Friday, May 30, 2008

Fun at the Pool

I can remember spending hours and hours at the pool when I was growing up. My friends and I would make up games to play, build forts with towels and of course get ice cream at the snack bar. I look forward to the girls doing the same. On Monday I took Anna and Madelyn to the pool with two of our friends. Maddie did great and slept in the stroller the whole time; Anna enjoyed splashing in the water and playing with her friend's water toys. Tonight we ventured back to the pool as a family. Anna loved going down the big slide. Here are some of the pics:

Going down the slide and playing with daddy

Daddy and Anna coming off the slide Daddy and Anna

Drying off with mommy

Mommy and Anna

Thursday, May 29, 2008

First Bottle

Today Maddie had her first bottle of breastmilk. I used my Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breastpump to fill her a bottle. This breastpump is a huge improvement over the Avent hand pump that I used for many months with Anna. It is easy to use, easy to clean and all of the parts fit perfectly into the backpack. (As a side note, anyone who works for or has a spouse that works for IBM is able to get one half price through the work/life program.) The bottles we chose to use with Madelyn are made by Born Free. With all of the hype over baby bottles these days, we went with these because they offer glass bottles as well as plastic bottles that are Bisphenol-A free. For Maddie's first bottle, I used a Born Free 5 ounce glass bottle with a level 1 nipple. It only took a minute before Maddie started chugging away and drank 2.5 ounces.

I'm not sure how often I'll use bottles with Madelyn, but it is nice to know that it is now an option. My husband will be able to feed her if he wants and it gives us a little more freedom to leave Madelyn with someone. I plan to try out the plastic bottle soon as well since it will be better for traveling.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Whose eyes does she have?

My mother in-law came to visit over the Memorial weekend and at one point we were looking through old pictures of my husband and myself to see if we could see any similarities to our girls. Some people think Anna looks more like me, some say Erik and there of course are those who say she looks like her own person (how original). I was reading a friend of mine's blog and she had a link to a "look a like" meter to help settle such debates. Here's how ours came out:

MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celebrity - Collage - Morph

I'm not buying that this really works after trying it a couple of times with different pictures, but it is still fun.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


The picture taking has slowed a little but here are the girls posing for a few.

Maddie 2 1/2 weeks Anna posing

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Keeping Track

I'm a fairly detailed person; I like to keep track of things and save any information that I think may be useful in the future. That is one reason I started blogging and the four months of Anna's life before the blog I kept (what I thought to be) detailed accounts in a journal. Not having looked at the journal in awhile, I recalled having meticulous records of Anna's schedules and struggles in the journal and I couldn't wait to dive in. The entries I read from Anna's first month of life turned out to be rather uninformative and told me little more than "Anna is eating well". Sadness. I was so hoping for some insight, some recollection of what those first weeks were like with Anna, some assurance that Madelyn is on track. Instead I have been skimming through the "Baby First Year" books that have been sitting on our nursery shelves. I can't go back and change what I did or didn't do the first go around but I'm realizing a detailed records of Anna from birth would be the most informative book that I could read because it would be filled with what worked and what didn't for our family.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Me and the Girls

I have been so fortunate to have help from friends and family over the past 3 weeks but now it is time for me to go it alone. Yesterday was my first day taking care of Anna and Madelyn by myself. I had no expectations for the day; no "to do's" or errands to run - just a wide open schedule to see how the girls would do. The morning started great with Madelyn being asleep when Anna woke up so I was able to get Anna out of bed, dressed, and fed before Madelyn was ready to eat. We then went for a walk around the neighborhood to get some exercise and fresh air. The next "activity" for the day was getting a shower, which went surprisingly well with Madelyn in her bouncer and Anna playing with toys (note to self: the magna doodle is not a good shower time activity for I had to keep getting in and out of the shower to "clear" the screen for Anna). Then the next thing I knew it was time for lunch and naps. I had to make sure Madelyn was asleep or at least content before being able to take Anna upstairs for her nap since she gets upset when she hears Madelyn crying. Success. Anna slept for an hour; Madelyn slept for 2 1/2 hours so I had an hour of time to myself and then an hour and a half of just Anna time. I would say the first day alone was a good one though I know they won't all be made equally. A friend of mine who has two kids of her own reminded me the other day that I need to be flexible and remember that a "routine" this week doesn't mean it will all be the same the following for a newborn's "schedule" is constantly changing.

