Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fall and Football

Before writing this blog post, I thought to myself, We haven't really done much this week. Nothing momentous, no big milestone. Maybe I should skip writing this week. But wracking my brain now, I guess there have been a few things in the last seven days: 

- We celebrated Grandpa Buzz's and Great Grandma Nancy's birthdays with a family lunch on Sunday. 
- I delivered a meal to our friends, Jared and Ashley, who just had a new baby, and I got to cuddle their sweet 3-week old, Griffin.
Boomer was on Emmy-duty that night and worked long hours the other nights.
- Emmy moved up to size 3 diapers; however, she continues to have blowouts at daycare so we are trying to figure out what might be the reason. Should we try a different brand?
- Emmy and I had a dinner date at Jersey Mike's when Boomer had to stay late at school for volleyball.
- After work on Thursday, we went for a walk with Grammy, Megan, Z and Maddox.
- With Grandpa Buzz on his annual golfing trip, Grammy joined us for dinner at Kimono's. 
- I had a Teacher Workday on Friday and met with the college liaisons at the two other high schools in the county. It was helpful to swap ideas and plan for the upcoming spring registration. 
- I dealt with some technical issues with my pump, which prompted a trip to Babies R Us to buy a new battery adapter, only to find out that I had replaced just 4 of the 8 batteries. Ugh!
- I put about 400 miles on my car this week, traveling all around Forsyth, Surry, and Yadkin counties. Yikes!
- My sister and I ran 10 miles last Saturday and another 8 miles this Saturday; we are just three weeks out from our half-marathon on October 14th. 
- I've started to plan Emmy's 1st birthday (can you believe it?!), and I realize I'm a terrible party planner. What should be the theme? What should Emmy wear? I made a few Etsy and Amazon purchases's to hoping they arrive in time!

With the official start of fall on Friday, we kicked off the season in a very fitting way, with a football game. So many of my memories from fall seem to be centered around football, whether Friday night at the high school, Saturday on the couch or at a college stadium, or Sunday with Boomer switching between pro games and following his fantasy team. I am always sad to see the end of summer, but the excitement of football is one thing that helps me let go of summer and look ahead to the next season. On Friday, Forbush had a home football game, and there was a faculty tailgate beforehand. Emmy and I were able to go, and my mom, sister, and Zander also came along. We had a fun time eating dinner and seeing Boomer's coworkers. Just before kickoff, Emmy and I hit the road to get home for bedtime. It was a beautiful evening, and Forbush pulled off a win. Go Falcons! On Saturday, we watched more football, in particular the Appalachian vs. Wake game. Granny visited for the day while PawPaw is in Florida. Funny enough, both Grandpa Buzz and PawPaw Bret are out-of-town this weekend, leaving the grandmas some extra time to themselves play with Emmy. We've enjoyed a lazy Saturday, and Emmy loved the extra attention. 

With football season in full swing, it's officially autumn. Happy Fall!  

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Day in the Life of Emerson (Part 3)

Over the last year or so, we've experienced a lot of changes to say the least! During my maternity leave and then again when I went back to work, it seemed that life as I knew it drastically changed, and it took a few days (or weeks!) for all of the Kennedys to adjust. Just about the time we settled in, we would face the next big change and go through a time of transition once again. (As a look-back, check out A Day in the Life of Emerson and A Day in the Life of Emerson (Part 2).) With my new job and the start of daycare, our routine is again different and new. It is funny to look back at my old posts when bedtime was around 9PM or we didn't leave the house until 10AM! Over the last month, we have mostly settled in to what is now the 'new normal.' I've alluded to the daily rhythms of our family in other posts, but I wanted to document what a typical day now looks like for the Kennedys.

