July 29, 2015

Elle Evergreen: 3, 4 & 5 months old

Oh Elle Belle - You are almost 6 months old now, and I am so behind on your monthly updates! What can I say - life moves FAST with two little ones! I will try my best to keep up in the coming months - for now, here is a little summary of all that you learned and all the ways you grew during your third, fourth and fifth months.

Elle Evergreen: 3 months

Your third month was pretty laid back. You got to meet your Didi for the first time, your hair got even crazier, and your sister continued to think you were pretty cool - but most importantly, we got out your sister's old swing from storage and you LOVED it. You were still pretty fussy this month, and the swing was sometimes the only thing that would make you happy when you were sad.

Elle Evergreen: 4 months

Your fourth month was a big one because we moved to a new house! You did great with the move and settled in with no problems. We started setting up your room (your very own room!) even though you don't sleep in it yet. I still like having you in our room next to my side of the bed, but we'll probably transition you to your room in a month or so. This month we learned that you love hanging out on the patio - we think you like the heat - which is great because I like it out there, too. We survived our first girls only weekend without daddy - hooray! And we took our first trip of the summer to the neighborhood splash pad. You liked the water and splashed around with another baby your age while we held you in the water. Your temperament went up and down this month - sometimes you were so relaxed that we thought the terrible crying was over and sometimes you cried until we thought we would go crazy. You like to keep us guessing, that's for sure!

You found your fingers and toes this month and love putting them in your mouth every chance you get. You also rolled over for the first time this month, from your back to your belly. You were pretty  happy about that. And you started laughing! (The best sound ever!) You always laugh when we tickle your belly or when we kiss your neck, and you think it's really funny when my hair tickles your face.

Also, during your fourth month, we found out you have torticollis - a condition in which your neck muscles are shorter on one side of  your neck - and we started physical therapy to correct it with a series of stretches and exercises.

Elle Evergreen: 5 months

Your fifth month was full of summer fun! We celebrated Father's Day by taking daddy to brunch at his favorite restaurant and giving him lots of presents. Your sister got a big girl bed and gave you her old bed, which we transitioned back to a crib for you and you tried it out with a few naps and liked it! Then we set out on our summer staycation, and you got to visit the ocean for the first time (and this might be my favorite picture of you yet!). You took the best nap on the beach in our little beach tent, and we had our best beach day yet! You also were a trooper at Water Country USA and napped all day in the wrap while we played in the water. We went to the zoo, hosted a BBQ and welcomed some visitors (Uncle Andy and his friend Preston).

You really started to like tummy time this month, which is great because it helps stretch your neck muscles out. You tried really hard to roll back over from your belly to your back, but you're not quite there just yet. You continue to love eating your hands, and you love any toy made for chewing, including Sophie the Giraffe, a wooden heart toy and your multi-colored teething ring.

You love your big sister and watch her wherever she goes. You even laughed at her when she was being silly for you one day - the first time you laughed at something that wasn't brought on my physical touch (like tickling).

You are growing up so fast, little Elle! Time is flying by and you are getting bigger, chubbier and happier by the day. Your six month birthday is on my 34th birthday in a few weeks, and I can't wait to celebrate with you, big girl! I love you sooooo much - may all your days be happy ones!

April 13, 2015

Elle Evergreen: 2 months old

Elle Evergreen: 2 months
Little Elle - you are two months old today! I wish I could say I can't believe it's been two months, but unfortunately, it feels a lot longer than that. The past month has been rough! If I could sum up your second month in one sentence, it would be - You did a whole lot of crying. Check out this photo for a visual of what the past month has looked like. ;)

We're not exactly sure what made you so upset this month. We tried holding you more, holding you less, feeding you more, feeding you less, burping you more, bouncing you more, rocking you instead of bouncing you, swaddling you tighter, but nothing seemed to help. 

When you are not eating or sleeping, you have about ten minutes of happiness a day - it's usually the few minutes right after each of your feedings. In those few minutes, you are so cute! You smile and gurgle and throw your little fists around and streeeeetch your legs out as long as they'll go, and we love to watch you.

