Monday, June 30, 2008

Nanna & Papa

Rachel's parents were our first official out-of-town guests in our new house. "Papa" travels a lot for his job, so he drove "Nanna" here on Tuesday (June 24th) on his way to Chatanooga and picked her back up on Friday on his way home. (He stayed several hours on both ends, mixing a little leisure into the business trip.)

We had a wonderful visit with Nanna. She hadn't seen Caleb since Christmas and this was her first time to see and hold Ethan. Her health has improved quite a bit during the past 6 months, and she was able to be much more active with Caleb than ever before. And of course, she LOVED holding and cuddling Ethan. She even did a morning of babysitting Caleb so Marcus and I could get Alabama licenses, which neither she nor we would have considered a good idea for her to try just six months ago. And she wasn't even worn out when we got home!

Caleb got really into reading Dr. Seuss books with Nanna during this trip. Both Marcus and I were impressed with her enthusiastic, animated reading of those classics, and we have tried to emulate it since she left. Caleb calls his small Dr. Seuss collection "Nanna's books", and now Marcus reads them with him every night.

Another exciting aspect of the visit was picking out a double stroller with Nanna. Papa and Nanna had already told us that their present for the new baby was going to be a double stroller, but I hadn't gotten around to picking one out until this past week. Mom and I sat next to each other on our respective computers, reading pages and pages of reviews until I finally decided on the a Combi side-by-side. We ordered it on Friday and it came in a few days later, and so far I absolutely love it. Thanks for the perfect gift, Nanna & Papa!

Monday, June 23, 2008

At Home In Alabama

Well, we have finally moved. After talking and planning and packing and spending way too much money ($1,250 just to rent the Penske and buy gas), the four of us, our dogs, and all of our worldly belongings are all settled into our new home. We left on Sunday, June 15th in three shifts... Ethan and I left around 2:30 pm in Marcus's car before the Penske was finished being loaded, since I knew that Ethan would have the least carseat tolerance. After the truck was loaded, Marcus set off around 4:00 pm. Finally, Traci (Marc's sister who saved our lives by helping us move) took Caleb to McDonalds to burn off some energy. Then she went back to the house and picked up the dogs, and they all got on the road around 5:00 or 5:30 pm in my car. Ethan and I had a very smooth trip for the first 4 hours...he slept until around 6:30 pm. Then we stopped at a large gas station with a Subway and just hung out there for two hours to give him a solid block of no-carseat time. Even so, he wailed for 45 minutes after we got back in the car. That was very hard for me. I feel so bad when he cries in the car seat because I know that he has no idea why no one will pick him up. After 45 minutes of that, I stopped at a Walmart and walked around for another hour, hoping he would fall asleep. He did not. I put him back in the seat and he wailed for another 20 minutes or so...and then finally, blissful silence. After that rough patch, he slept for the remaining 2 hours of the trip. In spite of so many stops, I still arrived at the house before Marcus and Traci, around midnight (11:00 pm Alabama time).

Now, as you may remember from a previous post, the house we bought is one that I did not get to see prior to closing because I was too far along in my pregnancy with Ethan to travel. So the last bit of the drive, I was getting more excited every minute about seeing the house that would be my home for the next four years.

When I pulled in the driveway, I jumped out of the car, searched hurriedly for the hidden key, and let myself in the house. From the first moment, I knew I was going to LOVE this house. The bay window in the den/playroom is HUGE and you can see nothing outside but our backyard and the woods behind it. The den/playroom itself is much bigger than I thought from the pictures, and there is plenty of room for my computer desk, my recliner, and all of the toys, with tons of open space left over for playing.

Five steps up from the den is the most beautiful kitchen I've ever seen in my life! The all-wood cabinets and granite countertops are less than 2 years old. I've never lived in a house with a nice kitchen, not even as a child or a renter, and I was absolutely giddy as I explored this one. It has a built-in pantry with slide-out shelves, an offset extra-deep sink, large drawers and cabinets, an island with a small bar, and so much cabinet space that I actually don't have enough stuff to fill it up! I really could have stopped right in the kitchen and been perfectly happy with the house, but it still gets better. The dining room has gorgeous french doors that open up to a large deck (also less than 2 years old). Right now, we have some of Caleb's toys out there, but someday we'll probably get patio furniture. The living room is just the right size and shape for our furniture and TV and is very well lit and comfy-feeling.

