Welcome Home

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In the late morning on Friday, we received confirmation that my brother, Trevor--who has been deployed for eight months--would be coming HOME that night. We were all so excited and anxious to see him again. All day, any time I thought about what the moment would be like, I'd get all misty!

We had known for a few days that he was coming home (he had been back in the U.S. for almost two weeks already), but didn't know exactly WHEN. Thankfully, we were all prepared with homemade signs and ready to drag ourselves out to make the trek to the airport to give him a big hero's welcome home.

Unfortunately, Michael had to stay back at home with a sleeping Nora, so I rode with my mom and grandma to the airport, where Hunter found us and led us to the waiting area.

While we waited, Hunter posed with his flag and the sign we made for him. So cute, and he was SO EXCITED!

Bryce was really pumped, too. :) 

Soon, we saw that the flight had landed (early!) and got all prepared as we watched for him to come walking toward us. 

Hunter's first glimpse of Daddy...

...he took off running and leaped right into his arms. Best.moment.ever.

It is so wonderful to have him home again. 

We are all so proud, so relieved, and so thankful.

Welcome home, Trevor.

P.S. Sorry for the obnoxious spacing. Blogger forced me over to its "new" interface again, and this time it's permanent. I think changes will be coming soon... as in Heather Drive's move to Wordpress. I just need to work up the energy, time, and guts to make the leap. If anyone out there has experience, tutorials, or tips to share, please let me know!


Meet Me at My Crib

Friday, September 21, 2012

We've had a challenging week around these parts. It seems that with a 2-year-old, we have good weeks and bad. There are weeks that she is an easy-going, fun-loving, delightful little girl. And then there are weeks when she is a meltdown-having, screaming, uncooperative banshee.

This week, we had the latter. Nearly everything was a battle.

Nora really seemed to be trying to assert her independence this week. She started fighting us on things that are completely routine. Getting in her chair to eat. Washing her hands. Leaving the house. Taking a bath. But the one that was consistently a problem--EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.--was getting her out of bed in the morning.

Yeah. I didn't think we'd be dealing with this until she is in middle school.

But it wasn't that Nora still wanted to sleep. She was awake, and was given the usual amount of time to "wind up" to getting out of her crib to start the day. She just literally did not want to get OUT.

Every morning, we've tried handfuls of different tactics. Distraction. Incentives. Praise. Reverse psychology. Force. None of them were particularly successful. On the days that we removed her from her crib without her consent (so, every morning...after other tricks didn't work), we were faced with a tantrum-throwing mess. One (two?) of the mornings, she stood outside the crib and screamed for 15 minutes.

After another "episode" this morning, I started to really try to think this through. What's her problem all of a sudden? I started thinking about how we managed to solve many of the other freakouts this week. And it was by putting some control in her hands. Or, at least letting her THINK she had some control in her hands.

Fighting us to go into her seat to eat? OK then. We didn't force it. We put her food on the table, and simply said, "OK, Nora. It's OK if you're not hungry. But here's your food on the table. You let us know if you want to get up in your chair and eat it." Sure enough, within two minutes, she would "ask" (nonverbally) to get into her chair. She ate breakfast/dinner without incident. She just needed to feel like it was on her terms.

Thankfully, we had Nora's 2-year pediatrician appointment last week (she weighs 26 lbs. now, by the way!) and our doctor spent the majority of the appointment talking to us about behavior and how best to handle the typical toddler challenges. The way we've been handling our problems this week have been right in line with her advice, and hey... it's worked.


What makes this different? And then something struck me. Maybe she's freaking out because she literally cannot do it herself. Nora cannot get out of bed without us. It sounds kind of ridiculous--and maybe it is, I could be off-base here--but I started to wonder if maybe this is a sign of readiness to make the transition to a toddler bed.

*cue music of DOOM*

I don't know; this is not something I've been in a hurry to do. We don't have another baby on the way, so we don't need the crib. She's not climbing out like a monkey, putting herself in danger. And really, those are the only two reasons I've ever heard someone give for moving their kid to a toddler and/or big kid bed.

Michael and I have talked about it. I've asked some mom friends for opinions. And I don't know... we're tempted to give it a try. I figure it can either go really well, or it can go very badly. And there's only one way to find out. We have a convertible crib, so it seems like the transition would be as easy as it CAN be... it's the same bed, but with a different front on it. Worst case scenario, she FREAKS THE HECK OUT and we can just convert it back to a crib.

But man, I'm scared. Right now, she's contained. When we put her in there, she can't get out. There are no bedtime or naptime battles. When we're being a little lazy on the weekends, she hangs out happily in her crib while we doze a few extra minutes. And in the meantime, we know exactly where she is.

Do we really want to uncage the beast??