During the week, my alarm goes off at 5:15AM. I am not a snoozer, unlike someone else I live with...:), so I get right up at the first sound. In the next 30 minutes, I get myself mostly ready for the day by assembling my pump parts, taking a shower, and putting on makeup. Around 5:45AM, I go in to the nursery to wake Emmy. Sometimes Boomer or I open her door a few minutes before 5:45AM so that she can begin waking up on her own. I don't particularly like waking her up, but I love seeing her in the morning. She looks so sweet sleeping in her crib. She mostly sleeps on her belly now, with her bottom up in the air. She tends to snuggle up to the railings, so usually I will find her in one corner of the crib. I sing our "Good morning" song as she rubs her eyes and usually pops up onto all fours or onto her bottom.
In the next 30 minutes, I change her diaper, get her dressed, and then nurse her. Although I scoffed at mothers who said nursing was such a special bond, here at the end I am finally starting to feel that way. The morning is the only time that I nurse her now, and it is a time for just the two of us. We are both similar in that we like to wake up slowly, so Emmy will usually close her eyes again and snuggle in against me. Sometimes we may have a small hiccup with nursing, i.e. literally a hiccup that is a bit watery or a cough that turns in to spit-up, which is why I do not have my work clothes on yet. These mishaps are rare these days, but I still take precautions! While I didn't always enjoy nursing, I do enjoy this time now, mostly because it is the most quiet and calm time of the day for Emmy and me. Daddy is getting ready during this time, and we synchronize for both Daddy and Emmy to be ready to go out the door between 6:15AM and 6:20AM. Most days, Emmy puts up a fight to go in to her car seat, but after she is strapped in, she is content again. 

Daddy and Emmy head out the door! Is there anything more attractive than a man with a car seat on his arm?! :) 
It has been such a big help that Boomer does drop-off in the mornings. When I started my new job, the logistics of me doing drop-off, pumping, and arriving at my school on time would make for a stressful morning. Boomer readily agreed to take on all drop-off duties. As Emmy gets older, I think it will be a special time for them to bond, just as I do with Emmy while she is nursing and during pick-up in the afternoons. Once at daycare, Boomer says that Emmy no longer cries [everyday] when he drops her off. Since Emmy is one of the first ones to arrive, Ms. Tia is able to show her extra attention. Boomer says that Ms. Tia will usually take Emmy from him and hold her. We've found that, while she likes to play and be independent in the afternoons, in the mornings she still likes to be held and cuddled. 

After Boomer and Emmy have left the house, I have about ten minutes to get dressed, touch up my hair, gather all of my things, and get out the door. Right now, I pump during my commute to (and from) work -- a great use of the 40-minute drive! I have a very crowded passenger seat!
My workday is 7:30AM to 3:30PM. I posted a few pictures of my space earlier, but here is an updated picture of where I spend my days, the ESHS College & Career Center. 

There may be some days that I stay later than 3:30PM for meetings or gate duty, but I have tried to be very conscientious about leaving on time. If I do, I'm able to get to Winston-Salem while the traffic is still light, and then it's on to Kernersville. I arrive at Emmy's daycare between 4:15PM and 4:30PM. If the weather is nice and if Daddy has to work late, we may go for a walk around the daycare in downtown Kernersville. 

Sometimes, Grammy will meet us to walk and for a special treat at one of the local bakeries. Last week, Emmy tried a few bites of cupcake and played pony with Grammy.

Leaving the daycare, Emmy usually isn't too happy when we put her in the car seat...
...but she settles down by the time we pull out of the parking lot. The day usually catches up with her, and she is due for a nap. If Emmy and I come straight home from daycare, we will arrive around 4:45PM. If we go for a walk or meet Grammy, it may be closer to 6PM. Once home, it's a bit of a process getting everything unloaded and inside. I unpack and repack my lunch box, put the dirty bottles in the sink to be washed later, refrigerate the milk from the day, and wash out any clothes (if Emmy had a blowout!) Sometimes, Emmy will still be asleep in her car seat. I carefully move her inside so that she can continue her cat nap while I get everything put away. 

When she wakes up, she may explore around the house...

...or play in [or under] her exersaucer. 
We are always excited when Daddy arrives home! 
Boomer will jump right in to feed Emmy her dinner of rice cereal or baby food. 

Then, Boomer and I will eat dinner while Emmy plays for a little bit longer before bedtime. 
This is assuming that we eat dinner at home! If we go out to eat, which is probably too common, then Boomer will meet us at a restaurant after we leave the daycare. Either going out to eat or staying in, we usually start bedtime around 6:30PM. If it is a bath night, we start that process a little earlier, around 6PM. We usually do baths on Wednesdays and Saturdays, barring any major blow-outs or spit-ups. 

Boomer and I together wrangle Emmy into a dry diaper, her pjs and sleep sack. She very quickly goes from our pleasant, happy Emmy to a fiery little hornet. We can't quite figure out what upsets her about changing into her pjs, except perhaps she is sleepy and ready for the day to be done. She becomes happy again when Boomer scoops her up and we brush her teeth. We've been brushing her teeth for quite awhile now, since her first teeth poked through around 3 months, and she is fairly cooperative. She loves to suck on the toothbrush. Then it's to the nursery for the bedtime bottle. Emmy will generally drink 7-8 ounces, dozing off during the last ounce or so. Each night varies just a bit: sometimes she falls asleep in my arms; other times she may still be awake. Sometimes it is a smooth transition to the crib; other times, her eyes will open and she may cry for a little bit. She generally cries no longer than a couple of minutes. She's asleep and dreaming by 7PM. 

