picture time…

We had Mason’s four month pictures taken at the beginning of this week and I am IN. LOVE. with them! I was referred to Lydia, who owns Lydia Lee Photography, for Mason’s newborn pictures (you can see those here) and after talking to her a few times and seeing more of her work (and the fact that she drives all the way up to our house!), I decided I wanted her to photograph Mason’s first year for us! She has such a great personality and she is so patient with Mason, waiting to get the right shot. Not to mention the fact that she was out in our front yard with us singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and making weird noises, trying to get Mason to smile, just once! I love her style and she perfectly captured Mason’s silly little personality; I am so looking forward to the rest of his first year’s photos!

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let’s go to the zoo…

We took Mason to the zoo for the first time this week and he loved it! We started the day off with his 4 month pictures (more on that soon!) and then headed down to Indy for a perfect day at the zoo. We had to rent one of the zoo’s strollers because this mommy right here forgot ours AND our front/back baby carrier… and didn’t realize it until right as we pulled into the zoo parking lot… DOH!

We started out in the forests and saw some cute little red pandas & Reeves’ muntjacs, white-handed gibbons, Asian small-clawed otters, Amur tigers, Island Flying Fox bats & Straw Colored Fruit bats, and Alaskan brown bears; the bald eagles are in the forests too, but due to some critters chewing holes in the netting, the eagles were relocated elsewhere.

As soon as we wound through the forests, we made our way to the plains, after passing some ring-tailed & crowned lemurs, flamingos, and some random ducks. We saw some wildebeests, ostriches, giraffes, white rhinos, African lions, cheetahs, African elephants, baboons, a crowned crane, a marabou stork, and Guinea fowl!

It took us about an hour to get through the plains, so we stopped to get an ice-cold lemonade and took a short break. Mason was just enjoying the ride in the stroller and didn’t even want to eat yet, so we kept on truckin’ to the deserts. Here we saw lots of different lizards, iguanas, dragons, and tortoises, some zebra finch, slender-tailed meerkats, several different kinds of cacti, and then we saw all the snakes!

After spending so much time in the 80* deserts biome, we were more than ready to get back outside to that beautiful weather! Last stop was the oceans where we saw the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, a Pacific walrus, California sea lions, harbor & gray seals, aquariums full of cow-nosed rays, reef fish, & moon jellies, long snout, potbellied & lined seahorses, King penguins, gentoo penguins & rockhopper penguins, the polar bear, and dog sharks that you can pet! Mason fell asleep after the dolphins, but mommy and daddy enjoyed the rest of the ocean biome!

Mason woke up right after we left the oceans, just in time to return our rented stroller and head home. Mason’s favorite part of the day was the dolphins; and mommy’s favorite part of the day was watching him follow the dolphins as they swam around us. He was so intrigued by them! All in all, it was a great day!

4 months down…

To my growing baby boy,

Has is really been 4 months? Where has the time gone? You keep getting bigger and bigger, right before my very eyes! We took you to your 4 month checkup, and the doc says you are growing absolutely perfectly! You are almost 26 inches long, which is already over the 75th percentile for height (you’re gonna be a giant!) and you weigh almost 15 pounds, which is right in-between the 50 and 75th percentile (just perfect!). Believe it or not, you are wearing 9 month jammies to bed! You can still wear most of your 3 month clothes, but the bodysuits are getting way too short for you, so you’re in mostly 6 month stuff now, although those are huge in the width! If it’s a one piece outfit, like your jammies or your summer short-alls, they have to be 6 or 9 months, or they won’t fit you! Point of the story? You are going to be one TALL, skinny boy!

This month hasn’t really been chock full of new developments like the past couple of months, mostly just fine-tuning the things that you already know how to do. You found your feet for the first time this month, and you haven’t let go since! Every time you grab your foot, you look at it with a little sparkle in your eye, like you’ve just found a brand new toy! And you love to play with your toes; you wiggle them around, watching them all the time, and then try to stick them in your mouth.

In addition to developing that charming little personality of yours, you are starting to develop quite the little temper. If you don’t get your way, you are not afraid to let us know. You have learned that you can scream – on demand, now – and if you start to get mad, the screeching begins; not just cute baby screeching, but full on, red-in-the-face-because-I’m-so-mad-that-you-won’t-let-me-have-my-way screeching. And you especially like to do it in public when you get sick of sitting in your car seat. Sometimes it’s funny, but most of the time it’s not because the screaming quickly turns into a full blast meltdown for all the world to hear. I’m sure you’ll grow out of it, right? Who am I kidding….

