Friday, June 22, 2012

Four months old!

Oh my goodness what a delightful age this is! You are so much fun, baby boy. Your squeals and laughter are music to my ears. I’m so blessed to spend every waking moment with you. I love to watch you explore and discover new things, new sensations, new emotions… and come up with new sounds and expressions of delight.

Posing for the camera.


Blowing bubbles.

Eating hands.

Playing with hands.

Blowing more bubbles.

Trying to escape.

It's getting harder to keep him still for pictures!

"Hi mom!"

"You're pretty funny looking with that camera in your face!"

The ever present drool.



Big four month old!

I was entertaining him with a rattle.

He wanted to play with it.

All better!

How big you are:

At your 4-month pediatrician appointment on 06/14/12 you weighed 17lbs 6oz (90th %)! You were 25.5 inches long (75th %), and you head was 43cm (75th %). You are still a big boy – you gained more than 2 pounds between 3 and 4 months! You are wearing 3-6 and 6 month clothes, and some 6-9 and 9 month clothes too. We recently moved you on up to size 3 diapers… size 2 still fit you all right, but you were starting to “explode” out of them more. (Side note: we are waiting a few months before starting up cloth diapers again because they were just so bulky that they were hampering your movement! You roll and scoot and wriggle much more when you’re in disposables. And also, momma is having a hard time getting on top of all the laundry J).

Your pediatrician was very impressed with your health, strength and alertness. You’ve passed all your milestones with flying colors… you are laughing, “talking”, playing with toys, grabbing at everything, rolling both ways, scooting on your belly, almost sitting, and you love to stand while holding onto our hands. The past few weeks you have been learning new things like crazy!

What you love:

As always, you LOVE your bath time. This month you started playing your first game with us! While you’re in the bath, you will lift your legs up in the air, then wait and make sure we’re looking on excitedly. Then you fling your legs down and make a HUGE splash… and we have to say (with great excitement) “BIG SPLASH!” and clap our hands… and you just laugh and laugh, and then start all over again!

You LOVE to jump in your jumperoo. I’m so glad we got that for you – we get at least two good hours of playtime out of that thing every day (in 15 – 30 minute increments). Worthwhile investment! You jump and giggle and squeal and play with the toys around the seat. Sometimes you yelp for my attention and I look over and clap for you and say something like “Such a clever boy!” in an excited voice, and you just go crazy jumping and squealing happily J

You LOVE to roll over – tummy to back, and back to tummy. You much prefer to be on your tummy now that you have the choice. You can hold you head and upper body steadily up off of the ground and look up and around the room and play with toys in front of you. When I lay you down on your back, you almost always immediately roll over to your tummy.

You LOVE to chew on anything and everything you can get your hands on. Everything goes straight to your mouth. You have started chewing/sucking on you first two fingers.

You LOVE to grab at things – nothing is safe around you anymore! Watch out for your drinks, food, glasses, jewelry, loose clothing, nose, lips etc. You’ve managed to spill mommy’s drink more than once!

You  LOVE to be rocked. You especially like to sit in Daddy’s lap in the recliner while he rocks you. I have many pictures of the two of you doing just that! Mommy rocks you and sings to you in the nursery before you go down for your naps.

You still LOVE music and being sung to. You sing along in a soft little voice that’s different from your usual “talking” voice – it’s so completely adorable!

You LOVE your food, obviously. This month, however, you have decided that you can’t miss out on anything – you get very distracted while you’re nursing. I can’t talk to anyone, watch a TV show, or use my phone, because you get all excited and try to see what’s happening instead of eating. I can’t even look down at you, because you think it’s time to talk to me! When you finally finish eating, you will often just lie in my lap and look up and talk quietly to me. This is one of my favorite times of the day, because you are so calm and interactive. Most of the day you are like the energizer bunny… just go go go. But during and right after you eat you calm down for a short period of time and we snuggle and have a little conversation.

You LOVE to play with mommy and daddy’s smartphones. You will raptly watch Veggie Tales on them, and you also love to look at the hundreds of pictures and videos of yourself that we take, or play the “Baby Balloons” game app by tapping the screen to blow up and pop balloons. You know exactly what to do when we pull up your balloon game! It’s so cute. You actually threw your first little temper tantrum the other day when I took my phone away from you – haha!

You LOVE to look at yourself in the mirror! We have a big mirror behind the sink/counter in our bathroom and I stand you up on the counter and you just go crazy. You jump and wriggle and then laugh at yourself! Like I mentioned before, you also like to look at pictures and watch videos of yourself… you think you’re pretty awesome. Narcissistic little baby!

What you don’t like:

You’ve started to get some “stranger danger” … if someone other than momma or daddy surprises you, sometimes you get scared and start crying. When this happens, I try to just come over and reassure you and then let you keep playing. If we’re in a big group of people, you tend to get a little clingy and will always look for momma or daddy and want us to stay in your sight. You don’t like it when you can’t see or hear us!

You don’t like the fact that you can’t sit up steadily yet… you can hold yourself up for a few minutes to play with something, but then you’ll start flopping over and just get all frustrated!

What you’ve been up to this month:

Hands – At the very beginning of the month, when you had just turned 3 months old, you really started figuring out your hands – how to reach out purposefully and grab things, and play with toys like your car seat toy bar.

Feet – You found your feet this month – 05/25/2012 was when I really noticed it. Every time I would lay you down, your feet would go straight up in the air and you grab your toes with your hands. You still like to play with them, but you’ve become more excited about rolling over recently. Changing your diaper is becoming difficult with your legs waving around in the air and you trying to roll off your changing mat!

