Justin was leaning back and forth between being done with school after his masters degree and going with the original plan of becoming a triple boarded pediatrician for a while and decided that in order to do and accomplish what he wants to he needs to go all the way, so we're going the med school route. We're moving home in May where we're both going to be starting school at some point, Justin doing 2 years of premed at Dixie starting this summer and me doing cosmetology school at Taylor Andrews. We're super excited. Justin wanted me to be sure to mention that he'll be getting a job, as well, as an adjunct at Dixie State. After he's done with premed stuff, we're going to head up to (hopefully) the University of Utah for 4 years of medical school, then 5 years of residency, after which he'll be prepared to take the boards for pediatrics, psychiatry, and child psychiatry. THEN we're going to move back to So. Utah where he'll...do something. We've not decided on that yet. He may practice psychiatry for a while to get a good start on our student loans, but eventually he wants to have his own clinic where he'll be a pediatrician, but also be able to incorporate development and mental health issues as well. Kind of a one-stop-shop. When all is said and done he'll have a bachelors of psychology, a masters of child development, a doctorate of medicine, board certified in peds, psych, and child psych, a certificate of infant/parent mental health from UMASS Boston, plus certified in The Happiest Baby on the Block, NBO, NCAST, and Floor Time. Plus any other certificates he decides to pursue between now and then. Whew! That made me tired just thinking about it!
Louise is going stir crazy this winter. Today was the first time we attempted to go out and play at a park for a week or two; it wasn't the greatest experience. We thought we were good, since the air temperature was nearly up to officially freezing (23 degrees). Wind chill brought it down to a measly 5. Also, we were a bit surprised to find that the powdery inch of snow that fell last night covered nothing but solid ice, the entire length and breadth of the park. It was like ice fishing, without the poles, water, fish, or occasional feeling of success. So really, just cold. I wish I could say this was the exception and not the rule for this winter; but, like George Washington, I cannot tell a lie. Louise tried to make the best of the situation, as two-year-olds are wont to do at the park. Unfortunately, she just succeeded in becoming extremely irritable and impatient without really knowing why (mild frostbite will do that to you, I guess). So, kicking and screaming, we loaded her into the car with the promise of pretzels and cheese for a snack when we arrived home (don't judge me). From there, we sought out another Chicago milestone; we got our car washed for the first time since crossing the state line into Illinois and Chitown (Peer pressure is a beast, when you park next to a sparkling black Cadi' and a Range Rover, while your car looks like something that wandered in off of a year-long hiatus on the salt flats). Louise was none too certain about the wash.
Really, though, we couldn't ask for a better oldest child than Louise. She's (almost) always so helpful, kind, and polite. She's extremely perceptive and deliberate; when sleep time comes around, she turns into a cleaning machine, determined to make sure there's a place for everything, and everything in its place. It's pretty adorable, albeit a shameless stall tactic. With so much terrible winter weather, we've utilized a bit more screen time than we're happy to admit. Louise has become quite the aficionado on "pinsince" movies (and their accompanying soundtracks). We've discovered that her genetic inheritance at this point seems to be equally balanced between the both of us; she not only can quote lines and act out specific movie scenes after only one viewing (located on the Nuckles88 gene), but she also has the uncanny ability to recall "pinsince show" just by hearing a bit of symphonic soundtrack (located on the Chamberlain90 gene).
She's still taking pretty solid naps, from about 1:00 to 3:00 or 3:30, and sleeping from 7:00 to about 8:00. She talks a mile a minute, and always surprises us with new words that we have to piece together from context, charades, and sheer toddler passion. She eats like a champ. I think we're going to have to claim that victory for our own; we seem to wait until she's gone to bed to eat all of our unhealthy snacks, treats, and desserts. You're welcome, Louise; you can thank us later, when you're running ultra marathons, and we're cheering you on while spilling over the sides of our highly stylized power scooters. We're only thinking of you, kid. On that physical note, at her 2-year checkup she was the height of an average 3-year-old. All of her clothes for the upcoming summer are 4T. Go figure.
Cora: how does one capture the essence of a newborn in words? In a blessing that Justin gave Claire toward the end of the pregnancy, it was said that the baby would be, "Happy, healthy, and strong." Yeah, I guess that about sums it up, for a kid whose entire existence seems to be smiling, stretching her long legs and torso, and doing sit-ups. Even when she isn't smiling with her mouth, her eyes still look like she's ready to break into a grin. She's on the verge of figuring out giggling: she can manage these cute, significant, high-pitched intakes of breath so far. Cooing and mumbling have surfaced in abundance, and she rarely cries. When she has needs that aren't being met satisfactorily, she simply yells and screws up her face in a grimace, before quieting to see if someone has noticed. It never lasts long, since she spends the majority of her day either in our arms or in the Ergo carrier on our chests. She typically sleeps between 8-10 hours per night, and has for two months. During the first couple of weeks, we really should have woken her up more to feed her at night. We swaddle her at night, and she bedshares with us, right in the middle, with her head up toward the headboard (With the crack between mattress and headboard meticulously filled in to minimize risk). Between these and the white noise that we use, she sleeps like a lumberjack in Canada. We lay her down completely awake and she falls asleep completely on her own after being swaddled and turning the white noise on. I can't believe how well she does. Everyone should read The Happiest Baby on the Block Sleep book. Breastfeeding is going so well. So much better than with Louise. I always felt like I was forcing Louise and that she was too distracted and active and always wanted to be doing other things. I was nervous about it before I had Cora because I wanted a better experience, so I finally read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. It's a wonderful book every new or old mom needs to read at least once. The authors are a bit extreme in several aspects, but the information is golden. I read it at the beginning of my pregnancy, and again at the end/right after I had Cora. I'm so much more calm and relaxed about nursing and less concerned with timing and schedules. At her two-month checkup, she was the size of an average 4-month-old. She's wearing 3-6 month clothing. We're noticing a trend here...
We're so very excited to move. We've shipped six boxes of books already, have five boxes of other things ready to go, and have more in the pipeline. We've sold three of our sitting room chairs and have other things listed for sale. We're going to sell as much of our big furniture as we possibly can, ship as much as we affordably can via UPS and USPS, and then fill the Corolla to bursting for the return trip. Claire will be flying back with the girls on April 14. Justin will leave the 30, driving the Corolla.
|Our little sleep bundle|
|"So who's the funky-looking donkey?"|
|Healthy... (per Dr. Louise)|
|Strong. (Cora 2 mos., L 1 mo.)|
|Just about our whole world in a hug|