Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Return Trip to Hamilton and MSQC.

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Mom and I made a return trip to Hamilton, Missouri to visit Missouri Star Quilt Company on June 27. It feels like it was so very long ago, even though it was only two weeks. Since our trip to Hamilton, we went to Beaumont to see Rachel and company for the Fourth, and we have been worrying and praying for our friends in Texas since we got home. Rachel's second son, Braden, was getting sick while we were there. He has gotten much worse, and they are looking at a long journey to get him well. Praying this morning that he might be on the right track with a possible diagnosis. Rachel is keeping people up to date through her instagram feed. We're obviously all #teamBradenLuke
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But back on the 27th, Mom and I drove to Hamilton and took Rebecca with us. She was a quilt shop trooper, snoozing on the 90 minute drive, and even a little bit while we shopped (her head was supported in the ring sling, the angle just looks funky in this photo). Mom and I are wearing patriotic gear made by our favorite t-shirt shop, Stately Type, because we were going to Hamilton, Missouri, and I'm a bit obsessed with all things Hamilton these days. You can't see my shirt with Alexander's name on it right now, but don't worry, you'll see it in photos from the Fourth. We also knew that the people who make Stately Type tees are big quilters, so they loved Mom's instagram with our tees on at Missouri Star Quilt Co. We obviously put Rebecca in a patriotic romper as well.
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It really is an incredible place to visit with eleven quilt stores all on Mainstreet and a fancy little restaurant that we enjoyed at lunch time. They are all owned by the same company, and they are organized into themes. The main shop just reopened, so we looked in there before heading to the two main reasons for our trip - Sew Seasonal and the Kids & Baby. Mom has decided to take on the big project of all new stockings for the family so she can make matching ones for Kip and Rebecca. And I found a little project in Kids & Baby for Rebecca when she gets a little older. It's worked best for us to know what we might like to make when we go. There are so many beautiful options, it would be easy to get a little carried away!

Friday, July 8, 2016


 photo Blog_1342.jpgThe first day of summer was a Friday for me and Becca, and my first day back will be a Friday at the end of the month. Each week, Friday comes again, and I am usually discouraged. Another week, come and gone, and I am tired of being at home with my non-napper and as of late, non-night time sleeper. Some weeks Friday means we are going somewhere fun, and other weeks Friday means we have one more day while Kip works a Saturday shift to try to figure out sleep. He works again tomorrow, so we'll give it another go. I remember naively telling friends that my goal the first week of summer was to stay home so we could figure out naps. Seven weeks later, we have nothing to show for it. Rebecca loves a cat nap when she wants to nap, and Mama is tired. It is super discouraging to work hard for a nap that is only long enough to reheat a cup of coffee. 
 photo Blog_1344.jpg I have googled all the things and come to so many different conclusions about sleep. My friends have helped generate theory after theory about why she refuses to nap as well as brainstormed solutions. We have tried less time awake, pacifiers, the magic Merlin suit, crying, rocking, cuddling, swaddling, white noise, the ergo, car naps, stroller rides, but there isn't a magic combo for Rebecca. The pediatrician told us at our four month appointment that it could easily take two more months to get naps figured out.

Yet I keep trying, saying a little prayer each time I walk out of her room that THIS will be the time she stays asleep. Today she napped for ten minutes and five minutes after two different attempts. Yesterday morning she napped for an hour. She's not fussy in between her short naps, and I took all these photos of a happy baby who had slept only a total of 15 min of sleep over six hours of awake time. She's seriously committed to her nap protesting.  photo Blog_1343.jpg
But it wears on me. Kip gets home, and the witching hours begin. We have tried more feedings, a consistent bedtime routine, much earlier bedtimes, one last catnap, baths every night, and more rocking, cuddling, praying. Each night she consistently sleeps 30-50 minutes and wakes up again. The sleep books make me think this is because she can't transition into the deeper sleep though I also have wondered if it's a fourth nap she hasn't dropped yet.

She won't let Kip comfort her, as much as he would be happy to, and there has only been two nights all summer where she didn't have the second wake up. For a while I tolerated it because she would then give me five to seven hours of sleep. And in the middle of the night she can get herself back to sleep with minimal fussing. But the past two weeks she has refused to go back down easily to start the night's sleep, including a couple nights where the protest lasted until midnight. Thankfully I am obsessed with watching (and rewatching) The Great British Baking Show on Netflix and now PBS. But by Fridays, I'm rather defeated, knowing that the cycle starts again in the morning.
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She is adorable. People regularly comment about how cute she is when she is out and about, and I have found myself responding with, "Yep, but she sure doesn't sleep." She has given me a run for my money. Pretty much everything about being a mama is harder than I imagined. Ironically I worried a lot about pregnancy and delivery, and those turned out to be the easiest parts so far.