Rolling – You’ve been a rolling machine this month! You figured out how to roll from back to tummy on 06/07/2012, and now you won’t stay on your back when I lay you down. You flip right over onto your belly so you can scoot and play with your toys

Scooting – Now that you’ve figured out how to roll from your back to your belly, being on your belly seems to be your favorite position because you can push up and see the world around you, and play with toys out in front of you. I started moving your toys just out of your reach and you have started wriggling and figuring out that you can scoot over to them. You’re quite good at scooting now! You’ve started moving your arms and legs like you really want to crawl too, but you’re not quite strong enough yet to hold your chubby midsection off the floor with your arms and legs J

Laughing – You started laughing when you were about 2 and a half months old, but it was pretty rare. This past month though, you’ve been laughing more and more. On 05/27/2012 you had your first “big” laughing session with Daddy… he was tickling you with his face on your belly and under your arms and you just laughed and laughed and laughed!

Voice – This month you’ve really discovered your voice – you love to grunt and growl, and squeak and squeal. When you’re excited you shriek with happiness and I just love it! You will also copy noises that we make… if I say “aaaah” you’ll say “aaaah”… if I say “hi!” you’ll say “iiiiiii”… if I say “ah-boo” you’ll say “ah-boo”… it’s just so fun to watch you. You study our mouths and our lips when we talk to you and I can just SEE those little wheels turning as you figure out how to do the same things with your mouth.

Bouncing – You have become very proficient at jumping in your jumperoo. You sometimes jump so high that you almost catapult yourself out of the seat! Whenever we stand you up anywhere now, you just want to jump. It gets quite exhausting, holding up a 17lb jumping baby! You’ve become very active in general. Whenever you’re awake you just want to go go go!

Playing – It’s been so fun to watch you start playing more this month! You can entertain yourself with your toys for 15-30 minutes all by yourself. You shake them, stare at them, pass them back and forth between your hands, bang them on the floor/mat/tray table, and stuff them in your mouth. You love to play with your music table too – pushing the buttons and turning the wheel to make music. You also started playing little games with us – like the one in the bath that I described above.

Sleeping/schedule – Sleep has been a bit of an issue this month, but that’s to be expected around 3-4 months because of the “4 month sleep regression” as it’s called. Basically, babies are developing rapidly and becoming more aware of their surroundings and their emotions, which makes it difficult for them to get to sleep/stay asleep. You were sleeping through the night (about an 8 hour stretch) between 2 and 3 months, but then you got a cold, and then you started teething, and then you got another cold… and then the 4 month sleep regression hit, and you’re still teething. So the sleeping through the night went out the window. You were waking up twice to eat, but now we’re back down to once (at about 3:30am). I really don’t mind you waking up to eat in the night, since you still sleep in you bassinet our room with us. We both sleep through the feeding. You often just end up in bed with us after your 3:30am feeding, you sleep better next that way. Your bassinet is too small for you, but you sleep in there for the first half of the night because we haven’t figured out a better solution yet! Your doctor frowned at me when I said you still sleep with us, but I disagree – I think co-sleeping is healthy for both of us. We both get more sleep and you feel more secure J
During the day (when we are at home), you take your naps in your crib in your room. You wake up for the day around 10am and eat, and then you play until around noon, when you take a little cat nap (20-30 minutes). Then you eat again, and we play some more. We rotate through activities: roll and scoot on your mat, jump in your jumperoo, get tickled by mommy, sit in your bumbo seat and play with toys, play with your music/learning table. Around 2-2:30pm you get another feeding and go down for your long afternoon nap. You usually sleep between 2 – 3 hours, and sometimes you wake up in the middle and I rock you back to sleep. When you wake up, you eat, and we play and wait for daddy to get home, and then you play with him! At around 7pm you eat again and go down for another nap, which last 1-1.5 hours. That’s when momma and daddy get to eat dinner and hang out. When you wake up again, we play for a bit, and you have your bath. You get covered in lotion, and dressed in your jammies. Then we read you some books and your bible story, and we usually sing songs for a bit too… you looooove singing with us in your soft little singing voice! Then it’s time for one last feeding before bed… sometime between 10 – 11 pm. You wake around 3:30am for a feeding, and around 8am for a feeding, and then you wake up for the day at 10am and we start all over again!

Skin – This month we’ve had lots of problems with heat rash and dry skin. You get heat rash when you’re in your carseat especially. It’s just too hot in Texas! The heat rash turned into dry skin and eczema, so we have to cover you in lotion all the time. I put it on your whole body at almost every diaper change. We did try bathing you only every other day, but it didn’t seem to help at all, and you just love your baths so much and it was part of your bedtime routine. So I just put baby oil in your bath and that keeps your skin from drying out. It seems to be getting better now, but I have to stay consistent about putting lotion on you or it gets worse again.

Drooling/teething – My goodness, child, the amount of drool that comes out of you! I’m always covered in your drool. Whichever side I hold you on, that shoulder just turns into a big wet slobber patch. You have been teething like crazy – you’re always wanting to chew on something. Recently you’ve figured out that you can chew on your own fingers, which is GREAT  because you had started biting down while you were eating… ouch! At least you don’t have any teeth yet. We got you a Baltic amber bead teething necklace and it seems to help – you are not fussy when you’re wearing it.

Well, baby boy, what a month it has been. I know I’ll say it all the time, but this month has been the best yet! You are just so much FUN! You’re busy busy busy all day long, and momma is all tuckered out by the end of the day… imagine how much more tired I’ll be when you starting crawling and walking! But it’s a “good” tired feeling, knowing I’ve spent all day loving you and playing hard with you.

We love you Judah William, and we are just having the time of our lives watching you grow!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Three months old!

Judah William, you are 3 months old today! A quarter of a year – I can’t believe it. You are so delightful, little boy. Your father and I never stop exclaiming to each other how incredibly adorable you are, and how much we love you. You never cease to bring us the greatest joy we have ever felt. Today also happens to be my first Mother’s Day, and let me tell you, there has never in my life been anything as wonderful as being your mother. I love every single moment. In the words of my favorite childhood book about a mother and her baby boy:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.

Trying to sit up all on your own!

So grown up!

Being a ham :)

Talkin' away

My blue-eyed boy.

"Moooooom, stop it!"

