugh. 

Rowan went through a rough patch up until a few weeks ago where he could not bear  for Sel to be gone. This is him clinging to Sel on his birthday at Chick-fil-a breakfast. He cried hysterically when he left for work which made the birthday less happy to start off with, but it ended with daddy and terminator and pizza.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Lyra Rose is ONE

My wonderful little girl is ONE! It is truly hard to grasp time when you're a parent. It feels so very recent that I held her sweet, freshly-born self against my chest and yet it's been ages since she's been that small and new. It's gone faster this time, much to my dismay. 
365 days of life later, Lyra's little personality she had on day 1 is still there. I was rewatching her birth this week and realized how she was herself the whole time. Isn't that strange to look back and see how strong personality was the whole time? She came out SCREAMING. Absolutely enraged. When Sel passed her to me though and she nuzzled her peachy-soft cheek against mine, she calms almost immediately. Lyra is not quiet about the times she is upset, but she calms quickly. She will only cry at max for five minutes when going to sleep whereas Rowan could go for hours (and still could). Lyra throws some major shade to whomever she blames for her upsetness. The looks she can give really are SO similar to my Grandma L's. Lyra is a lot of my mom's side in looks and personality. We needed another Edgar representative since those numbers were small to start with. 

Lyra's eyes are still intent on being free of check-box colors. She will wake up with brown eyes, have green by breakfast, blue by lunch, and grey by dinner. I loooove her eyes. I was telling my family recently more about the character I created for Harry Potter and how she also had magic eyes. Harry got to have his Lily (see what I did there) green eyes talked about every other page and the only way I could make my character feel equally special was to create someone with eyes of changing colors. It feels a little "Stranger than Fiction" to me.

She operates in her own little world. While she truly enjoys people, she seems happy to be doing her own thing without the need for others. Lyra is a climber. Yesssh. She is a wild one. She continually wants to be around the action though not a part of it all. She likes to find perches to observe and scales impressive heights to do so. Sel said the other day how often Lyra reminds him of a small animal and I wholeheartedly agree. She's a bit like a koala bear. Adorable and squishy looking, but will rip your face off if you make it mad. Literally rip your face off. (i.e. YouTube where koala rips man's face off). Lyra will claw at our faces with her claws if she's mad and bit my cheek the other day at church when I wouldn't let her go to the pulpit. She also bit a girl on the arm who was on the slide she wanted to be on. Strong-willed children are good to have is a lesson we are learning twice over now. 

While vicious at specific times, I'd say her overall personality is a sweet one. She's not particularly friendly, mostly she stares at people unblinking to the point of deep discomfort (she does this to me too). When she does smile though, WOW! Her eyes sparkle and pure joy fills the whole room. Sel said he thinks she times her hugs to 10 seconds as she gives some truly heart-melting hugs to those picked to be in her inner circle. She's gentle with babies and will love on any stuffed animal or baby doll she can find

She's quite tall. I don't know what percentile she is since we haven't found a pediatrician in Omaha yet, but based on the kids she plays with close to her age, she tends to be on the taller end. She feels so light and her baby chub is slowly melting away (noooooo). Stay squishy awhile longer my busy-bodied baby. 

New this month:
* Lyra is running now. I love to crawl on all fours and growl at her so I can watch her adorable quickened baby steps away from me. She'll screech then do this little head duck so I can't tickle her neck. Tag will be a favorite with this one. 

*She still folds are arms to pray and has started to say something that sounds like "Amen!" at the end of them. 

*I do the itsy-bitsy spider while changing her diaper and she likes to sign it with me while I do. Diaper changes are still terrible, though Sel somehow manages to keep her still double what I can. 

*Signing is equal I'd say to Rowan's at this same age. She can do around 40 signs and can learn one within minutes. Lyra has had the one-finger point down since she was 4 or 5 months so she does a really excellent job of signs that require more fine-motor skills. She loves the Baby Signing Time theme song and will shake around when it comes on. 

* She loves to dance and it honestly takes 2 notes only to get her shaking her money maker. We've been trying to do a family devotional each night and as soon as we hint we are singing a song, she starts wiggling. 