Today has gone very much the same. I am currently enjoying the few minutes of downtime during naps. I have noticed today that Anna has been even more clingy. She wants to hold my hand whenever she goes anywhere (including into the other room), is constantly reaching for me to pick her up, and at times runs away crying when I pick up Madelyn. Poor Anna has had her world turned upside down; hopefully in a few weeks she will adjust to sharing her time with mommy and daddy. Until then I'll just make sure to give her extra hugs.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Another favorite past time of ours is coloring. Anna does a great job with both crayons and markers. Currently, our crayons of choice are a small box of jumbo crayons - Anna seems to now do better with these than the Crayola TaDoodles crayons. The TaDoodles were great for awhile but Anna started throwing them off of her highchair to hear them thud since they are so heavy.

My preference of marker is the Crayola Color Wonder markers. These are great because I don't have to worry about Anna getting marker on her clothes or the table since they only show up on the Color Wonder paper. One thing about the markers that I wish I had never shown Anna was how to put the marker tops back on because she is now obsessed with it. No marker can go longer than a second or two without its top on and when the top won't go on she gets extremely frustrated.

Anna coloring and putting the caps back on the markers

Oh well, coloring is still a nice downtime activity that I can do with Anna and still have a hand free for Madelyn.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Spy...

Anna loves searching through books and looking for things that are familiar to her. It all started with an I Spy board book where Anna would look at items on the left page and then find them on the right page. She quickly mastered the book and so we had to move on to something else. My husband pulled out his old book, Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry and showed Anna how to find goldbug, the little yellow bug that hides on every page. It is adorable! Every time she finds goldbug she shouts "baba" and points. I can see this being something Anna and I do quite often when I'm feeding Madelyn.

Gold Bug

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It Happened...

Yesterday I had my first outing away from Madelyn. For Mother's Day my husband got me a pedicure and watched both girls while I went to have it done (thanks again hubby!). I got there and went to the lounge where I found it difficult to relax and I kept checking the time wondering if Madelyn had woken up and was ready to eat again. The lady came to take me to the nail room and put a hot warmer around my neck, aaaaaahhhhh, and I did my best to relax. The lady doing my toes spoken very broken English and so our conversation was rather limited. Our one conversation went like this: She said something I couldn't understand and pointed at my stomach (surely not), I asked her to repeat so she once again said something I could not understand and put her hand on her own stomach (does she think I'm...), I asked her to repeat one more time, she said "are you married?". I'm guessing by the end she figured out I wasn't pregnant. I told her I had a 2 week old baby and she quickly put her hand to her mouth.

I know it is fairly common for women who have just given birth to be mistaken for pregnant - it's not like the weight you've acquired over 9 months has suddenly disappeared nor has everything gone back to its original location (does it ever?) - but I had never been on the receiving end. On one hand it is comical, on the other it is a little blow to the self esteem. You can bet I held my stomach in the rest of the visit. I guess it's time to start the situps :).

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Big Weekend

The girls had a fun-filled weekend. On Friday Madelyn attended her first playgroup. She bravely slept in her carseat as Anna's friends touched her toes and tried to rock her. I have often thought how Madelyn will spend a lot of time going to events for Anna rather than playgroups of her own - I guess that's just part of being the younger sibling. However, three other of my mommy friends in Anna's playgroup are having babies in October, so Madelyn will have kids to play with too, which is exciting.

On Saturday we went strawberry picking at Pope's Farm in Knightdale with Aunt Susu and Uncle Aaron.

Anna Picking strawberries

Anna wasn't able to pull the strawberries from the plant so her job was to put the strawberries into the bucket.

Picking strawberries

I tried to carry Madelyn around in the Baby Bjorn but she was too close to her food source and was not content to stay in there, so I spent most of the time sitting in the car with her.

After naptime we took a family trip to the neighborhood pool which we joined for the first time this summer. It is so nice to have a pool within walking distance. We once again loaded up the girls in the BOB (still loving the stroller!) and got to the pool just in time for pool break. Anna was ok with that - she enjoyed watching the other kids run around and had no clue about the pool. When break time was over, my husband took Anna into the family pool which has beach-entry (8 inches deep) while I sat in the shade with Madelyn. I can see how it may be difficult for me to visit the pool by myself and watch both girls, but I'm going to give it a shot this summer (probably with some girlfriends in tow.) Anna played for about 10 minutes and was ready to go home, oh well - next time we will bring some water toys.