How big you are:

I took you in for your three month shots on 5/11/12 and you weighed 15lbs 1oz! At two months you weighed 13lbs 15oz, so you’ve gained just over a pound this month. Your weight gain seems to be slowing, because for the first two months you gained a pound every two weeks. But you are still a big boy! You are in the 70th-90th percentile group for weight J Apparently it is common for breastfed babies to gain weight rapidly in the beginning and slow down a little after the first couple of months.

You can still wear most of your 0-3 and 3 month size clothing when you’re in disposable diapers. When we do cloth diapers, however, your fluffy butt usually kicks you up to 3-6 and 6 month size clothing! I think I even had you in some 9 month size pants this past week, to fit over a cloth diaper, haha. So you wear a mix J

Things you love:
You still LOVE your bath time. Your new favorite thing is when I put just a couple inches of water in the bottom of the big tub and lay you on your back in there. You splash and kick and wriggle and squeal and just have the grandest time!

You LOVE to be up and looking around – you prefer to be upright rather than reclined/laying down when you’re awake.

You LOVE to talk! You will jabber away to yourself and to your toys, but you especially love talking back and forth with us. I’ll say something and you’ll say something right back!

You LOVE listening to music and being sung to. You also like to sing along with “ahhhh’s” and “ooooh’s” when I sing to you – it’s quite the adorable thing.

You LOVE your Daddy! If you are grumpy, all Daddy has to do is walk in the door and you are all smiles and squeals again! One of your happiest and most talkative times of day is when Daddy gets home from work. Daddy was the first one to get you to laugh, too!

You LOVE to be held while Momma is going about her day – you are going through a little stage right now where you will only sleep during the day if I’m holding you. You sleep great by yourself at night, but during the day I guess you don’t want to miss out on anything! We are trying to get you back to napping by yourself – we’ll see how it goes. For now, though, our Boba 3G carrier and Maya ring sling are getting a lot of use.

You LOVE people and attention – you are such a ham! Whenever there are people around you put on the biggest smiles and giggles and squeals.

You LOVE to be rocked and snuggled... and Momma just loves that you love it, because she is more than happy to rock and snuggle you! My philosophy is that "babies don't keep"... so I'll get all the baby snuggles I can possibly get.

Things you don’t like:

Sometimes you get startled by things – loud noises, sudden movements etc. – and you start crying. I pick you up and snuggle you and you calm down, but you make the saddest little face, and it just breaks my heart and makes me want to protect you from everything!

You don’t like to be put down if you are grumpy or overtired (which usually are one and the same!). It’s funny because you can sense when I’m about to lay you down and you start whimpering and grabbing on to my shirt or whatever is in your reach! I love it, of course, and you can always get more snuggles out of me! (And you know it – hah!)

You still do not like your carseat if it’s not moving – you are getting more opinionated about it! I have to wait until the very last minute to put you in it if we’re going somewhere.

What you’ve been up to this month:

Your little personality has been growing like crazy this month! You are still generally a laid-back baby, but you have definitely become more active and you’ve been letting us know more what you like, and what you DON’T like – hah!

You’ve always been a talker, but you would mostly talk in response to someone talking to you. Between 8 and 10 weeks old, though, you started jabbering and squealing to your toys and on 4/27/12 you had your first long conversation with yourself in the mirror on your playmat. You jabbered away to yourself for about 20 minutes! You had us all in fits of laughter – you were just so enamored with yourself!

You’ve been close to rolling over (both tummy to back and back to tummy) for more than a month but you would always startle right before you went over and pull yourself back down. You finally rolled over completely from tummy to back for the first time on 5/6/12, and you’ve done it many times since. It’s like something suddenly clicked and you figured it out! I’m sure you will be rolling from back to tummy anytime now. The rolling over coincided with you all of a sudden becoming much more active – the weekend of the 5th-6th of May you decided that you always wanted to be up – you like to stand on our laps and bounce up and down on your little legs. You love to stand on the ground (counter, changing table… etc.) just holding onto our hands with your little hands. The moments where we can set you on our lap and you sit calmly are now few and far between! That weekend you also decided that laying down was overrated, and you’ve started pulling up with your stomach muscles, trying to sit up. You’re still kind of wobbly when you sit, but with just a little help from us you would MUCH rather be sitting up and looking around than lying on your back, side or stomach.

You laughed for the first time on 5/12/12 when Daddy was blowing raspberries on your belly – you think that is hilarious. It was just the cutest thing when you laughed (you did it twice in a row), and of course we have been trying to get another laugh out of you ever since!

Sleep - you go through so many little phases it’s hard to keep up with you! Sometimes you prefer to find your thumb and suck on it, and then all of a sudden you want a paci again – it’s all trial and error. Sometimes you go to sleep on your own, other times you want to be rocked, sung to, or walked around. But you always want a blankey to hold onto and rub your little face into when you are going to sleep. It’s completely adorable. You started sleeping through the night (7-8 hour stretches) at 10 weeks old, but then you came down with a cold and you were waking up at night again. Once you were over your cold, though, you went right back to sleeping through the night! You usually go at least 8 hours, from around 10 or 11pm to 6 or 7am, and then you go right back to sleep after that feeding for another few hours to around 9 or 10am. A few nights ago, though, you started going down earlier – around 8 or 9pm. You’re also having some issues with daytime naps right now, as I mentioned above, so I think your sleep schedule is changing a bit as you get used to being awake more in the day and sleeping for longer at night.

As I just wrote, you got your first cold this month (at the end of April) – poor baby! I just felt so terribly helpless, and wished I could take it away from you (you did end up passing it on to me after you were better, hah!). It was hard for you to eat because your nose was all stuffy and you couldn’t breathe while you were eating. You got a nasty little cough for a few days too. I would take you into the bathroom and turn a hot shower on – the steam seemed to help you breathe better and loosen up your cough. Your sleep was restless, and of course I couldn’t sleep well for worrying about you! I’m sure every mama hates it when their sweet babies get sick, though! It’s sad to realize that we can’t protect them from every little bad germ. But you bounced right back after about a week, and your immune system is the better for it.