*She has started to blow kisses and I can hardly handle it. It's so sweet!

* She is speaking actual words more and more. Momma, Dada, and Row-row are spoken multiple times a day. Lyra believes she is also meant to parent Rowan. When I call to him or say his name sharply, she'll follow behind me saying his name over and over. 

*  She loves to bark at anything that is an animal and she'll scrunch up her nose and sniff when she sees flowers. Her nose scrunch is still such a beloved part of her personality. 

*Lyra still loves Rowan. Just tonight he tried to rescue her from the pack-n-play after I put them both down for bed. They both tend to happily do their own thing, but when their paths do cross, it tends to be a positive, bonding-type of interaction. 

* I worry that I haven't given Lyra enough vegetables the way we did Rowan, so hopefully she'll still like them when she's older. She eats pretty much the same thing she has since starting solids: avocados, tomatoes, noodles, rice, applesauce, bananas (she loves to sign for this and plead for them), etc. Her nursing is becoming more sporadic. One day she'll nurse twice and others it's close to six times a day. I have no desire to stop anytime soon and I'm positive she doesn't either. 

*When she throws a tantrum, she throws her head back and lays on the floor. Not always crying which is the stranger part of the tantrum. She'll just look up at the ceiling and make some scrunched up face of annoyance or frustration. She's almost cracked her skull open a few times doing this so I bought her a baby helmet for her birthday. (I didn't, but I probably should have). 

A different theme has been constant in both pregnancies and transferred on to each child. With Rowan, I felt him comforting me, assuring me everything was going to be alright. A general feeling of him emphasizing with me. With Lyra, it was a feeling that "we'd be keeping this one" and an overall sense of calm happiness. She has brought so much calm happiness to our lives and I'm grateful everyday she decided to keep us. Each child truly does come with their own delightful package of love making life feel more full. I feel privileged to be the mother to such a special little girl and can't wait to see what the years ahead look like with Lyra. Happy Birthday Sweet Rosebud! 

6 Months
7 Months

8 Months (The end of the blanket pictures. I'm so sad I didn't  keep it up every month, but there are hundreds of pictures in my phone of her at least)

9 months
10 Months

11 Months 


Monday, April 24, 2017

Lyra Rose 10 Months

I missed her 10-month mark by a long shot, but it's still before her 11th one!
Lyra girl is a crack up. She is a climber! The other day at the Y, she pushed an exersaucer from the baby side up to the divider to the big kid side then hopped herself up to the top of that and before Pochantas style jumping to the other side, a worker realized she was up there. They prefaced me coming to pick her up with "Lyra is totally okay, but..". I've found her standing on our train table before too and she can do a pull-up! Rowan and her like to hang on the treadmill and I was helping her and she used her crazy strong arms to do a pull-up with essentially no help from me.
Some of my favorite things she does:

I love her and her boyfriend Kenny together. They went to the zoo and played happily along one another without Lyra trying to love him a little more aggressively than he would prefer. 
* Says cow-cow-cow-cow (less articulate obviously) and gets this big gummy grin while holding this plastic cow

*Says Dada and Mama when she sees one of us

* When she signs baby, she uses her whole body to rock her little arms. It's adorable.

* When she dances, she bounces up and down on her bum then sways side to side until she usually falls over. She was fascinated by Row's recent dance recital and will let out a little scream every time we watch his two minutes of fame.

* She is an eater still! Less and less food ends up on her lap these days during mealtime and more actually ends up in her mouth. She recently discovered scrambled eggs and shuffles them into her mouth before her brother has taken a single bite. She might eat more than he does right now.

* Her little steps she is taking are crazy! I knew it was coming for awhile, but it's still like seeing a fish out of water for me. I almost stop breathing when I see her do it because I can't believe what I'm seeing is real.

* She loves to share her food. She'll reach over and hold a piece of food with the expectation whomever she is offering it to will nibble a little out of her hand. It's pretty sweet. She is a nurturer already. Our friend's six-month old was over and she hurridly signed baby then went over to put her in a loving choke hold. I think it was supposed to be a hug, but it looked a little traumatic for princess Leia.

