Sunday, December 27, 2015

Gwendolyn, Month Eight

Our 18-lb girl is smiling, clapping, crawling, and proudly showing off her two bottom teeth.

Gwendolyn has had a rough month--mainly due to teeth. But she's still managed to be a bright, shining star in our lives.  She learned how to crawl more and is eager to explore and conquer her world.

In month eight, she got to see a lot of her Copeland side of the family. We visited Alabama for Thanksgiving and saw all of the Copelands and Wrights. Then, right before she turned eight months, Gran and Granddaddy Copeland visited us in Virginia.

Her brother loves to make her smile. Her mommy and daddy adore her.

She leads a charmed life and she makes everyone in her life feel charmed to be around her.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Letter--2015 edition

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the Copelands thought back on a delightful 2015 and remembered...

12 Corks-a-popping...
Adam and Cathy still do love their wine. And, since Gwendolyn has been a wonderful sleeper (most of the time), we have gotten to enjoy many of our favorite vintages. Here’s to more Malbec, Moscato, Petit Verdot, Gewurztraminer, Traminette, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Montepulciano, Tempranillo, Syrah, Chianti, and Bordeaux in the coming year!

11 days in Asia…
Adam travelled to China (Hong Kong and Macau), Viet Nam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh), and Myanmar (Yangon) to recruit students to attend the JMU International Study Center, where he started year 7 with the company in August.

10 TV shows-a-watching...  
Latham likes to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, and Octonauts, while Adam & Cathy would recommend Downton Abbey, Scandal, Parks and Rec, Blackish, Brooklyn 99, Master of None, and Grimm to our friends. (Don’t worry; we DO still read too!)

9 pounds, 5 ounces of perfection…
was born on April 20th. Gwendolyn Catherine Copeland is now almost eight months old, in the beginning stages of crawling, and fully invested in whatever big brother is doing. She is a beauty and a joy; we couldn’t be happier!

8 combined visits by our parents...
We’re so thankful that our parents are willing to make the effort (and the drive!) to come see us regularly. Latham and Gwendolyn are obviously the main draw, but we love the chance to spend time with them -- and sneak away for a date too.

7 days in Alabama…
We spent Thanksgiving in Florence this year with Adam’s family. Everyone was able to make it and we soaked up the time together. Roger and Teddy now have five grandkids, with one more expected in January 2016! It was a week filled with games, toys, parks, playgrounds, bowling, food, and a photo shoot.

6 business trips for Adam…
which left Cathy solo with the kids. Cathy’s mom helped out a week in May; Latham went to Alabama with the Copelands for a week in June. Otherwise, though, it was a struggle juggling both kids. But Cathy reached out to friends, therapy, and some medication to deal with the stress and the post-partum depression. It’s been rough, but Cathy is happier now.

5 years of marriage…
Though we didn’t do anything major to celebrate five years of marriage, we did get to visit CrossKeys Vineyards (our wedding site) several times this year, and we even attended a beautiful wedding there. On our wedding day, we had a date to the scrumptious Joshua Wilton House. As a family trip, we went to Virginia Beach for a couple days in June; although it was cold and foggy, we had a wonderful time and saw some friends too!

4 days in Michigan…
We spent Labor Day weekend in Saline with Cathy’s family at her sister’s house. We had a great time: visiting a waterpark, a family photo shoot, playing with cousins (in a fabulous basement), cooking out, and catching up with Bloses, Bulls, Rademakers, and Wiecks.

3nager or threenager…
Noun: a three year old who behaves in a manner similar to that of a teenager, complete with fits, tantrums, changings of the mind, misbehavior. Latham is full of energy, bouncing from one thing to another. He is a sweet and gentle big brother, and it seems like he saves his most of his sweetness and gentleness for Gwendolyn. He attends day care four times a week and absolutely loves his friends and teachers. He’s quick to make a friend and offer a smile, as well as make a request to play with him. But, boy, can he be stubborn and emotional!

2 books written…
Cathy decided to focus on trying to write this year. In June and July, she concentrated on writing a nonfiction book about mental illness and, in November, she completed NaNoWriMo and wrote a fiction book that included mystery, mayhem, romance, and Victorian book thievery. She was able to do this writing because she took the fall semester off from teaching. She will teach this coming year, but hopes to edit both books, perhaps send one to some readers/publishers, and participate in NaNoWriMo again.

1 sweet/suite life for which we’re thankful.
We’re very pleased with our life and thankful to you for being a part of it. We wish you peace and joy for 2016 and offer to you one life hack that benefitted us greatly from this year: When traveling, get a suite so that the kids can sleep and the parents can still eat and drink and chat and watch tv. It makes for a happier evening!

Thanks for reading our wild, weird, and wacky Christmas card for 2015. 