You are grabby, grabby, grabby, grabby, and some more grabby! Your little fingers and hands have been working overtime and you LOVE to reach for things now! Nowadays you are really good at actually grabbing what you are reaching for. Talk about making momma proud! The only downside? Now you can grab mommy’s glasses and rip them off my face, leaving little tiny baby fingerprints all over them. And your new favorite thing to grab? Handfuls of mommy’s hair! You always grab a big ole handful right at the nape of my neck, OUCHIE!! But I suppose the upside of you being able to grab a toy and quiet yourself balances everything out.

What comes along with being able to grab for things? Putting things in your mouth, of course! Namely, your hands. But the occasional teddy bear or shirt sleeve get stuffed in there, too. And on really special occasions, you try to get your hands AND a toy in there!

 You are on a roll! And you are getting super-de-duper good at rolling over. Sometimes you roll over multiple times, like you were rolling down a hill or something… it’s pretty cute. You can roll both ways, but you like to go from tummy to back a lot.

 You know what else you do? You cry real tears now. It breaks my heart. You don’t do it all the time; it usually happens when you wake up and realize that I’m not in the room with you… that’s when the real tears come. It’s so sad. But I suppose that just means you’re growing up, right? You’re a big boy now, making real tears. I think I might cry some real tears now, just thinking about it. But I don’t have any pictures of your real tears, so here are some more happy ones.

We bought you a Bumbo seat and you L.O.V.E. IT! Mommy loves it because it’s helping you learn how to sit up like a big boy, and you love it because you can sit up better now!

We started feeding you rice cereal about two days before your 4 month birthday. Your doctor doesn’t want you to start solids until 6 months, but mommy thinks knows you are ready. You always stare and mommy and daddy while we eat, you watch every single bite that we take; you also are sitting up really well and have good control of your head; and most importantly, you are always hungry. You’re supposed to be eating every 3-4 hours, but you usually eat every 2 hours (and you aren’t even overweight after eating that often, you’re just perfect) so mommy decided to let you try some cereal at 4 months and see how well you did with it. Result? You love it! You thought it was kinda gross at first, especially since I made the cereal with formula (whose taste you STILL don’t care for), but you got used to eat and now you eat rice cereal like a champ!

And, as always, we’ll end with some pictures of your perfect little feet!

Well, my love, that’s about all we’ve been up to this month; like I said, not much new stuff going on, but you’ve been working your little butt off, keeping yourself occupied with growing and getting better at the things that you already know how to do. You are quite the little smarty pants!

No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you ; after all , you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside. I love you more today that yesterday…

❤ mommy

3 months down…

To my smiley baby Mason,
Holy smokes, it’s been three months already… you are getting so big!

We learned last month that you really like it when the picture on the TV changes. Well, your love of the TV has only grown since then! You got a lot of Baby Einstein DVDs for Christmas and you love watching them. Now that you are smiling and cooing more, you talk to the videos every time a new character comes on the screen, especially when you watch the Baby Neptune one.

 You aren’t really into any “games” or anything yet, but you love when mommy plays “peek-a-boo” with you. And you also love to clap your hands (with mommy’s help), so we sing “If Your Happy and You Know It” all the time… it always get a laugh!

 You looooove to talk! You talk to your pictures by your changing table and you talk to the ceiling fans; really, you talk to everything. You watch people when they talk to you and try to imitate the noises that they make. Sometimes mommy catches you singing along to music in the car; it’s super cute. A lot of times, you start talking, and then when you hear yourself talking, you talk even more!

We’re still battling with the whole sleeping-in-your-crib thing, but we’re making progress, sloooooowly but surely. And now that you’re starting to roll around a little bit, I can see that our days on the couch are quickly coming to an end… mommy better get her butt in gear and get you used to sleeping in your crib!

You laughed for the first time at the beginning of this month! Every once in a while, when mommy or daddy talks to you, you smile and then… all of the sudden you laugh! It’s so cute. When you were 11 weeks old, mommy took you out to run some errands in Castleton and we went to see Grampa at work. Mommy was holding you and Grampa was tickling you and all of the sudden, you threw your head back and laughed… and you did it again and again, every time Grampa tickled  you. It almost made me cry, it was so cute!

You’ve always cried when you’re unhappy (duh) but lately you’ve started making this adorable little pouty face when you’re mad or sad; it starts out with a little lip quiver, then you stick your bottom lip out and whimper a little bit. If your demands aren’t met promptly, or to your specific liking, the pouty crying begins and I can’t lie, it’s adorable.