I love this pic for so many reasons, but one of them captured Lyra sharing with her pal Kelsey. Jennifer had just been hit in the face while drinking her water with a ball kicked by Sel. I can't even handle all the emotions and perfection this captured. 
* When Rowan or anyone else is trying to take something from her, instead of just holding on real tight to the object, she'll rotate her arm behind her (palm up) and do a pretty spectacular job of thwarting the grabber. If it's Rowan taking something from her, it regrettably means he now has to essentially tackler her to get it. She's pretty immune to pain at this point (apparently) and will cry more out of frustration and anger than being hurt. She tumbled off of the couch the other day (ahem...headfirst with me two feet from her), rolled over, and crawled away to whatever she so intently was pursuing.

Pretty proud of herself for getting an egg
*Her favorite game is "gunna get you!". She loves to crawl up me and have Row or Sel chase her. She'll play it with me a little, but she seems to get confused and just try and crawl up me and smack me in the face when I try and "get her".

*She has this hilarious little patch of hair on the back of her head. She's getting some hair. Some. But that patch likely comprises 80% of her current hair.

* We lovingly call her Lyra Sourbum because she is still sooo smelly. It lingers for hours after a diaper change too. I'll walk into their room first thing in the morning and know before I pick her up what's waiting for me.

* She's started to do this downward dog thing that I think is an attempt at a somersault. Row loves to do them and she giggles while watching him. It's adorably hilarious to

*Rowan is easily startled and hates loud noises. I make a smoothie most days for breakfast and will warn Lyra it's going to be loud by putting my hands over my ears. She loves loud noises and generally just laughs at a loud noise. So while making my breakfast I have a two-year-old with his hands glued to his ears screaming to push the red button and turn it off while Lyra sits in the highchair cracking up and clapping her hands. She imitates the hands over ears now whenever she hears any loud noise now and it's sooooo cute!

Covering her ears during the loud laughter that is always present at King family gatherings
*My mom nods very pointedly when she talks and Lyra started to imitate her while Facetiming. She really only does it when talking to my mom, though she sometimes nods if I ask her if she wants more of something
Loving all over her Mimi

* A not favorite is her recent discovery of how to not sit in the grocery cart. Even while strapped in at it's tightest, she'll manage to turn around somehow and stand up. It's awful.
She escaped and I was torturing her by trying to get her to stay in the cart

* Lyra is doing pretty good sleeping! She'll go down around 8:00pm with Rowan and sometimes wake up around 1:00 then sleep until 7:30am. The worst thing is one of them still wakes up right as I drift off to sleep. It doesn't matter where we are, what time they went to bed, what time I'm going to bed, how loud or not loud we were, etc. It's that moment right as I can tell my mind is drifting and I'm completely relaxed that one of them wakes up. I've tried just laying in bed doing something else to catch the crier before I go to sleep, but it doesn't work that way. I must be happily almost asleep. #momlife

I am still smitten with her eyes! Those sweet peepers are just so beautiful! 
* Her top two teeth look like they might be coming through! She hasn't been too fussy and I haven't noticed a change in sleeping habits (blessing from on high! Rowan was always weeks of bad sleeping and fussiness when teething). I'm pretty excited to see what she'll look like with four little chompers.

There's so much more, but I can never think of it all when I start writing one of these. She's darling and sweet while also a little wild and crazy. We love our rosebud.