You are still eating like a champ. When you had your cold, it was hard for you to nurse because you couldn’t breathe through your nose, so I ended up pumping and giving you bottles for some of the time. You seemed to be able to eat better out of a bottle with a stuffed up nose. You also didn’t eat as much as you normally do when you had your cold, so I ended up with a big freezer stash of milk for you. When you were better again you went right back to eating well.

You had your 3-month shots (which are technically part of your 2-month shots, but I just wanted to spread them out a bit) on 5/11/12. I had to wake you up in the middle of your afternoon nap to go to the doctor’s office, so you were alread not a happy chappy. They gave you two shots, one in each leg, and you screamed bloody murder! Normally you are a very easy baby to calm, but you were NOT having it this time. I had to nurse you to get you to calm down! You were bright red and you gave yourself hives from crying so hard! (I’m not sure what they are, but every time you’ve cried REALLY hard, which is about 4 times in your life, you get these funny spots on your head! Sometimes they last for a few days!)


Parenthood is hard work - I know it will only get harder as you get older. That saying about motherhood - the one where it says that becoming a mother is like choosing to have your heart walk around outside you body - is so true. I hurt when you hurt. The hours I lay awake worrying about you when you had your little cold this past month will soon be hours that I worry about your first day of school, the first bully you encounter, those dreaded junior high years, the first time you drive a car, and the first time you stay out late. But parenthood is also the greatest joy I have ever experienced, and I sure your father would agree. The amount of excitement that we had just when you first rolled over is just going to be multiplied with each new milestone and accomplishment. You are our pride and joy. What a privilege it is to have you entrusted into our care. 

We love you, Judah William... more and more every single moment.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Two months old!

Sweet baby Jude, you turned two months old on April 13th! Time is just flying by. You are the most delightful little soul and I am thrilled to spend every moment with you.

Staring up at momma, who was making funny faces at you.

 Sticking your tongue out at us!

Sitting up all by yourself!

Staring at the toys hanging from your play gym.

Smiles for momma.

A little chat with Dad.

 Precious laughter!

How big you are:
At your 2 month check up on 4/16/12 (you were 9 weeks old to the day) you weighed 13lbs 15oz! Good heavens, child! You are a big boy, and you just love your food. The pediatrician was very impressed with your strength, alertness, and general good health. You’re only about 2.5 lbs away from doubling your birth weight of 8lbs 4oz! My arms get a work out carrying you around all day. You are wearing mostly 0-3 and 3 month size clothing, and starting to fit some 3-6 month clothes!

Things you love:
You still LOVE your bath time. We’ve started filling up the big tub with water and putting your bath seat in there. We wash you down and then let you “swim” around the tub (with one of us holding you!). You love to kick and splash with your legs and arms. We also sing to you while you’re taking a bath, and you’ve started to “sing along” with your little voice – it’s very adorable!

You LOVE being held and carried around. You are very curious and like to be held up on our shoulders, or facing outwards so you can see the world around you.

You LOVE playing in your gym. You like to be propped up in a semi-sitting position with your Boppy pillow and you grin at the dangling toys and bat at them with your chubby little arms.

You’ve also started to LOVE playing with toys that rattle or jingle. You got some cute little wrist rattles in your Easter basket, and you love to wave your arms around and hear them rattle. Whenever we rattle or jingle a toy in front of you, you start smiling and chuckling and talking to it.

You LOVE brightly colored and contrasting objects – they catch your attention and you will grin at them and talk to them!

You [obviously!] LOVE your food. This month you’ve been eating every 3-4 hours during the day, and every 5-6 hours at night. The only time you really get upset is if you are hungry and fortunately for you, that is a quick fix!

You LOVE to look at faces – especially mom and dad’s faces! It makes us feel really special that you recognize us and always give us the biggest smiles when there are other people around J You have a little book with photos of baby’s faces that you also love to stare at. The other day at our mom and baby class, we sat next to another little baby girl and you two just STARED at each other for the longest time – it was hilarious!

You LOVE soft fuzzy blankets! Your Great-grandma Driver sent you one that you snuggle up in every time you go to sleep. If you are overtired and fighting sleep, all we have to do is wrap you up in a fuzzy blanket and you nuzzle into it and fall right to sleep.

You also LOVE your pacifier when it’s time to go to sleep. We pop a paci in your mouth and you suck on it and your eyes start to droop… and then you’re out for the count! It helps to keep you sleeping too – if you wake up you just start sucking again and fall right back asleep.

You LOVE to have our attention! If we are holding you, but doing something else, you will protest with little yelps and bat at us with your hands until we look at you and talk to you again! We are always rewarded by the biggest smiles and chuckles J

You still LOVE music. I’ve noticed that you respond the most to voices singing, and to cello and piano music. I try to remember to put music on whenever we are hanging out at home. You got some awesome CD’s with fun songs and lullabies from your Aunty Laura and Aunty Mary J I still need to get my flute out and play for you – I’m sure you will be fascinated by it. You love it when we whistle for you, especially when you’re right in front of our faces and you can feel it too! If you are crying because you’re hungry, Dad can distract you by whistling and singing to you until Mom is ready to feed you.

You LOVE being carried around in your pouch sling and your Maya ring sling. You love being held close and tight like that and you usually fall fast asleep. You are getting so big already, though, and momma’s shoulders and back get sore from carrying you around. We need to look into some more structured baby carriers that use both shoulders!

Things you don’t like:
You’re still not a big fan of diaper changes, but you are getting better at them! As long as you aren’t hungry, we can usually get through a diaper change without too many tears.

If you are awake, you don’t like to be in your carseat when it’s not moving. As long as we driving in the car, or riding in your stroller you’re fine, but if we stop moving for too long you protest! So far, though, car rides usually put you to sleep and then you’ll stay asleep when we bring you inside. As soon as you wake up, though, you want out!