The day is not quite done yet. After putting Emmy to bed, I pump one last time, around 7:30PM. Then Boomer and I both head to the kitchen to wash bottles and get ready for the next day. Some nights, it is a daunting task, but we make quick work of it as a team. We generally talk more about the day and what's ahead tomorrow. 

Whew! The day is done! It is around 9PM, and Boomer and I unwind in different ways: Boomer is usually watching some sport while catching up on work emails; I am watching Bachelor in Paradise and scrolling through Facebook. Some days we will sit together and flip between the two channels. Not the most romantic end to the day, but 'tis the life of new parents! :) Bedtime for me is around 10PM, and Boomer a little later than that. 

I know I usually write my blog posts about the weekends and the fun things that we do on those two days. And it's true, we are excited when it is Friday and we have a break from the labeling, the alarm clock, the drop-off and pick-up. Even though we love the weekends, I wanted to be sure and capture our life during the rest of the week, the mundane but memorable moments that make up our life right now. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

10 Months Old!

Double digits! Emmy is 10 months old!

We celebrated this monthly milestone on Sunday. It was helpful to have Boomer as my 'assistant' for these photos, because Emmy is hard to contain these days. She is a busy little bee! In fact, we had to finally pack up the rainforest play mat, a favorite activity for many months that no longer keeps her entertained. At 10 months old, Emmy is still in size 2 diapers during the day, and we have moved up to size 3 diapers at night. She continues to love her sleep, sleeping anywhere from 10 to 12 hours at night. She still does not take a long nap at daycare, so we try to make sure she gets to bed early at night (around 6:30PM) and that she gets caught up on the weekends, usually with two naps each day. At first, I was hesitant to have two naps a day on the weekends; I was afraid it would reverse any napping progress at daycare. My mother-in-law made a great point though: don't we all like naps on the weekend?! Granny helped me see that the weekend is a great time for Emmy to get her rest, just like adults do! In the last month, Emmy has started to say words like "mama," "dada," and my favorite "uh oh!" She usually responds to her name, both Emmy and Emerson. She will also turn when we call her by our silly nickname of "girl girl." (I'm not sure how that one stuck!) She has moved on to a small list of solid(ish) foods. We still have not had much success with the Gerber 3s Lil' Bits. Instead, we continue to use the Gerber 2s, and we have started to offer small bites of bread and fruit, in addition to puffs and yogurt melts. This past weekend, she even tried some of a pumpkin spice cupcake (just the cake part, no icing) and scrambled eggs from a breakfast casserole. With some of these solid foods, she would readily open her mouth, something she wasn't doing with the Lil' Bits. I've been a bit worried about making my milk stash last for two more months, but I found that this weekend I was able to conserve some of my milk by offering table food instead. She continues to improve with using her fingers to pick up small pieces of food and bringing them to her mouth. Right now, she is using both hands equally, so it will be interesting to see if she turns out to be right-handed or left-handed. 

There have been so many fun milestones over the past month. Emmy is now able to crawl on her knees with her belly completely off the ground. From time to time, she will revert back to the fish flop or the worm; she even sometimes uses one leg as a kickstand to hobble about, but mostly she gets around on her hands and knees. She has also mastered pulling up on people or furniture....

...and holding her own bottle.

I was quite shocked the first time that she took the bottle out of my hands during her bedtime bottle. For this nighttime feeding, she continues to drink around 7-8 ounces. I know that at daycare they have worked with her to hold her own bottle, and it makes her seem so independent now! If she is pretty tired, she will still let me hold it, which I don't mind one bit. :)

In addition to celebrating 10 months, the weekend included a pre-game dinner at Forbush on Friday night. We weren't able to stay for the game (too late!), but we got to see Daddy and some of his coworkers before kick-off. It was the big rivalry game versus Starmount, and sadly Forbush lost 20-0. It was a win for the Kennedy girls though, because we got to eat some barbeque and see Daddy. Emmy loves riding on Daddy's shoulders!