We got you a big boy bath tub last month and you’ve liked it since day 1, but now… you LOVE it! Your movements are starting to get more coordinated, so now you can splash in the water. Actually, you do more of an “old man shuffle” and kind of wiggle from side to side and that gets the water splashing, and then when you feel the water splashing, you flail your arms and legs about and that just gets the water splashing even more. And you smile and laugh and coo with every splash.

You are starting to develop quite the personality. In one word? Gregarious. You thoroughly enjoy other peoples’ company, and you love to talk to people. You’ve been a little uncertain about people that you don’t recognize, but after you study their face for a few minutes and start to warm up to them, you just smile and coo and try to talk to them. You are still very alert (mommy and daddy get comments on that whenever we take you out places) and, if it’s possible, more observant than ever. Another trait that has come to light? You are very opinionated – you know what you want, you know how you feel, and you are by no means afraid to let us know. Going hand in hand with your studious behavior, you are also very curious; you like to watch things and when you do, I can almost see the gears turning in your brain. Lovey, lovey, lovey… you are so affectionate and you love to snuggle and get kisses. And you are a very, very happy baby – everything makes you smile and unless you are tired, you are almost always in a good mood!

And going along with your growing personality, you are starting to develop quite a few facial expressions!

Mommy loves watching you while you eat; you do such cute little things while nursing, it always makes me smile. At night, since we sleep on the couch, we usually nurse while laying down and we seem to fit perfectly together – for now, while you’re still so small. You are a natural born leg-kicker, but somehow you know not to kick me while nursing, so you just stick your leg up on mine and wiggle it back and forth. You also love to touch me with your hands; sometimes you lay your sweet hand gently on my cheek (although sometimes you do it not so gently…), but usually you lay it on my chest, up by my neck. And the further you get in to your feeding, the sleepier you get, and you try to burrow and grab onto mommy’s shirt. So sweet.



You are going through a phase where you don’t want to be put down very often. Needless to say, mommy needs to have her hands free so I can get things done during the day, so I bought a Moby wrap. Thank goodness! You like being in it, snuggled close to mommy, and I don’t have to hold you, so my hands are free to do dishes or work on the computer or fold laundry.

You are really starting to get control of your arm and leg movements; they don’t randomly thrash about as much. You have started to try and reach for things now, too – not very successfully at this point, but when you see something that you want, you kind of stick your arm out and lean towards it. Sometimes you get lucky and actually get a hold of the thing you want and put your death grip on it; you love to hold on to things and you’ve got a good, firm grip, so you don’t usually drop things very often. Since you’ve gotten more control of your arms, you’ve found your hands, and that is definitely a good thing! You suck on them all the time and mommy is a-okay with that. If you won’t take a paci anymore, you can chew on your hands all you want if it keeps you from screaming. Your legs are constantly in motion. Seriously. Except for when you are in a deep sleep, your legs move all. the. time. I think you’re gonna be a really good runner, or biker, or swimmer. And given the way you push your feet down, you may just be a race car driver.

You got your 2 month shots a few weeks ago and you weren’t not happy about it! It was a little bit of a delayed reaction when the nurse stuck you with first shot, but man, oh man, you screamed your little head off. You quit crying as soon as mommy picked you up, but you were fussy the rest of the day. You fell asleep as soon as I put you in your car seat to leave, and  you slept for a good couple hours once we got home. You even slept through all the hammering and drilling while mommy was hanging up your new curtains and putting your new bookshelf together!

You rolled from your tummy to your back for mommy during tummy time! And then a couple weeks later, Nana was watching you while mommy was at school, and you rolled from your back to your tummy for the first time! Mommy was really sad that I missed your first back to tummy roll, but Nana said you just threw your leg over the other one and rolled on over!

You love to look at yourself, either in the mirror or on mommy’s phone. We stood in front of the mirror this morning and as soon as you saw yourself, you started grinning from ear to ear. When mommy takes pictures of you on my phone, you like to get really close to it and check out the cute little baby on the screen.

You love it when mommy and daddy read books to you! You love to look at all the pictures, and when we read books that have a lot of words in them, you talk along with us!

Sometimes mommy just sits and watches you play or sleep; you are such a sweet sleeper, you look like a little angel when you sleep, and it melts my heart. Now that you’ve started moving around more, you grab for things when you play, like the little animals on the tray on your swing. Sometimes right after you wake up, you have these little quiet moments where you just lay there and look around at everything; I love these times and sometimes I lay my head down on your chest and hear your little heart beating so fast.

And no monthly summary post would be complete without your feet… because, yes, mommy is still obsessed with them!

