Sledding Adventure

December 24, 2009

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We had probably a foot of snow in the last few days and today was one of those bright blue-sky Colorado days. Check out Clare’s first sledding adventure.

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And in the blink of an eye…

December 20, 2009

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Caterpillar, Butterfly & Monkey

Shazam! It’s December. And, more than two months since I last updated my blog. What can I say? I’ve been busy. Having two kids– in case no one has told you– is a LOT of work!

Since I last wrote, I returned to work. My four-month maternity leave came to an end, and I went back to my job in advertising. Bryce did an amazing job adjusting to daycare. Other than taking short naps for the first couple of months,  she has taken to it like a kid in a candy store. The room is so cheery, filled with pictures and toys, and the babies are well-loved. What’s not to like?

I only wish that my adjustment was as pain-free. Instead, I returned to “the job” and landed on an account that was in the throws of a lot of work without enough of members on its team. My work life quickly became insane and my Wednesdays at home with my girls are usually spent with my iPhone in my hand sifting through hundreds of emails. Rather than risk my job by elaborating, I will instead say that I am taking the necessary steps to improve my situation. Hopefully, 2010 brings lots of good stuff.

In October, we welcomed Aunties Jessie and Shelva for a visit. This was their first trip out to meet Bryce and they spent a lot of quality time with their nieces, playing in the basement, outside collecting leaves, and preparing a kid-themed dinner (hamburger faces). It was lovely to see them both and we are looking forward to seeing them again, when they have their commitment ceremony at The Culinary Vegetable Institute, in Ohio, this summer.

Halloween was memorable this year for many reasons: 1) This was Bryce’s first Halloween, 2) Clare was really into it this year and got to wear her (handmade by Nanny) butterfly costume numerous times, 3) Clare and Bryce’s costumes went together (Bryce was a caterpillar), and 4) My grandfather passed away after 94 years of life.

Over Halloween weekend, Bryce and I flew home to Miami to be with my family after Poppa’s death. It was good to be home and see my brother, who was taking it very hard. For me, oddly enough, the entire thing was very anticlimactic. When we visited my family last in February of this year, I knew it would likely be the last time I saw my grandfather. I had said my goodbyes, cried, and mourned the loss of a fantastic presence in my life. Going home eight months later for his funeral, was very different for me than it was for most of the family, I know. Jay Burton Keys was one in a zillion. We are all lucky to have had him in our lives.

A month later, at Thanksgiving, we welcomed Nancy and Larry for a visit. We had a fantastic turkey dinner, which I did not have to prepare. The grandparents spent oodles of time with both Bryce and Clare. I got out for a haircut, yoga, and walks with my girlfriends. Oh, how I wish that we had family here. It’s so good for everyone— the kids, our family, our marriage and our sanity!

I can clearly remember other people telling us that when you go from having one child to having two children that it is exponentially harder. I’m not necessarily denying that this is true. It’s hard to quantify exactly what the hard parts are. It’s more about the lack of time that there now is for everything: yourself, your marriage, your other children, your friends, and on and on and on. Before, when it was just the three of us, we were two parents per one child. When one of us needed to get in some “me” time, it was okay because 1-on-1 with Clare was doable. Now, when one of us has to be out of the house, it’s 2-on-1 and that is not so easy. Bryce is a baby and Clare is a tornado! Yes, a whirling ball of energy that talks a mile-a-minute and has endless questions, needs, and demands. I, of course, (still) only have two hands and so that can be difficult.

One of the things that I have struggled the most with is the guilt that I feel. This guilt is like one of those glass prisms you hang in the window– each time the light hits it, a new color is reflected on the wall. For example, I feel guilty when I am giving Bryce my attention, playing with her on the floor, and blowing raspberries on her belly. I am worried that Clare will get jealous or her feelings will be hurt. I feel guilty that I am not giving Bryce enough of the attention that she needs/deserves because Clare’s needs are more immediate, LOUDER, and well, Bryce is happy to hang on the floor chewing on a plastic toy. I feel guilty when I get out for some “me” time because my husband rarely takes time for himself. I feel guilty that I work outside the home and my daughters are being cared for by someone else four days a week. Guilt…it’s not just for Jewish mothers anymore.