On Saturday morning, Emmy, Grammy, and I hit the road to Morganton. We had not yet met the newest arrivals, Hadley Anne and Adelia Wren, both born in late July/early August. It was a beautiful fall-like day, and it was the very same weekend that we went home to Morganton last year for my baby shower. I couldn't help thinking how much has changed in one year! Coley hosted us all at her house, and it was such a special day hugging, laughing, cuddling, and playing. And of course taking photos, too! Emmy looked so big next to the babies! It is hard to believe that she was once that little. Casey bought matching monogrammed dresses/onesies for the three girls, and it was so sweet to see them together. We even had a synchronized wardrobe and diaper change -- all of us were laughing at that, even Emmy! The time passed by too quickly; before I knew it, it was time to hit the road back to Kernersville. There are times that I miss having the same connection to Morganton that I did when I lived there or my parents lived there. But I feel so blessed by the friendships I have made that bring a feeling of home whenever we are together.

One year ago...
...and now.

We had a relaxing Sunday, spending some extra time with Daddy. We also visited Great Gma and Great Gpa. Emmy showed off her newest tricks of crawling, sitting, eating puffs, and waving!

Oh, and I should mention we ended the weekend with Mommy locking the keys in the car! Boomer, Emmy, and I went to East Coast Wings on Sunday evening, as is our tradition. On the way there, I pumped in the car (as I often do these days), and when we arrived at the restaurant, Boomer and Emmy went inside to get a table, leaving the keys with me. After I finished up, I went right inside without grabbing them off of the dash. After dinner, we realized my mistake! There the keys were; right in plain sight. Luckily my dad came to the rescue! He was our very own AAA! Thank goodness for Grandpa!

Monday, September 4, 2017

One More Lake Trip

Over the Labor Day weekend, we were able to fit in one last trip to the lake. After Emmy's pink eye, my new job, and Boomer's academic and sport schedule in full swing, it was the perfect relaxing getaway. Plus, having the extra day was pretty nice! We left after work on Friday, made a quick dinner stop on our way out of town, and got to the lake around 8PM. We were the only family there this weekend with Granny and PawPaw; we joked that Emmy enjoyed not having to share with her cousins! :)  We certainly spoiled her, and Emmy liked spending so much time with her grandparents. On Saturday, we rode on the boat to the marina to have lunch at the new restaurant there. Emmy did great sitting in a high chair like a big girl. She probably would have been ready to do this sooner, but we have mostly been keeping her in her car seat at restaurants. We usually prop her up so that we can feed her while we are also eating. The car seat has kept her contained, and she doesn't really fight it as long as we keep the food coming. Now that she has sat in a high chair, it looks like we will continue to do that moving forward. The weekend included several boat rides, coffee on the porch, and college football on tv. Boomer and I even went for a ride on the jet ski like old times. We are already looking forward to Memorial Day when we will be back at the lake kicking off the summer again.

In addition to the high chair, Emmy crossed two other milestones this weekend. On Saturday, we had come inside to watch some football (yay, football season!), and without any help, Em used the coffee table to pull herself up to a standing position. She didn't stay up for long, and then she was able to lower herself back down to the floor. The second big milestone was moving food to her mouth. Her primary food right now is still breastmilk; we are also giving her rice cereal in the mid-morning (around 8:30AM) and then usually Gerber 2's around lunchtime and again in the late afternoon, with a bottle. We have started to introduce the next stage "Lil Bits," but we have had mixed results. She either doesn't like the flavor or she will gag on the small bits that are in the broth. I sure hope I'm not buying baby food and pumping until she goes to kindergarten! But just this weekend, Boomer was successful in getting Emmy to take both puffs and yogurt melts from his hand and getting them in to her mouth. She struggles just a little with getting the pieces off of her fingers, especially when they begin to dissolve and get sticky. Boomer was persistent throughout the weekend, and it paid off. She is doing really great moving food to her mouth. It makes me think we should start introducing real food, rather than pushing the Lil Bits. We'll see!

We stayed at the lake through Sunday evening and then enjoyed Monday here at home. Meg and I knocked out a double digit run (10 miles!) early in the morning, had some downtime in the afternoon, and then we had dinner over at the Houston's. Meg made a delicious meal, and all of the cousins played for a bit. This time last week, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, but by Thursday and Friday, I was beginning to gain a better grasp on my new position. This week, I am speaking in the senior English classes and then I will also be prepping for the field trip to the community college on September 12th for the county college fair. I hope the days are productive so that I am picking up Emmy at a reasonable time. It continues to be a balance that I know all working moms face. For now, I hope the rest and memories from the weekend will carry over as we conquer this four-day work week!