March 30, 2011

Guest post from DADDY

It looked like Mommy was having so much fun blogging that I decided to try my hand at it.  I'll begin by saying that I can not express just how much fun this whole process has been.  If you've had kids you totally get that, but if you haven' me, it is!  That being said there are ups and downs, I don't want to give anyone the impression that it's a cake walk...mmm cake...sorry, just looking forward to birthdays ;)

I have learned a few things along the way and expect that trend to continue for quite some time.  One of the things I have learned is that even at almost 7 weeks old she is quite old enough to hold a grudge and plot revenge.  Case in point, we decided to try letting her "cry it out" the other night, hoping she'd self soothe.  We knew we had covered all the, clean diaper, dry outfit, comfortable temperature, off went the monitor (we could still hear the wailing through both doors).  We lay there listening and in our minds saying, "Any moment now she'll just drift right off to dreamland".

We let it go on for about 12 minutes, which seemed liked much longer and maybe it was.  I knew our experiement had failed miserably when her cries went from the basic whaaaa, whaaaa to blood curtiling, vein popping, lung searing screams.  I got up and went to check, half expecting to find some huge 4 headed monster tearing the legs off our precious little girl (that's how bad her crying had sounded).  But alas there was no monster, just a very pissed off little girl.

I picked her up and started to rock and soothe and she began her assault.  I decided to check her diaper, since that was the most logical reason for her not being happy.  I laid her on the changing table and opened her up and sure enough it was dirty...or I should say SLIGHTLY dirty, certainly not enough to cause a meltdown.

Diaper changed, still crying I went to scoop her back up and here came the second phase of her attack.  The spit-up started slow and I leaned down to pick up the burp cloth and when I looked back the whole front of her outfit was wet and white.  It had been pink.  NO BIG DEAL, I'll just swap outfits real quick...

Phase 3 of her plan came right after I got the new outfit all buttoned up, which when your child is screaming and writhing around is no easy task.  This attack came at the "other end" and it was much more worthy of the before mentioned meltdown.  Oddly enough it had the opposite effect and somewhat soothed we were back to the whaaaa, whaaaa's.

I got that all cleaned up and started to scoop her up again and I don't know if it was just a little residue left from Phase 2 of her attack or a seperate phase all together but she spit up again.  So, on goes outfit #3 of the night and once again there is an explosion down below.

After all that I get her scooped up into my arms, which is where I foolishly thought she'd just drift off to sleep peacefully when I first entered the nursery 15 minutes prior.  I start rocking back and forth, back and forth and I seem to be the only one soothed by this motion.  FINALLY her eyes start getting heavy so I tiptoe over to the crib and literally just THINK about trying to put her down and ONE eye opens and gives me a look that says, "Don't even try it...remember what we just went through?"

I step back from the crib and the eye closes and I feel her go limp...she's asleep?  Are you kidding me?  I give it a few extra moments of rocking and patting, slowly easing off so I don't just stop cold.  I ease her into the crib and sure enough she's alseep. Ahhhhhhhh!

So, the moral of this tale is that even at 7 weeks old revenge is part of their thought process and they really don't like to be left to "cry it out".  Don't worry though, she may have won that battle...but we will perservere and try again and eventually WE will win the war.

I'll close with some pictures of our little angel, taken at a much happier time for her...and me!

March 22, 2011

Focusing eyes, Beating heart

Before starting today's post, we want to send out a big THANK YOU to all of you who follow our family's blog. We've received a lot of great feedback and the motivation to "keep it going!" It's been great to share this important time in our lives, and we can't wait to look back at it all 20 years from now! :)

As we near the six week mark, HG is showing great signs of development. She is really strong... she is holding her head up and controls it, and her leg strength seems to be impressive as well. She also seems to be focusing well on lights, colors and shapes within a few feet. Her play mat is our new favorite activity.... It is such delight to watch her take in her surroundings with such wonder. Could you imagine having to learn everything from the beginning?? I'm proud of her for starting off so well!
We've  also hung other colorful toys around the house... next to her changing table, in her pack-n-play, and on her car seat. And, yes, I'm the crazy mom that talks to her baby about shapes and colors (and pretty much whatever else comes to mind) even though I know she doesn't understand a single word of it... yet.

