Lewis the big boy

Kyle and I decided to go for real potty training as of the new year. Lewis is not unfamiliar with the concept, and had been casually using the potty after waking in the morning and before bed at night. But with his 3rd birthday approaching, it’s time to make it happen.

We slapped on the pull ups today, one day early, and threw Lewis on the potty frequently to make him try.

Sometimes he went, other times he said he couldn’t and immediately peed in the pull up after getting off the potty. One time he actually told us he needed to go and then went.

We thought this was a pretty victorious first day of real training. But the best was yet to come. 

We have a little potty for Lewis, and we also have little seats that go on the big potties. He willingly pees in both. But when he realized he needed to poo, he did not know what to do.

He sat on the big potty and cried. He got down. He still needed to go (“my tummy hurts!!!). So back on the big potty. No luck, just a sad toddler. 

Then I had an epiphany – he always goes into his playroom to poop. Always. So I went and got his little potty and put it in there. Lewis’s reaction? 

“Great idea mom! That’s my best pooping spot!”

Ha! He tried pooping, but it didn’t work out. So we left his pants off and he ran around in his pull up. I told him that if he needed to go, he could just pull it down and sit on the potty and go. Then I left and started doing dishes. 

No more than 2 minutes later, I saw him out of the corner of my eye, pulling down his pull up and sitting down. I didn’t say anything or go into his playroom, I just let him handle his business, and then BAM! He pooped in the potty!!!

The battle wasn’t over yet, though. He didn’t want to stand up to be wiped. So again, I had a genius idea. I got our portable changing pad and asked him if he wanted to lay down to be wiped. I thought it would be more familiar and less scary. He went for it, Kyle cleaned out the potty, and Lewis got ice cream to celebrate, which we had been promising him for months as a reward for pooping on the potty. 

I asked Lewis what it felt like to be a big boy, and he answered with a resounding, “GOOD!!!”

What a cool 2017 finale. My big boy!!


It seems a “decision” has been made. I don’t want to say “we have made a decision”, because I don’t really feel like it was done together, per se. But a decision was definitely made.

No more babies. No more pregnancies.

Can we go back on this decision? Sure. No permanent measures have been taken. But Kyle is pretty firm. AKA extremely firm. AKA will not be moved.

I am somewhat confident about the no more babies part. But I don’t really feel 100% finished with the childbearing phase of my life. I spent so much of my life looking forward to it, seeing it out in my future, that I don’t really know how to turn off the anticipation. To imagine that there isn’t any more of this in my life is strange (read: painful), because the sense of anticipation remains.

So where does no babies but yes pregnancy leave me (me, not us… just me and my feelings)? Surrogacy. I want to be a surrogate for a family who can’t carry their own baby. I want to help someone fill up their lives with baby poop, laughter, sleepless nights, milestones, and endless love. I want to have one final pregnancy to close this chapter of my life with. I don’t need another baby, but I need closure.

Kyle said no.

He didn’t just say no to surrogacy, he said no to even getting more information before deciding. That’s how unwavering he is in his desire to be finished. And because we both have to say “yes” in order to move it forward, the answer is just no. There is no compromise. My feelings count for naught. It’s just a no.


What an odd dynamic, that Kyle’s “no” dictates what happens in my body. What a painful realization that I have to find a way to put childbearing behind me just like that, when I just don’t feel done. Someone else decides for me.

I wish I could be angry at Kyle. That would at least be a direction to point my devastating disappointment. But I certainly can’t fault him for the way he feels. He can’t help that he feels done, just like I can’t help that I don’t. It’s just that, with something like pregnancy – whether you keep the baby or not – if there is a single “no” in the mix, the “no” has to win.

So I’m not angry. But I’m so, so sad. People always say you’ll know when you’re “done”. But what happens if you don’t ever get to get to that point? How do you work through that? I guess time will show me the answer to that question. For now, I mourn. And I try not to wish for Kyle to change his mind, because then I’ll never move on.

I just put Ellen back down after feeding her, and she proceeded to choke and cough so badly on her mucus that she projectile vomited all over her bed and the floor.

I had to do a full outfit change on her, change the bedsheets, and clean the carpet. And of course now she is WIDE awake. 