Babies are just so good for the soul

Monday, March 13, 2017

Lyra Rose - 9 Months

Nine months alive! I count this a gigantic accomplishment with Lyra. She is on a constant suicide  mission. Last week she discovered how to go up the stairs and subsequently fall down a flight of them. It was pretty bad parenting on my part as I believed she was still a far way off from such a thing and was in the other room making dinner. I walked into the living room to watch her head fall down the last step. Luckily, she's all good. 
She also tries to ingest all hazardous material and choke on anything she can find. The other day she kept chewing on something and when I reached in there, I found Rowan's discarded gumball. 
We have a hard time describing her budding personality. She's for sure a goofball. She has recently started to laugh at jokes she doesn't understand. The other day at the store, we passed a group of laughing tweens and she busted up laughing. When I related the story to some people at church, they started laughing and she joined right on in. She's still extremely pleasant; slow to get upset and quick with a smile. Lyra LOVES facetime and giggles every time we do it with the grandparents. 
Lyra and Rowan share a sweet, almost magical bond. Rowan is usually the first to tell us when Lyra is awake before she even makes a peep on the monitor. The other day he hurt his head pretty bad and she crawled over and started kissing it. Normally she gives his head a few good slaps and pulls his luscious locks, but she seemed to understand he needed some love instead. Room sharing is not necessarily going poorly a much as our kids just. never. sleep. It reminds me of that scene from the Ring when the little boy goes "Rachel, she NEVER sleeps" with a very concerned face. The good parts have come somewhere around 5-6am when I force bubbly, babbling Lyra to go back to sleep and a miracle happens. Rowan will roll over and say "Sister. Go back to sleep" and SHE WILL (if he says it nicely)! She does so without crying too. It's unnatural. 

She's also a little nuts. She doesn't have a temper the way Rowan did (does), but she has a way of accomplishing what she wants done. The other day while in the tub, she was done.  I was in the other room, but Sel told me she reached up and pinched his nipple. When she gets really upset, she will also grab her own nipples and start screaming. Hahahah even typing it out makes me laugh out loud. She still gets REALLY excited about things and will faceplant/superman if she's laying down, will quickly rock back and forth if she's on her knees, bounces on her bum with her arms above her head if sitting, and kicks her legs like a frog if being held. She throws an epic party of excitement every hour and I don't know how anyone couldn't join her in the celebration when she gets that adorably pumped.  Lyra is also such a sweetheart. She is pretty cuddly and loves to give hugs. She adores her baby doll. Rowan was always really sweet with baby dolls and real life babies, but hers is such an inherent, instinctual love of nurturing. I'll find her patting her baby doll in the face or holding it's tiny baby hand in her tiny baby hand and my heart melts all over the place. Boys and girls are so beautifully different. I feel pretty lucky to get to experience both of them.

She has started to laugh at jokes. She obviously has no idea what they are about, but she'll just start chuckling if other people are. At the store, we passed some tweens busting a gut and she started chortling away. When I was relating the story to someone at church and they started laughing, she started right on in with them. I relate a lot to laughing when you don't quite get the joke. Sel and his brothers and close friends can go for hours cracking clever jokes and while I don't keep quite as quick of pace as they do, I still like to laugh at their hilarity. Lyra will do this weird thing lately. She has to take an item of clothing with her in the bath. We usually undress them downstairs and have them "race" upstairs. She won't let me take whatever article of clothing came off last. She will drag it with her upstairs and then slap it around in the bathwater and suck on it. Gross. Lyra will threaten to drown herself if you don't let her keep it, which is a little melodramatic to me, but I have strong feelings too.

I am so happy we found baby led weaning thanks to my SIL. Lyra still eats like a champ. She loves peas, potatoes, pasta, green beans, rice, beans, chicken, tomatoes, tomatoes, and tomatoes I definitely let Rowan gum a few of them before he got teeth, but I was terrified the whole time. We rarely worry about her choking on real food objects (opposed to things she's found on the floor). She'll seriously eat anything and eat it well. The only thing she usually snubs is ironically baby food. She'll eat applesauce sometimes and baby food from a jar ONLY if Sel does it.

She is getting better everyday with signing. We haven't had as much dedicated time as we did when parenting just one child, but she's catching on quick and communicating with us. She can sign flag really well, is close to getting light and is still owning more. Sel is better at getting her to sign than I am. In fact, Sel is generally at all parenting than I am. I'm not saying it to downplay my own parenting, but I am in constant awe of his abilities. He can get both of our kids to eat (imagine how much he would own nursing), he helps Rowan with his letters and numbers, Lyra with her signing, he cleans to perfection, and is always the prime-time fun guy. We are sure lucky to have that man. 