 No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you ; after all , you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside. I love you more today that yesterday…

❤ mommy

2 months down…

To my sweet baby boy,
It’s been two months already, I can’t believe it! You just keep growing like a weed; you went from 9 pounds 12 ounces at your 1 month appointment to 11 pounds 13 ounces at your 2 month check-up! You’ve finally outgrown all of your newborn clothes, except for your little brown zip-up jacket.

This month has been all about sleep! You still hate sleeping in your crib, so you sleep on the couch with me most of the time. Sometimes, on rare occasion, you will sleep in your bassinet, but not very often. When I put you in your crib, you just lay there and look at me like, “Um, get me out of here right now or I’ll start screaming!” But we’ve been working on it the past couple weeks; you’ve started to take naps in there during the day, usually for about an hour at a time.

You are just like your mommy and daddy – night owls – and you usually stay up pretty late (which makes it hard for mommy to get anything done). Sometimes mommy just puts you on the counter or the dryer so I can get stuff done in the kitchen or fold laundry. But you have finally started to fall into a sleep routine! You get a bath between 7 and 8, nurse, and take a short nap until about 10 or 11. You get a diaper change, nurse again and fall asleep between midnight and 1, and then sleep until about 7. So mommy is finally starting to get some more sleep at night (and just in time, since I go back to school soon!)

You are so cute when you get tired and fall asleep. You’ve started rubbing your eyes now when you get sleepy, and you love to burrow your face in my neck or your blankie. And when you finally fall asleep, you can always be found in some cute position, usually with your hands up by your face.

When you wake up from a nap, you always do a cute little stretch, where you bunch up your legs, stick out your belly, and arch your back; then you stick your arms and legs straight out and stretch AAALLLLLLLLL the way out. And that is usually followed with your cute little open-eyed yawn. Adorable.

Even though swaddling has worked wonders for you, if you’re not ready to go to sleep, you hate it. You wiggle all around and scream your head off. And you are a certified expert at getting your arms out; I call you my little Houdini because no matter how tightly I swaddle you, if you want your arms out, you’ll shimmy back and forth until you work them free.

Since your umbilical stump finally fell off and you can have regular baths now, we finally bought you a big boy tub… and you LOVE IT! You love to sit in the water and watch your feet floating in front of you. You’re not too big on splashing yet, but I’m sure that day is coming soon. Sometimes you smile when you feel the water on skin or when mommy washes your hair (you’ve always loved to have your head rubbed), but usually you just watch mommy wash you. And speaking of hair, yours is finally starting to grow! It’s getting long enough on top now that mommy can “mess it up” when I run my hand over it!

Pacifiers have always been a struggle with you. You took the “Gumdrop” pacis when we first brought you home from the hospital, then after a couple weeks, you decided that you didn’t want it anymore. And after I became your paci and you were hooked on a boob all the time, we tried to give you the paci again, but you didn’t like it. We switched to a “Nuk” paci and you loved it! I think you liked the shape better, and it was easier for you to keep in your mouth. But, no surprise, after a couple weeks of the Nuk pacis, you decided you didn’t want them anymore either. When we try to give it to you, you stick your tongue out to taste it, feel the silicone, and start crying and pushing the paci away from you. So now we’re back to square one, no paci, just mommy.

Your first Christmas was this month! Mommy and daddy didn’t really get you anything, you were so small, weren’t really interested in any of it (except for the lights on Christmas trees), and you slept through most of our Christmas gatherings! But your family spoiled you enough to make up for it; you got lots of goodies from Nana & Papaw and Gramma & Grampa!

For Christmas, Gramma and Grampa got you the Baby Einstein “Neptune’s Ocean Wonders” play mat that we wanted… and you L.O.V.E. it! You love to look at the lights on the musical aquarium; you also like to look at yourself in the mirror up on the very top. You just lay there, looking around, and kicking your feet like crazy! Since our house is kinda small, we put your play mat on floor in front of the TV (that’s about the only place in the family room that we have to put it). That’s when we discovered that you are intrigued by the television. It’s actually kind of funny, you love to watch the picture change, and your eyes get really big when it does.

You smiled your first real smile this month! And ever since then, whenever mommy or daddy starts to talk to you, you always smile. It always melted mommy’s heart when you smiled in your sleep, but even more so when you’re awake and you look up at me and grin… gets me every time.

