The 5am curse is back. I had already been up with Ellen 3 times, and she woke up only 45 minutes after the last time. That meant I was only in bed 20 mins before getting up again. Mama is tiiiiired.

I wish I could figure out why she does this so I could do something about it. 

Fun fact – my neighbors across the street sit on their porch and smoke from 5am to 6am.


I did an experiment today:

Try not to feed Ellen more frequently than every 2.5 hours.

The thought process: 

Ellen’s weight is skyrocketing faster than the rest of her, and her proportions are therefore skewed. This makes me think that I may be over-feeding her. How else do you explain the disproportionate growth?

I assumed that if she accepted the breast, she must be hungry. I also assumed that when she cried around 1.5 hours after the last feeding, it meant she was hungry.

But! What if that was just a leftover habit from her newborn days? She only ever cries when she is hungry or tired… so what if she is actually tired at 1.5 hours, not hungry?

Babies usually spread out their feedings to every 2-3 hours at some point. What if we are there and I just didn’t notice? What if I’ve been stuck in an outdated routine?

Well folks, we are there! A couple of times she couldn’t wait all the way to 2.5 hours. But she made it past 2 hours every time without complaint. And a couple other times she went 3 or even 4 hours before asking to eat (usually with a long nap in between)! 

If she cried prior to 2 hours, I tried rocking her to sleep first. Sure enough, she was usually just sleepy and grumpy.

I feel very clever. The success of this experiment means that I will be pinned less and have more freedom. Plus I’m sure it is healthier for Ellen not to eat out of habit, but to instead wait to actually feel hungry.

I hope my new strategy of waiting for actual hunger results in a happy, healthy Ellen who grows to be her exact perfect size – whatever that may be.

The 5am curse has been broken, at least for one night! I guess all I had to do was complain about it in order to solve the problem. Hehe!

Ellen slept in 20-30 minute increments all day yesterday, so bedtime arrived like a tornado touching down. Then she slept for almost 8 hours, followed by a 3 hour stretch, which puts us here, my butt in her rocker, feeding her at 6am.

Pretty awesome, little lady!

Ellen weighs in at just over 16 lbs. My two favorite brands of clothes for her start the 6-9 month size at 17 lbs, but we’ve fully made the switch in tops because Ellen’s torso is very long. We’ve switched some of her pants too – because she’s fat – but she has short legs, so they’re all too long.

Anyway, the point of this post is that I don’t know what to do for Ellen’s wardrobe. I have already come across 4 tops in her new size that I can’t even get on her. I can’t even get some of them past her hands, others get stuck further up the arm.

I’m so frustrated! We have all these cute clothes that I love, and she is breezing through them before she can even wear them. 

It feels so wasteful, for starters, but the emotional loss is worse. I’ve been looking forward to her wearing these clothes since we got them, and they’re too small on literally our first attempt at putting her in them.

This feels like it defies physics. It certainly defies logic. And I find it very upsetting. 


We’ve got a good little sleeper on our hands for the most part, most of the time. But man, there are a few hiccups with Ellen’s sleep habits that really frustrate this tired mother and make me reluctant to officially give her the title of “good sleeper”.

First, she can’t nap on weekends because her brother is noisy. While I can certainly relate, I am quite concerned for what this will mean when she starts daycare, AKA the noise center of the universe. Girlfriend is never grumpy unless she is hungry or tired – both normally easy fixes. But the noise makes it suddenly difficult.

Yesterday, for example, she missed the all-important evening nap, ending approximately 1.5-2 hours before bedtime. And the result was a complete meltdown at 6pm and subsequently a very early bedtime. On a weekend, an evening meltdown/early bedtime is fine (loud, but fine). But on a workday after daycare it would mean I can’t make or eat dinner, and I wouldn’t get to see my family at all. Not a tempting prospect.

