Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baby updates

When a friend recently asked what Clara weighed at a particular month and I could quickly refer back to past posts to find out (ironically, I didn't record that weight, but still...), it made me realize I have been completely slacking off in doing the same for Luke. I have been posting monthly updates, but for some reason didn't record any weights. Which is surprising, in a way, because he had some issues with weight.

Anyway, so for my own future benefit, here is an update...

First, Luke. At his 12-month check-up, he weighed in at 19 lbs., 11.2 oz., and his length was 28 1/2 in. That puts him in the 10th percentile for both on the regular growth chart, but closer to the 25th on charts for breast-fed baby boys. Not that it really matters, but I'm going with that :)

His pediatrician says he is the most pronounced "stair-step" grower she's ever seen. His growth chart looks like just that - stairs. He gained more than three pounds since his 9-month appointment in August. That's back when we thought something might be wrong since he hadn't gained an ounce since May. He definitely made up for it this fall!

And this baby who used to look just like his mama is looking a lot more like dada these days. He's also becoming more and more like his father in personality too. For example, Ryan makes duck sounds sometimes (don't ask) and now Luke does too! I'm guessing we're going to have two partners in crime in our home eventually ;)

He's such a little boy now. He's into everything, loves riding on his little car, loves that he can now drink milk in a sippy cup (he chooses it over me all the time!), and loves his big sister with all his heart.

Speaking of breastfeeding, we're still going strong, although some days he only nurses once or twice, while other days it's as many as 6 or 7 times.

He is saying more words every day, even though they mostly come out as grunts. But we know what he means.

The other day as Clara was jumping, and saying "jump" with each jump, he started to copy her. But his baby version of jumping was crouching down and grunting "juhh!" with each "jump". It was so cute!

While he took his first steps back in September, he is walking more and crawling less each day. Right now I'd say he walks more than he crawls, but he's still pretty wobbly.

I know everyone probably says their babies, but Luke is SUCH a sweet soul. He is just incredibly loving and happy and the only time he cries is when he doesn't want to sleep. He's never in a bad mood, is never crabby or looking to get into trouble (like another adorable baby we know!).

Speaking of that other baby, Clara is a full-fledged two year old. I can't begin to cram into this update all the new stuff she is doing. We can have conversations with her, tell her to do things, she tells us what she wants, and we finally know what she's thinking. It's great! She keeps us laughing constantly, and I have to give Ryan the daily report at the end of each day of what new, unbelievable things came out of her mouth.

Again, it's something everyone probably says about their babies, but this girl is SO smart! If there were any worries about being a ten-week-premature baby affecting her development, they are long gone. It constantly amazes me how much she knows.

Her favorite things to do are count, sing the alphabet (she doesn't have it all yet, but most on a good day), jingle bells, and the Bills' Shout song. Actually, I'll often hear her singing different songs that she hears a lot. I guess it's no surprise that she gets songs in her head just like we do!

She recently developed a love of colors and coloring. I have to admit, we don't do it often because we don't really have a good place for coloring (we're working on it) and it's kind of a pain when Luke's around. But now she asks me to color, and when she does she is so into it. It's like the part of her brain that is used for art kicks into high gear and affects speech somehow. She talks a mile a minute when she's coloring!

And I almost forgot - at her two-year check-up she weighed 26 lbs., 9.6 oz. Go, Clara! That's 50th percentile! That is truly amazing for a girl who wasn't even on the growth chart for so long. Her height was 32 1/2 in., which is the 25th percentile. She's definitely a little pipsqueak still, but she's caught up so much.

Her short stature has actually been nice in that she only recently began opening doors. She was beyond thrilled when she realized she had reached this milestone and I've been finding her hiding in closets ever since. She also thinks it's hysterical to lay on our bed, and yesterday I found her in there "reading" a Twilight book! I wish I had taken a picture.

We're actually lucky it took this long, since those baby-proof door knobs are the worst. But I'm not hesitating to put them on because I know Luke will follow her anywhere, including the bathroom, which wouldn't be good. Plus, I fear little baby fingers getting caught in doors. Ouch.

Okay, I could go on and on, but I won't! This is just such an incredibly fun time with our two babies. They're both growing and changing so quickly, and are just so much fun :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Clara in action

I absolutely love having a video camera on my phone again. Here are a few recent videos of Clara...

First, here she is counting to ten, which is something she and her daddy have been working on whenever he changes her diaper. I can't get enough of her little voice trying to say the numbers! 