You don’t like tummy time very much. Sometimes you like to watch the lights on your play mat, but most of the time you just fuss. You would much rather be on your back looking up at the ceiling fan (which you love to look at, even if it’s not moving) or the pots and pans in the kitchen or at somebody’s face. Even though you don’t get quite as much tummy time as you probably should, you are really, really good at keeping your head up when sitting or being held upright. Everyone always says, “Look at how well he keeps his head up!” and then mommy doesn’t feel quite so bad about not making you do enough tummy time.

I can’t lie, I am still obsessed with your perfect little feet and your perfect little bubble toes. They just keep getting cuter and cuter!

 You started cooing in the past couple weeks. And mommy loves it. When you lay on your changing table, mommy will make noises like “oooooooh” and “aaaaaaaaah” and you try to copy me. We hang out on the couch a lot, and you like to sit in your Boppy and talk with me. I’ll tell you about what we have planned for the day or I’ll explain what I’m doing on my laptop and you’ll just smile and talk back to me. Sometimes you make little outbursts when something excites you – it’s almost like you’re trying to laugh. So cute.

Mommy printed out some high-contrast pictures and hung them up by your changing table and on the inside of your crib and  you love to look at them. Every time we change your diaper, you turn your head to see the pictures, and recently you’ve started talking to them. And sometimes when mommy needs to do something while you’re awake, I’ll lay you in your crib and you’ll just kick your feet and talk to the pictures in there, too.

 Your first New Year’s Eve was this month, too! We had family over and we fixed a big feast for dinner, and there was so much going on, I don’t think you slept all day. Mommy and daddy were trying to hang out later that night, but you would just NOT go to bed, you stayed up until mommy went to sleep around 2 am. And since you were awake that long, you thought you were hungry all day, so all mommy got to do was sit in the recliner and nurse you; but that’s okay, I can’t really think of any better way to ring in the new year than with my sweet baby boy.

So, that’s what you’ve been up to for your second month of life! More growing, more changing, becoming more active, and learning how to interact with all sorts of things in your environment! You are getting so big and mommy can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next month!

No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you ; after all , you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside. I love you more today that yesterday…

❤ mommy

1 month down…

To my baby Mason ,
I can’t believe it’s already been one month since we brought your sweet little self into this world ! So much has happened these past few weeks ; our lives will never be the same , but we are so glad that you are finally here ! You grew quite a bit in your first month ; you weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces when you were born , 8 pounds 3 ounces at 2 weeks old , and 9 pounds 12 ounces at 4 weeks !

You look just like your daddy , from your little ears that stick out just a little bit , to your perfect little nose , all the way down to your little pincher toes. But you’ve got my eyes ( I really hope they stay blue ) and my mouth , too.

You don’t like sleeping in your crib… not at all. You’ve only been in there once since we brought you home. I think it’s because you really don’t like sleeping flat on your back. Even from day one , in the hospital , you had to sleep with either me or daddy , you would not sleep in the bassinet.

So at first , you slept in your bouncer a lot , but you got tired of that pretty quickly.

Then you started sleeping in your “bassinet” ( it’s not really a bassinet , I guess its kind of like a cradle ) , but you got sick of that pretty soon , too.

So now , even though everyone says that you shouldn’t , you just sleep on the couch with mommy. And you love it. Sometimes , you sleep for six or seven hours straight , which is pretty good for a newborn.

You are very alert for a newborn ; you love to just sit and study things , especially people’s faces. You are also really good at focusing on objects placed in front of you , and can follow objects pretty well. We call you our little “observer”. You recognize mommy and daddy’s voices and love it when we talk to you.

 

You hate getting your diaper changed and getting dressed – I mean really hate it. And don’t even get me started on bath time , that’s a battle all in itself. You don’t like being naked and you’re not afraid to let us know that you are unhappy. Your umbilical stump held on for dear life and didn’t fall of until the end of your first month , so you got sponge baths for a really long time.

We struggled with feeding you for the first two weeks of your life ; you had a really hard time getting latched on well enough to be able to eat , so we had to give you pumped bottles for a while. Once you got the hang of it though , you cluster fed all the time… like , pretty much your first four weeks of life were non-stop feeding.

Your first Thanksgiving happened this month ! You were two weeks old and it was your first holiday ; it was also the first time you met a lot of family on mommy’s side , like cousins and second cousins and great-aunts and uncles.

We got your newborn pictures taken and everybody loved them. Mommy can’t wait to have Lydia take your four month pictures!

You screamed a lot during your third and fourth week ; mommy and daddy weren’t really sure what to do with you , and it broke our hearts when you cried like that. But soon we discovered the magical powers of swaddling , and mommy did some research online and found a product called Colic Calm that made your tummy feel better and the screaming stopped ! This was also when we discovered that you love car rides and they almost always put you to sleep. You love , love , LOVE getting in your car seat and going in the “bye-bye box” !