What’s been really wonderful these past few months is watching Clare get excited about Bryce’s growth. Bryce is no longer a newborn. She can sit, eat with us at the dinner table, pick up toys, roll over, and can recognize all of us. Clare calls Bryce her friend, and she will tell you about all the things that she and Bryce are going to do together, “when Bryce gets bigger.” Every once in a while when the fog clears for a few minutes, I get a glimpse of our future, of the girls as little people, friends, together, giggling, sharing stories, in each others rooms, and each others confidants. The mutual affection that they share is one of the unexpected gifts having a second child has brought. Not only did we create another member of our family, someone who will be in our lives forever, but we have given Clare a friend for life…a sister. It’s been amazing to see what that has done to and for her.

And, in the blink of an eye, Bryce is six months old. Kapow! I know I need to buckle my seatbelt now, because the next six months are going to be a wild ride. I remember with Clare all of the leaps and bounds that take place in a baby’s development between six months and a year. Hard to imagine that, over the next six months, Bryce will be standing, (likely) walking, and communicating with us (words/signs).  Look out, 2010, we’re headed your way.

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On her way to a YELLOW! bike

September 25, 2009

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“Uncle” Simon came to visit earlier this month, and as a special treat he took Clare to the toy store to pick out a present for her. They apparently had a great time playing in the store but when it came time to choose something to take home, Clare was not interested, and instead said she wanted to come back another time. Oh, and she wanted a YELLOW! bike with pedals. Well, this particular store does not carry bikes and Clare already has a Strider bike which, at that point, she had not been riding much at all.

Things have changed since then and now Clare loves to ride her Strider. In literally a week’s time, she has gone from tentative rider who would straddle the bike instead of sitting on it to speed-demon who likes to hop on and off curbs. We couldn’t be more excited. And, almost every night this week we have gone for after-dinner walks so that she could get her bike fix in before bed.

Now, we just need to figure our where we can buy a YELLOW! bike small enough for our little racer.

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Smiling Mischief

September 22, 2009

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Minutes after this picture was taken over the weekend, Clare was out in the back yard playing. I look out to check up on her and she’s sitting in the grass with a piece of Logan’s dogshit in her hands. She’s breaking it apart and inspecting it. When I send Justin outside to take care of this and he reminds her that we don’t play with dogshit, she proceeds to argue with him and deny that it’s actually shit. That kid is too much.

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8 Weeks In

August 17, 2009

As I write, eight-week old Bryce is asleep in her crib. I count this as a small victory seeing as a week ago, I would still be sitting in her room, cradling her swaddled body, rocking her to sleep. Late last week we decided that it was time for Bryce to take a step forward and begin to learn how to put herself to sleep. Granted, we didn’t start this process with Clare until she was 12 weeks old, but thankfully Bryce has been a good student and is picking it up fairly quickly with not much resistance.

The past eight weeks have been a bit of a blur and I wish that I were doing a better job of chronicling it all here, but that’s something to work on, I know.

Bryce has woken up from her newborn haze and in the last couple of weeks has been giving away smiles to those that want ‘em.  Newborns are tough little bosses, so it’s only natural to feel like you are getting a huge pat on the back when their faces light up and flash you a toothless grin. Last week, while I held a sleeping Bryce in my arms, I was given a glimpse of something really awesome yet to come. In her sleep, Bryce let out a big ol’ giggle, “he he he” and my heart melted into a pool on the floor. Nothing is better than a giggling baby. Nothing.

Clare continues to make us laugh on a daily basis as is the job of any good toddler. She has developed this great sense of humor and has a flare for the dramatic.(Hmmm…wonder where she gets that from?) The amount of affection and love that she shows for her sister is pretty unbelievable, too. Bryce is the recipient of numerous hugs and “moochies” everyday from Clare. And, it’s definitely noteworthy to mention that when Clare finds her self hurt or upset, it’s often giving Bryce a hug that makes her feel better. Who knew the power of a baby?