Here she is dancing to her recent favorite show, Yo Gabba Gabba! Or, as she likes to call it, Gabba. She's loved it ever since we saw the live show in person. (And bonus points to the person who spots the nebulizer tube being used as a toy ;) )

And here she is being woken up from her nap by her best buddy, E. Just look at how excited they both are to see each other! True baby love :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

The princess and her frog prince

What do you get when you take one beautiful princess...

And the most adorable frog prince?

You surprisingly get two very happy, excited siblings in their Halloween costumes!

I couldn't believe they sat for 30 seconds and actually looked at the camera! With SMILES!

Okay, so she had to throw this in there...

But that's actually a happy face :)

One thing is for sure, though - I learned that I could never be a pageant mom (not that I've ever thought of it... Because I haven't... Just don't talk to my family about it because they might tell you I'm only half-kidding when I joke about it... but they'd be lying!).

I would just completely lose my patience when it came to keeping everything on and in place on a squirmy little baby. Heck, I learned this Halloween that I don't think I'm cut out to dress them in their costumes! Just too many working parts. Every time we got the tiara on, a shoe came off. Or one of Lukie's froggy wrist things. Or the wand would break.

I'm not even sure how I got these pictures. It was a Halloween miracle.

Next year they're wearing one piece. Everything attached.

Ryan and I dressed up on Saturday night too. We had a great time at a Halloween party where the theme was to dress as your favorite fictional character from a book. That's a red flag for me since I hardly ever read! But, thankfully, my most recently-read book has a main character with a very simple costume.

Any guesses??

Oh, and this is Clara on her post-party high. I've said it before and I'll say it again - our girl is a party girl. I have to take video the next time because she is out of control. And if this is how she acts as a one-year-old, I'm already nervous for her teen years.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The good old pumpkin patch

Yes, I probably, truthfully, drag my family to the pumpkin patch each year for the photo ops...

(But the colors are just so pretty!)

But Clara actually had fun this year!

It's amazing how different it is when your baby is almost two. She got why we were there (okay, not that we were there to take pictures, but you know what I mean.. to get an actual pumpkin) and really had fun.

And, in case I wondered, she was not there to pose with us...

Although, this one was unusually good for her lately - there was no flailing of arms and/or legs...

Here's what she was most excited about, though - the bouncy castle...

And the chickens...

All on her own she picked up that corn and said in the sweetest little voice, "Come here, chickens! Come here!" And they came.

Clara has obviously gotten to her brother, because now he's stopped posing with me too...

We had a great time, though. And the best part? It was free! Thank goodness for comp tickets from Ryan's work. Without them we probably wouldn't do half the stuff that we do!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Her first prayer

Before every meal we say grace.

Bless us, oh Lord
And these, thy gifts
Which we are about to receive
From thy bounty
Through Christ, Our Lord

And then we say...

Thank you, Jesus, for this food. 
God bless Clara and Luke. 

Then we list our special prayer intentions, which nearly every day since August have included my grandfather, who we call Poppa. He's been rehabbing in a nursing home following an infection in his leg, and the road to recovery has been tough.

Normally, Clara has already begun to eat long before I sit down. The second I hit the chair, though, she clasps her hands together, ready to pray (and if we forget, she's our reminder!). Yet, as soon as we start praying, she usually cries and whines throughout (not sure what that's about!).

The past two days, though, she has paid better attention. And when we get to the special intentions part, she has spoken up and said, "Boppy." She's done it at least twice now.

When she said it yesterday, I figured it was just a coincidence. Boppy - my father, her grandfather - was fresh on her mind because he and my mom visited us this past weekend, and I thought she was just randomly babbling. Still, I acted as if she meant it and said, "We pray for Nana and Boppy's safe trip home," since they were actually still making the long trek home from our house at that moment.

Then when she said it again tonight, it hit me: She has thought all along that we've been praying for Boppy when I've said "Poppa."

And the cutest part is that these past two days, she has taken it upon herself to add that intention. She thinks we pray nightly for Boppy and she didn't want us to forget. She was praying for her grandfather.

Her first prayer.

She does love her Boppy. And I guess the kids' grandparents should have be among our daily intentions anyway. Now, thanks to Clara, they will be :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our little oddball

Being a family who has adopted, I was prepared to hear some interesting comments when we are in public. I figured it was inevitable. 

But what I didn't expect was the type of comments we're getting lately. Instead of hearing about our differences, the remarks are actually about our similarities.