Outside of those few minutes of happiness during the day, you are kind of a grump. You are not able to be awake and relaxed and just take in the world around you. Instead, you get worked up and fussy very quickly, which leads to crying (and goodness, you have a loud cry, girl!). We are hopeful that your grumpiness will fade as you grow into your little body. You have gotten a bit better over the past week so maybe your third month will be all smiles and coos. I sure hope so! (The internet says newborn crying peaks around 6 weeks, and it does seem like that was true for you so it can only get better from here, right??)

Other highlights from your second month:

You decided that you absolutely hate the pacifier and don't want anything to do with it, but you still like to be swaddled tight to keep your hands under control and you've fallen in love with your bouncy chair (but only when someone is actively bouncing it for you - the minute they stop, you scream!). Unfortunately for mommy and daddy, you do not love your Mamaroo swing that would happily bounce you on its own for hours. ;) 

Your hair took on a life of its own - it's crazy! It sticks straight up all over your head and will not lay down no matter what we do to it. It's also very, very soft, and I love to brush my cheeks against it. 

You celebrated your first Easter. You had no idea what was going on, but we had fun filling your basket with a new swaddle blanket, some wooden toys and teethers and your first teddy bear. (And I couldn't resist putting you in your Easter basket - you fit perfectly!)

You got to meet your biggest sister, Rowan. She came to stay with us for a long weekend, and she thought you were pretty neat. 

Your other big sister continues to love you just as much as ever. Wren still loves to touch your ears and your feet and hold your hands (and she'd love to touch your eyeballs if we'd let her). She has started saying "baby sittsa so cute" all the time, which is the cutest. When you cry, she likes to yell at you "no mo cwyyying, baby sittsa!!" :)

We started sleep training towards the end of your second month. You were averaging four hour stretches of sleep at night so one night, I decided not to feed you when you woke up to see what you would do - and miraculously, you went back to sleep! Since that night, we've put you to bed around 9pm after your last feeding of the day, and I set my alarm to feed you at 6am the next morning. If you wake up in between those hours, we let you self soothe back to sleep, and it's been working great so far. (Hooray for 8 hours of continuous sleep!) We also transitioned you from sleeping in the bed with us to sleeping in your Snug Bunny Rock 'n Play next to the bed, and you love it.

You racked up quite a few nicknames this month, including Elle Belle, Elly Belly, Elly Bean and Smelly Elly. I also like to call you my nugget or "nug" for short, since you are a tiny little nugget.

We pulled out Wren's old bath seat and now you love bath time! We put you in with Wren and you happily sit on your little seat and kick your legs while you watch your crazy big sister play with her bath toys. It's now one of my favorite times of the day, since I love seeing you relaxed and happy.

Oh Elle, I'm so looking forward to your third month and hopefully, happier days. I can't wait for more smiles and more snuggles and hopefully a laugh or two! Your dad, sisters and I love you so much. Happy two month birthday, and may all your days be happy ones!

March 20, 2015

Elle Evergreen: A Birth Story

Elle's Birthday

Elle's birth story starts early on the morning of Friday, February 13th. Even though I had hoped to go into labor naturally the second time around, Elle decided to stay put so we scheduled an induction for the 39th week, like we did with Wren. The night before the induction, I did start having real contractions for the first time (instead of the Braxton Hicks contractions I had for weeks), but they weren't strong enough to get labor started that day, so we continued with the induction as planned. 

Jon and I woke up around 4am on the morning of the induction, showered, dressed and finished packing our hospital bags. We woke Wren up around 6am. We went into her room together with the video camera and filmed her waking up, telling her today was the day she would become a big sister. She was so sleepy, and I don't think she understood, but it was a sweet moment to have with her before the big day. I had been emotional for weeks thinking about how the second baby would change things for Wren - I just wanted her to know how much we loved her.

