Declan – 7 Months

Stella has plenty of her early life recorded on her blog. But I realized today I’ve never blogged about Declan.

This is my favorite of the baby stages. Sitting up and mobile just enough to make them happy, but not crawling, and so very smiley and happy. Gosh darn, it is the best and absolutely worth it’s own post!

 

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Declan is amazingly strong. I knew I was in trouble when, at 2 weeks old, he was raising his legs and his head up in some sort of yoga core pose. We’ve started finding him sitting upright in his bed the past couple of weeks. And he can cross the entire living room via rolling in the blink of an eye. He spends a lot of time (and tears) up on all fours, rocking back and forth. I even find him doing this in the middle of the night! He’s begun moving his knees forward but hasn’t figured out the hands need to move, too, so he ends up splat on his chest, bum in the air. Even though he’s frustrated, I can’t help but smile at his cuteness and little baby determination.

 

Another thing he’s begun doing, and I don’t recall Stella doing this, is grabbing my face and giving me a big open mouthed kiss. He does the same to Phill and Stella and we all pretty much melt at such a loving gesture. He’s probably just teething and really wants to shove our face into his mouth for some pain relief, but that would be ok, too.

 

He’s holding his own with big sister really well. She, on the other hand, grabbed one of my belts this morning and Phill caught her looping it around his neck and saying, “come on doggy, let’s go for a walk!” Time… just give it time and he’ll give as good as he gets.

 

Nighttime sleep is still AWFUL. He wakes 3-5 times a night. And, in order to get more sleep, I just feed him. However, now he wakes and won’t go back to sleep without nursing. We’ve entered quite the cycle. A very sleeeeeepy cycle.

 

As for food, we began Baby Led Weaning. He pretty much treats the food like toys and hasn’t actually ingested much. We are going to stay the course for a few more weeks and hope he gets the hang of it a bit more. You should see the look on Stella’s face seeing all the food he is wasting! Appalled.

 

Tonight we got the biggest belly laughs from Declan. Actually, not we… Stella did! He was so tickled he could barely stay sitting upright. Who knew bubble beards were so hilarious?!  It was a really lovely moment. Happy and full of love.

 

Declan is 7 months

Stella is 2 years 11.5 months (nearly 3!)

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Diary of Declan

A day in the life of Declan…

Day:

Wake. Smile a lot. Eat. Play. Practice Crawling. Babble “mama.” Nap. Smile. Smile some more. Belly laugh. Smile.

Night:

7:30 pm — Nurse. Fall asleep.

12 am — Wake. Refuse pacifier for 30 minutes.

12:30 am — Nurse. Babble for 30 minutes.

1 am — Fall asleep.

3 am — Wake. Cry. Rock on all fours. Babble “mama” over and over.

3:30 am — Nurse. Cry. Babble “mama” for 45 minutes.

4:15 am — Fall asleep.

6:30 am — Wide awake. Ready to smile!

 

I am so tired. Bone freaking tired. What are we doing wrong?! Maybe he’s just one of those kids that doesn’t need a lot of sleep?? Stella was NOT like this. She will be turning 3 later this month and there is no end in sight to her daily nap.

Another aspect is we haven’t begun giving him any solids. I wasn’t really in a hurry to do so. Our plan was to begin at 6 months (alas we were 30k feet in the air that day) with baby led weaning. And now almost 4 weeks have flown by and still no solids. We finally bought him a high chair over the weekend and we’ll start his foodie adventure this week. Who knows, maybe my mother-in-law is right and this will be the key to a better night’s sleep?

Even if he is destined to be a rotten sleeper, at least he’s so incredibly cute during the day.

 

All smiles in the sun!

All smiles in the sun!

 

Declan is 6 months, 3 weeks old

Stella the Nurturer

I loved seeing all the back to school pictures friends posted this week! I can’t even imagine the disaster I’ll certainly be on Stella’s first day of kindergarten. If her first day of preschool was any indication, medication, or copious amounts of tissue and chocolate, may be in order.