The second problem is at 5am. Yes, very specifically 5am. We usually end nighttime feeding number 2 around 4am, and inevitably, Noisy Baby comes back at 5am. She’s not awake, she’s not hungry. She’s just Noisy Baby. Sometimes I can ignore her enough to doze, but most of the time I spend an hour lying there listening to her. And sometimes, like today, I end up in her room because she did actually wake up. 

I can’t tell you how difficult this 5am issue makes it for me to feel rested. Even if the earlier portions of the night were great, I feel so tired because of the way the night ends. 

On nights like this one, it is even worse. I couldn’t fall asleep after the first feeding of the night, so I slept for 3.5 hours, was awake for 3 hours feeding Ellen and then laying in bed, got up to feed Ellen (up for another 45 mins for that), went back to sleep for less than an hour, and then 5am hit, Noisy Baby arrived, and now I’m back in her room. It is now nearly 6am, I should be getting her back to sleep shortly, and then I’ll go to bed to wait for Lewis to wake up. His usual time is between 6 and 7. Then it is game on for both me and Kyle.

So you see, this 5am problem is really not great. And combined with the no-naps-when-it’s-noisy problem, I’m anticipating a rough transition back to work in a couple weeks.

2 month checkup

Yesterday was Ellen’s two month check up. I wanted to write about it right away, but I  was prevented by a sad baby. She got 4 vaccines yesterday and was feverish and grumpy, so mama held her. All afternoon, and all evening. 

You gotta do what you gotta do! And baby needed me, so there I was. *hearteyes*

The report from the doctor was mostly good. Ellen is healthy in every way, except for a yeast infection in her neck folds, since they never get any air. Yuck!

So I acquired some antifungal cream for her neck, along with instructions about how to tell when it is yeast vs. no big deal. When it is no big deal, we are supposed to apply regular diaper cream instead of the antifungal cream to prevent irritation, bathe her regularly  (which we already do), and keep the folds dry as much as possible.

Keeping them dry is tricky since she spits up and sweats, but we have purchased some cute bibs to aid us with the cause. 

Doc also advised that we keep an eye on her other folds, since they could easily meet the same fate.

All this talk about folds… well, that means, of course, that Ellen is still very fat! She is no longer perfectly proportionate, with her weight increasing faster than her height, but doc said she isn’t worried about Ellen’s weight (yet. She did say “yet”.).

Ellen is tipping the scales at 16 lbs 4.5 oz, easily off the charts (and cruising into 9 month size clothes). She is also two feet tall, putting her in the 97th percentile. Her head is 80th percentile. So she’s big, big, big!

When doc first walked in, she asked how Ellen was eating. Then, before I could answer, she looked at Ellen and said, “oh!”. So I guess her question was answered!

The doctor also said that the next few months are really important for the shape of the head, and we have to be extra careful with Ellen because of her size. There are, apparently, two main reasons.

1) The sheer weight of Ellen’s head will make flat spots worse with less time than a smaller baby.

2) More weight means it is more work to lift the head, so she will need extra strong muscles to keep up with milestones like sitting up and rolling over.

The plan? Lots of tummy time to build those muscles. And lots of holding her upright and on her side to avoid pressure on the back of the skull. Basically, keep her off her back, and make her use her neck.

However, she has to sleep on her back. That’s the catch. The recommendation nowadays is that all babies should sleep on their backs to prevent SIDS. I’m obviously totally on board for that! But that’s why doc wants us to be so diligent about other positions during the day.

I don’t think we need to worry as much as the doctor said, though, because I caught Ellen sleeping with her head to the side all night last night!

Not sure if you can see it, but there’s evidence in the picture below. 

So the summary of the visit is that Ellen is a badass, and she is huge. And being huge comes with some things to think about. But she is a baby goddess and I am so proud of her.

2 months

Here’s my sweet angel at 2 months old. Can you believe it has been two months? I sure can’t. I feel like I know her so well now, and there’s just no way that you can get to know someone that well in just two short months. Someone must have been counting wrong!