Lyra likes to feed us/share things with other people. Our kind Bishop will hold her when I teach the youth on Sundays and while holding her, she decided to share two very special things with him. She had a piece of paper she left very visible slobber on that she kept shoving in his mouth, then pulling back into hers. Her final kindness was sharing his lips with him. She kept pulling his lower lip waaay out, then sweetly giving it back to him. Over and over again. He's a good natured soul.

Lyra is happy to be along on the ride and we are happy to have her. Happy 9 Months baby girl!
Rowan protecting his baby sister on the swing

The new library off of King rd is AMAZEBALLS! The kiddos played there for two whole hours and both cried when we left. 

The black lagoon that poured out of her mouth right after this was thanks to the banana peel she tried to eat. The little black part on the bottom was sloshing around in that sweet, innocent mouth of hers. 

bahaha favorite. 

We had a dragon night to celebrate Row and I's most recent book for Mommy and Me "bookclub". I picked a Bailey School book called Dragons Don't Cook Pizza. Row really loved it and our party included these amazing flames Sel made (that Lyra was NOT feeling for a picture), an awesome cucumber dragon that Sel made, dragonfruit, pizza, and Mimi! We snuck down there to drag her along on our trip to Cincinnati to visit the talented Katherine Rose Bailey with my bestie Sarah. 

Reading Where the Wild Things Are at Imagination Station 

I feel sad I haven't posted as much this year about my sweet Rowboat. I made a baby book for him from his first year from all of the monthly blog posts and have vowed to do it for Lyra too. I need to post more about him for his next book (that will hopefully happen too). He is just such a good kid! Sweet, bright, empathetic, fun, and delightful. We have some pretty stellar kiddos. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Lyra Rose 8 Months

Little Lyra girl; the girl who is just happy to be here. Sel used that phrase, just happy to be here, to describe Lyra's personality way back in October when we went to Florida. It so perfectly captures her! As long as she is around people to watch, she's completely content. She is a stroller and a cart baby. Do you know what that means? It means she sits in both of those things. Happily. Without wriggling and screeching to get out. If I bend down to hug or kiss her, she will reach out to me to get her out. If I don't pick her up, she'll make a little sound of displeasure and then go back to being happy. 

She's also starting to show her crazy more these days. I have a very strong suspicion she is going to be a wild toddler. A different type of wild than Rowan, but no less easy. She is adorably aggressive. She lunges and tackles Rowan with reckless abandon. Both of our sweet neighbor boys (one is 18-months and the other is 1 day younger than Lyra) cry when she tries to touch them. It's a little sad, but I know deep down they will all be BFF's someday. The other day Sel was loading her in the car and she was trying to give him a "love" pat the whole time. After she was finally buckled, he leaned in closer to give her a kiss and she clawed his nose. 

She's an efficient little crawler now and is scary close to walking. I keep hoping she waits at least until Rowan did (10 months). She can stand unassisted for a good chunk of time now and is constantly pulling up on things and exploring. She really is a whole new brand of baby for us. Her favorite thing to play with while I'm making dinner are the drawers. She'll pull them open while standing then teeter around a bit, try and explore the drawer, then slam her finger in it. No tears. Sometimes a small puff of frustration. The other day she had her finger caught in one of the drawers and it left a sad little owie around her tiny finger. No tears again. 

She eats like a champ. Her favorite things are those she can meticulously pick up one-by-one. Rice, peas, green bean. I am constantly wanting to eat Indian food and she loooves it. She'll just sit back and pound curry, tikka masala, channa masala, you name it. We also discovered a delicious marinara sauce that has four ingredients in it (none of them being a sweetener of any form) and I feed it to her as if it was baby food. Tomato's might just be her fav food. She LOVES her bottle. I realized she was only nursing maybe two times a day for awhile and tried to force her to eat more during the day in hopes it would help her sleep better at night. She gets to easily distracted by that fun-loving bro of hers. We found a solution and it's pure bliss. I just hand pump about 5 ounces a day and she'll guzzle her bottle while being able to look at all the fun things instead of my chest. During all of our road trips, I would be able to pass her back a bottle of milk whenever she got fussy and she would down it all by herself. She starts to look drunk near the end and it's hilarious. Her eyes will be closed and her sweet mouth will open wide while she tries to balance the bottle in one hand. 