Mommy and daddy threw away our broken Christmas tree last year , so we had to go out and get another one after Thanksgiving , which was the first time that we went somewhere without you. Granted , we were only gone for like , 30 minutes , and you stayed with Nana , but still , you were only three weeks old and that was a big , BIG deal for mommy.

Mommy is obsessed with your little baby feet and your perfect little toes ! You may have your daddy’s feet , but mommy loves them and I love taking pictures of them.

So , that what you’ve been up to this month. Lots and lots of growing. Lots and lots of observing. And lots and lots of getting used to being a small baby in this big world. You do something amazing every day , and we can’t wait to see what month two has in store for us !

No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you ; after all , you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside. I love you more today that yesterday…

❤ Mommy

do babies come with user manuals? i think not…

The past seven weeks have been… happy, sad, exciting, worrisome, busy, stressful, tiring, joyful, fun, hectic, exhausting, the list just keeps going. I knew what we were getting ourselves into, I mean, all I’ve done my whole life is babysit and take care of other peoples’ babies. But even with all of the experience, all of the know-how, and all of the advice, one can never fully prepare themselves to bring their newborn home and just “be” a parent. It’s hard. And between trying to get the hang of nursing and sleep deprivation, throw some major holidays into the mix and you have a recipe for gut-wrenching, hair-pulling, tear-inducing stress. But in the midst of all of this stress, there is a beautiful, tiny little life that is relying on you to be strong and get through the hard times. And that’s just what we’re doing, one day at a time.

The first three weeks, we had a really really hard time with the whole nursing thing. I developed a new found respect for all women who nurse their babies, yet I also understand why so many mommies find formula feeding so attractive. I wanted to switch to formula so badly that second week, but I told myself I would try my hardest to get through the first six weeks, which everyone says are the hardest. Mason’s little mouth just wouldn’t open up wide enough, at first, so after using a nipple shield for a week or so, we finally got our latch fixed and we’ve been nursing champs ever since.

This baby definitely lives up to his in-utero behavior of constantly kicking and moving around; Mason loves to be awake! And boy oh boy, he knows how to kick those feet! He is such an observer. Since day one, he has loved nothing more that to look at you and study your face and just listen to you talk to him. We got our first “gas smile” at four days old but he really started smiling at about three or four weeks old, and now at seven weeks he smiles all the time. He talks (coos) like crazy now, and if your really lucky he’ll give you a little laugh.

He has been growing like a weed, too. Mason weighed 7 lbs 12 oz, 20″ long when he was born, and was 7 lbs 3 oz when we left the hospital that Friday. The lactation nurses asked that we come back the following Monday to get his weight checked to make sure he was gaining a little and when we went back in, he was already back up to 7 lbs 11 oz! He weighed in at 8 lbs 3 oz at his two week check up, and grew a half an inch! And at his last appointment, his one month check up, he weighed 9 lbs 12 oz and grew to 21 3/4 inches! But all of that growing didn’t come easily. The first four weeks of nursing were rough (even after we got the latch right) with lots of painful gas and spitting up most of what he ate. He never actually lost any weight, so he was never diagnosed with reflux, but I self-diagnosed a problem with lactose, and ever since I’ve cut out most dairy from my diet and switched to lactose-free milk, the spit up has been practically eliminated! The gas is still a terrible problem; sometimes he wakes up screaming because it hurts him so bad. The gas drops that we were giving him with simethicone in them are made to help stomach gas, and he has trouble with intestinal gas, so they weren’t effective most of the time. I don’t really like giving him any sort of medicine that could have harmful side effects, and since most gripe waters having things like baking soda in them, which aren’t regulated by the FDA and can lead to side effects. Thank goodness we found Colic Calm (and no, I’m not paid to say that; we just tried the product and it truly works for us!) It’s a homeopathic gripe water consisting of nothing more than all natural products like aloe, vegetable charcoal, chamomile, peppermint, and ginger, which means that you can’t overdose; the body just absorbs what it needs and dispels the rest… and the product is regulated by the FDA, all of which makes this momma very happy.