I can read Ellen like a book nowadays – I know when she’s tired, when she’s going to be tired, and exactly how to get her to sleep. I also know how to get her to smile (see picture above for evidence!). Parenting is so much easier and less anxiety-inducing when you know your kid better!

We’ve been tracking Ellen’s sleep to try to detect patterns, as I mentioned last week, and so far her middle-of-the-day sleeping is still totally random and unpredictable. Although, as I mentioned, I can see it coming on even if her scheduling/spacing isn’t regular. What has emerged from tracking is that she falls asleep for a short snooze about 1 hour after she wakes up for the day, and she is awake for 1.5 to 2 hours before bedtime. And bedtime has arrived at a set time, conveniently landing right around the same time Lewis goes to bed. 7pm-ish every night, Ellen melts down and it is time for bed. I feel pretty lucky that both kids are on similar schedules. Imagine if one was an early riser and the other was a night owl! Yikes!

Ellen’s night time sleep is mostly predictable now, too. She usually goes 5 to 6.5 hours for her first stretch and then does 2 hour stretches after that until morning. She’s doing great in her crib, and I’m pretty pleased with her progression. However, some nights deviate from the pattern, and that’s less awesome. The past two nights have had shorter stretches from start to finish, and I’m pretty exhausted. But it is still better than the very first weeks, so I’m doing alright!

We’re on the last few diapers of her first size 2 box, which will also be her last size 2 box. She has been growing so quickly (we’ll find out just how quickly at her 2 month checkup on Wednesday) that she grew out of size 2 in less than a month. In addition to the obvious squeezing and jamming into them, she’s been blowing out of them regularly, which is the ultimate indicator – those diapers are too small! 

I hold out hope that she’ll be slowing down soon, though. With her eating spacing out during the day and at night, it feels unlikely that she’d continue to grow at this rate. If she does continue at this pace, she’ll be in 18 month size clothes by the time she’s 6 months old. We’re already into 9 month size in some brands (6 months in most – but barely fitting in those!).

Besides being huge and squishy, Ellen is balding at a rapid rate. Her beautiful, long, dark hair is falling out! Lewis lost all of his newborn hair, too, but it didn’t bug me because he was a boy and short hair was in the plans anyway. For Ellen, I had grand visions of pigtails being right around the corner because she started out with such long hair, and I got rather attached to that idea. She does still have some left, and I suppose there is no telling for sure whether she’ll lose it all or not until more time passes, but it is definitely thinner. And what is growing in to replace the bald spots looks much lighter, so I suspect that she will ultimately lose all the original dark hair and have it replaced by the lighter shade. Saaaaaad!

That’s the update on baby, but what about postpartum mama? Well, I have lost 4.5 lbs in the last month! 38.5 lbs overall since getting sent to the hospital for induction. At first, I was down on myself for only losing 4.5 lbs in the last month, but then I mentally slapped myself. 4.5 lbs in a month when you have only been exercising mildly, have been sleep-deprived, and spent most of your time sitting on the couch pinned under a baby watching everything Netflix can offer….well… that’s pretty damn good! Also, if I lose 4.5 lbs a month for the next 10 months until Ellen’s first birthday, I’ll more than meet my pre-Lewis weight goal. Of course, I don’t expect to lose 4.5 lbs a month every single month, but that thought process put it all in perspective, and now I’m very pleased with myself!

One thing working against me is my insatiable appetite. It isn’t every day, but some days I am a bottomless pit. Today is one of those days! I just ate a huge plate of pierogies and roasted broccoli and as soon as I ate the last bite, I was having visions of pizza. My stomach is rumbling even though it is full of lunch. Days like this are a battle between listening to my body and trusting it, and knowing without a doubt that my tummy is way more full than my body is recognizing.