Since Stella is not in school anymore, I’m striving to find educational and socially engaging activities to keep her little brain moving. Her favorite activity thus far is storytime at the local library. She wakes up every morning and, after asking Declan’s whereabouts, says “what’s coming up today, mom?” Followed by, “is it the library?!”

Library lover

Library lover

She sat here and told me she wanted to be sure she could see the pictures. (Story time didn’t begin for another 10 minutes.)

At Tuesday’s visit to the library, we were seated towards the back when she spotted a little girl cradling her baby doll. Stella looked up at me, and with wide eyes said, “Mommy, where is my baby Coco?” Ummm, whoops. (Baby Coco is crammed in a box somewhere in our storage unit in Texas.) The next day I bought her a new baby doll that came with it’s own pram. It was dirt cheap (which is hard to find here in Australia) at just $20 but has made her so happy.

Stella and "Baby Sara"

Stella and “Baby Sara”

Baby Sara goes everywhere with her now. As I push Declan along (in the double pram she won’t ride in anymore) she pushes baby Sara alongside me. If I’m rocking the stroller back and forth at a cross walk to keep him asleep, she copies that. She even pretends to release the brake! And she copies this, too.

Nursing her baby

Nursing her baby

It is precious. Like, beyond.

She loves being a “little mommy.”

Nap time... at the play park

Nap time… at the play park

Other kids go to the park to run slide, swing, and generally run amok. Stella’s play is putting her baby to bed. She has an AMAZING imagination. And I just love her nurturing nature with Sara AND Declan. I can only dream that she always loves her brother as much as she does right now.

P.S. That pram? Yeah, the handle broke off 25 hours after purchase. POS. Good thing she has a birthday next month!

Stella is 2 years, 11 months

Chin is Up

I am a lucky gal to have such kind, insightful and encouraging people in my life. Thank you all for the virtual hand holding!

This past weekend I had friends come to Sydney. They take an annual birthday trip in August and this year they chose Australia (lucky me). I joined my friends J, Letti, Nolan & Christine for dinner in the city at Rockpool Bar and Grill. The decor was art deco, the food was divine, the service was top-notch and the company couldn’t be beat. Sunday morning they joined me in Manly and we walked along the boardwalk before lunching at Pantry Manly. Another amazing meal (thank you, Jill)! And both restaurants were very gluten-free friendly!

Manly Beach with J on his BDay

Manly Beach with J on his BDay

Side note: Phill stayed with the kids while I was gallivanting around Sydney all weekend. Ladies, yes, he is amazing.

I really enjoyed the visit from my American friends. It was the first visit to Australia for all of them. So, as the only resident (of 2.5 weeks) of the bunch, I filled them in on everything I knew. The lingo, the history, places to eat, things to see, stuff to do… I explained as much as I could and did so with passion and gusto. With every story, every explanation, my happiness level crept up and up. I was playing tour guide, if only for a few hours, and got to explain how totally badass the town is where I now reside. It was a surge to my sagging spirits, a boost to my bummed out, homesick attitude. I live in an amazing part of the world, a place where people dream of visiting. Pity party is over, y’all!

I will leave you with several photos from our walk around the Cove on Sunday morning. Cheers!

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Picking out mommy, daddy, Stella & Declan shells

Picking out mommy, daddy, Stella & Declan shells

Choices

So Phill is away on his first business trip since we arrived in Australia. Exactly two weeks after we arrived. But, hey, who’s counting?

I’ll be honest and tell you all that I am struggling. Life in Oz is vastly different from our life in Austin. Phill’s working a lot more. I’m at a loss without the arsenal of a full kitchen so we are eating out a lot. Stella’s not in school anymore. I spend a good part of every day mentally preparing to drive on the (wrong) left side of the road. Boy, oh boy. That will be an adventure!

Need this said to me on repeat.

Need this said to me on repeat.