You don’t like being by yourself if you are awake. You like to hear us and see us and know we are close by! I feel the same way about you J

What you’ve been up to this month:
You have become so alert and smiley and talkative this month. We have long conversations now – you tell me all about your day with coo’s and ahhhh’s and ooohh’s and ah-goo’s J You also sing along when I sing to you. You’ve started chuckling/giggling when you find something funny – it’s just the most precious thing!

You make the most adorable faces, both when you’re sleeping and when you’re awake. Your chubby cheeks and expressive face make our hearts melt over and over again.

You hold up your head almost perfectly now. You also hold your torso up very well, because you love to be up and looking about when we hold you over our shoulders. You’re not all floppy like a newborn anymore! When you are awake you like to hold yourself up, push up with your legs, and wave your arms around. You purposefully bat at things with your hands.

You are also a snuggly baby – you burrow your head into my neck when you’re tired or overstimulated and you like to be held close.

When you do tummy time, you can do a mini-pushup and look around. You haven’t rolled completely over to your back yet, but you can roll from side to side. You’ve almost rolled over many times, but you always get startled and stop right as you’re about to go over!

You’ve started settling into more of a routine. We’re just following your lead at the moment, because we figure you will let us know what you need! You don’t sleep through the night without eating (which is perfectly normal for a baby your age, and it doesn’t bother me at all – I love your sleepy nighttime snuggles), but you do sleep solidly from about 10 or 11pm to 10 or 11am, waking twice for feedings around 3am and 8am. For those two feedings you usually only wake up just enough to eat what you want and then you go right back to sleep. If we have to go somewhere in the morning, you will usually just sleep in your carseat until about the same time as normal (10-11am). You eat then when you wake up, and you’re usually awake for an hour or two. You might take a little cat nap, and then you eat again around 1 or 2pm and go down for a 2-3 hour nap. You eat again when you wake up from that nap (4-5pm) and then you’re awake for a couple hours and we play! Dad comes home at 5:30pm (when he doesn’t have grad classes) and you play with him. Around 6-7pm you take another little nap and then you eat again around 8 pm. Then you are awake for a couple hours and this is when we do story time, bath time, and sing to you. Usually around 11pm you eat again and then go down for the night!

You are sleeping in our room in your bassinet. Right now the plan is to keep you in our room until you sleep through the night without needing to eat, which could be several months. Your bassinet clicks into its stroller base, but we’ve recently ended up just putting it at the bottom of our bed instead because it’s easier and we don’t have the huge stroller taking up space in our bedroom. It’s also easy because I just sit up and grab you from end of the bed to feed you and put you back when you’re done eating. Our bed has a footboard so the bassinet sits securely at my feet. You are going to outgrow the bassinet before too long, so we’ll have to come up with a new plan then!

We have been getting out more this month, and you are so easy to take with me everywhere I go – grocery shopping, arrands etc. You usually sleep in your carseat if we’re out during naptimes, or I carry you in a sling, or hold you in my lap if we’re at something like our mom and baby class. You are a contented baby! Your honorary Aunties Laura & Mary visited last week and you just tagged along wherever we went. Of course, you had all three of us to love and adore you all day long!

You had your first Easter! I made you a little Easter basket and you shared your chocolate with us J You got some books and a teething toy and wrist rattles. You also got an adorable outfit that you wore to church!

You went on your first picnic, to White Rock Lake! You were asleep in your carseat for most of it, but we had a great time J

You went on your first outing to the pool when Laura and Mary were here… the weather is perfect right now. Before long it will be too hot to spend time outside! You slept in your stroller most of the time… we kept you in the shade. The only time you were out in the sun was for a few minutes to take pictures! I dipped your little toes in the pool but you were not a fan of the cold water.

We started putting you in cloth diapers right at the end of your 2nd month. I had planned to just use disposables for the first month, but I overestimated how many we would need – we still have quite a good stock of size 1’s and 2’s! You are about to outgrow the size 1’s so we squeeze you into those during the day to use them up, and put you in cloth diapers at night because they’re much more absorbent. I have 6 Fuzzibunz cloth diapers and 6 BumGenius ones… so far I really like both of them for different reasons. The BumGenius seem to work best at nighttime (more absorbent), but the Fuzzibunz ones are SO much easier to get the poopy stains out of - I'm not sure what the difference is! I’m still trying to work out the kinks in our diaper laundry routine – just ordered some Rockin’ Green detergent and I’m hoping that works better. I'll probably do a whole post about cloth diapers soon.


I am LOVING every minute, baby boy. You are such a charming little fellow – you bring joy to people everywhere with your sweet smiles and laid-back personality. I am finding each new stage to be even better and more exciting than the last. That said, though, please don’t grow up too quickly! I am savoring your babyhood because I know it will go by like a flash.

Happy 2 months, Judah William. Your father and I love you from the depths of our hearts.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Thoughts on motherhood, six weeks in

  • Before your baby is born, "they" always tell you how much time you'll spend just staring at him. Well, "they" are right. I could just sit for hours and look at Jude's sweet little face, marvel at his tiny fingers and toes, and giggle at the dimples that seem to be appearing daily. I've always loved babies, but there's just something about having my very own baby to hold and watching him grow daily.

  • Another thing that "they" tell you before you have a baby is how everything will take more time, and how much STUFF you have to take with you when you go anywhere. It's all true. When I plan to get out of the house, we have to start getting ready at least two hours before we go anywhere. If it's in the morning, Judah needs to eat, have a diaper change, then I have to get showered, dressed and ready, maybe have some breakfast if I'm lucky... then Judah needs another diaper change, and probably to eat some more, get strapped into his carseat... and the diaper bag has to be packed up for every possible emergency, my phone and the keys need to be found... etc etc.

  • I always thought that once I had a baby, my baby fever would be cured, at least for a little while. But no, it's still here. I want another one! Ha. I remember thinking that even just a few hours after Judah was born - I wanted to do it all over again. But it will be a couple of years, don't worry!