Side note – Lewis is also starving lately! My little boy who used to eat almost nothing is now eating full adult sized meals and then asking for more food an hour later. He also keeps telling us that his legs “have a tummy ache”, which we think just means they hurt. We suspect growing pains. But he also tells us he has real tummy aches all the time, too, which we have mostly been able to solve with more food. We measured him the other day and he seems to have grown a couple inches taller in the last couple months! We’ll get the official stats in about a week at his 2.5 year checkup.

That’s the gist! Happy 2 months birthday, Ellen!

New feature in Ellen’s room! Blush colored paper with gold foil prints in navy blue frames. Underneath, two hanger thingamajigs for headbands. Hooray!

Crib success!

This is a picture of a happy girl greeting me after a successful night in her crib!

I decided I could risk trying night time because I didn’t have anything pressing today, so if I ended up exhausted after a disaster, it wasn’t the end of the world. 

But it wasn’t a disaster! I put her down asleep after feeding her, and she woke up about 10 minutes later. But she didn’t get upset, so I just left her to her own devices and spied on her over the video monitor. It took her about 20 minutes, but she put herself back to sleep!!!

Then we had only 2 wakings during the night and finally got up around 7:20. She was still noisy like always, but she slept arguably better than normal.

Happy mommy!!!

Baby routine 

Ellen is 8 weeks old today. This is a big hooray on many levels! One being that I had my 2nd and final postpartum checkup, and I’m cleared by the doc as healed and normal! So far, I don’t even need any physical therapy, although my need for pelvic floor work didn’t reveal itself until later in the game after Lewis, so there’s still a chance down the road, I suppose.

The other fun thing that happens at 8 weeks is that one of my favorite mommy bloggers (Lucie’s List) sends out an email about baby sleep routines. This email was a game changer with Lewis, and I have been looking forward to it for weeks this time around.

The email is basically about observing your baby for patterns in their daytime sleep so you can loosely structure a routine for them (and yourself!). The blogger is genius because she doesn’t recommend a rigid schedule, but instead suggests interval patterns – i.e. how long does your baby stay awake between periods of sleep? 

Maybe, for example, your kid stays awake for 1 hour after waking in the morning, 2 hours after that nap, 3 after the next, and 2 before bedtime. So whenever your kid wakes up, you have a general idea of when the next time you should put them down for a nap should be. 

Anyway, philosophy aside, the arrival of this email marks the start of me tracking Ellen’s sleep, instead of just her feedings. I’ve already started to notice some patterns, but the app I use to track everything will give me actual timelines of each day, side by side, so I can see what those patterns actually look like, giving me some order in all the chaos. 

The beauty in all of this is that I get all the predictability you can expect out of a baby (which is variable, at best!) without trying to force anything. The patterns are already there! She’s already doing all of this, I’ll just get to see it and understand her better and therefore be able to set life up as best as possible for a well rested baby, and therefore (hopefully) easy days for all!

The other sleep routine thing I have decided to take on is Ellen’s crib. She slept a couple nights in there a few weeks back, but it didn’t go awesome, so I put her back in the rock n play. I have been thinking it would be good to get her in the crib sooner rather than later, since I’ll be going back to work soon, and I would hate to go through a rough transition when my brain is needed the following morning. Better to get it out of the way now!

With that in mind, I tried her in her crib last night for her first stretch, but she startled herself awake after an hour. Without the sides of the rock n play to squeeze her, she flailed in the big old crib so much that she freaked out and screamed bloody murder.

Fail. Back in the rock n play.

My new strategy is to do some naps in the crib before going for night time. I got about an hour out of her today. She startled a few times, but fell back asleep on her own. Ultimately she didn’t get all the sleep she needed, so she finished off her nap in my lap after I comforted her following a particularly upsetting startling incident. It’s a work in progress, but I think it’s a good start!

Two milestones 

Lewis and Ellen both have achieved some individual milestones recently!

Lewis’s first 2 year molar has officially cut through. Just one little point is through so far, but that totally counts!

