Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Don't want to jinx it . . .

. . . but Eloise hasn't nursed in a few days. I don't remember exactly when the last day was, because, to be honest, I was looking forward to weaning. I was trying to do what I did with Iris, which was the "don't offer, don't refuse" method of weaning. Eloise would have nursed multiple times a day if I had let her, so I had to be a little more strict about limits. I honestly didn't think we'd be here right now, as both of the girls are adjusting to sleeping in their own beds in a bedroom together. So Eloise has moved out of my bed AND weaned at the same time. It all seems okay, though. She hasn't broken down in tears because of being refused a nursing session. She just stopped asking! So, anyways, it's been several days. I think, at this point, I can reasonably say we are done. I'm not sure when I get to say with 100% certainty, because I really don't know what will happen. I would like her to be weaned, though.

I started nursing Iris on June 18, 2004, the day she was born. She latched on moments after birth. I nursed through my entire second pregnancy, then, on August 17th, I officially became a tandem nursing mama, nursing both my newborn and my two year old. Iris weaned about a month or so after she turned three, so I was tandem nursing for about a year. All in all I've nursed for roughly five years and two months. Whew!

It's such an accomplishment, something I don't take lightly. I was extremely, extremely blessed to have pretty much no problems nursing either of my babies. I was able to get them to nurse right away at birth, never had latch issues, was able to pump enough milk during the 20 hours a week I worked when Iris was young so that she never had to have formula, and successfully nursed through pregnancy and tandem nursing with nary a supply issue in sight. I even, once, donated a very small amount of milk to a local mama looking for donated breast milk. I would have loved to have donated more but being an official milk donor through an agency was a little too much work for me. Neither of my children have ever had formula other than stealing a sip from someone's bottle.

I believe that nursing until this stage was my daughter's birth right. I believe it was the best thing for them and I believe I was able to nurse for so long because of the support I received from my family, friends and community to do so.

This is my story-- OUR story. It's one I'll always remember.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Finally, the long awaited last post about our trip!

Whew, I got a little side-tracked there! I have been wanting to blog more, but it's so hard. I can't find the time I would like, and often when I DO have the time, I'm too tired and my brain hurts. Maybe when the girls are in school more? Ha ha. Add it to the list of everything I will accomplish when I have two whole days a week without kids at home!

So, where I left off was our last Friday in Milwaukee.

On Saturday we had a very low-key day of hanging around my sister's house before we all decided to take a trip to Doctor's Park. We walked a nice winding trail down to Lake Michigan and the kids all played on the beach for a long time. There was a very dirty stream running out in to the beach that housed frogs and bugs, amongst gross garbage. My nephews were trying their hardest to catch frogs and my sister was right in there with them! I kept saying "clearly you are the mother of boys."

From left to right: Matt, my sister's dog, Emma, Eloise, my brother-in-law, Iris

My nephew doing some serious rock skipping!

My littler nephew looking very charming while having his portrait taken.

My sister the frog catcher.
On Sunday it was time for us to pack up and head back to my parent's house in MI. We decided to stop in Chicago again to visit another friend-- this time Ashlee and her little man, Xavier! Ashlee suggested a great little park and the kids had a blast playing. X is such an amazingly sweet little boy, and he has an equally sweet mama. It was so much fun to spend some time with these two! After playing we headed over to a vegan bakery (which inexplicably sold maple bacon lollipops) and all indulged in some sweet treats. Ashlee and I also had out our dueling Nikon's to try and catch some cute pictures of the kids.

On Monday we headed out for our very last day of fun in MI. We met up with our friends for the last time, hanging out at a park in Muskegon before driving onward to my favorite MI beach at Duck Lake. Last time we were in MI for vacation we stayed right down the way from Duck Lake and was introduced to his splendidness. I made it a point to head back there again on this trip and we had to put it off until the very last day! There are a few wonderful things about this particular beach. The beach is actually a strip between Duck Lake and Lake Michigan. What connects the little lake to the big lake is a shallow channel. The first time we were there, two summers ago, it was very shallow and fairly narrow. This time is was much wider and quite a bit deeper, though still not even up to my waist. The water is warm and clear, as well. The sand is white and smooth and there is the added bonus of being able to swim in any of the three areas-- Duck Lake, Lake Michigan or the channel! We had a ball hanging out there for the afternoon.