A few days ago, all four of us were shopping when a store employee noticed the kids. "What big, brown eyes," he said of Luke. 

Then Clara came bounding over. "Oh, I know where she gets it from too!" he said, looking at me. "They could be twins!"

Okay, that last line might have put it over the top (although they both do have dark eyes!), but I just had to chuckle. 

Strangers just assume she takes after her Mama. And I'm flattered.

Then, yesterday, the babies and I were checking out at another store and the cashier couldn't get over Luke's hair (which is a topic for another time - people are SO excited/curious/interested in Luke's red hair!). 

After asking me several questions about it for a couple of minutes, and holding up the line, she finally says (as she motions to Clara), "Well she obviously gets her hair from you, but this guy... he's the little oddball! It's good to be different, though!"

Yes, it is. 

My hope and prayer is that our kids never get hung up on any of it - whether people point out our differences or our similarities. I hope they can take it all in stride. I hope we can joke about it and poke fun at ourselves. I hope Clara thinks nothing of someone saying how much Luke looks like me. And I hope Luke won't feel too left out with his red hair.

It's good to be different. And similar. And everything in between.

Our sweet little "oddball." I think we'll keep him ;)

Although if he's going to be fiery - like everyone's warning me comes with the color - then I'm in for it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The babies in action and a few updates

Luke is standing. He's been doing it here and there, three seconds at a time, five seconds at a time. But tonight he stood for like a whole minute (okay, it was probably twenty seconds, but that is a loooong time when you're rooting for your baby to stay up). I first noticed him doing it as he proudly held Clara's banana peel in the air. Taking his lead, I then enticed him to stand by giving him banana to eat, which worked beautifully. And then the ultimate... his very favorite thing... Clara's sippy cup.

Is it weird that Luke's excitement for cow's milk makes me feel like I'm being cheated on?


Evidence that Clara knows right from wrong (and still chooses wrong.. oh, life with an almost-two-year-old): Tonight when we were brushing teeth in the bathroom, Luke opened the sink vanity's door (no, we still haven't baby-proofed) and was met with Clara quickly moving his hand off of it and telling him, "No, no!"

Little mother-in-training.


Lately, especially on stressful day, I'm finding myself a bit surprised at what comes out of my mouth. Yesterday, as Clara was getting into and onto everything, I looked at her and actually said, "You are cruising for a bruising!" What?! Where did that come from? A) We don't spank, b) I wasn't about to spank her, and, c) who says that anyway?


Luke loves food. LOVES it. He easily eats as much as I do at meal times. He just keeps shoveling it in. We have also found that when his food is gone, he likes to let the last bite linger, apparently saving it for later, because he likes food that much. Gross, but cute.

His love for food has also lead to him quite quickly learning to sign "more." He signs it every time that last bite goes in his mouth. Clearly this child is motivated by food.


Clara really loves playing with my religious statues and I, a not-so-smart mother, just cannot say no. So once in a while, down come the big Our Lady and Infant of Prague from the mantel and she sets them up, kisses them, hugs them, gives them her Elmo slippers. But tonight - in a shocking development! - Our Lady toppled over and her hand broke off. I know, you didn't see that coming.

It's not the first time this has happened. A month ago she fell in love with a very small statue of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. Whenever she was in our bedroom, where I kept it, she knew she could play with it. Again, there were lots of kisses and hugs. But, alas, our little Blessed Kateri was beheaded.

You would think I would learn.

So... this leads me to a question. Do any of you know where I can find plush saint dolls? I found some very, very expensive ones online, but that's not happening. I found a less expensive one on Etsy and I am so in love with it I wish I had never seen it because it's still too much. Seriously, is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen???? Her scarf becomes a baby sling! A BABY SLING, people!!!

Anyway, I'm looking for something more in the $10-20 range. Any suggestions?


I'll leave you with a little taste of Clara's dancing talents. And this girl, who picked the music herself from Ryan's iPod on his phone, has some seriously good taste in music. Regulators, mount up!

Monday, September 26, 2011

10 months already

Luke is 10 months today! And what a month it has been.

After being labeled Failure To Thrive at his nine-month appointment, he has gained nearly a pound-and-a-half, bringing him up to 17 lbs. 13.5 oz. And that's after not gaining anything - not an ounce! - for more than three months! He is definitely a stair-step grower, if I've ever seen one.

He's getting to be more little boy, and less baby, every day. He's standing unassisted for a few seconds at a time, and will even take a few steps holding on to this dinosaur...