  • It feels like my heart grows bigger every day, just to fit all the love that I have for Judah and Thomas and our new little family. A side effect of this is that I seem to feel more... as I hold Judah close, I often think of all the children in this world who don't have a loving family - or even just food and shelter. Now that I have Judah it seems incomprehensible to me that anyone could harm or abuse such an innocent little life. It's really hard for me to read or watch the news because there are so many stories of abuse, abandonment, and starvation. My heart just breaks, and I wonder to myself what I can do about it... because I truly believe that what your heart feels most strongly about is what you are meant to do. This is something that has always pulled at my heart strings, but having Judah has just heightened it.

  • Having a child also makes you more aware of all the dangers in the world. Judah is only six weeks old but I already feel this overwhelming urge to protect him - keep him from getting hurt, getting sick, or being abused in anyway by anyone. This is something I know is going to be a daily battle for me as he grows up... finding a happy medium between protecting him and letting him have adventures and experiences and live his little life to the fullest. I don't want him to be afraid, but at the same time I want him to have a healthy awareness of the dangers of this world so he can learn to make his own judgments.

  • I have a bigger desire to make every moment count now that Judah is part of our lives. I want to be purposeful as a mother - to actively help him to learn and grow. I don't want to be distracted by things like the computer or the TV when he is awake and wanting my attention. He is growing so quickly and I just want to soak it all in. I refuse to miss any smiles, any gurgles or coos, and any "conversations" that he might want to have with me!

  • The sense of responsibility for this little baby is overwhelming sometimes! I believe that every child is a gift from God, and we have been entrusted with Judah's care. Even at this very young age Judah is taking in everything, so Thomas and I should be acting like we want him to act - with kindness, respect, compassion, and doing things out of love. We should model the behaviors and character traits that we want him to have, and this means constantly being aware of our actions and living mindfully. 

  • Last, but not least, it's just incredible how one little smile from Judah makes my heart melt, even if it's at three in the morning. Every wakeful night, every tearful moment... it's all worth it. The fact that he always stops crying when I pick him up and hold him close makes me feel like the most special person in the world.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Judah William's Birth Story

I can't believe it's been six weeks since my baby boy was born. Judah William made his way into the world quite suddenly and unexpectedly. Well, not unexpectedly in the sense that we knew he was coming... the unexpected part was the way he got here! I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it. Writing out his birth story has helped me remember all the details of that magical day.

Just a little forewarning... I am not going to be graphic, but this is a BIRTH story... so I will talk about various things that happen during birth :)

On Monday morning, the 13th of February, my mom and I went to my 39-week appointment at the birth center. We were in a rush to get out the door, because we were late (as usual, in my case). Mom had made me a cup of tea, and I only got to have a few sips before we left. I remember thinking to myself  "I'll heat it up in the microwave when we get back in an hour and drink it then."

I had been having contractions all weekend, but this wasn't anything out of the ordinary after 9 weeks of pre-term contractions. They had been getting more uncomfortable, but I was in denial... feeling like this baby was just never going to come out. We got to the birth center, and everyone there was surprised that I was STILL pregnant after all the pre-term contractions, dilation and effacement. I had begun to wonder if maybe my body/uterus was just too tired out after weeks of contractions to effectively go into labor and push the baby out (hence the "this baby is never coming out" desperation). I was starting to get anxious, because my mom had been here for almost a week already and he still hadn't arrived. I was well aware that she only had a limited amount of time with us and I wanted the baby to spend as much time with her as possible.

The midwife, Beverly, was a little late, so we just sat in the waiting room for a while. When she arrived we went in and proceeded to do all the usual pregnancy appointment checks... weight, blood pressure, listening to the baby's heartbeat, measuring the baby bump etc. Then Beverly checked to see how dilated/effaced I was... 3cm and 75%. She noticed the rash on my belly that had been irritatingly itchy for the past week, and went to ask Cherie (another midwife) what we should do about it. Cherie came in and looked at it, measured my belly again, and decided to check me for dilation/effacement as well. As she was checking me, I felt this warm gush of water... at first I had no idea what had happened, and Cherie hadn't noticed either. But then it kept happening and I said "Ummmm... I think my water just broke!" And sure enough it had. Because of my high amniotic fluid level, there was a lot of it to come out... all over the exam table... ha. Beverly and Cherie were running around finding towels! Cherie checked to make sure the baby was all right - there was a slightly higher risk of cord prolapse, because of the high amniotic fluid level and the fact that his head was still floating. Everything was fine though, and Cherie could feel his head had moved right down and engaged when my water broke. It was 10am at this point.

All this happened in the space of a couple minutes, and I hadn't really realized what it meant - we were having a baby today! Once your water breaks, you have to go into labor within 24 hours because of the risk of infection. My mom brought me my phone as I was lying there on the exam table with the midwives bustling around me. I called Thomas, who was at work, and said something like "My water broke and I think you should probably come here!" My mom and I had the car (Thomas had ridden to work with a co-worker), so he then had to get a ride to the birth center. Somewhere in there, I was moved to the upstairs birthing room (which is more of an observation room) and Cherie monitored the baby's heartbeat for a few minutes before sending me and my mom to walk around. The contractions had started almost immediately after I got up from the exam table. When Thomas arrived, we basically sent him right out again to go home and get all of our stuff. Unfortunately a lot of it was still spread out over the house, partly because I was in denial that the baby was ever coming out and hadn't actually put everything in our bags! I knew where everything was, but explaining it to Thomas proved difficult and the poor guy was madly running all over the house trying to find everything on my list.

While Thomas was running around at home, my mom and I were walking. We went outside into the freezing rain, and walked around the tiny little park next to the birth center. Cherie told me to walk right through the contractions, so I did that as  much as possible. There was a gazebo in the middle of the park that we took shelter in, and I just walked in circles under the roof. The contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart at this point, and lasting for about a minute. I had to concentrate during the contractions, but in between them I was still in the "excited" stage... texting people and Skyping and facebooking on my phone and talking with my mom. It was really cold - the coldest day of the year so far in Dallas, I think. My poor mom was freezing, but the cold air actually felt good to me as I marched through the contractions.