The weekend ended with a nice Mother's Day spent in Burlington where we had lunch with my mom. The girls once again did so well (for Madelyn that means she slept the whole time). It was a great Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Jogger

As I mentioned before, we bought two double strollers - the MacLaren and the BOB Revolution Duallie. Last night we took the BOB to the park to try it out. I still love this stroller! With Anna, a car seat and Madelyn all in it, it was still easy to push and maneuver. Since I love to get outdoors and walk, especially with friends, it was important to me to be able to use this stroller from birth so we bought the BOB Car seat adapter with tray. The adapter allows for one car seat to be added and has a snack tray on the other side - so its perfect for a newborn and toddler. One downside is that the cup holder on the snack tray is very small and so most of Anna's sippy cups don't fit in it (I found the disposable sippy cups to fit just fine).


The car seat we decided to purchase to use in the BOB and in our second car was the Peg Perego Viaggio SIP. Like most everything else we bought, we purchased last year's model and were able to get it for almost half the price. Being a Peg Perego, I had high hopes for the car seat but I must admit that I prefer the Chicco Keyfit car seat that we purchased when Anna was born. Unfortunately, the Chicco Keyfit is not one of the carseats that fits into the BOB stroller. For a more thorough comparison of the two carseats, check out my husband's blog entries: Aftermarket additions to infant car seats and Chicco vs Peg Perego Redux.

At a week out of the hospital, I feel great and think I'm about ready to get back on the walking trail - who knows if I'll actually be able to do it but I'm ready to give it a shot.

Loving my Diaper Bag

I am very much a purse girl - my closet is full of purses in different colors and sizes. After Anna got older and I no longer had to carry around toys and bottles and all of those "just in case" items, I traded in my diaper bag for a regular purse. With two, I figured I would need something a little larger than my standard purse (and hopefully something that was easier to clean) and so I set off to find the perfect diaper bag for me. It is amazing how much you can spend on a diaper bag if you really tried (upwards of $500) - who would have thought?!? After reading about the Emily bag by Storksak on my friend's blog, Trendy Taylor, I decided it was perfect, though pricey. My husband decided to get the bag for me as a birthday gift and I was able to find it at a discount at the online boutique, Tiny Truffles, so we ordered it and it quickly arrived.

This bag is great - what else do you expect from a diaper bag Angelina Jolie carries :). It has lots of pockets on the inside which make it easy to keep Madelyn and Anna's stuff separate and the two pockets on the front allow me to access my cell phone quickly. On each side are insulated zippered pockets for bottles and sippy cups which not only keeps the items cold but also prevents sippy cup spills in the bottom of the purse (which I know all too well!). If you're looking for a splurge, I recommend this bag.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

1 Week Old

As of last night, Madelyn has been here for a week. On one hand the week has flown by with so many visitors and the excitement of having a newborn in the house; on the other hand it feels like weeks since I was in the hospital. We are adjusting to our new sleep schedule (sleep whenever we can!) and learning more ways to entertain Anna around the house. Two on two I feel like my husband and I can tackle anything and we are frequently doing the divide and conquer technique.

Madelyn is actually a pretty good sleeper (I sadly cannot remember this time with Anna very well). Of course, she can sleep forever if I am holding her but she can do a couple of good hours of sleep in her pack n play or crib as well. This will be helpful when I'm by myself and need my arms free for Anna. This has been a wonderful week!

Madelyn 6 days old

Monday, May 5, 2008

Out for a Stroll

Anna and Madelyn in the double wide

Last night we took a family stroll to the neighborhood park in our Maclaren Twin Techno. I was nervous at first about putting Madelyn in there so soon even though the stroller seats recline and the stroller came with removable infant headrests. Even with the infant headrest I did not feel there was enough support for Madelyn's neck and head. As a baby gift, I had received the Snuzzler by Kiddopotamus and so I put that into the stroller and it made for a nice comfy fit for Madelyn. Anna enjoyed being in the new stroller and having her sister beside her

You can definitely tell this is an umbrella type stroller and I wouldn't want to use this for taking long walks, but I can see that it will be convenient for places like the mall. The stroller is fairly light weight, easy to use and folds up well. When pushing I could feel the slight drift Anna's way since she has an additional 20 pounds on Madelyn, but it was still easy to push. I'm not sure how well the sunshade will work for Madelyn on a sunny day for you can see in the picture that she is not protected from any sun coming in through the front.

I could see this stroller becoming more useful as the girls get older.


Maddie's First Doctor's Appointment

We took Madelyn to her first doctor's appointment today. A friend kept Anna for us so that my husband and I could both go. The main purpose of the first visit is the weight check to see if the baby has gotten back to his/her birth weight. This is usually expected to happen within the first two weeks and periodic weight checks are scheduled to make sure the baby is eating well and gaining weight. Madelyn dropped from 7 lbs 11 oz to 7 lbs 4 oz prior to leaving the hospital but surprisingly hit 7 lbs 12.5 oz today! The doctor was pleased and said he didn't need to see her again until she is a month old. Needless to say, breastfeeding is going well and Maddie is a great eater.