The only family member we have close by is Jon's mom who lives a couple hours away in northern Virginia, and we had asked her to be in the room with us for the birth. Thankfully, Wren's daycare opens at 6:30am everyday, so we made plans to drop her off when they opened since we had to be at the hospital at 7am. We got her dressed for the day, gave her a quick snack, loaded our bags into the car and headed to the daycare - it was still dark outside and very cold.

When we got to the daycare, I walked Wren in like I always do. However, since it was so early, she was going to a different classroom with a different teacher that she didn't know and no other kids had arrived yet. When I bent down to tell her goodbye, she started crying and threw her arms around my neck - scared because everything was so different. I immediately started crying, too. I had been worried about this happening and really wanted her to feel like it was a normal day, nothing to be afraid of. I comforted her and told her that daddy and Gigi (Jon's mom) would see her that afternoon to pick her up to meet her baby sister, and I headed back out to the car. The lady at the front desk stopped me to ask me some questions, and I could not stop crying. I kept apologizing to her - telling her it was an emotional day for me. She probably thought I was a crazy person!

Back in the car, Jon and I headed to the hospital, driving into the most beautiful, brilliant sunrise - all pinks and reds and oranges. My excitement and nervousness grew the closer we got to the hospital.

Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday

We parked at the hospital and headed up to the labor and delivery floor where we met our nurse for the day, Annika, and got shown to our room. At this hospital, you only have one room for your whole stay. The room that you labor and deliver in is the same room that you stay in for the remaining recovery days. I loved this so much. It meant we could settle in right away and not worry about moving our bags after I delivered. It also meant I had plenty of time to rest and snuggle with Elle after she was born, instead of being rushed to get up and move rooms. I don't see why all hospitals don't do this - it made our experience so smooth.

All of the rooms on the labor and delivery floor are large with big bathrooms, a small table and chairs, a small couch that folds into a bed and a wall of windows. We had the last room at the end of the hallway. Annika gave me a gown to put on and left us to get settled. We unpacked a few things, and I changed and climbed into bed. Annika came back a few minutes later, got me hooked up to all of the monitors and gave us a run down of what to expect for the day. Next, she got everything ready to put my IV in, which turned out to be the worst part of the day - even worse than pushing the baby out!

I have never been a fan of needles, and I get super nauseous when anyone talks about blood, needles, veins, etc. When she was prepping my arm, she joked that my veins were so good she could throw a needle and hit one - which totally jinxed me! It ended up taking her three tries and three different spots to get the IV placed correctly. After the first try didn't go in correctly, she tried wiggling and pushing the needle into place, all while talking about collapsed veins and valves, and I felt myself getting sick and really, really hot. I looked at Jon and told him I was going to pass out and/or throw up. Annika quickly gave me a bucket to throw up in, and I dry heaved a few times (I hadn't had anything to eat or drink since dinner the night before - you can't eat before an induction). Jon got a magazine to fan me and a cold rag for my neck. Annika took the needle out and gave me a break to calm down. I thankfully did not end up passing out, and once I relaxed a bit, Annika tried two more times and was able to get the IV in and start some fluids. I was SO glad when that part was done.

Jon and I hung out for an hour or so, setting up the iPod with our playlist and the camera, until my doctor stopped by the room on her way in for the day, around 9am. She double checked that we for sure wanted to have a baby that day - and we said YES! - so she broke my water and told Annika to go ahead and start the Pitocin. I couldn't believe how quickly things were going - my water was already broke and it was only 9am! I knew from my experience with Wren's birth that the contractions would get a lot more painful now that my water had been broken, and that made me nervous.

Annika came into the room shortly after and confirmed that I did indeed want an epidural (yes, yes I did!), so she set out to get my name on the epidural waiting list. Jon was hungry by this time, and we chatted about where he could go to pick up some breakfast. He had just gotten his jacket on to head out when Annika came back in and let me know the anesthesiologist was on his way. Jon and I were both so surprised - already?! It wasn't even 10am!

