Archive for December, 2013

  • The End of the Year

    Date: 2013.12.31 | Category: Baby, Family, Friends, Halloween, Health, Holidays, Home, Kitties, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, Pregnancy, Sam Cat, Sarah, Travel | Response: 1

    As I was looking back through photos from this past year, I found myself in awe over just how big my Sarah girl has grown. She looked like such a little baby way back in January, but now she is a big, talking, silly little girl. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about 2013, but we, mostly, had a really fantastic year.

    I typed up a pretty lengthy summary, but feel free to skip all that and just watch the video. :)

    2013 from Jessica Rinaudo on Vimeo.

    In January we found out we were expecting another baby, which changed our whole world. Sarah would no longer be an only child, and my yearlong obsession with getting pregnant again came to a close. We let our families know we were expecting by allowing Sarah to walk into their homes proudly wearing a “Big Sister” shirt.

    In February we took Sarah to her first Mardi Gras parade – the animal parade downtown. We missed the others we had planned to take her to thanks to illness. She also got sick on Valentine’s Day  for good measure. We also got to see our little bean on the ultrasound for the first time that month too!

    In March I quickly discovered that pregnancies show much faster the second time around. We spent a lot of time playing outside and going to friends’ birthday parties. We spent Good Friday at the pediatrician’s office after Sarah landed herself with croup. This meant we couldn’t go to church for Easter, but Nana and grandaddy were willing to let her come around them, so we visited there and hunted down a few Easter eggs.

    In April Sarah turned two and we celebrated with a Alice and Wonderland themed “Mad Tea Party” in our backyard. Friends and family came and jumped in the bounce house and ate homemade cupcakes. A few days later my nephew Jacob turned two and we celebrated at his construction themed party. Sarah also got to meet her “Italian granny,” Sr. Martinette Rivers, while she was home for a month.

    May was super exciting! Not only did we learn that we would be having another little girl, but we took Sarah on a big vacation that included her first trip to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We hit up the aquarium and ate lots of great food before heading to the beach in Florida. We stayed there with Susan and her family and had a great time in the sand and water. Sarah still talks about the beach all the time. We will have to plan another trip in 2014!

    In June my friend Tammy and her daughter Kiri came down for a visit from Indianapolis. I also got a new, bigger, family- sized vehicle that month to replace my tiny, but wonderful, Honda Fit. I also went to my conference in Denver in June with my friend Becki. In addition to the conference (where we won a big award for our magazine!), we ate at a lot of Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives restaurants, went to the top of a mountain and checked out some campy museums. That was the longest I’d ever been away from Sarah!

    In July our cat Sam ran away and never came back. We held out hope for a long time without any good news. We also went to Austin in July to visit our friends Dana and Scott. We spent a lot of time in the swimming pool with the kids, and I loved the comfort the pool gave my growing pregnant body. Mys sisters also threw me a “Baby Sprinkle” in July, where close friends and family came and brought lots of goodies for baby #2, including some much needed diapers!

    In August I started having excruciating pain in my right side that lead to several rush trips to the OB’s office and lots of tests. A GI doc finally figured out that I had a bulging ligament that was pressing on a nerve. When the baby would move a lot, she would hit that spot and it would get inflamed. It was horrible! We also went to Baton Rouge in August to see my Aunt Amy get married and I had a great time with my whole family and spent more time in the pool!

    In September my coworkers threw me a baby shower and we started preparing ourselves for Norah’s scheduled c-section on September 23. Due to some horrible problems with Sarah knotting up her hair, we took Sarah to get her first haircut. On September 11 I was rear-ended and, for the sake of my 9 month pregnant baby, was taken by ambulance to a hospital where I stayed overnight to make sure we were both ok. I also had a false labor run on my sister’s birthday, and then went into labor for real on September 20, three days before my scheduled section. We welcomed Norah into the world at 12:38 p.m. and were immediately in love with our beautiful little girl.

    I started October off by turning 29! Cassie came to visit from Pittsburgh and helped us clean and paint our house while she was in town. October is also  when we began the long, hard road of dealing with colic. Norah kept us up every single night screaming hour after hour after hour. It quickly unfolded into months of sleep deprived torture. Mark and I learned the true meaning of being a team and worked out a way to take shifts with her all night long. It was terrible. We also took both girls trick-or-treating in October. Sarah went as Olivia the pig and Norah as Minnie Mouse.

    November gave us no relief from the colic, but we learned that Norah loved the Moby wrap and we put her in that often. Sarah also learned to start sleeping through the long nights of screaming. We also took Norah to meet her great grandparents who live an hour away. We celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents house.