She is a dream road trip baby still. She power naps for hours on end without a peep. As soon as the car stops moving though, she's wide awake. I started to realize during our trips that times I normally think she is asleep, she is actually just staring out at Rowan until her eyes start to droop closed again. I was so intense about Row's nap schedule. It was a giant world crisis if he didn't get down for his two naps a day around the same time every. single. day. I think I needed him to do that more then. Adjusting to motherhood of two really is a smoother ride. Lyra tends to catch a morning nap in the car on the way to the gym or whatever errand/fun thing we have. I've started to be more insistent that we are back at the house for three hours at least for her to catch a nap. It can happen now since our lives aren't going to be uprooted every other week anymore. The naps do make a GIANT difference for bedtime. Lyra will sleep 5-6 hour stretches if she gets a solid nap in during the day. Otherwise it's a guaranteed awful night. We still don't have her figured out with sleep, but she is doing mostly good at 8 months. Sel went in the other night to comfort her and she. went. back. to. sleep! Miracle! 

I realized the other day she is a third generation L (that skipped a generation)- My grandma L (Linda), then me, and now her. I kind of hope she has a child someday and names it something that starts with L.

She has started to sign a little back. She will sign again when I throw her on the bed because this is her favorite activity in the world. She signed more a few times, but not consistently yet. She'll just whine if I ask her if she wants milk and lunge at my chest. Lyra claps her hands excitedly if you say "yeah!" and she's started to do this really amped up version of waving hi. She pumps her hand up and down and up and down with an extraordinary amount of exuberance. She likes to do it when we Facetime people the most. Rowan exploded in signing two months from now and I think she will be about there in that same time frame. 

She does this awful thing while nursing that is driving me insane. It's like fingernails on a chalkboard, except the chalkboard is my chest. She loves to pinch the skin on my boobs while nursing. While it isn't necessarily painful, it makes me want to rip my hair out. She is so funny when you have her stop doing something. She'll stare you straight in the face and do it over and over agin and then let out a fake cry with the best pouty face I've ever seen. It's impressive. Rowan noticed all the little milk tracks on my chest and tried to find me bandaids for my owies. I'd for sure prefer her biting me (which she has done plenty in the past) than her skin pinching. 

She loves to rip glasses off of people's faces. I know most baby's do, but it's her speciality. She is also an earring-puller savant. Row would pull any dangly earrings I wore, but I was always safe to stick with studs. Lyra can, in one swift movement, rip out my stud and put it in her mouth. ONE movement. While talking with some ladies about Birmingham in the nursing lounge the other day, Lyra just reached up and grabbed both earrings with both hands and popped them in her mouth. She is always trying out new ways to die. 

We love our sweet Lyra Rose! 
Eating sticks at the art museum during playgroup

At the top of the science museum in Nashville. 

Papa and Lyra at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. She loves her grandparents SO much! She'll freak out when she sees them on Facetime and start laughing. 

Her and her beloved bottle 

My favorite picture from Month 8. She is SOOOOO happy in this picture.  We were at the Pittsburg science museum and it was one of the coolest we've been to this year! 

Water bear

Throwin some shade during lunch with my family 

Rowan 2.5

( I have started and added to this multiple times since Jan 25th, but it's DONE! yaya!)
I didn't think Rowan had changed much since his 2nd birthday, but then I went back to look at his pictures and realized how much bigger he's gotten! His face has become less round as have his little limbs. 
2 1/2 is FUN! I would take 2.5 over 18 months any day. I think I have a little bit of PTSD from 16 months-18 months with Row. Don't get me wrong, we still have plenty of difficult things happening at this age, but they are so much easier to deal with. When Rowan punches Sel or I in the face, I can exact a punishment that he understands. When I ask him why he's in timeout, he can tell me why. Reasoning with him and distracting him are amazing tactics at deflating tantrums. If I can usually calm myself down and employ imagination of any sort, the crisis is generally averted. It's when I continue to stay on the same train of disaster that things get hairy. 