Jon went ahead and left in search of food (they don't let anyone stay in the room for the epidural procedure), and the anesthesiologist came in a few minutes later. He was a young guy, super friendly and laid back. I was really nervous about the epidural because I didn't have the best experience with it during Wren's birth. Annika helped me get in the correct sitting position on the bed and basically hugged me from the front to help me hold still. Even though it did hurt going in - a lot of pinching and stinging on the right side (and was probably the second worst part of the day) - the anesthesiologist was able to get it in correctly the first time - hallelujah!

While he finished taping all of the tubes to my back, he joked with me about the teddy bear I had with me (a bear I've had forever and also had during Wren's birth). I told him it was kind of like having an extra pillow - he and Annika laughed and said it was totally fine if I needed it for comfort. I laughed and admitted that maaaaybe it did make me feel better. The mood was light and happy and the sun was streaming in through the windows. I couldn't believe my epidural was already in (before 10am!), and I hadn't felt a single painful contraction yet. It was pretty amazing.

Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday

When Jon got back from getting breakfast (he ended up going to Krispy Kreme for coffee and donuts, and I was SO jealous), his mom also arrived at the hospital. She entered the room right as Annika was placing my catheter - ha! What a way to greet someone! (You have to have a catheter with an epidural since you're numb from the chest down and can't feel when you have to use the bathroom.) I was not nervous or embarrassed at all about having Jon's mom in the delivery room with us. She has a very laid back, calm personality, and I knew she would be great to have in the room. My mom was with us for Wren's birth, so it was super special that Jon could have his mom there this time around. (Even though she does now know me a lot better than she did before - ha!)

Once Jon's mom arrived, it was really just a waiting game. Jon and I played around with the camera, took selfies (of course!), read magazines, talked to family and friends on the phone and tried to nap a few times. Annika came by to check me and rotate me from side to side every hour or so, and I continued to dilate a little more each hour. After she left, we would make bets on how much more I would be dilated the next time she came back. My doctor was supposed to come by around noon to check on me, but when it hit 12:30pm and she hadn't made it by yet, Annika stopped by again. I told her I was starting to feel the contractions more strongly - not necessarily pain, but a lot of pressure. She said that probably meant we were getting close. Sure enough, she checked and I was dilated almost to 9!

Jon and I were a little shocked - it had all happened so fast! Annika left to call my doctor and gather a few things we'd need in the room when the baby arrived, and Jon and I texted and called family and friends to let them know we were about to have a baby. My doctor got to our room a little after 1pm and helped the nurses get the bed ready for delivery - and then it was time to push!

With Wren, I pushed for one hour, so I was prepared for the pushing to take a while. Little did I know, things go A LOT faster the second time around. I only pushed for 10 minutes with Elle - and I know for sure, because we have all of it on video. The whole delivery was such a fun, peaceful, enjoyable experience. That is probably the weirdest way to describe delivering a baby, but it really was. My doctor started off by giving me a quick reminder on how to push. Then I would push three times in a row, then rest, push three times in a row, then rest - pushing during the contractions and resting in between. In between when I was resting, we would all chit chat - about the weather, about the songs on our playlist, about the baby's name (which we hadn't told the nurses or doctor yet) - and then we'd concentrate again when it was time to push. Jon and I laughed when we first watched the video of the day, because we are all laughing and joking around in between contractions - not what you would expect of giving birth!

Just like with Wren, everyone could see Elle's luxurious head of hair before she made her grand entrance. At one point, my doctor asked me if I wanted to look down and see her coming out. I said a big 'no thanks!' to that - haha! (Jon's mom was hilarious afterward - even though she's had three kids of her own, she kept shaking her head with wide eyes and saying "I just didn't know" when we asked her how it was to see it all happen up close and personal.)

After my fourth set of pushes, Elle Evergreen Klock was born! (And to the song she was named after!) The doctor held her up for Jon to cut the cord and then the nurse wrapped her in a blanket and placed her on my chest. I was able to hold her for a few minutes before she was moved to the bassinet in the room to be weighed, measured and cleaned off a bit. They did all of this right in the room with us, and then gave her back to me as soon as they were done.

Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday

Once Elle and I were both cleaned up, the nurses helped me sit up and get comfy in the bed, then quickly cleaned the room, rolled everything out that was no longer needed and left us alone to snuggle our new little bundle - and I absolutely loved this. When Wren was born, they took her to the nursery for her newborn tests and her first bath shortly after she was born, so we didn't get that special snuggle time. With Elle, we had her all to ourselves for a couple hours before the baby nurse came in and gave her a bath in our room. Then we had her to ourselves for another chunk of time before they took her to the nursery for her newborn tests later that evening.

I don't think I'll ever forget the way I felt in those first few hours after Elle was born. It was such a different experience from Wren's birth. With Wren, there was a lot of nervousness, worry and lack of confidence in those first few hours. With Elle, all I felt was love. Overwhelming, overjoyed love. Love for her, love for Jon, love for the whole wonderful experience. I could not stop smiling, and I just felt so happy. It really was the best day - I would do it over and over again if I could.

Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday

Elle was born at 1:42pm. Jon and his mom left around 4pm to pick Wren up from daycare and grab some dinner. They arrived back at the hospital around 6pm with food from one of our favorite BBQ joints, and Wren got to meet Elle for the first time. It was so fun to see them together and to see Wren's reaction. She seemed to understand that the baby came out of my belly (and she still sometimes tells people that when they ask about Elle). She touched Elle's face and counted her fingers and then ran around exploring the hospital room. We ate dinner together, and I finally got up and moved around the room a bit (which is always a little scary after giving birth and having an epidural).

That night, Jon went home to stay with Wren, and I stayed at the hospital by myself. This had been our plan all along, and I was a little nervous about being alone, but I have to say, even though I would've loved having Jon there, I also really loved having those two nights in the hospital just Elle and I. That first night after everyone left, Elle and I snuggled, watched TV, played on Instagram (and loved reading everyone's sweet congratulation notes) and called Jon and my sister a million times to chat. I had planned to send her to the nursery around 10pm so that I could get a good night's sleep, but I was on such a high - I didn't want the day to be over! I stayed up with her until almost 2am, just hanging out, before she headed to the nursery and I went to sleep.

All in all, Elle's birthday was such a great day - probably the best birth experience I could have ever asked for - and a day I will always think back on with a smile and so much love. I can't wait to tell her all about it one day. :)

March 14, 2015

Elle Evergreen: 1 month old

Elle Evergreen: 1 month
Little Elle! I can't believe it's been a whole month since you joined our family! Your dad and I thought we remembered what it was like to have a newborn, but you have managed to surprise us. You are definitely your own little person, and you're already making sure things are done your way. :) Below are a few highlights from your first four weeks with us...

The first couple of weeks, all you did was eat, sleep and poop, and you were barely ever awake. We learned quick that you like to be swaddled up super tight in order to sleep or be content when you are awake. You're our little burrito baby. When your arms and hands are free, they don't stop moving and you get worked up really quickly because of them. (Even one month in, we still prefer to cover your hands either with your sleeves or mittens or your swaddle to keep you the calmest. Your hands are so tiny - little wrinkly old lady hands - but they are crazy. You already sliced your cheek with your razor nails even though I've cut and filed them - sad!)

Around the third week, you started staying awake for longer periods of time, and that's when your gremlin sounds came out. Whenever you are awake and fussy or when you are eating and you're interrupted, you make the craziest grunting and snorting sounds - like a gremlin or a baby zombie. Ha!

We also learned quick that you love the pacifier. We didn't love the idea of giving you one, but it's the easiest way to calm you down when you're being a gremlin so we gave in. You're funny with it, though - sometimes you act like it's the best thing in the world when we put it in your mouth and other times, you act like it's disgusting and you don't want anything to do with it.

