Happy Home-iversary Alyssa!

One year ago today is the day Alyssa Grace was finally released from the hospital and got to come home. While I had always imagined bringing (both) girls home to balloons, flowers, and “It’s a girl!” banners, we had the opportunity to surprise Russell’s mom with our little girl. It wasn’t how I had pictured, but I think it was very special and exciting for her. Here are some pictures. It is amazing to see how tiny she was back then!

To celebrate Alyssa’s home-iversary, we spent the day at the Oakland Zoo. More to come on that later, today just enjoy the pictures!

We love you Alyssa and are SO happy to have you in our lives. Thanks for all the joy you bring us everyday.

Published in: on February 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm  Comments (4)  

What It Takes To Make My Kids Happy…

Since we only have one shower/tub at our apartment, we keep the bath toys for the girls on the back of the toilet when we are not using them. Sometimes, as a treat, I’ll take the girls in and let them each pick one to play with when it is not bath time. Don’t ask me why, but they find it very exciting.

Kylie’s favorite: the travel shampoo bottle. I know it isn’t technically a toy, but she loves that thing to death.

Alyssa’s favorite: the pirate duck. Maybe she takes after her mommy and her pirate traffic cone?

This morning, however, things got changed up a bit. Alyssa picked first and chose the shampoo bottle! And when it came to be Kylie’s turn she (not at all disappointed that her true love was missing) was overwhelmed with excitement and literally could not choose. She stood there… giggling… with her hands just hovering above all the toys.

Published in: on February 26, 2011 at 10:55 am  Comments (1)  

Bedtime Madness

For the past I don’t know how many months the girls have been on a pretty consistent schedule. They wake up between 6:30-7am, nap at 10, nap at 2 and go to bed at 7pm. Anyone who has any experience with babies will tell you they thrive on routine, so we try to keep them on schedule as much as possible, and keep the way in which they go to sleep the same as well. I will admit that the whole moving process and setting up home in a new place threw a wrench into the gears for a little bit, but for the most part we are back on track. (That morning wake up time has shifted a little earlier than we’d like-but I’m hoping that is caused by our neighbors or outside noise more than them)

Strangely though, the last two nights Alyssa has thrown a fit about going to bed. The first night she cried for over and hour, and last night although she only cried for about 45 min, we got a special added bonus. Vomit. She cried so hard she made herself throw up. While I do know this can be a common problem with babies when using the Ferber or Cry It Out methods, let me be clear – we were not using those methods at all. She cried for that long and got herself that worked up while we were still with her, trying to help her fall asleep.

For those of you who know us and have seen us put the girls down recently, you know this is very uncommon. Usually all it takes is a story (at bedtime) a song from Mommy and a little rubbing on the back and both girls are down in around 15 minutes. I am hoping that some big, nasty molars coming in are the source of these recent problems. I have also been noticing her to be much crankier, and getting easily frustrated. Both of which are also new traits for Alyssa. She has not put up any fuss about taking her naps though, and once she falls asleep she sleeps very soundly all night, which leaves me even more confused.

Here’s to hoping for the best tonight! Wish us luck.

Published in: on February 25, 2011 at 10:26 am  Comments (1)  

Wednesday Wonderings, 2-23

Have you ever noticed how in a department store, the baby and toddler stuff is always situated right next to the china and crystal?

Why is this?

Is it because they have a “You Break It, You Buy It” policy and it is the only way they sell anything?

Published in: on February 23, 2011 at 9:01 am  Leave a Comment  

A Day At The Park With Daddy…

… means the parent to kid ratio is equal.

… means the kids get to climb on everything.

… means the kids get to hang on anything. Monkey bars, the side of the slide, etc.

… means the kids get to go down the slide – face first – if they want to.

Kylie

Alyssa

… is the best kind of day.

Published in: on February 20, 2011 at 5:05 pm  Comments (2)  

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

I had every intention of trying to get away from the sad posts, but when I saw this picture I could not help but share it with you. A few days ago I told you about Kristen and Adele. Many of you had such beautiful and encouraging things to say and I want to thank you all for that. The family was able to have a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep come and take portraits of Addie and the whole family. For those of you who are unaware NILMDTS provides free portraits to families suffering from the loss of a baby. It is a beautiful organization that helps allow for healing in ways many parents would not necessarily think of at the time. Here is a very special shot they took of baby Adele and her family.

I am going to add a few links if you would like to show support.

To donate to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, click here.

To send your words of comfort to the Hoagland Family, click here.

To send a donation to help with expenses for Addie, please mail checks to:

Highland Baptist Church
3014 Maple Ave.
Waco, TX  76707

and designate “The Hoagland Fund” in the memo line.

Published in: on February 19, 2011 at 10:02 am  Leave a Comment  

My Babies Are Toddlers!

About a week ago babycenter.com sent me an email telling me about the growth and development of a one year old. I’ve talked about this before. Anyways, this week one of the topics of discussion was, “When is a baby officially a toddler?” Some say once you hit the first birthday mark, you’re a toddler. Others say once you take your first steps. Either way, it put our girls squarely in the toddler category. That was all fine and good, and I didn’t give it much more thought than that.

Until today.

Today, we were shopping at a store that had a kid play area. (A gated off corner with toys and a table for kids to play while mom and dad shop.) I had sent Russell and the girls over to that area of the store just to look at some of the toys there while I did some shopping, not knowing about this play area. When I came back to find them I saw the girls playing so wonderfully you would never guess they’d never done it before. It is silly, I know. But I almost cried.

My babies aren’t babies anymore… they are toddlers.

The got in that play area and never looked back. Seriously, not even for a picture!

There was a little kitchen, and a table and chairs, and a whole bunch of toys they had never seen. They walked around and played and didn’t care about mom or dad, or anyone else. They were having a blast. Here are a couple shots I did manage to get.