The more I think about it, though, the more I see the pros and cons. Nora's just two. She hasn't fully grasped the art of being a complete pain in the ass. :) In other words, she doesn't "stall" bedtime. She's unlikely to get out of bed a million times just because she can (knock on wood). She can't use stalling tactics like asking for a drink of water, saying she wants one more kiss, or one more story. In some ways, it seems like it just *might* be easier to make this transition with a 2-year-old instead of a 2.5- or almost-3-year-old.

Still, I worry about messing with a good thing. But then again, she can't stay in a crib until she's 5. At some point, we have to rip off this band-aid.

Moms, what do you think? How old were your kids when you made this transition? How did you know it was time, or why did you do it? How did it go? Any tips or tricks before we give this a whirl?


Toddler Curls

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

After I posted our family photos the other day, I got an e-mail from a woman named Jamie (Hi Jamie!) asking me how we care for Nora's curls. I thought it was a good question, because well, I still wonder on almost a daily basis whether I am actually doing it right.

I never really expected Nora to have curly hair. Remember when it looked like this?

{Baby-pattern baldness, 4.5 months old}

Poor kid. But once it started growing back in and evening out, things were looking better. And during Nora's first summer--especially on the humid days--we started noticing a single curl that would form on one side of her head.

{You can sort of see it here, on the left (her right) side}

But even last December, things had only progressed to here:

{This is when I joked that she had Beiber hair}

It was mostly straight, with just a few soft curls on some of the ends.

My mom has naturally curly hair (VERY curly), so maybe I should've seen it coming. But somehow, this year, as it grew and grew... we ended up here:

{An Instagram pic from earlier this summer}

{Family pics from a few weeks ago}

It doesn't always look that nice, of course.

When she goes to bed every night, it looks like this:
And then EVERY.SINGLE.MORNING when she wakes up, it looks like this:
Bedhead is a powerful thing.

Anyway, so here's what I actually do. We shampoo every night (with Burt's Bee's Baby Bee Shampoo). After bath, I towel dry her hair. I use the Target hair detangler spray (found in the baby aisle), spray it over her still wet/damp hair, and then I comb it out.

Now, all of you curly-headed people out there are probably ready to pounce on me about combing it, right? I've heard that you are NEVER really supposed to COMB curly hair. But I'll tell you what: Nora gets some nasty knots in her hair. If I didn't comb it, and simply used a pick, I'm convinced she would end up with a rat's nest. Or dreads.

Once it's combed, I usually "scrunch" it with my hands quickly, and off to her room she goes for the rest of her bedtime routine.

In the mornings, I don't fully brush or comb it again unless I'm putting it in a ponytail or full pigtails. Otherwise, I just gather some hair at the top of her head and will sometimes comb that piece out if I need to smooth it out, then put a ponytail holder in it. I've mostly been using these miniature no-slip rubberbands (but the ones I buy are by Scunci), but now that she has more hair and doesn't need as much "grip," I've been experimenting with others, since the Scunci ones almost always rip out some of her hair when we remove them at night. Her hair is still ALWAYS in her face if we leave it down, so I put it up every day. I just don't know what else to do with it right now.

So, what do you say, fellow moms of curly-haired kids? Or those who have curly hair themselves? Is there something I could/should be doing differently?

It'll be interesting to see what happens to her curls as she grows. Her hair tends to be sort of straight/wavy at the beginning of the day, but gets curlier as the day goes on. I don't know if the curly hair is here to stay, or if it's just for her childhood. If they're temporary, I will sure miss them when they go. :(


2012 Family Photos

Monday, September 17, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, we had family photos taken. Nora was a little difficult to work with, I must say--but most 2-year-olds are. We bribed her with fruit snacks (something we have actually never given her before) and that was at least partially successful. Otherwise, it was a lot of distracting and tickling and tricks to get her to smile on our part, and, well, miracle-working on our photographer's part.

Photography is obviously an important part of my life. But even I will admit to making excuses not to have them done by someone else. We take plenty of our own photos, but there is still merit in having someone else take them for you--something we've only done twice so far in Nora's life, which I carry a lot of guilt about. Still, I try to tell myself that I have adequately captured her life thus far--with way more detail than our parents captured our lives, thanks to today's technology--so I shouldn't feel guilty.

Overall, my goal is to have photos taken once a year, sometime between May and September. We've accomplished that so far, but it's shocking to see how much Nora has changed since the last time we had them done, yikes!

Anyway, enough talking. It was so hard to narrow these down. We got 70+ photos from the photographer, I narrowed them down to 44(!) for posting to Facebook for family and friends... and now I've narrowed them down further here.

(Hey, I didn't say I did a GOOD job of narrowing down. So bear with me through the photo dump. And enjoy?)
{Nora was OBSESSED with these parasols. OBSESSED.}
{I'm getting those little wrinkles around my eyes! I'm aging! Wahhhh!}
{She's "roaring" at the photographer, like a tiger. She likes to "scare" people.}

Now, for the hardest part of all... deciding which ones to hang on our walls! Eek!


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