At least we have a fun bonus morning bathtime to look forward to tomorrow. (Or should I say “later today”?)

4 months 

Sweet Ellen is 4 months old today!

Ellen (infrequently) rolls from her tummy to her back, (frequently) smiles, has figured out toys, is strong enough to play upright in her jumper, and talks a ton. She is soothed by music, as long as it is “live” (AKA someone singing or playing guitar), and Lewis loves to sing to her to try to cheer her up when she is blue. I think she is still losing some of her hair. She loves to kick and splash in the bath. Wind freaks her out. She drools constantly and copiously. She averages 1 to 2 blowouts per day. And she is just the sweetest girl!

Her 4 month checkup isn’t until January 2nd, so I don’t have any official stats, but 2 weeks ago when I took her in for illness she was 18+ lbs and about 27 inches. I bet you she’s hit 19 lbs by now, but we shall see!

No matter what she weighs, Ellen is definitely still a chunky monkey. She’s in 12 month size clothes in almost all brands now, and she’s only one diaper size shy of what Lewis wears. 

4 months is when Lewis slowed down his growth in a big (scary) way, mostly due to starting daycare and immediately becoming ill and refusing bottles. Ellen is showing no signs of slowed growth yet, but my lord… It must be coming, right?!

After 4 months with Ellen and over a month back at work, things are feeling pretty good. Ellen is much less newborn-y, I’m much less hormonal, and life is just making more sense.

The sleep thing is probably the only thing that really feels hard right now. That’s not to say I’m excelling in all other areas. Shoot, don’t even ask about the dishes and the laundry! But I am managing everything well enough that I don’t feel super stressed. Except by the lack of sleep. 

I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve two sunnyside up births and two babies who don’t sleep, but it must have been bad. This is rough. 

Let’s not dwell on that, though!

I think I forgot to report in about my weight loss at 3 months, so I get to share a bigger number now than I otherwise would. In the last two months, I’ve lost 6.5 lbs! Still a long, long way to go, but boy does the progress feel satisfying!! My body feels a little more familiar every day.

Yucky news – Our whole family is sick right now – ’tis the season. Ellen’s epic cold has lasted going on 3 weeks. Kyle has a cold that seems to have him thinking he is at death’s door. Lewis has a drippy nose and a bit of a cough. And I’ve – so far – fared better than the rest, but today I’m showing signs of losing the battle myself. The cold is a-comin’!

Two kids in daycare sort of means this is going to be standard procedure for a while. Ooooooooh well!

All in all, things are pretty good over here. Now if I could just get some rest…


I find myself 20 days into my 30 day workout challenge. Two thirds of the way done. I am behind by 1 workout, so I have 11 to do in the next 10 days.

I would like to stop. Really I would. 10 days feels like a long time this month, with Ellen’s sleep being off, making me so tired, and with the holidays and work and the sun going down so early. I’d so rather snuggle up and relax in the evenings after the kiddos go to bed!

But I’m not going to stop. Despite my lack of enthusiasm, it is going really well, I feel really proud of myself, and my body feels good – sore, but good. So I’ll push through until the end.

The scale has been inching lower. Not very quickly. Honestly, most days it doesn’t change at all. But I’m going to attribute that to the muscle I’m building and all the mint+chocolate treats I can’t resist this time of year. 

And even if the scale doesn’t show a lot of progress, the mirror does. And so does the button on my high waisted jeans! My body is changing shape, slowly getting back to something similar to before babies. Something recognizable.

It is hard for me to be patient. I know it took me 9 months to gain all that weight, so it makes sense that it wouldn’t come off all in a day. But gaining the weight was done with so little effort, and I wasn’t exactly working towards a weight gain goal, so the time didn’t really register. 

Losing the weight, on the other hand, takes considerable effort. And I see that goal out in the distance, so I’m counting progress and milestones very closely. It makes time march so slowly, like watching a pot of water, waiting for it to boil.

I’ll just keep watching. I will see cheekbones again, and those folds in my waist will go away. The stretch marks will get lighter. I’ll need smaller pants.

Maybe not directly because of this 30 day challenge. Maybe this challenge is only a way to prevent gaining weight from those mint+chocolate treats this holiday season. But it will all happen.

Patience and good choices, Carolyn. That’s all it takes.

