Thursday, March 7, 2019

Piper's Name & Life Update

Shortly after having Henrik, I shared the meaning behind his name and how we came up with it so I thought I would do the same for Piper, in case any of you are curious :)

When I was in high school, a leader in our church came to stay with us for a conference. His name was Paul Pieper and he ended up becoming a good family friend. While he stayed with us, he gave my sister and me some very valuable advice regarding how to choose a husband. His advice ultimately altered the entire course of my life and helped me to know that Chris was the one. So when Chris and I got married several years later in Utah, my dad reached out to Elder Pieper to see if he would be available to marry us and he very graciously agreed to despite his busy schedule. That day he gave us even more great advice about marriage. Elder Pieper had a profound impact on both of us and we are so grateful for him.

I had always loved the name Piper (one of my best friend's little sisters is named Piper as well) so years ago, my mom suggested if we ever have a girl to name her Piper after Paul Pieper. I loved the idea and meaning behind it. Thankfully Chris did too so we decided that would be her name. It serves as a constant reminder of the advice he gave us and that God loves us. I truly believe that Heavenly Father brought Elder Pieper into our family's life to help and guide me as well as my family members. 

For a long time, I thought we would give our first daughter my middle name, Lynn, which comes from my paternal grandma's name, Carolyn. But when we found out Piper was due on Christmas, I thought it would be fun to give her a middle name that related to Christmas somehow. We toyed with a few options but ultimately settled on Noel. You may be wondering why we didn't choose the feminine spelling, Noelle. The reason for that is my full name is 15 letters long, Chris's full name is 20 letters long, and Henrik's full name is 20 letters as well. I like things to end in 5 or 0 (because I am OCD) so when picking out Piper's name, Piper Noel Stoker was 15 letters whereas Piper Noelle Stoker was 17. And I just couldn't allow that. I fully acknowledge it's weird but there it is haha. We have to continue the pattern! 

Things are overall going well. Having two kids is certainly challenging, I have had more than a few breakdowns haha. But I wouldn't change it for the world. Henrik is such a wonderful big brother and is quickly learning how to be nice to Piper and be helpful. He loves to stroke her and say "hiiiiii" and bring me burp cloths when she spits up (which is quite often). It's sweet to see him becoming very protective of her. He also likes to tell people how she cries. "Baby, ahhhh!!! Ageeen". Which, loosely translated, means "Baby cried again". 

Getting kids in and out of the car is by far the hardest thing. We don't go many places other than my mom's house because I just can't handle the two of them on my own outside of a house haha. Someday we will get there!

Our usual routine is Henrik wakes up around 8/8:15, he watches Elmo's World in his crib for about 30 minutes while I feed Piper and get ready. Then Piper goes in her Mamaroo to sleep a little longer while I get Henrik dressed and fed. Then we play either at our house or we go over to my mom's house. At home, Henrik is an expert at helping me fold laundry and do dinner prep. We play/do household chores until noon ish then I feed him lunch and get him down for his nap. While Henrik naps, I try to get Piper to sleep so I can sleep. It usually works, ish. I don't sleep for very long and often just as I am falling asleep, Piper wakes up. But it's better than nothing!

Henrik then wakes up around 3:30 and we play, Facetime family, and finish getting dinner together. We try to eat between 5:30 and 6 once Chris is home then I make sure Piper is fed and happy before going to the gym. Once I'm back, we play some more as a family, give baths as needed, then work on getting both kids ready for bed. Chris handles Henrik's bedtime routine while I take care of Piper. We read scriptures and say a prayer as a family then put Henrik in his crib by 9. Piper is usually awake while I shower so Chris hangs out with her then I feed her again and she is generally officially down for the night around 10 or 11. Chris and I watch a show together (Jeopardy, The Bachelor, or Suits) then off to bed. 

Piper has been a rockstar sleeper at night and will sleep between 8 and 11 hours straight. It probably won't last so I am enjoying it while I can haha. Piper is a sweet little girl who lives to smile and be with us. After dinner, she becomes a bit more high maintenance and loves to be held but usually Chris is home by then so we can take turns holding her. We often eat dinner in shifts, but it works. 

The hardest part about this phase right now is Chris's travel schedule for work. He's been out of town a lot and has two more long trips coming up. Thankfully, I have my parents and several good friends who are always willing to help out. Bedtime is by far the most difficult part to do by myself because Piper is so unpredictable. One time I tried doing it on my own and all three of us ended up crying at the same time haha. I'm hoping I'll get better at handling the two kids without Chris as time goes on and they get older, but mentally it is hard to be without my best friend/co-parent. I'm extremely grateful I have help available when he is away or else I'm quite sure I would lose my mind. 

As I mentioned earlier, I have a fair share of mental/emotional breakdowns haha but things are getting better overall. My hormones are stabilizing and I'm figuring out coping mechanisms to help me when I feel overwhelmed. Two kids is certainly difficult, but oh-so rewarding. I lay in bed at night scrolling through photos of them and thinking about how much I love them. It's a beautiful feeling. 

Here are some photos from her birth (by Victoria Rayburn Photography) and newborn session (by Pearl Photo & Design) because I am obsessed with all of them and I never want to forget these moments. 



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