One of our latest adventures was to visit daddy at work... he loved the surprise! Of course our trip wouldn't have been complete without him listening to her heart with his stethoscope... thump! thump! thump! He said it sounded beautiful!!

Finally, I have a movie recommendation [disclaimer: this won't happen often]. I just watched the movie The Boys are Back with Clive Owen. It was a great movie... here's a link to it's imdb info. It's a beautiful story about parenthood and a unique family life, which is a subject I'm currently partial to, but none-the-less it's a movie worth watching if you haven't already seen it

Coming up next... how's mommy doing after her 6 week check up?? And a review of my current read: Mom-Over... every new mommy should read it!

March 18, 2011

Kiss me, I'm cute!

I hope everyone wore green and enjoyed their St. Patty's Day.... It was a very busy and very fun day for us. HG sported two different green outfits (one for each outing) because I couldn't have her getting pinched (too cruel of a "stay awake tactic").

First we had a play date with Grayson. We strolled around his neighborhood and even took some great pics with just HG and mommy. (Grayson's mom and I recently realized that we are so busy taking pictures of our babies that we have no pictures with our babies!)
HG and Mommy

GH and HG!
She was captivated by him!

Then we headed to a birthday gathering, officially making HG's first dinner outing. We celebrated the time with friends, JT's birthday and our first St. Pat's all in one... and, of course, in an adorable outfit! She was great at the restaurant... alert and entertaining for half of the time, then slept for the other half to give mom and dad some free time. :)
Kiss me, I'm Irish CUTE!
Dear HG, you are mommy and daddy's lucky charm!

March 15, 2011

Operation Bright Eyes

My mission, should I choose to accept it (of course I do!), is to keep our little munchkin AWAKE during each and every day. This mission will be complete when her days and nights are consistently NOT mixed up... resulting in (dare I say) a routine!! :)

This is not as easy of a mission as it sounds. HG is a really good, hard sleeper (..."She get it from her mama"..?) and keeping her awake has required many new tricks up my sleeve such as a change of activity/scenery about every half hour, undressing her while she's nursing and even allowing a lick from Riley every now and then... just to name a few. 
As soon as I see those bright eyes getting heavy, I call out her name, so she's really showing signs of recognition to "Hannah Grace"! She's also growing some pretty eyelashes and eyebrows right now, and her little fingernails are growing like crazy! Her eyes are still a grey/blue color, and her hair seems to be a little wavy (come on ringlets!). She's officially out of the newborn size of diapers, and I think the newborn sized clothes will quickly follow suit. 

We've also started carrying her around in the very awesome Baby Bjorn carrier... she loves it! In fact we had our first full family outing (dogs and all) at the waterfront park this past Sunday to enjoy the beautiful weather. Here's daddy carrying around HG:
Other news on the home front.. we're growing strawberries! This will give me a chance to try my hand at growing something edible and I watch the progress daily. Though I'm not a great gardener, I always aspire to be, and it's a hobby I'd like to one day share with HG, so I need to practice!

March 11, 2011

One Month--how time flies!!

Time flies when you are having fun have a newborn! HG has quickly reached the 4 week mark, and as I write this I notice it's almost the exact minute she so flamboyantly entered this world [holding back the tears].

I'd say we've all learned a lot.. her as a baby, J as a father, me as a mother... and J and me as husband and wife with child. There are so many different dynamics, but since I can only speak for myself, I thought I'd focus on what I've learned in the past four weeks. Maybe this post will be valuable to a mom-to-be! :)

Top 10 things I've learned:

1. Read up on and learn about c-sections before labor, even if you think there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that you'd have one.
2. Swaddling is important to know for the first weeks. Learn and practice pre-baby.
3. Breastfeeding is a huge commitment made a little easier with fabulous inventions like the boppy and nipple shield. Have them both at the hospital with you. 
4. Try out different brands of medication to see which is best for your baby. Two must-haves: diaper rash cream and gas drops (Desitin and Little Tummy's work best for HG).
5. Sleep when the baby sleeps. (I am horrible at practicing what I preach in this case.)
6. Focus on you and the baby (and the hubs) first and foremost, and don't feel guilty about it for a second.
7. The baby is the new head honcho at home. The baby's schedule (or lack thereof) is now your schedule.
8. If anyone asks you if there's anything you need... just say one word: diapers.
9. Be nice to your husband, odds are he's going through the same emotions... Husbands, be extra nice to your wife. Small offers to help and even smaller tokens of love/appreciation go a really, really, really long way.
10. Learn to breathe. A couple deep breaths will get you through almost anything.