At about 11am, we came back inside and Cherie checked the baby's heart rate again. He sounded great. She asked me how the contractions were feeling and I said they were getting a bit more painful and the pain was mainly down in my lower abdomen - it actually felt like knives stabbing at my cervix! She told me that once I was feeling pain all over my belly then we would be in serious labor - but that never actually happened for me. Cherie said that I should go home and labor there for a while because I was a first time mom and labor would take about 12 hours. I said  "ok" but was thinking internally "I don't think I really want to ride in a car right now!" My phone had died, so we had to wait until Thomas arrived to let him know anything. I continued walking around the downstairs waiting room, and then around the main birthing room as well through the contractions. They were starting to get more intense. I tried sitting down for a bit while we waited for Thomas to get back, but I couldn't keep still - the contractions felt much worse when I wasn't walking.

Thomas finally got there, and right as he was arriving the contractions kicked up another notch on the pain scale. I literally had to speed walk through them to manage the pain. I must have looked so funny - speed walking around the big birthing room breathing deeply through my nose. In between contractions I filled Thomas in - told him that Cherie had said to go home and labor for a while, but that I didn't think I would survive a car ride - I wouldn't be able to walk through the contractions in a car! At this point the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting for a good solid minute. Thomas went to find Cherie and tell her this, and I guess she said it was fine to stay because we stayed! Somewhere around then the birthing assistant, Debbie, came in and checked the baby's heart rate. She had to listen to him through a contraction... that meant I had to stand still during one, which was quite agonizing. Thomas held me up and put pressure on my lower back with his fists. Debbie came in about every 15 or 20 minutes to check his heart rate.

It was after 12pm now, and I was getting quite exhausted from all the speed walking through contractions. I started having to walk more slowly, with Thomas walking behind me and putting pressure on my lower back. We used socks filled with rice and heated up - he pushed them into my back during contractions while I was walking and that helped. The contractions were every 2 minutes and lasting a minute or more, so I usually had less than a minute to rest in between. It was too uncomfortable to sit down and get up again, so Thomas and my mom piled up cushions on one of the couches in the birthing room and I would just lean against it.

Sometime around 1pm, Debbie suggested using the shower as a pain relief method. So I got in the shower and had the hot water running on my back. But the shower was too small to walk around in and I just could not get comfortable without Thomas to hold onto, so that only lasted about two contractions. I got out again and continued laboring with Thomas pushing the hot rice socks into my back while I moved. I was getting too tired to walk, so I just swayed back and forth.  Somewhere around 1:30pm, I asked to try the jacuzzi tub, but Debbie said she would have to get Cherie to check me before I could get in - she said they like people to be 5cm-7cm dilated before using the tub because the hot water can slow labor down. So Cherie came to check me, and said I was a good 5cm. While she was checking me, she also did something - I can't remember exactly what - either she pulled my cervix down or adjusted the baby's head position... or something. When she was done, I got up and had the two WORST contractions ever. I hardly knew what to do with myself - the pain was blinding. I was grabbing at Thomas, pushing him away, leaning over, squatting down, standing up... just trying to do SOMETHING to help the pain. (I now know that those two contractions were my body going through transition and dilating almost instantaneously from 5 cm to 10cm). It was now about 2pm. When those contractions were over, the jacuzzi tub was ready and I climbed in and slid my whole body under the water. The pain relief that came with the weightlessness and hot water was incredible. My whole body relaxed, and with the next contraction came an uncontrollable urge to push - my body was shaking with the effort not to push.

I was confused - just a few minutes ago I was only 5cm dilated! I told Thomas to get someone quickly because my body was just pushing. Debbie came in and calmly told me that it usually takes 2 hours for a first time mom to push a baby out, but I just didn't believe her. I knew the baby was coming out right now! I pushed for a few minutes in the tub and then they wanted to check me again so I got out, and was pushing while squatting down (which is one of the best ways to push because it opens up your pelvis). The nice thing about this part of labor is that the contractions don't so much hurt anymore... they just feel like immense pressure waves, pushing the baby down and out. They were very intense, but compared to the pain of the previous contractions these were so much better. I guess the midwife could feel the baby's head because they started getting the bed and the equipment ready. I pushed through two more contractions while holding onto the bedpost, and then the midwives quickly got me on the bed because the baby's head was coming out. I remember while I was pushing at the bedpost, someone asked what we were going to name him - we said we had two options but were just waiting to see him first! A few more pushes on the bed holding my knees back, and his head was out! Immediately followed by a little hand, waving hello to the world :) The rest of him slid out and Cherie handed him to me. There was another birthing assistant taking pictures with our camera, and the picture of this moment is one of my favorite pictures - I had a look of utter shock on my face as I pulled my brand new baby up to my chest! I could not believe I had just had a baby. Thomas got to cut the cord. He was born at 2:32pm, and was absolutely perfect from head to toe. A few minutes later we realized we still hadn't named him, and after a little discussion we decided he was a Judah William!

Thomas and my mom were with me for the whole birth. Mom mostly hovered in the background, bringing me drinks or anything that I needed. Thomas was right there with me from the moment he arrived at the birth center. He was on the massive four-poster bed next to me as our baby was born. We just laid there for half an hour or so with our brand new baby wrapped up in towels and surrounded by warming rice socks, staring at him. Debbie took him to be weighed and measured and everything (8lbs 4oz and 20.5 inches long) just a few feet away while Cherie stitched up my two tiny little tears. Thomas stood there with Judah and held his hand and I just stared at my new baby boy. He was back in my arms after a few minutes and we stayed snuggled up for a while. About an hour and a half after Judah was born, I got up and showered. It felt very weird - my body felt like I had run a marathon - my legs were shaky, and my stomach muscles hurt like I had done 1000 sit ups. The shower felt amazing, though, and I was soon back in bed with my new family.