    In December we started counting down until Norah turned 12 weeks – the magical age when the doctor and several friends said colic usually stops. At 12 weeks and 4 days old, Norah slept through the night for the first time because she found her thumb. We rejoiced! We took the girls to meet Santa (Sarah hated him, Norah liked his beard). We decorated for Christmas and then celebrated it with our families. It’s also the month Norah got her first honest to goodness cold – the same cold the whole family managed to share just in time for the holidays.

    A new baby, a couple of big trips, a new car and a lot of love. You were good to us 2013!

  • Christmas

    Date: 2013.12.30 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Holidays, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 1

    Our first Christmas as a family of four was wild and fun and exhausting.

    It started when Sarah caught some sort of coughing snot virus that she passed on to me by coughing directly into my mouth. So nice of her, huh? And instead of resting and recovering (hah!) I spent my time prepping for Christmas Eve and Day by cleaning and baking and wrapping like a crazy woman. I may have been feeling bad, after all, but Norah’s first Christmas would be memorable. And this was really the first year Sarah understood the whole Santa Claus thing and had requests.

    The Christmas list of a two-and-a-half-year-old was surprisingly specific and included some of the following items:
    1. Doc McStuffins shoes (Santa had to go to eBay for that one).
    2. A Puppy Princess (Ummmm?)
    3. All the mermaid things ever made.
    4. A Doc McStuffins doll and a Sofia doll.
    5. Butterfly wings.
    6. Daisy Duck.

    And she informed me that Sister wanted a ladybug.

    We spent Christmas Eve eating Chinese food with Mark’s family and opening gifts. I have to say, Christmas presents are much more fun with kids in the mix. We all sat back and watched them rip through paper. And when Sarah was done opening all her gifts, she started opening everyone else’s. Obviously we were not moving quick enough for her.

    Her grandaddy really surprised her with this awesome 1949 Pontiac pedal car that he bought and restored for her. She loves it! Her grandparents also loaded her down with a shopping cart and groceries. She immediately started moving the groceries from her cart to her car, and then put her baby doll in the car and took off. Girl’s got it down.

    Santa came that evening and brought all the goodies and then some.

    One of Sarah’s favorite toys was her Doc McStuffins doctor bag.

    Her other was her mermaid costume.

    And Norah? Well she was sort of overwhelmed.

    Santa filled my stocking with my favorite chocolates, a gift card to TCBY and scratch offs (I won $24!) Good job Santa!

    After Santa, we went to my parents’ house for family, food and more presents.

    Sarah got an awesome Little People princess castle and Jacob got a Little People farm house. I love both of them and secretly want to play with them while the kids are away.

    And Norah? Well she was rather drooly over this bear that makes the same noises as a mother’s womb.

    I was so proud of Sarah and Jacob this year for sharing their gifts and not fighting. A big improvement on last year! They even sat and ate kolaches together while watching Raffi. And they  dressed up as Mary and Joseph (or Jofus, as Sarah calls him). We volunteered Norah to be Baby Jesus, but she decided to go nap in her manger and skip the photo op.

    We all got so many nice things and so enjoyed spending time with family. We did more family visiting Christmas evening, but our day after Christmas plans came to a grinding halt when my cold finally caught up to me and took me way down for several days. Sarah too. But I’m still glad we powered through Christmas. It was amazing and wonderful and I couldn’t be more thankful for my family and the time we got to spend together.

  • Three Months

    Date: 2013.12.21 | Category: Baby, Home, Love, Me, Norah, OMG YAY! | Response: 3

    Oh Norah. Three months is a magical time for you! I really didn’t think we were ever going to kick that colic, but, miracle of miracles, it seems we have made it! And what was the magical thing that seems to have soothed the savage beast? Why your thumb! Four nights ago, while wiggling your little head around in bed, you found your thumb and you latched on to it like a champ. You still are not a fan of pacifiers or bottles, but will take them if forced.

    The other great thing about the thumb? Why you have started self soothing at night time. Which means for the past four nights you have slept 12 HOURS straight! Your father and I have been doing happy dances – ok, not really, we’re too tired. How about happy sighs? We also moved you into your own room about a week and a half ago. I originally thought we would move you around four months, which was when we moved your sister, but I think the loud dogs and your dad’s snoring were waking you up at night. I worried that you would get angry with us moving you, but it turns out you LOVE your bed and your very own quiet room.

    You have really gotten good at smiling this past month too, always willing to give us a big grin when we make silly faces at you. You also let out a giggle for your Mimi that we haven’t been able to get you to do again. All in good time, I suppose.

    You have fantastic neck and head control now, and when I put you in the Moby wrap, you love to turn your head around and look at everyone. You make friends wherever we go. People love to stop and talk to you and comment on your big, beautiful blue eyes. And to think, I really really thought you were going to have brown eyes!

    These days you’re also blowing bubbles, cooing and “talking” back to us when we talk to you. You love to watch your sister play, and she loves to sing songs to you and try to dress you up in all kinds of crazy clothes.

    You love us to rock you, especially when we hold your arms nice and tight against you. You also love bath time and immediately calm down when we put you in the warm water.

    Three months is a good and happy time. I love you so much my little bean.

  • A Mother of Two

    Date: 2013.12.12 | Category: Family, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 9

    Contrary to popular belief, I have not fallen into a ditch somewhere never to be seen again. Or maybe I have, but it’s the metaphorical ditch of having two children.

    I’m going to say it right now, having two is WAY harder than I thought it was going to be. I find that the only “down time” I can squeeze in these days are the few moments  I have while nursing Norah to look at Facebook or read. And even then, things aren’t calm. Just yesterday while I was nursing the baby, Sarah managed to spray herself and my room down with vinegar, unplug all of Mark’s network cables, dunk my ear buds in a cup of water and found and tried to open several Christmas presents.

    Today was particularly fun because Sarah’s school was closed due to a boil advisory on their water. That meant the deadline I’m on for work had to take a back seat and I was home with both girls all day. I know many of you do this all the time, and I have mad respect for you. It was particularly tough because we had another bad night with Norah and I’ve been fighting a headache right behind my eyes for days.

    But Mark let me take a nap from 7 to 8:30, then I got up ready to face the day with both girls. Once I finally relaxed and made the decision that work would have to take a back seat in order for me to manage my day, things got better.

    Sarah and I mixed up dough for salt dough ornaments while Norah screamed at us. But I was determined, so we pressed on. I eventually ended up stopping before I rolled them out and rocked the baby to sleep for a short nap. We then rolled them out and made circles to bake and paint later.

    After that we got on the computer and printed out Disney coloring sheets and took turns coloring different sheets while we listened to Christmas music. About that time Norah woke up, so I toted her around while I fixed lunch for the two of us.

    I then put on the Olivia and Bubble Guppies Christmas episodes and let Sarah eat an Oreo and watch them so I could nurse the baby without fear that she would be painting our bed or spraying chemicals down her throat.

    From there we went to Norah’s room to play and rock. We are still battling some parts of potty training and Sarah actually hid under her sister’s bed to keep me from dragging her to the potty. About that time Norah started screaming so I gave up and rocked her for a while until she went back to sleep.

    Then my friend Becki came to visit us and actually showed up while the house was relatively calm!

    After Becki left Norah woke up and Sarah was acting like a stir crazy maniac, so we decided to load up in the car and drive to the post office to mail my Christmas cards. Again, I never thought about how tough it would be to get multiple children ready to go somewhere on my own. Making sure everyone has on weather appropriate clothing, shoes, and that there are enough diapers for any foreseeable accident actually takes quite a bit of time. And then I have to make sure I have on appropriate clothing too. Sarah insisted on wearing a summer halter dress, by the way, so we just layered up under and over it.

    We drove to the post office and everyone was happy, so we decided to go to my dad’s aquarium store to spend some time out of the house. Sarah loves looking at all the fish, and Norah was lulled by the sound of all the water running in the aquariums.

    We had really had a good day up until this point. Then we got home and exhaustion hit all of us. Sarah had a meltdown because she couldn’t find her “Princess Anna” dress to put on. I couldn’t get up and help her because I was nursing Norah, so the tantrum kept evolving into worse forms until she was laying on the floor half naked, crying and screaming “Princess Anna DRESS!!” for at least 10 minutes. Norah, in turn, got flustered and started screaming. Mark came home and still had to work and I just had to sit there and count and pray for patience.

    Eventually we found the dress, got Sarah settled with a snack and I told Mark I needed 10 minutes. I poured up a glass of wine and headed in here to type this. Yes, there is still a lot of screaming going on,  Sarah keeps periodically running in here and insisting on trying to climb into my lap while I type and Mark is walking in circles around the house to get Norah to calm down. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Now, if one of you could have a talk with Norah and convince her that going to bed prior to midnight is a very good thing, we’ll be all set.