No sleep till…forever?

Oh man. You know how when things are tough and you know they’re temporary, but because you don’t know exactly when they’ll end, they kind of feel like they’ll last forever? The end of pregnancy felt that way. And now? The sleeplessness!

Like anyone, I’m fishing for solutions here. Or at least explanations. Something to grab a hold of so I can get through this fatigue. Ellen is waking up so often that I basically feel like I’m dying.

First explanation: Ellen’s still got her cold. 10 days? 11? I’ve lost count. My sweet angel is in good spirits, as smiley as ever. If you ask her, ain’t nothin’ wrong! But she chokes on her snot in her sleep and wakes up and doesn’t go back to sleep on her own. You’d think after the noises she makes that she’d be upset, but I waltz into her room and she is grinning from ear to ear like, “oh HEEEEEY mom! Good to see ya!”

I finally remembered to take out and clean the humidifier, and I thought that would help. But alas! She still chokes.

Also working against us is Ellen’s newfound skill – TALKING.

Okay, not really talking. She’s not even 4 months old! But she has figured out how to make noise on purpose, and she is damn proud of it. Girlfriend has a lot to say, and she doesn’t care if the sun is up or not. She’s gonna talk! This morning, for example, she woke up at 5:30am, didn’t even want to eat, and just stared at me grinning and chatting. She didn’t stop for the next 2 hours until she finally went back to sleep at 7:30am – just in time to go to daycare and for mommy to start working! PHEW!

Another possible explanation for the sleeplessness is the infamous “4 month sleep regression”. I guess that’s a thing that happens developmentally and kids just sort of get over it eventually. Sounds like hocus pocus to me. But who am I to argue with countless moms and doctors and other various experts? This could be exactly what is ruining sleep in my world right now.

Or. OR!

Maybe Ellen is just turning into her brother. Lewis slept well until about 4 months. And then he slept like CRAP for the next 18 months. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was almost 2 damn years old.

The exhausted grump in me is feeling extremely pessimistic and voting for Ellen being a turd like her brother, which means that I am going to die sometime within the next 18 months from sleep deprivation.

The normal human buried somewhere beneath all the caffeine and eye circles thinks that maybe Grumpy Carolyn is being a bit hasty with her conclusions.

All I know is that I could really use a nap.

Whoa, girl!

Ellen took a little trip to the doctor today to get checked for an ear infection. She has had a cold for a week-ish, and over the weekend her snot turned colors and she started tugging on her ear. Despite missing symptoms like fever and grumpiness, I thought it was best to see if the doctor wanted to check her out.

The doctor did, since we can’t ask Ellen how she is feeling. So just to be safe, we went in this afternoon.

Ellen does not have an ear infection. The doctor thinks she is just experiencing some pressure from her cold, which has led her to pull on her ear. Phew!

The doctor also diagnosed me with Ear Infection PTSD from Lewis. HA! I told her I was very comfortable with that diagnosis, and we shared a good laugh.

I was quite relieved that my paranoia was unfounded, and I was happy to go in simply because I got to apply some meaning to Ellen’s actions. It helps me understand her better, and hopefully be better prepared next time she is sick when she does the same things.

Bonus: Ellen got weighed and measured. In the last 1.5 months, she has gained 2.25 lbs (nearly doubling her birth weight!), and has grown nearly THREE whole inches. That really blows my mind. Three inches in 1.5 months. When will Her Royal Roundness slow down!?

Day 10

I worked out 9 days in a row. 

On the 10th day (today), there was a 3 hour Santa experience which was total exhausting mayhem, folding 10 loads of laundry (I wish I was exaggerating), 2 loads in the dishwasher, a visit from the in-laws, and keeping two tiny humans alive. 

There was no workout today. I can’t get up. It is 8:30 and time to go to sleep.

I will just have to double up my workout one of these days to get in my 30 workouts in 30 days. 

The goal used to be “work out every day ay for 30 days. But now it is “30 workouts in 30 days”. Desperate times call for modifying the goal ever so slightly so you can still achieve it.

Here are my sweet kiddos with Santa!

That’s new!

Our kids learned some new tricks!

Ellen rolled over for the first time the other day! 