At one month old, you still sleep most of the day away. You wake up to eat every three hours or so during the day, but you have started sleeping for five to eight hour stretches at night without eating. That sure is nice! We have the pack 'n play set up next to our bed for you, but you sleep best when you are tucked in close next to someone, so you've been sleeping tucked in on my side of the bed and it's working out great. I like to have you close so I can keep an eye on you during the night, and you are sleeping for longer and longer stretches so we are all happy.

Other things you love include being held (which is fine with me since I'm trying to soak in all the newborn snuggles I can), being worn in the wrap or baby carrier and having your hair played with or washed (you instantly relax and your eyes roll around like it feels amazing). A few things you don't like include diaper changes (aaah! the terror!!), clothes changes (aaaah!! even worse than diaper changes!) and baths (your first bath stressed me out so much I needed a glass of wine after).

Oh little Elle, we can't wait to watch you grow and see your personality come out as the months go on! We are so glad to have you as part of our family. Your dad, sisters and I love you so much. Happy one month birthday, and may all your days be happy ones!

March 10, 2015

Elle's Birth Announcement

Elle's Birth Announcement
Jon and I pretended we were professional newborn photographers one day during Elle's first week home, and we snapped a bunch of photos with Jon's fancy camera, hoping to get a good one to use for her birth announcement. I'm so glad we did because Jon captured some of the best images - including this one above. Just look at her shiny eyes and tiny lips and that little hand touching her face - aaah - she is the sweetest! :) We mailed these birth announcements out a couple weeks ago, introducing little miss Elle to our family and friends, and I wanted to share them here, as well. Thanks again to everyone who sent us sweet notes and congrats via social media - we love you guys!

February 28, 2015

Naming Our Elle Evergreen

Elle's Name Inspiration
Below are a few words about the inspiration behind little miss Elle Evergreen's name if you'd like to know how we chose it -

Elle: I had heard the name Elle a couple times over the past two years since having Wren, and I had added it to the ongoing list of baby names I keep in my phone. It took Jon and I forever to decide on Wren's name so I wanted to be prepared with some favorites in advance for our second baby. When I found out I was pregnant, I told Jon that I already had my favorite name picked out. He liked Elle but wanted to consider some other names, so we started a little list and added to it/subtracted from it until I was around six months pregnant. No matter what names we put on the list, we kept coming back to Elle. We liked the sound of it (such a pretty word) and felt that it was classic yet not common and very feminine. When talking names one day (for the millionth time), I again said how much I loved the name and Jon agreed that he loved it, too. I tentatively asked if that meant we had a name and Jon said yes. Exciting!

Evergreen: The middle name was a bit trickier for us. After deciding on Elle as the first name, we thought a middle name that started with a vowel would sound best. We also wanted it to be a nature-inspired name since Wren's first and middle names are both nature-inspired. We started a new list of middle names, but nothing sounded just right. One day we were in the car listening to Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud (a song we both love) and the line "Your soul could never grow old; It's evergreen" stuck out to Jon and he suggested Evergreen as a middle name. I thought it was very interesting and loved the meaning of it. It came down to Evergreen and one other name in the running at the end, and I recited those names in my head all the time, trying to make a final decision, but the more I said Elle and Evergreen together, the more I loved it. We decided to make it official just a few weeks before our induction when we went to tour the hospital and fill out paperwork. We wrote the name on her birth certificate paperwork and then laughed with excitement - we had a name!

Also, a fun little side note - when Jon made the playlist for our hospital stay, he put Ed Sheeran's album on it. We joked at the time that it would be funny if she was born to the song that her name came from, and I told Jon that I had no idea what music was playing when Wren was born because I was so into the moment. Then, on delivery day, as I was nearing the end of pushing, the song came on! The only reason we realized it was playing was because my doctor said "Oh, I love this song!" and then Jon and I both looked at each other and said "No way!!" So Elle Evergreen did indeed end up coming into the world to the song that her middle name came from - how perfect is that? :)