Rowan is POTTY TRAINED! He did it completely and utterly by himself. It blew us away. The day I packed up the car to drive to my parents (the launching pad to our 4 months away from home) he straight up refused to put on a diaper. I was fairly exasperated since Sel was gone on the interview trail, packing stresses me out like no other, and we were about to drive for two hours. I had already decided we would attack potty-training, saying goodbye to the binky, and moving to a big-boy bed AFTER our trip. I relented to his dictator demands and we headed out. He announced an hour in that he needed to pee so we stopped at  a rest stop. Ten minutes later, he said he needed to go again. I assumed he just wanted to get out of the car and told him he didn't. Never tell Rowan how he feels or what he is experiencing. He peed a teeny-tiny bit and impressively held it until I pulled off so he could finish emptying his bladder. Since then we've maybe had 6 accidents total...over 2.5 months! His pull-up is consistently dry in the mornings too! He got a reward for going #2 for four days in the beginning, but I don't think he really needed the motivation. Rowan has been like this his entire little life. When he decides to do something, he does it. Until then, good freaking luck. 

Imaginative play has taken off the last month for Rowan. It is so much easier these days for him to entertain himself. I love hearing him have his toys talk to one another.

Rowan is somehow getting sweeter everyday. Today at the zoo, without me asking him to, he started pushing open all the doors for me so I could push the stroller through. My heart was pretty close to exploding as I watched him huff and puff to open the heavier doors while announcing "It's okay mommy! I'm strong!" I also told him the other day he was melting my heart and he bent down to kiss my chest "so my heart feel better". He prays regularly for one of the women I visit who is currently in a nursing home that her hip will get better. Gah. He is such a tender, lovable little guy.

We don't take naps anymore. 😥 He started to cut them off while we were in Idaho and hasn't picked them up again since we got back. It will happen once every 6-7 days where he will just announce he is "going to go a short rest". It still isn't easy though. Everyday around 3 or 4pm he is SO tired. If I try for a nap before that, he doesn't go for it because he can now get out of his crib. If I let him nap at 3 or 4pm, he's up until midnight. It sometimes feels like a lose-lose situation, but there are some positives. (Update). Rowan now sleeps in a big boy bed! He also got a roommate this week! Rowan sleeps in a bunk bed and Lyra got the crib. Sel insisted we buy Row a poster to hang above his bunk bed and I joked that he should pick out one of a girl in a bikini. Rowan picked out a Moana poster... who is a beautiful animated person in a sort of bikini.

Speaking of Moana, Row is still enamored with beautiful girls. We watch Princess Sofia because Row thinks she is pretty, but we only ever make it through ten minutes of that show-or any other show for that matter. We do not watch TV- not because we run a tight, educational parenting show over here, but because he loses interest immediately. He could play games on the ipad or my phone for days though. His current loves are Robot Unicorn and some Robot fighting game that Sel downloaded on my phone for him. He often asks me how to play whatever game he pulls up on there and I have NO idea. I will spend ten minutes or more with him trying to figure it out and I am pathetic

He is still a really amazing big brother. He likes to get Lyra toys when she cries and will try to make her life by saying "A booby-booby-booby" when she is really sad. He likes to try and pick her up and tackle her, which she weirdly LOVES. They rough house all day and she takes every accidental kick, punch, and getting rolled on top of with a giggle. It's when the kicks and punches are not accidental that she isn't such a huge fan. I've noticed Row attacks her most when he is craving my attention. When he does accidentally hurt her, he howls as if he is the one injured. It makes diffusing the situation a little crazy, but I ultimately don't mind holding both of my babies at the same time. He notices when she is gone and likes to update me on whether she is awake or asleep when we are driving. The other morning, I went in to their room (isn't that amazing the little pronoun slipped in there? THEIR room) and Lyra was standing in her crib chirping at Rowan and he was leaning over the side of his bed talking back to her. It was a beautiful, sweet scene. He also cried profusely tonight because I told him he couldn't call her a butthead (not sure where he learned that word..). No one is a perfect sibling, right?