In other big Clare news, we have officially entered into the “Big Girl Panties” era. Yes, Clare has made some pretty large jumps into the world of potty training and now wears panties every day (except for naps and nighttime). While she definitely has accidents (mostly when she’s having too much fun and doesn’t want to stop playing), she really has done great and we are so proud of our “big girl.”

My in-laws were out for a visit this month and it was so wonderful to have them here. They loved meeting Bryce and spending quality time with both of their granddaughters. We were psyched to have the extra sets of hands, and were able to get in some much needed Mommy/Daddy time. The fact that Clare is so comfortable with her grandparents helps greatly, too. While they were here, Clare would wake up in the morning and ask, “Where’s Granddad? Where’s Nanny?” And for me, a nursing momma, who spends 24/7 with Bryce, it was fantastic to be able to nurse Bryce and then hand her off to the loving arms of her grandmother! I got in a haircut, some errands ALONE, and was able to read and relax. We’re all looking forward to their next visit!

The pregnancy weight is still wrapped securely around my midsection, unfortunately. I actually went out on my first run in 9+ months yesterday, and now I am nursing some sore knees (go figure). Guess the old infrastructure ain’t so psyched about having to heft the extra lbs. Justin is quick to remind me that it took longer than eight weeks to take off the weight I gained with Clare, but knowing that I am not going to be pregnant again (Yes, we are stopping at two lovely girls!), I am more anxious this time to shed the weight and get back to my old figure. One pound at a time, I know.

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Long Overdue

July 9, 2009

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Yes, finally! I am terribly overdue (runs in the family, obviously) on publishing this post.

On the evening of June 21st, I began what would be a very short labor at around 10:30pm. Laboring at home until almost 3am, we headed to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning. I was 5cm dilated. The nurse called the doctor and told her that we were happy to have my waters broken if that would expedite things. Our doctor came in at 4am, checked me again (I was at 6-7cm and fully effaced) and broke my water at 4:15am. The next hour was INTENSE and INSANE and it all seems like a fog now. Our gorgeous and perfect daughter was born (without any drugs) on June 22nd at 5:29am after some wicked labor and two pushes. Weighing 8lbs and 7oz at 21 1/2 inches long, Bryce Anne Shacklette, was finally here (only EIGHT DAYS LATE).

Of course, looking at this absolute miracle…she was worth the wait. bryce

Since June 22, our lives have been, well, crazy. Now, when I say, crazy, I don’t mean in the “please-check-me-into-the-loony-bin” kind of crazy. I mean that we were all in a routine with Clare, our eldest, and shining star before Bryce’s arrival. Since Bryce’s birth, we have been trying to get back to that normalcy of everyday life with our “plus one.” It’s been an adjustment (more on Clare’s adjustment later), but we are managing and everyone has succeeded in getting fully dressed each day and swallowing at least one nutritional thing. I call that a success. Of course, bathing has become a little more infrequent, but hey, we figure it’s summer anyway and Clare’s getting in plenty of slip-n-slide time at school so that’s gotta count for something, right?

We’ve done our best to try and keep Clare’s life as “normal” as possible, which means that she continues to go to school four days a week and can I just say, “THANK GOD,” for that without sounding like a terrible mother? Honestly, I don’t know how other moms have done it all of these centuries–caring for a newborn with a toddler at home. It’s hard on those days when Clare is at home and thankfully, I’ve got the best husband in the universe, which enables us to have man-to-man coverage of our two girls.

Clare has been very excited about her new little sister and upon coming home everyday comes running into the house asking, “Where’s Bryce?” as if she might suddenly disappear as quickly as she came into the world. Of course, Clare has done her fair share of acting out but she is also two years old so, really, who’s to say that it’s all directly related to Bryce? Regardless, while we have seen an increased number of time-outs in our household, we are trying to give Clare as much undivided attention as we can. So far, Bryce has been pretty accommodating in that mission.