And Ellen has cut her feedings by 4-5 per day!!!! She used to eat 13-14 times a day – I’ll let you do the math on how much time she had me pinned. Sheesh. In the last (nearly) week she has cut to 9-10 times a day! This has been achieved through consistent longer stretches at night, and virtual elimination of the 90-minute feeding schedule. We almost always make it at least 2 hours now, with the exception of cluster feeding before bed. But cluster feeding before bed is the reason we get that first long stretch at night, so I am PRO cluster feeds!

Go team!

My Body

Ellen is now 7 weeks old, and this mama’s body is a-changing.

It’s hard to identify my favorite change, but a top contender is that my postpartum bleeding is all but over. After Lewis, this was about the time my period came back, but I started the pill this time around, so I don’t have to deal with my fertile-myrtle ways. Feeling quite clever for handling things differently.

I’m glad we went straight for the mini-pill this time instead of trying the IUD. I had such an awful experience with the IUD that I knew I didn’t want to go that route ever again. However, I do have some side effects from hormonal birth control that are somewhat unpleasant. There really isn’t any birth control option that is ideal for my body, but Kyle and I discussed all our options and decided that the mini-pill was our best temporary solution until we’re 100% sure we don’t want more kids, at which point we’d look into a vasectomy for Kyle. Until then, I will be suffering with the side-effects the pill causes with my digestive system. This is pretty much the only negative change in my body lately, and I think we should get back to the positives!

My TUMMY! You guys, it’s deflating. Granted, it is still a bit squishy and floppy, but I have noticed a visible decrease in size just in the last few days. I’m liking what I’m seeing in the mirror more and more as my tummy gets closer and closer to normal.

As my tummy deflates, my stretch marks on my sides are showing signs of fading. They’ve gone from deep purple to a bright pink. Next stop? White! The stretch marks on my calves and thighs are fading even quicker, which is surprising because they were much more numerous and severe.

Obviously, all this shrinkage means that the scale is moving the right direction too. The extremely rapid weight loss has stopped, but we’re still trending downward. I got back to my pre-baby weight by Lewis’s first birthday, so I think I’d like to do the same with Ellen. The goal is a bit loftier this time though, because I would like to get back to my pre-Lewis weight. I gained 10 lbs more with Ellen and I started out 10 lbs heavier (I gained those 10 lbs back after I stopped breastfeeding Lewis. Oops!), so that means I have 20 extra lbs to lose this time compared to last time. But you know what? I can totally do it. And I have until the end of next summer to make it happen.

I’ve been enjoying walks here and there, as well as little workouts around the house. I can feel my neglected muscles waking up – especially my lower abs – and it feels amazing. The other major contributor to continued weight loss is that I have regained control over my eating. During pregnancy, I felt completely out of control over what I ate. Immediately after giving birth, I lost my appetite completely. And now I am finally back to normal where I am not driven by cravings – I have them, but I can resist if needed – and I don’t feel like I need to eat 3 times a normal serving size due to an out of control appetite. “Normal” felt like such a distant memory that I wasn’t even sure if I could recall what it felt like or if I would be able to get back to “normal”. But here we are!

Sleep has been getting better and better as well. Ellen has continued to do longer stretches, and the morning hours are getting less noisy and weird, so I have been getting good sleep. I have also been appreciating the ability to lay on my stomach. I can’t do it for long because of my milky breasts, but I love to lay on my belly, so I relish every little moment I can get.

Other than all that, I’ve noticed that my nails have gotten pretty brittle after the insane pregnancy-induced nail strength faded. But my hair hasn’t started falling out yet. I think that happened around 4 or 5 months after Lewis, so I still have some time to enjoy my luscious locks.

Oh! Ellen just woke up from her nap. No time to proofread this, so forgive any typos or strangely worded bits. BYE!


Baby’s first nearly 6 hour stretch! People, I may be up at 1:30am, but I just got the most sleep in one go since before Ellen was born! This calls for celebration!