And Lewis? Well, Kyle put him to bed and about 30 minutes later he heard over the monitor, “dad? I need help. I need a new diaper.”

So Kyle went into Lewis’s room and discovered that he was naked. Jammies off, diaper off. 

Apparently he had peed in his diaper and decided to change it himself. He got to nakedness and then realized he couldn’t finish the job. Ha!


It hasn’t been terribly long since my last update, but life is so action-packed lately that I feel like there is a ton to write about!

Both kids are working on new teeth. Lewis is getting the second of four 2-year molars. He sometimes mentions that his mouth hurts, but other than that, you’d never know it was happening if you didn’t peek in his mouth. Ellen is still working on her first one. That little white-cap has been there for ages and hasn’t seemed to change. It is like it worked its way up to that point (on Halloween, remember?!) and then just stopped. I keep imagining that it is getting pokier and it is about to break through, but it keeps not happening. So I must be wrong!

Lewis’ pink eye cleared up with the eyedrops and no one else in the family got it. Ellen does have her first cold, which I’m sure is a gift from her big brother (or a friend at school). She’s been a tough chick about it, though! She’s been sleeping as well as (or better than) normal despite the snot. I have been sucking it out with the fancy snot-sucker device, which she hates but definitely benefits from. (Side note – Lewis thinks it is HILARIOUS and says, “Mommy! You ate her boogers!”) We haven’t seen any signs of a fever or anything more serious, so we’re just riding this out.

Ellen’s daytime sleep has finally fallen into a 3-nap-per-day pattern – at least when she is at school. It took her much longer than it took her brother, but we’re there! I cut out her after-school/evening nap last week after she started a new bad habit of waking up at 10 or 10:30 every night. I took that early wake-up as a sign that something needed to change, and thankfully it did the trick right away! As long as her afternoon nap ends after 4pm sometime, we’re good to go until her 7pm (ish) bedtime.

The new schedule dilemma is my pumping routine. I have two problems with my current routine. 1) I am getting out more milk than Ellen consumes in a day and my freezer is running out of space. And 2) The way Ellen’s bottles are working out at school, she eats right before I pick her up and that means only one of my boobs gets a real-life feeding before bedtime. With her sleeping longer stretches at night again, that means the other boob goes 10-12 hours without getting any action, and that can be pretty rough. So I am trying to figure out a new pump-at-work schedule that works a little better so I don’t keep jamming my freezer full of milk, don’t have to pump at home in the evening, and also don’t end up with an exploding boob. I’m sure there is a solution, but I haven’t found it yet!

My favorite new routine is my workout routine. I decided that, with the holidays working against my waistline, I should actually put in some effort to burn extra calories outside of just breastfeeding. So I gave myself a goal: Work out every single day for 30 days – no skipping!

I have workout DVD with 20-25 minute workouts that I really enjoy. So I am just doing one of those workouts every day from December 1st through December 30th. I nailed days 1-4, and my body is already loving it. I’m sore, which hurts but feels amazing, I think I can already see my tummy deflating, and it has given me a mental boost because I feel really proud of myself.

I don’t plan to keep up a daily workout routine forever, but I figured I could do anything for 30 days. Especially if it just takes 20 (ish) minutes. So far, I’ve been able to squeeze the workouts in during a work-at-home lunch break, while Kyle played with the kids, while I was home alone with the kids, and after the kids’ bedtimes. If the workouts were longer, I’d never be able to make it happen. But this particular DVD is designed to kick your butt in a short spurt, and it is great!

The only other big news is that Christmas is coming and I am definitely in the Christmas spirit. It feels somehow more special than ever this year, now that we have two kids and Lewis is old enough to get it. I just want them to experience the magic like I remember it when I was a kid. For that reason, we’re going to see Santa with the cousins this coming weekend, we’re going to bake cookies with my mom, Lewis helped decorate the tree, and we’ve got a yummy advent calendar (from my Granny) that Lewis gets excited for every morning.

In the interest of mommy and daddy being able to enjoy the holidays too, we have kept the decorations and pressure to a minimum. We just have the tree, our stockings, and one decorative Santa. Kyle and I aren’t getting each other gifts, and we’re just generally approaching the holiday oriented towards the kids having fun instead of stuff and effort. It feels awesome, and even more festive this way!