There’s so much more to say, but I fear that this post might go on forever, so I will just say that in my brief years as a parent, I have heard other parents talk about explosive poops–the kinds that hit the walls and end up everywhere. I had never really experienced that kind of display before…until TODAY. Yes, while changing Bryce’s diaper, she had the most explosive poop I’d ever seen and I had her feet positioned up over her head at just the right angle, I guess, in order for her to shoot mustard yellow (the dijon variety) across the changing table and onto the wall, hitting, me, her hamper, and the floor in the process. Wow.

…And you thought I was going to wax poetic about my expanding heart or something else equally as emotional. More on that another day. In the meantime, I leave you with these heart-warming photographs of the first days of Bryce’s two and a half week old life.

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Waiting Game

June 7, 2009

Uncle Simon's Visit

Uncle Simon's Visit

My brother came to Boulder this weekend for a visit. We were all hoping that the baby would make his/her grand entrance while he was here, but no luck there.

We did have a very nice weekend together though and Clare continues to charm her uncle. Simon and she played a lot together and he even had her kicking and throwing her soccer ball in our backyard, which was awesome.

I am officially 39 weeks (and 1 day) now and we are on “Baby Watch,” for sure. I am hoping that any day/moment will be “go time.” Last Wednesday, I had one of my weekly OB-GYN appointments with Dr. Swartz. When she checked my cervix, I was 2cm dilated and 75% effaced. Of course, women can walk around for weeks with this kind of action, but one can’t help be optimistic that things are going to happen soon.

My favorite blogger, Heather Armstrong of, who happens to be pregnant with her second child and due the same date as me, published a spot-on post last week that perfectly captured the cervical exam. Check it out here:

Hoping to help things along, Friday afternoon, Simon and I made Eggplant Parmesan from a recipe I found online. Apparently, there is a restaurant outside of Atlanta called Scalini’s, which serves an Eggplant Parm that is famous for sending pregnant women into labor within 48 hours of eating it. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked, but the dinner was tasty nonetheless.

Meanwhile, things at work have significantly slowed down for me and I am officially working from home until I roll onto my maternity leave (Friday, June 12th, if not before). It’s so much better to be home, barefoot, and on the couch, rather than having to battle my wardrobe each morning and face the stares and comments of coworkers asking “when are you due?” for the one-thousandth time.

Our good friends, Josh & Marni Zapin, were due with their second child on June 9th, five days before us. Their son, Elijah, was born five days early this past Thursday. Can’t help being envious that their little man is here and we are still waiting. Finding out the baby’s sex is even more exciting now that the delivery day approaches. I can’t wait!

In other news, this afternoon, Clare asked to put on her “big girl panties,” and we decided to let her wear them. We reiterated that wearing the panties meant that she needed to make all of her pee-pees and poopies into the potty and if she had accidents we would have to put her back into a diaper. I am happy to report that she peed twice in the potty and had zero accidents during the 2+ hours she wore the panties. Of course, we reminded and encouraged her to “try” sitting on the potty both times that she went, but still, progress was made on that front. Way to go, Clare!

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Sharp Objects

May 27, 2009

Clare had two run-ins today with sharp household objects where I found myself saying, “Yea, you’re going to have to remember this.”

First Incident: This morning, shortly after putting on a new summer dress, Clare wanted the tag cut out. I had already removed the price tag and another laundry tag, but she wanted the brand-name tag removed, too. (Lord help us she doesn’t become one of those texture-challenged children that has to wear her socks inside out due to the seams driving her crazy.) Justin was in the kitchen getting breakfast ready and I was making my way into the bedroom to begin my daily morning battle with my pregnancy wardrobe. That’s when Clare decided to go into the top drawer of her dresser and take out the pair of scissors we keep there for tag removal and other cutting chores. She retrieved the scissors and carried them into the kitchen to hand over to Daddy. (Hi, sharp objects in my 2 yr old’s hands. Oops.) Mental note: Keep those scissors OUT of her room.

Second Incident: Later this morning, while awaiting the arrival of a friend for a scheduled playdate, Clare and I were playing make-believe. She was “shopping” she said for food and had decided that she was going to buy pizza. She then determined she needed a knife to cut the pizza. While I played the role of bad mother and turned my back for a few minutes, Clare went into the kitchen, into the top silverware drawer, and removed a knife. (Second sharp object in my 2 yr old’s hands inside an hour.) When I reminded her that knives were for Mommy’s and Daddy’s to use, she took this as cue to begin RUNNING with said knife into the bedroom. Fortunately, no one was hurt or impaled. (I know, I am winning all kinds of parenting awards today, believe me.)