The latest

It seems that an update is overdue!

Last week we left Ellen and Lewis with my mom and stepdad in the evening to go out to watch a preseason Blazer game. This was not the first time we’d left the kids, but it was the first time we left them at bedtime! The first time we left them, Lewis was napping and I believe Ellen also slept the whole time we were gone. This time, they were both awake AND they needed to be fed and put to bed. A big milestone, but both Kyle and I were comfortable and relaxed about it because they were with professionals. Mom and her husband both raised three kids apiece, so they had everything under control, and we had a great time getting out!

Ellen has earned a new nickname – she is “Ellenblob”, because look at her. She keeps getting rounder and rounder. I find her physique both amusing and confusing. She looks hilariously, adorably chubby, but I also don’t understand how I made a person quite that big. I must be honest, I feel a bit self conscious about it, although I’m not sure why, because she is cute and perfect and healthy!

Ellenblob has been showing signs of improvement on the sleep front. Instead of one good, long stretch at the beginning of the night, we now get two 3+ hour stretches in a row most nights. But everything still falls apart after that because she always needs to poo in the early morning hours and that is a noisy, difficult process for her. She makes noises like a cartoon character – just totally over-exaggerated pooping noises. It’s hard to believe it is real! Anyway, that keeps me up and I wake up exhausted every morning and giggle at my FitBit sleep tracker, but I’m trying to focus on the positives from the beginning of the night instead of the rough endings. Depending on how tired I am, I have varying degrees of success in maintaining my positive attitude.

We’ve been seeing a ton of baby smiles and cooing lately. Instead of truly being a blob that just lays there, Ellenblob has become interactive to some degree! I was so looking forward to this, and it does not disappoint!

I took Ellen to visit my workplace last week and she charmed all my coworkers. It was great to see everyone, and I dare say I even got a little excited to go back to work. But don’t quote me on that, because I imagine as it gets closer, that feeling will fade.

Lewis is hilarious and challenging, as always. I spotted a little white dot on his gums in the back right side of his mouth – Molar incoming!!! He’s showing no signs of pain, however, so it looks like growing up has been good for his pain tolerance. Woohoo! He’s doing a lot better at sleeping through the night again too, after that small regression right after Ellen was born. So the teething truly doesn’t seem to be affecting him. The other night he even slept so long that the monitor ran out of batteries! Of course, Ellen was awake and finally fell back asleep right as Lewis was waking up, so I didn’t get to enjoy the sleep-in. Oh well.

I’m continuing to settle more and more into this new life and get to know my new self even better. I feel a lot calmer these days, but it ebbs and flows. Just like with Ellen’s sleep trends, I’m going to feel satisfied that things are trending in the right direction in this arena. There is no endpoint for this adjustment, I’m sure, because the kids are forever changing. But if I can keep up the positive trend, then life is good!


Today I took a couple steps towards normalcy!

The first is that my new (gigantic) pants arrived in the mail. They’re NORMAL PANTS, people! With buttons! And zippers! And pockets!!! I kept all my pre-pregnancy pants, but with all the weight I gained this time around, I definitely don’t fit into those yet. So these will be my interim pants, and even though they’re a very large size that makes me cringe, I feel pretty fabulous in them!

The fall weather here in Portland has also been absolutely perfect, 60’s to 70’s, crystal clear skies. It’s really a slice of heaven. Today marks the first day of about a week of this weather. So I took my “workout” outside! I have been doing little aerobic things inside, along with some hand-weight stuff. Really light exercise. Today I took a walk with Ellen. This was my first walk without a toddler since giving birth, so it was a quicker pace, and my goodness. I am feeling it! Getting my body  moving in a way it hasn’t in a loooooong time felt wonderful, and my lower abs (of all things!) are aching now. But it feels really good. It’s that ache that lets you know you did something good for your body. I love it!