He is one smart kid. We have trouble pulling much on him because he is so darn smart and has a memory to rival that of an elephant's. His imagination is exploding these days. He mostly enjoys shooting monsters, fighting dragons, shooting robots, and fighting people. Most of his play (alll of his play) is active. The kid doesn't sit down. At the pediatrician we found out he is 90% for height and 35% for weight. He has been on a fairly sharp downward curve for BMI. The doctor was only mildly concerned and encouraged us to keep feeding him three solid meals plus 1-2 snacks a day. She emphasized that hearing he keeps dropping should not mean we throw empty calories at the kid in hopes he gains weight (he gets too many of those as is). Sel is a PRO at getting Rowan to eat. It isn't that he straight out refuses to eat at meal times, he'll take 4-5 bites and having sat for five minutes, need to be on the move again. Sel came up with a came where Row is a Row-a-saurous and will climb under our kitchen table. When he needs a bite of food, Row will stamp his feet on the ground and Sel will feed him a bite. He also recently started needing "recharge" bites where he is fighting an invisible robot/monster/dragon during dinner and needs to restore health to keep fighting. Even though it is certainly an effort to get him to eat enough to keep that adorable body moving, Row is an amazing eater. He genuinely loves vegetables which is a miracle. Rowan's primary food groups a year ago was cheese, chocolate, and cheese. His current healthy faves are bell peppers (he loves to talk about how crunchy they are), cucumbers, apples, cantaloupe (which I love to hear him say), SALAD. My 2.5 year-old eats salad. Not pasta salad or some other craftily named non-lettuce salad. I would love to take credit for these eating habits, but he developed them all on his lonesome. A lot of times with parenting Rowan, I just feel like a bystander around to admire the naturally amazing person he is. My role is to keep him alive and steer him if he slightly veers off the moral path. He came with a pretty incredible little spirit.

Here is an interview we had with him courtesy of Chick-fil-a's kiddie meal prompt cards.

1. If you were mayor of a town, what would be your first rule everyone would have to follow?
Everyone make cakes. No, tanks. (The Sweet Dictator)
2. If you could invent a new ice-cream flavor, what would it be?
Sprinkles and candy ice-cream. (I've never had one quite like that)
3. If you could have any skill in the world, what would it be?
Jump really high!
4. If you could come up with a new band name, what would it be
The baby one
5. Would you rather climb to the top of a mountain or the bottom of the ocean?
Jump really high! Yeah!
6. What is your favorite show?
Princess Sofia!
7. If you could add a holiday, what would it be?
Celebrate it! Dolphin!

And then we ran away before we could ask more. The three of us surely love our Rowan boy. He is a delight to have in our home and I can't imagine how boring our life would be without his strongly brewed personality and perfect wavy locks. 
Superman ice-cream in Birmingham


This s one of my faves. Rowan was helping me cut vegetables for dinner with those "adorable baby scissors" as he calls them. Then he started eating all the chopped up veggies 

"I fix her bow for the picture mommy" - oak mountain state park 

Right here is where Rowan swiped a loose screw that I didn't find
until after we'd walked 2 miles and he'd fallen down 3-4 times with it in his hand.  Eek. I spent most of the hike scanning the trail for Alabama's poisonous wildlife. 

Rowan found a boy with twinner hair at Chick-fil-a in Kentucky and they had SO much fun together. 

Playing in the leaves. With a 2-inch rusty screw in his hand...

On his 2.5 birthday we went to the zoo and had the WHOLE place to ourselves. 

Scarring pigeons away in Nashville while we waited for some of the best barbecue I've ever had

Painting at the Toledo Museum of Art

Double fisting chocolate pudding that he was finger painting in for our mommy-son book club

Aunt Sarah has been in Columbus for the past month and we have LOVED it! My parents and her beautiful self went on a fun weekend trip to Cleveland when Sel had is last interview at Case Western

Wild at heart/Wild all of the time