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Spring Pics 2009

May 27, 2009

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It’s been MANY months since I sent out a Clare update of photos, so I have put together the following slideshow which captures March-May.

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Four More Weeks?

May 18, 2009

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In many ways it’s hard to believe that we are already in the middle of May. But, for those that have seen me lately and the size of this belly I am hefting around, one would think that it’s the middle of August, and I am two months overdue! Of course, getting comments such as, “Are you sure you’re not carrying twins?” doesn’t help the ol’ self-esteem much either. Seriously people, do you not know better than to ask a pregnant lady such a thing?

This weekend marked the end of week #36 and the beginning of #37. Yes, I know I am getting “close,” but honestly to think that there are FOUR more weeks of this is a bit depressing. I am ready for our newest one to make his/her arrival –even though I know it will mean night-time feedings, craziness in our household, etc. Whatever. I say, “bring it,” and let’s get the show on the road.

We had our doctor’s appointment this morning where we saw Dr. Swartz, who we’ve chosen to fill in for our regular OB, Dr. Jensen (out on maternity leave). Swartz actually delivered Clare two years ago as she was the on-call doctor, so we feel pretty comfortable about her handling the remainder of this pregnancy. Everything looked good, she said, but the baby’s belly during the ultrasound was measuring big so we are going later this week to get another measurement/ultrasound. Nothing too alarming, they just want to be prepared for the labor, should the baby actually have the buddha belly it appears to. For us, it means another look at the baby come Thursday morning when we have the follow-up appointment scheduled. Meanwhile, baby #2 is head down, face up, and sitting in my uterus froggie style–just like Clare did.

Clare is doing great. She continues to make us laugh daily at the things that she says. We’re making some progress on the potty training front, which is also a good thing. Some of the kids in her class and one good friend who lives in our neighborhood are close to being potty trained and the peer pressure is working! Just last night, before beginning our bedtime routine, I asked Clare if she wanted to try and make pee pee. While Justin and I folded laundry, I peered out of our bedroom and watched as she marched herself into the bathroom, pulled her shorts down, took off her diaper, sat on the potty and took care of business! ALL BY HER SELF! She was quite proud of her performance, too, and together the three of us celebrated the accomplishment.

Hopefully, she will continue on this path and the arrival of her sibling won’t set her back. We figure that once baby #2 is 2-3 months old, we will try to put Clare into panties and make the big push to fully potty train. We’ll see.

Over the weekend, we managed to squeeze in a lot of activity. We hit up the Sunflower Farm (a Clare favorite) for a friend’s birthday party. Clare had been (and still is) singing happy birthday to Lucy all of the time. Clare loved feeding the goats and would have done that all day, had there not been cupcakes and hot dogs to lure her away from the bucket of corn.

We had a babysitter Saturday night and got out with the Bieners for some bbq. Justin and I even stayed out later and indulged in some Ben & Jerry’s before going to see a friend’s bluegrass band play at a local bar. Sunday morning, my girlfriends honored me by getting together for a baby #2 brunch at Q’s in downtown Boulder. I am fortunate to have such good girlfriends and they’re a great support system. In the afternoon, following a playdate with Nolan & Francis Kelly, Justin and I left Clare at home napping with a babysitter while we snuck out to see the new Star Trek (awesome!) movie.

Meanwhile, Justin hit up Home Depot and Target, fixed our sprinkler system, unpacked more books to go on his newly hung office bookshelves, planted new lavendar bushes, and whipped up pancakes for a tasty breakfast one morning. I have an amazing husband.

This Friday, our friends Caren & Scott MacClelland arrive with their kids, Chase (almost 5) and Gracie (almost 3) to stay the weekend with us. We’re looking forward to the full house, the Boulder Creek Festival, watching the kids play together, and having a bbq at Chautauqua Park with a bunch of families.

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