My friends with terrible sleepers tell me it will get better or that it won't, but we will survive. And my friends with good or average sleepers hear my stories, count their blessings and offer support. Rachel encouraged me to write it all down because we've come a long ways from the days where I couldn't imagine nursing my baby without pain and worried about how much she weighed all the time. I write on a day when I'm all too aware there are far greater problems in the world, but this is what's happening in our corner. It's made me tired, overwhelmed, frustrated, guilty and impatient with this perfect gift we were given in February. I love her so much it hurts my mama's heart to hear her so upset when she should be asleep, and I know sleep would do her (and me) so much good. Kip's ridiculously patient and encouraging, and we'll keep trying to figure it out. She's totally worth it.

Thanks for reading a much longer and heavier post than normal. I'll get back to posts about trips and fun things we've been up to if she ever sleeps again. But hey, at least you got some cute photos for a Friday.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Father's Day in Manhattan.

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With ten weeks off this summer, we have definitely been taking advantage of the weekends to squeeze in trips to see friends and family. It has been great because we can enjoy our loved ones without wondering how to still manage all the craziness of laundry, meal prep and errands that need to happen during the school year. And we get to share Becca Claire with everyone!
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Kip's aunt and uncle in Oklahoma couldn't wait to meet Rebecca (who can blame them?), so we planned to spend Father's Day in Manhattan with everyone. Becca stole everyone's hearts but also showed off her growing sense of displeasure with naps. The young lady has opinions and an extroverts fear of missing out. I have no idea where she gets that from.
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We took it easy and shared delicious food while were there and all went to church on Sunday. Afterwards we took all these great family photos in front of Kip's parents' home, forever preserving Kip's first Father's Day and Keith's first Father's Day as Grandpa!
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If you look closely, you may be able to see that we both have anchors on our outfits. I had already decided to take the dress for Rebecca and this shirt is a summer staple for me, so it really was a coincidence that I embraced. This was also Rebecca's last time wearing her size zero moccasins. They got too snug on her little ankles! Karen pulled out Kip's baby shoes, and I grabbed a couple photos of them together. So tiny and sweet, but I'm certainly glad slip-ons are the predominant stage these days.
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It was a great, very relaxing Father's Day with everyone healthy and relaxed (unlike Mother's Day spent glued to our couches!). Kip got a new lawnmower earlier this spring, so even though I teased him that was his present, I still found a new belt he needed and this sweet book about the National Parks to read with Rebecca.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Favorite Photos of Fred

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Last Tuesday, Tracy's father Fred passed away after a battle with brain cancer. He was surrounded by his family his sweet wife of over 50 years, Bonnie. They are busy remembering Fred this holiday weekend in Indianapolis, and we are sad we couldn't be there too! Fred welcomed Lauren and me into the family and counted us as his own. Rebecca was the first great-grandchild, sweetly included in his obituary. He bought me books, danced at our wedding, and once drove from Indy to bring me a sewing machine (well, it was actually for Lauren's graduation!). I love the photos above because I can hear Fred's voice and laugh, and I have had the distinct feeling all week that Pop-Pop is looking out for his kids and grandkids from heaven. We were all lucky to be loved by Fred.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Rebecca in the Bounce-a-Roo

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Becca is just barely getting the bounce-a-roo figured out, but she definitely loves to bounce. Technically I think Fisher Price calls it a jump-a-roo, and it's super similar to the classic exersaucer, but I never remember what it is supposed to be called. We don't have a lot of floor space in our living room, so I treated the arrival of this new toy like we were at a popular nightclub. One in, one out. The rock and play that saved us many many times since she was born was moved to the basement, and the bounce-a-roo took its place. It's actually nice having the rock and play in the basement near the laundry as Rebecca can rest in it while I move the laundry or grab some things from the deep freeze.
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I know Rebecca's going to get so much bigger, and we'll have to adjust it so it sits farther above the ground. But right now it is on the lowest setting and she is just figuring out the jumping part. The toys on one side are a lot easier for her to manipulate, and she definitely hasn't figured out that she can turn around in it yet. I think her favorite living room toy is still her play mat as she works on her rolling, but she will jump, play and put the little bug in her mouth while in the bounce-a-roo. Oh, and smile at mama. Smiling is her favorite.