No matter to what extent you practice, read, listen, and prepare yourself... it's going to be more of a challenge than you imagined, and just knowing that may lessen the blow. You are also going to be more in love with this tiny little human than you can possibly imagine... and that's the best part to not be prepared for.  :)

To that end, here are pictures of HG at four weeks old! 

PS--Scroll to the top and check out the new pages! 

March 9, 2011

Meet the Byrnes--Support MoD!

One of the wonderful side effects of meeting and getting to know my amazing husband was meeting and getting to know all of his wonderful friends... who I am lucky enough to now call my friends too! When I met the Byrnes [DB and BB], BB was pregnant with TRIPLETS. I was impressed then, but now that I have one child, I am literally in awe of their ability to raise three children at one time! The triplets are now 2 years old, and have quite a story to tell. DB and BB keep a great blog that you should check out: Byrne Family...of five!

Most recently, they've become Ambassadors for this year's local March of Dimes walk and fundraiser. Click the link to see their blog with a video on YouTube about the Byrnes' incredible journey after the triplets were born 11 weeks early. Disclaimer: it's a tear jerker!
Along with the Byrnes, I invite you to participate by donating and/or walking on April 16th from the Naval Heritage Park in Port Royal. I am excited that this year I'll have HG accompanying me in her stroller!! We are so fortunate to have a healthy baby who was full-term, but not everyone is. March of Dimes is a big part of why premature babies have a fighting chance, just like the beautiful Byrnes babies!!
Please come walk with us on April 16th in support of our HG, the Byrnes, and all precious babies!!

March 7, 2011

Week 4: Lots of Good News!

Hear ye! Hear ye! 
At exactly 3 weeks and 1 day, Hannah Grace finally lost her belly button "cap!!" I'm still not sure on the inney/outey status... looks like it will need some time to heal.

In other news, I shamefully admit that we attempted an old parenting trick to get HG to sleep Sunday night... we went for a car ride at 10:00 pm (and, yes, the hubs was even in his robe). Did it work, you ask? Of course not... that would have been too easy. However, the night improved greatly once HG finally decided to go to sleep (circa midnight). 
She spent her first night in her crib! 

Sayonara bassinett! Hello crib and monitors and peaceful sleep for all parties... for 4 hours!!! :) Yes, I did get up to check on her twice (it was too good to be true), but each time I was pleased to find a baby off in dream land. Then after her 4:00 am feeding, she...[I almost can't believe I'm saying this].. went back into the crib!! Then one more feeding at 7:30 am, and  she slept soundly until 9:30 am... in the crib! Best Monday ever. Thank you, Hannah Grace; you've made Mommy and Daddy very happy!!

I did not take pictures in the crib for fear of waking.. but here's some pictures taken on her 3 week birthday.

Coming up... book reviews, projects we're working on around the house, and what I've learned after being a parent for a whole month! 
Stay tuned....

March 3, 2011

It's already March??

The wonderfully anticipated month of February has passed, and as we welcome March (and hopefully warmer weather), we look forward to all of the activities we want to do with Hannah Grace as she gets bigger and stronger (and, of course, cuter!).
Wide awake!
Sound asleep!

At our last doctor visit, Dr. Floyd told us she may start being a little more dramatic in the third week.. boy was he right! We are witnessing some pretty funny grunting sessions and face contorting. I'm determined to capture such moments on video... it's almost as though she is getting uncomfortable in her newborn skin and trying to squirm and stretch her way into growing. Her favorite position is to be held up close near the chest. She is almost always comforted in that position, and it's how she falls asleep the easiest. 

A couple more updates:
-We are at war with the belly button! It still has not revealed itself!
-"Play"dates have begun, and they are so fun! 

First, we met Mason, who is 3 months old. He was a handsome fellow and he made HG look very tiny!

Then we met Grayson, who is only 9 days younger than HG! In this case, HG was the chubby one! :) 

Looking forward to all of the new adventures around the corner!!