The Copelands --Adam, Cathy, Latham, Gwendolyn, and Mr. Oliver 

May 2015 Photoshoot at CrossKeys (picture by Katie Ameigh Photography)

May 2015 Photoshoot at CrossKeys (picture by Katie Ameigh Photography)


The Copeland Family, November 2015 (photo by Millie Cate Photography)
The Blose Family, September 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Gwendolyn, Month Seven

There was a lot of exhaustion this month, probably related to two teeth that were popping through. Hopefully, she'll fall back into her good sleep habits.
 She's eating foods--sweet potato, pears, bananas, avocados, apples, squash, and peas so far. And she's just the cutest little person in the world. She was a lion for Hallowe'en and, oh, my heart stopped about a million times.

Lots of sitting, some scooting, lots of reaching--but no crawling yet. The girl loves to stand (assisted) and walk (assisted), but doesn't seem to want to crawl much.

Laughter is Gwendolyn's favorite. When her daddy plays peek-a-boo or her mom does funny noises or her brother's dances or sings, her laughter just bubbles out. It's delightful.

She started daycare (two times a week) this month, and she's doing good so far. Mommy needs support, but Gwendolyn seems to be good with the change.

 She makes me so very happy!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I'm not really a bad mom

(Most of this was written in the very wee hours of the morning, while rocking/nursing my baby who just won't sleep easily.)

I'm not really a terrible mom, but a few circumstances have coincided and I feel like the ultimate failure.

I should be able to take care of two kids, especially when one goes to daycare most of the day. But the nights have been hard. Little Gwendolyn has a tooth coming through, but she also misses her dad. When she sees him, she snuggles in and goes to sleep fairly easily. When she sees me, she sees MILK and that's exciting, and why on earth would anyone want to go to sleep rather than constantly nursing on mommy.

I started some anti-depressant medication about a week ago. It has started to help me a bit; for a few months, I had been feeling like the world was composed of shadows, gloom, and unceasing sadness. That wasn't such a good feeling.

But the medication also makes me tired. The first few days were bad, but it's getting better. However, I still just feel like my brain is heavy and foggy. I've been trying to press through it, but it's hard. I can't stop the medication because I was going down a very bad PPD pathway, but I don't have the luxury of sleep to help my body adjust.

My husband is out of town, at a conference. He's too important to modify his schedule. His is (mostly) our only income, too so I shouldn't complain. But I do, because I'm tired and beat-down. He didn't even use up all of his paternal leave or all of his vacation days this calendar year. Because he's too busy.

He's excellent at his job. He's excellent with the kids. He has tried hard to help me. I just want more.

My 3-year-old hasn't been too bad. He's gone to sleep without many issues. He has woken up at 3 or 4 am and come into my room, but will go back to sleep without too many issues.

The baby is cutting teeth, and I imagine that it's hard being seven months old. Especially with a terrible mom who tries to feed her and play with her and rock her but is sometimes just too tired to do much more than put the Jurassic Park Theme on the computer and cry while she rolls a ball with her infant and prays that the baby will take a long enough nap that I can grade and write and sleep. The nights have been the worst--awake for hours at a time.

I'm not really a bad mom, but I am struggling.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Gwendolyn, Month Six

My girl has been outside of the womb for half of a year! That's astonishing to me at times and completely unsurprising other times. I remember life before her but I love what she contributes to our family now.

Gwendolyn's 6-month stats...
17 lbs (Most babies have doubled their birth weight by now but, uh, she weighed 9 lbs, 5 oz so it's kinda hard to double that in 6 months. She's healthy and in the upper 50th percentile)
26 inches (in the upper 50th percentile) long
16 inch head (this was a she initially had a bigger head than Latham, but it looks like she'll have a smaller head after all like her brother and mommy--'course those measurements could be slightly off too!)

Poor sweetie had a cold this month. Luckily, it didn't go into her chest or ears or even throat, but the snottiness in her nose did cause us to have a few sleep-deprived nights. The Nose Frida helped, as did ibuprofen, and I've been hoping that my breastmilk will deliver some help for her too.

Her babbles have increased in frequency and variety of sounds. It's so much fun whenever she decides to chatter. I can tell that she's not going to be shy about voicing her opinion.

I'm counting this as the month she said her first word. She says "da da da da", but especially when she wants Daddy to be with her. Someone asked me if it hurt my feelings that she didn't say "ma ma." NOPE! Girl loves her daddy and there's nothing wrong with that. Plus, logically, she sees me all the time and we talk about Daddy and Latham. So I know I've said "Daddy" to her lots more times than "Mommy."  :)

She's rolling quite a bit, but still hesitating on crawling. Maybe she'll go straight to walking or scooting. She loves to sit up and attempts to move from a seated position.

Her smile just pours happiness on the recipient. She's calm and happy most of the time. When she gets upset, though, oh, the tears do flow. But, she'll usually get all the tears out pretty quickly and then be right back to my chill babe.

She's so interested in the world around her. Loves watching people and animals and toys. Of course, her brother gives her a show all the time. He loves his "Baby Gwendon" and is thrilled to help in any number of ways. Recently, he's started reading her "Goodnight Moon" at bedtime and both siblings really seem to enjoy their time together.

 Gwendolyn brings love and laughter to my life! Happy six months!!