This photo is looking down on one part of the beach from the road. In the background is Lake Michigan, in the foreground is the channel.

After we got back to my parent's house Matt's cousins and three sons were there for a visit! We played at the house for a while before heading over to a local pizza place for dinner. It was a lovely last day to our vacation.
I always have such mixed feelings about these looong trips back to my parent's house. On hand, we are there so infrequently and we pay so much to get there, it feels like we should stay for a while to really get as much time as we can out of it. On the other hand, a three week stay is loooong, for everyone involved. I miss my parents terribly when I'm away from them, but then living in their house for that long feels like we need just a bit more space and time away. We very, very much appreciated my parent's tremendous hospitality. The food was insanely good. The accommodations were impeccable. The company was divine. Looking forward to our next visit!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day of fun!

We had a jam packed day of fun today. It started with a trip to Alki Beach with our good friends. The tide was very low and we all had fun checking out the floor of the Sound and walking waaaay out in to the water to the little islands the low tide had created. I should also note that, for the most part, a trip to the beach in Washington doesn't mean pulling out your bikini laying on soft hot sand all afternoon long. Nope. In Washington, our beaches are much more rugged. I have to say, I love them.

Check out this stellar outfit Eloise wore to the beach.

Iris had a blast digging with her friend. (I would have included the great pics I got of him, but I didn't ask his mom :) )

Eloise decided she was too wet and cold in her first outfit so she spent the second half of our play time wearing only my fleece.

This is a scene looking towards downtown Seattle from the beach.

I didn't get pictures of the rest of our day. After the beach we headed to the end of the year party at the school the girls will be attending this school year. There were two giant bouncy houses there, enough said!
Later this afternoon we headed in to the city on the bus to attend the last of the KEXP free concerts in the Seattle Center. Tonight we went to see the Fruit Bats, but sadly had to leave three song in to their set as we needed to get the girls home to bed. On the way to the show we got off the bus early so that we could ride the monorail from downtown to the Seattle Center. Pretty much only tourists ride this silly thing. Well, tourists and people like us with children who beg to ride it! Since the monorail picks up right next to the candy store in Westlake Center, we couldn't pass up the chance to load up on sugar!
The concert was lovely. The weather was perfect. The girls, as to be expected, wanted to spend the whole time running around, but any chance they get to wear themselves out is great! Headed back home on the bus and popped the girls in to bed, they were out fairly quickly. A great day, indeed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My baby is THREE! *sniff*

Today is Eloise's birthday. Three years ago, at 10:16 pm she was born in to my midwife's hands in the bedroom of my apartment. It was an exceedingly amazing and exceedingly difficult experience (for more reasons than just the obvious).

Here was Eloise the day after she was born. Less than 24 hours old! I used this picture for her birth announcement.
Taking steps on her first birthday!

Because I am a terrible mother, I couldn't find a picture of her on her second birthday (let alone remember what we even did for her birthday!) Oh, geez, the curse of the second child. This was taken just over a week after the big day. Actually, her second birthday was so over-shadowed by our wedding, which occured a week later. Poor girl got the shaft!
Here was Eloise and I yesterday. My friend Markus took this picture with my camera and I really, really love it. She is so THREE in this one! Looking like a real little girl.Eloise keeps us on our toes every second of every day. I always say that her tenacity will serve her well one day! Heck, it serves her pretty well now. We adore her to no end. She is hilarious and loving and truly feels every range of emotion from deeply joyous to deeply sad. It's going to be so much fun to watch her grow through this next year as she spends more time in school with new teachers and new friends.
I love you sweet Eloise Pearl. Happy Birthday!