The Big Sister

Anna's Big Sister Tshirt

Anna is a wonderful big sister. She quickly learned the word "sissy" and knows where Madelyn is at all times (check out the video on my husband's blog). Anna loves to help by throwing Maddie's diapers away and turning music on for her. Here's Anna peering into the pack n play to check on her little sister.

Anna Watching her little sister

I think it is going to be so much fun watching these two grow up together; hopefully they will become best friends.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Cute Little Toes

My friend (mom of 3) was so right - Anna really does seem like a giant now!!

Sister toes

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Madelyn Pictures

Madelyn Two Days Old:

Madelyn, 2 days old

Madelyn Three Days Old :

Madelyn chillin in the swing

Madelyn Four Days Old:

Madelyn Sleeping, Mommy's favorite picture

Coming Home

After 2 nights at the hospital, Madelyn and I came home Thursday afternoon. How great to be home! When we arrived, my sister-in-law had just put Anna down for a nap so we were able to introduce Madelyn to the family one by one. First was our dog, Cassie. I'm not sure if Cassie remembered us bringing Anna home in the car seat or not but she seemed almost scared of it. She did manage to make a few sniffs in the general direction of Madelyn but since then has kept her distance. A little while later Anna woke up and I quickly went upstairs to see her. I made the mistake of getting her out of the crib, ouch - oh yeah I just had a baby. Even though Anna had come to the hospital on Wednesday to visit, she was rather scared of me sitting in the hospital bed and so I wanted a few minutes together to get some hugs and kisses. When Anna came downstairs she sat in my husbands lap and then we handed him Madelyn so that the two could meet again (at the hospital Anna didn't pay a lot of attention to Madelyn). That's when this picture was taken which I absolutely love!

Daddy, Madelyn, and Anna

Friday, May 2, 2008

How big did you say she is?

After all the talk about Madelyn being small it was a pleasant surprise to me that the scales measured her at 7 pounds 11 ounces. The doctors account the difference to a 15% variant on the ultrasound equipment since it is unlikely she gained 2 pounds in 3 weeks. Here's how Anna and Madelyn compare at birth:

Anna: weight = 8 lbs 2 ounces
height = 20 inches
head = 34 centimeters

Anna at birth

Madelyn: weight = 7 lbs 11 ounces
height = 21.25 inches
head = 34.5 centimeters

Madelyn Elizabeth Burckart

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It all happened so fast...

**Yes this is the labor story for those of you who don't want to read :)**

Tuesday morning I woke up once again disappointed that Madelyn didn't decide to join us during the night. Anna and I went for a walk with our friends and then we had lunch with my husband and a friend - nothing too out of the ordinary. Towards the end of lunch I started having a few pains which lasted for the next two hours. I called the nurse at my doctor's office to report the pains, but since they were not getting more intense and frequent like a contraction I was told there was nothing they could do and to drink more water. I drank a glass of water. Around 2:45 p.m. I felt a pain that came on more like a wave which reminded me of the contractions I had with Anna. Not being 100% sure it was an actual contraction I continued to do a few things around the house while glancing at the clock to see how often the pains were occurring. At this point they were about every 5-6 minutes. After I'd had the pains for a good 15 minutes I let my husband know so that we could better time them. Sure enough, the pains continued and increased in intensity. At 3:45 we called my friend Suzanne to come get Anna and I called the doctor's office who gave me the green light to head to the hospital. At this point I was still not completely convinced I was in labor - could it be in my head? Was I so ready to have the baby that I was making up contractions?

Being close to rush hour it took us 40 minutes to get from our house to Rex Hospital - which included a 5 minute stop at the Dunkin' Donuts :). The delivery floor seemed relatively quiet and we were quickly met by a wonderful nurse named Crystal. She got our paperwork done and checked me to see if I was a "keeper". Sure enough, I was 5 centimeters along and got to stay. My contractions quickly progressed and I was soon in PAIN. The nurse pushed lots of fluids into me and by 6:15 p.m. I had an epidural. I'm not sure if it was from the epidural or the pain but my blood pressure started dropping and so they gave me some ephinefrin to get me back to normal. At 6:30 the nurse checked me and I was at 9 centimeters and she started prepping everything for delivery - what!?! already!?! The doctor came in to break my water and at 7:10 they had me pushing. At 7:28 p.m. baby Madelyn was here!

Madelyn asleep at 1 day old