Published in: on February 18, 2011 at 8:52 pm  Comments (3)  

Where’s MY Martini?

Yesterday a strange sequence of events lead to me listening to an hour long sermon on the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) during the girls nap time. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a book of the Bible that focuses on the courtship of two lovers and them consummating that love. Anyways… that is not exactly where I am going today. The pastor giving the sermon was talking about what we learn about what marriages should look like based on this book. Basically he said it was the husband’s job to protect and provide for his wife, along with constantly telling her how beautiful she is and how much he adores her. That sounds o.k. right?

Then things started to turn a bit.

He began talking about how since the husband goes to work all day, when he gets home the wife should greet him at the door, escort him to his comfy chair and have his favorite food there waiting for him.

Hmm.

He said specifically women should not trouble their husbands with matters of the children and should simply be their husband’s place of refuge. This feels a little too much like ‘Leave it to Beaver’ to me.  The man quietly enjoying a nice martini in his study (or more commonly a couple of beers in his “Man Room”) credits work outside the home as more important or difficult as raising the children.

I recently read a blog post from a dad of twins who had a great perspective on the father’s role in the family, and specifically addressed the issue of him working. Here is some of what he had to say:

I hear the excuse “I work all day”. Well, so does my wife. I sit in a comfy chair pounding on a keyboard and chatting on a phone. She’s on her feet sprinting after two banshees headed in opposite directions. I get a lunch break every day. She spends their nap time (the only quiet moments in our house) counseling the dog for the atrocities inflicted on her – side note, I have the most patient and understanding dog in the world. When I come home it shouldn’t be a break for me, it should be a break for her. It should relieve her pressure, not add to it. Sometimes it seems the husbands are more spoiled than the kids (just ask them to not watch football all day Sunday and then you’ll see a real tantrum).

{You can check out more from this enlightened dad by checking out his blog here}

Luckily, my husband was equally as annoyed about this pastor’s view as I was, maybe even more. Russell does not see it as a chore to come home and be with the girls, it is a privilege.  As soon as he has a chance to change (and sometimes eat) he is down on the floor playing blocks, reading books, breaking up fights or tossing the girls in the air. He helps out with bath time and putting the girls to bed. He gets up in the middle of the night when there is a dispute over which snuggle bear belongs to who. On the nights his schedule keep him away until after bedtime he misses them so much. He is not simply their father, he is their Daddy.

Although, if it had been commonly accepted for the wife to get an hour to herself with a nice cup of tea, glass or wine, or (insert favorite relaxing beverage here) every night when the husband got home, I think we might be trying to cling to that idea as long as possible too…

Maybe that is the wave of the future!

Published in: on February 17, 2011 at 9:16 am  Comments (2)  

Heaven Has A New Angel

About a week ago I did something I rarely do, I asked my friends on Facebook to pray for an old friend of mine named Kristen.  She was getting induced  to deliver a baby doctors said would probably not survive more than a few minutes. Baby Adele was born Feb. 9, 2011 at 11:09am. (My girls’ first birthday). She fought hard for her chance at life, but passed away this afternoon. In her few days of life she brought so much joy to her family. You can read her whole story by clicking here.

Adele and Mommy

Daddy's first kiss

Kristen and Adele’s story is not the only one of loss that had pulled on my heartstrings recently. Just over a month ago another old friend named Sean lost his 13 month old daughter suddenly and unexpectedly. Little Brynnley had a very severe case of diabetic ketoacidosis, and only 30 hours after checking her into the hospital her parents were donating her organs to try and help save other babies.

Brynnley

Brynnley

The thing about these stories that really strikes me is how much strength both couples have had in the terrible loss of their daughters. While I think I would be so angry that my baby was never given the opportunity to live, Kristen and her husband are praising God for the time they did have with Addie and thanking Him for rescuing her from a life long struggle with her disease. And while I would be overwhelmed with emptiness thinking of my innocent daughter’s life cut short, Sean and his wife called it a “miracle” that through her death Brynnley was able to save (I believe) six other children.

These two couples obviously have incredible faith — more than I do — to be able to handle such tragedy with so much strength and grace. So I am going to ask two things of my readers. 1) Give your little ones a little longer hug and an extra kiss. Be thankful you have them, even when they are driving you crazy. 2) Keep these two families in your thoughts and prayers as I cannot imagine the pain they feel.

Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Beginning of the End

I stole the title for today’s post from one of my favorite shows, LOST. But it does seem fitting for my topic. Now that the girls have reached that one year mark I am finally going to stop pumping breast milk for them. I truly believe this is the best start you can give a baby and was committed to giving them as much as I could for their first year. But, now that that mark has come and gone I have decided to give it up. It was terribly inconvenient and time consuming and those things I will not miss. No more having to say “excuse me I need to go pump” every two hours when we have family visiting. No more worrying about where I was going to pump if we were going to be in the car for a couple of hours, or at the beach.

But it is an interesting mindset to try to break out of. I still find myself thinking, “o.k. if I pump right now I’ll be able to get in one more pumping before they nap”. And It is hard not to be excited or proud even when I have a big pumping. I need to remember… that is what I am trying to work away from. Plus I find myself feeling guilty to my little girls. Could they not benefit from me pumping longer? And what if it is like their favorite food and I am denying that to them for the rest of their lives? I did not expect to be so conflicted about this, especially since I have been counting down the months for about the last 6 months!

Anyways, here some interesting info. I have pumped roughly 15 min, 9 times a day for 11 months, and 4 times a day in the last month. That amounts to almost 784 hours spent pumping- over 32 days! Imagine all the free time I am going to have!!!

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 11:25 am  Comments (1)