All in all, we have an incredibly well mannered baby, he is so good. But I have really been struggling with his sleeping habits. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I realize that newborns and babies younger than three months don’t really have a set “schedule” quite yet, but this child is such a picky sleeper. Which has led to mommy sleeping on the couch for the last seven weeks. He absolutely HATES sleeping in his crib; the longest he has ever slept in his crib was about 10 minutes. He won’t even sleep in the crib if I swaddle him. We have one of those Fisher Price “Rock’N’Sleep” bassinets, but with all of his tummy troubles, he doesn’t like to be quite as “squished” as that. So we’ve had to lay a pillow in the bassinet before putting him, which seems to be just the right mixture of laying flat but being slightly elevated. I know every parent and doctor and child safety advocate is shaking their head at me right now, but it gets him to sleep. Now that he’s seven weeks old though, I think it’s about time to start sleep training and trying to get him to sleep in his crib. I’m not ready to make him cry it out yet, but we’re going to try to implement a bedtime routine for the next several weeks, and maybe start crying it out for naptime when he’s about three or four months. Although we’ve got some time to get all that worked out, I’m definitely looking forward to remembering what it’s like to sleep in my own bed, so stay tuned to see how that all works out.

And we’ve already experienced two major “firsts”… holidays! Mason was two weeks old for his first Thanksgiving, and we just celebrated his first Christmas. Obviously, they weren’t very eventful; Thanksgiving was mostly just time for family members to meet baby boy for the first time and me and Hubs didn’t even “get” any presents for Mason for his first Christmas (no worries, everyone else spoiled him rotten this year!). Next year he will be one and walking and talking (hopefully) and the holidays will be so much more fun with him being able to tear into presents and what not.

So that’s what we’ve been up to lately. This momma has lost her sanity and regained it, and doesn’t remember what it’s like to sleep in my own bed anymore, but baby boy is growing so much each and every day, and we love him so much. We may not be doing everything according to the books or what doctors say, but we’re figuring this whole mommy and daddy thing out. Who actually reads a user manual anyways… don’t most people just try to figure it out as they go? Isn’t that what parenting is? =] As I was typing this, looking back on the last seven weeks, I can’t believe that we’ve already gone from a newborn to a baby who’s almost two months old!

two weeks
three weeks
four weeks
five weeks
six weeks
seven weeks

the birth of mason alexander…

So I suppose that it’s been seven weeks since having a baby, and I should probably start making time to get this blog updated. And what better way to start that than with our sweet baby boy, and the intense (and terrifying) story of his birthday.

And I’ll warn you, I talk about peeing and sitting on the toilet and other fun stuff, like birth (duh) so if you don’t wanna hear it, I wouldn’t suggest continuing on with this post.

I had my 39 week OB appointment on Monday, November 7th, and we were still only about 50% effaced and dilated to about 1 1/2 cm, so I spent the day finishing up the painting in the kitchen – we got the walls painted that Saturday, and I got the outside framing of the pantry cabinets painted Sunday, so I got the actual pantry  drawers painted on Monday. And Tuesday was supposed to be my day to make arrangements with a new pediatrician (since I had really procrastinated getting that figured out and taken care of before I was 39 weeks pregnant) and get all the baseboards painted. Well… that’s where our plans veered off track. After going to bed, exhausted, on Monday night, I woke up around 6 am on Tuesday morning having to pee (for the seventh time that night) and I felt something wet “down there”. I sat up, thinking to myself, “Self, did you just pee your pants?!” I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom, only to realize “Holy shit! My water just broke!“, and then to realize that my underwear and pajama pants were soaked, so my plan to put on a pad and go wake up Hubs was shot. So here I am, sitting on the toilet, leaking amniotic fluid, yelling as loud as I can “GREG! GREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEG!!!!” And let me tell you, he must have taken his sleeping pill that night, cause he didn’t hear me at all. So I let 10 or 15 minutes pass by, trying to decide what to do; every time I went to get up off the toilet, more fluid came out… I felt trapped, but I needed to get some new undies and pants, and I needed to tell Hubs that the baby was on his way! So I grabbed a few pads and a towel, fashioned a big ole diaper of sorts and waddled my way into our bedroom to wake him up, much to his surprise. Now, my OB’s office doesn’t open until 8 am, and it was only about 7 am, so after cleaning myself up (as best as one can when they are leaking amniotic fluid everywhere and about to have a baby) and getting some pants back on, Hubs needed to get a few things done for work really quick (good thing the plant he was going to is only about 7 minutes from our house), so I put some towels down on the bed, just in case, and tried to lay down and get some rest before we called the doc to let them know my water broke and that I needed to come in to get checked out. It was about this time that I actually started to feel some contractions – the real, this-kind-of-hurts contractions… and it was two seconds later that I realized my whole entire kitchen was torn apart and that I needed to get it back together ASAP (cause I’m crazy OCD and I didn’t really want anyone else trying to put my stuff away, it needed to go a certain way). I couldn’t sleep anyways, my  mind was going a million miles an hour, worrying about said messy kitchen, and if we got everything ready for the baby, and if I was forgetting anything, and that I needed to call my mom, and worrying that maybe we should have just gone straight to the hospital, and oh my gosh, what if the baby comes crazy fast and I become that lady who sat down on the toilet to pee and the baby fell out, worst of all while Hubs was gone?! You get the idea… So I got back out of bed and tried to get the kitchen cleaned up before 8 o’clock rolled around. Hubs got home a few minutes later, we got our bags and stuff packed and then I called the doctor. And whadya know, the nurse said “You should just go straight to the hospital. I’ll call Dr. Marshall and let her know what’s going on, and I’ll call the hospital and let them know that you’re on your way up.” So that’s just what we did. We got the car packed up, car seat and all, grabbed some Gatorade, and headed to the hospital!