But that's only when I'm working with him on it. Otherwise, he loves crawling (which he does very fast!)

He also loves to put his hands in the air and say, "touchdown!"

Okay, so it's really only two syllables that sound close to tuh-duh, but we know what he means (mainly because he only does it when copying us).

In addition to saying "dada," "hi" and "cat" (and, to my dismay, only the occasional "mama"), he now also says "Clara," or rather, something more like "ah-ah." That l and r are hard!

Speaking of his sweet sister, he loves her as always.

And, together, they both love the newest addition to our family...

Ryan's new iPad! I saved and scrounged and asked his parents/in-laws to go in on it, and bought him one for his birthday. He loves it, but I think the kids love it even more.

They have a ton of their own apps, like flashcards, Elmo teaching the alphabet, and a very gassy dancing baby, just to name a few. Clara, already very adept with our iphones, can probably run it better than many adults, and I'm sure Lukie's not far behind.

(There's that face again!)

Lukie, you are getting so big so fast, and soon you'll be a year! You are one truly awesome little guy, who we like to call Bruisy Face, almost as much as your real name. I have a feeling that might stick.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My happy place

My happy place is looking at photographs of precious moments in the life of my babies. Usually involving big smiles, but not always. Here are some of my recent favorites...

During Hurricane Irene. The first few minutes were fun...

This face gets me every time...

It's not just their big smiles that get me here. It's that when we start to tickle one, the other wants in on it. Clara will even put herself in position. And Luke... he doesn't just want to laugh himself. He wants to watch Clara laugh. That's love...

One of her favorite songs involves "bowing to your partner." It cracks us up every time she does it...and the fact that she's dressed as an SU cheerleader doesn't hurt either...

Luke shocked us all when just reached right in to pet the giraffe over and over. Really, Luke? I wouldn't have pegged you...

This is right before she kissed the goat...

And this is right after...

Yes, she kissed a goat. It all happened very fast.

And then there's this adorable tongue, which always seems to be escaping...

And this face...

As one friend said, happiness in a photo.

So cute, I'll show another. I could just melt...

That is pure joy.

And pure joy is what they bring me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Nine months

I truly can't believe it's been nine whole months since Luke was born. Yet it seems like he's always been here.

I know, I know. I write that every month.

This little baby has totally melted our hearts lately. He is really a little boy with his own unique personality, which seemed to come out so much in the last couple months. 

He is so incredibly sweet, just nuzzles into you, smiles constantly, and talks all the time. He adores - ADORES - his big sister. He also has a thing for her sippy cup. 

He's been pulling up for a while now, and cruises once in a while. 

And just a couple weeks ago, he started crawling. He'd been army-crawling for a while, but now he actually crawls, which means he can get around pretty fast. 

I absolutely love, love, love watching him crawl. To think that this little baby has a mind of his own and he is deciding where to go... I just can't get enough of it. So far, he mostly heads from toy to toy and spends a lot of time at the front door. And, of course, he never misses an opportunity to follow around Clara.

He has six teeth, and is working on a seventh. And this kid - at least right now - is a great teether. Thank God! We barely know he's getting a tooth sometimes, until it suddenly appears.

He loves feeding himself food - his favorites are blueberries, bananas, peaches, squash and carrots - and while he still lets me feed him pureed food, he definitely prefers to be in control. The only problem is after I cut whatever he's eating into tiny pieces, he just shoves a fistful into his mouth.

He surprised us in church a little while back by waving to the people behind us and saying, "hi!" They were pretty surprised too. I remember that's where Clara first waved and said "hi" as well, practically in the same pew!

Speaking of church, he does really well during Mass. He really is super content as long as he is in my arms. I know that won't always be the case, but I'm loving it right now. He just looks around and takes it all in. Until he decides he's hungry and then he tries to yank my shirt down until I quickly get up and avoid an embarrassing situation!

He says "dada" all the time, although I'm not sure whether he's actually directing it towards Dada just yet or if it's my imagination. He also says "cat" once in a while, or rather "dat". I can interpret it only because he's repeating after me and playing with our cat at the time.

He loves to play, and unlike Clara who is a champ at playing by herself, I am noticing he prefers Clara to be playing with (or near) him. I've noticed lately he seems much less interested in playing with his toys if she's napping. He's unsettled unless she's there. I told you he adores her.

I can't even imagine what's just around the corner for Lukie... walking?! But he's just my little baby! 

We are so in love with our sweet little boy and thank God every day for him. What a blessing his life is.