Next, I went upstairs to the bedrooms...I immediately noticed that all four bedrooms are larger than they seemed in the pictures. The two master closets, which I had been told were rather small, are actually very adequate for us. The bathrooms have not been updated, but all the carpet upstairs was recently replaced and is in great shape, so I was still extremely pleased on all fronts. Another perk that I didn't fully appreciate until we'd been here for a few days is the garage...I've never had garage to park in before, and it is REALLY nice. You just step out the door and there is your car...its not too hot or too cold, and its definitely not raining, which makes loading and unloading SO much easier. After I was done exploring, Ethan was asleep and Marcus was still about 20 minutes away, so I just skipped around the house in excitement, hardly able to believe that I had been blessed with such a wonderful house. Marcus got loads and loads of kudos for making such a great selection AND for not telling me how wonderful it was so that I would be surprised. Now we've been in the house for 2 weeks, and I am just as in love with it as I was that first hour. Our stuff is all moved in and the kids' rooms are even decorated. The kudos for that goes entirely to Marcus' sister, Traci, who drove with us from Florida and gave us a week of her time off work to take care of our kids and help us move in. We would definitely still be in boxes and WAY more stressed out if she hadn't been so giving. THANKS AUNT TRACI!!!!!!

Marcus starts his job here at UAB tomorrow, and tomorrow is also my debut as a mother of two in a new town. We're both a little nervous, and I'm sure there will be many updates to follow. By the way, I greatly miss my girlfriends in Gainesville, and if you're reading this, please feel free to call me! On a final note, there is no picture of the fourth bedroom, which is doubling as a guest room and Marc's office. The reason it's not pictured is (you guessed it), it's a mess :)

Sunday, June 8, 2008


In the two months that I have been a mother of two, I have enjoyed comparing and contrasting my boys. So far, the boys seem to be very alike physically: they both hover around the 75th percentile for weight and the 90% percentile for heighth. Both were exceptionally strong as newborns...they were consistently holding their heads up by 2-weeks-old. Caleb started rolling over at 11 weeks and Ethan started at 7 weeks. Caleb was able to bear weight on his legs at 2 weeks and Ethan at 4 weeks. Of course the biggest physical similarity is that they look alike! Caleb's 2-month-old pictures look exactly like Ethan looks right now. They share many features and have the same head/face shape. Marcus says he can't even tell which one is which in pictures! The only significant physical difference we can see so far is that Ethan has darker coloring. The both have big blue eyes, but Ethan's little tuft of hair on the back if his neck is dark brown, and Ethan's skin is a little darker as well.

In many other non-physical ways, Caleb and Ethan seem to be quite different. Like his dad, Ethan really enjoys touch and physical closeness...he loves to sleep next to a warm body. He sleeps in bed with me and every night he manages to wiggle his way out of his sleep positioner and 12-24 inches across the bed so that he can sleep directly against my body. When Ethan is sleeping and he stirs, many times all it takes is laying a hand on his chest or softly brushing his silky check to resettle him. Caleb was more like me and not much of a cuddler. Caleb preferred to be laid down right after falling asleep because he couldn't get comfortable in arms. Ethan loves being swaddled, but Caleb didn't like the constriction of a swaddling blanket and preferred to have his legs and arms free.

Another difference is that Ethan is more flexible with how he falls asleep than Caleb was. For the first 6+ months, Caleb would ONLY fall asleep by nursing... rocking, bouncing, swinging, carseat...these were not for him (sometimes he would eventually conk out during one of these activities, but it was because Mommy wasn't around and he wore himself out crying). Ethan, on the other hand, enjoys all of those sleep-promoting activities and easily falls asleep in a variety of ways. Sometimes, if I get the timing right, I can just swaddle him, pop in a pacifier, and lay him down in bed fully awake and he falls asleep without fussing.

This could be a nature vs. nurture thing; as a new mom, I was afraid of Caleb crying and so I nursed him every time he made an unhappy peep. Both because Ethan naturally cries more than Caleb did and because Ethan's needs aren't responded to as promptly (because I have Caleb), I have more perseverence to try new things, even if Ethan resists at first.

There are a lot more differences, and I may add to this post later on, but as it is I've been writing it one sentence at a time for five days, so I better just put it online and be done with it. We are moving to Alabama in six days and I have GOT to pack!