I could take solace in the fact that at least we moved to a country where they speak English and aren’t facing a language barrier like my friends in Switzerland. The Aussies do, however, have their own language and style of speaking. But that’s a post for another day.

Tonight, in a desperate attempt to elicit a third nap out of Declan, I popped the kids in the pram and headed out. We walked through the Corso and over to one of the play parks located on the boardwalk of Manly Beach. We left there and headed toward Shelly Beach. It was getting dark and Stella kept asking if it was past her bedtime. We turned back and headed home about halfway to Shelly Beach. We walked along in silence until Stella said, “Mommy, I like going places in the stroller instead of the car.”

Her statement has really stayed with me. I’ve spent all evening mulling over what she said. Our life in Austin was, as is all of Texas, rather sedentary. Need to pick up a prescription? Car. Want to go to Lincoln’s house? Car. Dinner out? Car. Groceries? Car (ok, that was walkable, when it wasn’t 100 degrees). Anyway, you get the picture.

I am still amazed that my (almost) three year old had that thought and was able to articulate it to me.

Since we’ve been here, Stella has flourished. She’s zooming all over the place. Skipping, jumping, running, running, running. She’s never been a very physical kid so this is new for her. And, apparently, it suits her well!

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy wallowing in my own misery and homesickness. To hear that she is pleased with this aspect of our new life here in Australia makes me deliriously happy. Maybe even enough to boost me out of my funk.

I think we will look back on our choice to move to Australia with fondness and appreciation. Living the ex-pat life will, and maybe already has, changed us forever. Best decision ever?

Possibly.

Sunset in Manly

Sunset in Manly

P.S. I never did get Declan to take that nap.

Liar, Liar

I feel so much better today! I think putting my feelings into words and then getting such lovely, lovely feedback from you guys did the trick. I have such kind and wise friends and family! Thank you all for the encouraging words.

 

Also, Baby Declan went and made a liar out of me.

 

He pushed through his first tooth yesterday! Ha! I do not recall Stella’s teething process being this bad. Maybe I just forgot? Either way, I am I glad to have that sorted. One down, 19 to go!

 

Happy D

Happy Baby D

Now can we go back to being happy all day and sleepy all night?

 

Declan is 6.5 months

 

Life in Manly

Life here in Manly is pretty sweet. We are surrounded by such beauty with all the perks of a city within walking distance. This beach is basically our front yard.

Manly Cove

Manly Cove

Beach babe

Beach babe

Manly Wharf is just across the street.

Atop the shell at the Wharf

Atop the shell at the Wharf

We live a block from the Corso, the center of Manly filled with restaurants and cafes, all kinds of shops, even a play park.

Kids at the Corso play park

Corso play park

And I take a daily walk along the boardwalk with sights like this.

Manly Beach

Manly Beach

Stella will start school again (twice a week) in January. So, for now, I get to spend all day every day with my two amazing children. I’ve been given an amazing gift.

But, you guys, I am homesick! The feeling started creeping up a couple of days ago but has really come on strong today. I miss my car, Wheatsville, my family, my friends, Stella’s friends, my gym, my coffee machine (tear). I miss being able to call up friends for a last minute dinner (and knowing where to go). I miss my favorite gluten-free brands. I miss Stella’s school (or I miss Stella going to school… ?).

On top of all this, we are tired. Bone tired. Declan is super smiley and all around adorable during the day. But he turns into this awful crying, whining, giant fuss bomb at night. He is the WORST SLEEPER. I want to blame teething but I’m not sure I can anymore – it’s been almost 4 solid weeks of this.

Please do not think I am ungrateful. I do know this is an amazing opportunity and adventure my family is on. I just felt like having a good vent. So thank you, thank you very much for listening.

UPDATE: Just after I posted this, Daniel Tiger came on the TV. Thank you God, thank you Universe. We needed that little piece of home.

And it was a NEW EPISODE!

And it was a NEW EPISODE!

UGGA MUGGA! 🙂