Ready to have a baby!

Hubs took a picture of his phone, so we would know exactly when we left!

Beautiful day to have a baby!

We got to the hospital a little before 9:00 am, got all signed in and hooked up, and they started me on a bag of antibiotics, since my water broke before we got to the hospital. The nurse checked us out, we were still only about 1 1/2 cm dilated, so I called my mom and told her that she could come up whenever, but that we weren’t progressing very quickly, and it was just a waiting game, now.

Talking to the registration nurse and getting my IV hooked up

Mommy and baby are all hooked up now!
Baby’s heart beat up on top, Mommy’s contractions down on bottom.
Ready to get this baby boy here, finally!
An hour or so goes by and we still hadn’t really progressed very much, except for my contractions getting a little bit stronger. The nurse called Dr. Marshall to see what she wanted to do, and they started me on a Pitocin drip to help speed things along. Hubs’ mom got here first (they only live about 10 minutes away from the hospital), his dad would be there later, and my mom said she was on her way, and my dad had to work, so he would be there as soon as he could get someone else there to cover for him (my parents live about 40 minutes away).

Our last picture together as just “the two of us”.

By the time my mom got to the hospital, my contractions were starting to get pretty intense, so I asked for some Nubain to try and relieve some of the pain, before jumping straight into an epidural. An hour went by and the Nubain had no effect, and the contractions were getting a lot stronger, so the nurse checked me, we were at about 4 cm dilated, and Nancy, my anesthesiologist came in and I got my epidural. (Which ended up being a blessing in disguise, as you’ll see later) And this is where the craziness began. My original plan was to take a nice little nap after getting my epidural, and getting some rest before having to push later; the Nubain had made me really drowsy, so I wanted to sleep, but with all the excitement, I only slept for a few minutes. About an hour after getting the epidural, the nurse came in to check me again, and we had jumped to about 8 cm dilated, almost 100% effaced – which meant that it was almost time to start pushing! Our nurse called Dr. Marshall and told her how close we were and that she should come over (she was at the office, right behind the hospital) We started to get excited and were trying to make sure that certain people – namely, our dads – were all going to be there in time. Several minutes went by, and Whitney (our awesome nurse at the time) came back in to check on us and told us that they wanted to keep an eye on the baby because his heart rate was starting to drop after each contraction; they weren’t too concerned, because his heart rate would bounce right back after the contraction, but they wanted to keep an eye on him, just to be safe. The nurses kept coming in and out, messing around with the fetal monitor on my belly, trying to get it in the right spot, and after a while, Whitney came back in because the baby’s heart rate was starting to not come back up as fast as it should after each contraction. She checked me again and we were fully dilated, and started asking where Dr. Marshall was. This is where everything kind of started to blur all together, because things were escalating, nurses were rushing in and out, and you could feel the sense of urgency in everyone. The baby’s heart rate started to drop really low, down to the 80s and 90s (it should have been up in the 140s, which was normal for Mason) They put me on oxygen, to help the baby, and Whitney was checking me out, trying to feel how the baby was positioned and what was causing the drop in heart rate. [[About this time, Hubs’ dad was on his way, and my dad was about 5 minutes away]] A few minutes went by (Hubs and our moms in the corner of the room, presumably freaking out) and Dr. Marshall came wooshing into our room and jumped on my bed and starting checking me out, and at this point the baby’s heart rate kept dropping – he was now down into the 60s and 70s. And that was it. Dr. Marshall jumped up and said “We need to get this baby out now. Call surgery and let them know we’re on our way” (Lucky for us, the OR and staff were in-between scheduled deliveries, so it was ready and waiting for us) As Dr. