Tuesday, December 20, 2011

very thankful

We have been celebrating many firsts with Cecilia lately. Most recently she joined us for her first Thanksgiving. Each year we have family come in from out of town to spend the holiday with us. For many this was their first time meeting Cecilia. For my Aunt Sue this was her second time seeing her great niece. She visited in August, which was a very difficult period for Cecilia. She was extremely fussy and uncomfortable most of the time so she was not able to fully enjoy her. In the past 2-3 months Cecilia has done a 180 and turned into a very delightful baby.

Everyone was able to enjoy Cecilia during the holiday. My Grandmother was especially excited to spend time with her. She lives in Michigan and is able to visit on a regular basis. She has watched Olivia grow up and is now taking delight in watching another great grandchild change and grow before her eyes. My girls call their great grandmother, Nana Cleo and I know she loves being able to see them so frequently. Not many of us really get to know our great grandparents. Olivia has had five years with Nana Cleo. I would love for Cecilia to have five years with her too.

We used the Thanksgiving holiday as a chance to take some updated family photos. It is not too often that so many of us are together at the same time. There are quite a few family members missing from these photos but we were able to take a four generations picture as well as a picture with the grandkids and great-grandkids (those who were in town, anyway).

I have so much more to be thankful for this year. I now have two amazing and beautiful little girls in my life. Olivia continues to impress me with her ever expanding mind and true love of life. Having Cecilia in our lives has changed our family dynamic, but in a wonderful way. We hesitated initially about having a second child, but now that I see Olivia with her little sister I cannot imagine us not being a family of four. Olivia was meant to be a big sister and she has handled the transition with such grace. There is not a day that goes by where she doesn't tell us just how much she loves her sister. Watching these two girls build a bond with one another has been one of the greatest joys of my life, thus far.

With Thanksgiving out of the way it was time to kick our Christmas preparations into high gear. First on the list was getting the decorations up and our trees decorated. Olivia has her own little tree that she decorates on her own. The plan is to get Cecilia a matching tree for next Christmas that she can start to decorate too.

Next it was off to visit Santa. This would be Cecilia's first Santa visit, but Olivia 6th!!! Olivia was only one month old the first time she visited Santa. Now at 5 she is a seasoned pro. She hopped right into Santa's lap and recited her Christmas wish list. After Santa listened carefully Cecilia joined her sister for their first picture with Santa together. I must say it turned out very well. Next year may be interesting, as Cecilia may be a bit more hesitant to sit in the lap of the man in the red suit.

We also took the girls to see live reindeer. It was a little too cold for Cecilia so she was hidden under her car seat cover, but Olivia got up close and personal with a adult and baby reindeer. They were very cute!

Each year we visit the Botanical Gardens with one of Olivia's little friends from school. They love running around together through the Christmas displays. Olivia and Laurel always enjoy their time together and this has become of our Christmas traditions that we always look forward to.

Cecilia often misses out on some of our family outings due to her napping schedule, or lack there of right now. I am having a great deal of difficulty getting this child to take decent naps. She seems to do very well during the week with her babysitter, but once she is at home for the weekends her naps continue to be a struggle. It often involves waking after a short time and then spending a great deal of time trying to get the child to go back to sleep. We need to really get serious with our sleep training but I have been putting it off. It is time for Cece to learn to soothe herself back to sleep when she wakes from naps and nighttime sleep. I remember doing this with Olivia. It was hard at first, but worth it in the end. I am a stickler for sleep and I will do whatever I have to in order to get this child to be a good sleeper. Strange thing is that even with very little sleep she still tends to be a pretty happy baby. Go figure!

Aside from our sleeping issues Cecilia is making a ton of progress developmentally. She is close to sitting up unassisted. She can prop herself up for a minute or so before toppling over. One thing I have noticed about this child is just how strong she is. She has a great deal of upper body strength and can lift her entire chest off the ground. She has been rolling from her back to her belly for about a month and a half now but has yet to roll from her belly to her back. Not sure why, but she just won't do it. She is quite the chatterbox too. That is one thing that her and her big sister have in common. Her smiles go on for miles and she is just most squishy and cuddly little baby.

In between all of Christmas festivities we squeezed in a super fun event at Olivia's school. On the last day of school before break, Peace Montessori hosted their annual International Night. Each classroom represents a different country and prepares food and decorations to show that country's culture. Olivia's classroom featured the country of Holland. My Mom just returned from a trip to Holland so she was able to contribute quite a bit to help them prepare for the event. To say that the food from each country was enjoyable is a understatement. It was a fun night and we left with very full tummies.

With Christmas only a few days away I need to kick it into high gear. It is amazing how much more difficult it is to prepare for this holiday with a second child in the mix. There just are not enough hours in the day. Everything may not get done and it may not be perfect, but that's ok. I am just thankful to have a happy, healthy family to share this special time of year with. I have a five year old who is counting the days until Santa arrives and a 5 month old that smiles constantly...life is pretty darn good!