We were texting and calling and Skyping people all afternoon... we woke my Dad up at 3am his time (he was in Kenya for meetings) and he got to see Judah via Skype at 2 hours old. We texted Thomas's parents (who also happened to be in Kenya) to let them know but they didn't have internet then. We Skyped with them later that night from home.

At 7pm we went home. Judah was just 5 hours old. It felt so surreal driving home with him, less than 12 hours after I had left the house that morning thinking I would be back in an hour to finish my cup of tea! We had a couple of visitors, and then settled in for our first night of baby adventures. Honestly, I hardly slept a wink... I just lay awake staring at him! Newborns make the funniest noises and squeaks and I was just not sure what they all meant so I felt I had to stay awake and make sure he was ok! The first few days are a hazy, magical blur. It was so special watching our newborn take in the world, figure out breastfeeding, listen to his cute little noises, and marvel at his tiny perfect body. It's incredible how fast they change and grow and learn new things. I've just loved every single minute so far.

Our brand new family, with Judah just minutes old.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One month old!

Judah William, you are one month old! This month has been the fastest one of my life, watching you change and grow before my eyes. It's also been the best month of my life... the first month with YOU!

A little one-month-old photoshoot.
(Thanks for the awesome stickers, Caden!)

"Maybe I'll play along and give them a smile..."

"Here it comes..."

"Oh yeah, they're gonna love this smile!"

"Phewsh, that smile was hard work"

Deep in thought.

Oh! We are distressed!


Taking a little paci break...

"This photoshoot business is hard work..."

How big you are: 
At two weeks, you were 9lbs 4oz and 20.5 inches long, and you haven't been weighed or measured since then. You were supposed to have your one-month appointment this week, but the doctor isn't in her office, so we have to wait until next week to find out how much you've grown! I'm guessing you're at least 11lbs by now... you are a little chunker!

Things you love:
You LOVE your bath time. As soon as you are put in the water, your whole body relaxes and you make happy little sighs and coos. We always make sure the bathroom is nice and warm so you don't get cold. You often fall asleep while we're bathing you!
You LOVE to be held, especially with your head on our shoulders. You love having your back patted. You are quite the little monkey, because you know that if you cry (when you're laying in your play gym or bassinet or something) we will usually pick you up. Most of the time the only reason you cry is so that we will pick you up, and you are as happy as a clam as soon as you are in our arms! We love it. Maybe we are spoiling you, but I don't think babies can be spoiled by being held... they just need lots of snuggle time. It must be quite the shock to the system to suddenly be out in the big wide world after being snuggled up in mom's belly for so long! Sometimes we fight over who gets to hold you :)
You LOVE your food - you are a very good eater (as evidenced by your very healthy weight gain!) I feed you every 3-4 hours during the day, and at night you go 4-6 hours between feeds. We introduced a bottle (of pumped milk) at 2 weeks, and you sucked it down like a champ. You get one bottle every day so you stay used to it. That way someone else can feed you if mom needs to go somewhere!
You LOVE to suck on things. I figured this out when you would nurse for up to an hour - really you were just using me as a pacifier! You suck on your fists, and you try to suck on anything that comes close to your mouth. So we introduced a pacifier and you love it. Unfortunately you're not great at keeping it in your mouth (and when it comes out you tend to get upset) so we have to keep plugging it back in, but you'll get it soon enough.
You LOVE music... and being sung to. Daddy makes up silly songs for you, and I often sing you to sleep. You love it when there's music on, you go very quiet and look like you're listening intently.
You generally like tummy time... it depends on what kind of mood you're in. You do love to sleep on your tummy, but we only  let you do that when we're awake and watching you.

Things you don't like:
You DO NOT like having your diaper changed. It makes your little bottom cold and you do not like anything cold! Anytime we touch you or pick you up with cold hands, you start crying! You will usually cry while we change your diaper (as quick as we can), and as soon as we are done and pick you up you are perfectly happy again.
Sometimes at night you decide that you don't like being alone in your bassinet (which is in our room), so we move all our pillows and blankets and put you on the bed with us. Then you can sense us next to you and you sleep like a rock! Little monkey. Being close to us makes you feel secure, so we don't mind.
There's really not much you don't like... you're a pretty laid-back baby!

What you've been up to this month:
It's incredible how much you've changed in just a month. You've gone from a helpless, floppy (but oh-so-cute) newborn to a happy one-month-old who can hold his head up for short periods, smile at us, and "talk" to us. You've figured out that your arms and legs are attached to your body and you kick and wriggle and wave your arms around happily. You like to put your fist in your mouth and suck on it.
You started mimicking simple facial expressions when you were about a week old. You can make "kissy lips", stick out your tongue at us, and smile :) You smiles are now becoming more purposeful and sometimes you give them spontaneously which makes us squeal with delight :) (OK, maybe the squealing mostly comes from mom, but it makes daddy very happy too!).
You get hiccups all the time, just like when you were inside me. Usually you get them after you eat. So far we haven't figured out how to get rid of them... they eventually just stop on their own. You are starting to get more annoyed with your hiccups as you get older! Poor baby... I would be annoyed too!
You've "talked" to us from the very beginning with your little body. When we talk to you or smile at you, your whole body starts moving, you mouth opens and closes, and your hands start waving as you try to communicate with us. More recently you've started using your voice to talk to us too... with little oohs and aahs and agoos. It's so cute. You've made grunting and squeaking noises since you were born... often in your sleep. Sometimes you sound like a horse and we laugh at you :)
You've developed a pattern of being very wakeful and playful from about 2am to 4am. You wake up to eat at 2am, and then you're wide awake usually for a couple of hours, and you just want to have our attention! We're working on getting you back to sleeping then, but we're enjoying the happy smiles you give us during that time. We just wish it was more like 2 in the afternoon instead of 2 in the morning :)

Oh, what joy you have brought to our lives Judah William! We love you so very much, and we are so grateful that God has chosen us to be your parents! We are excited to watch you grow (but not too fast, ok?) and explore and learn about this big wide world of adventures and possibilities.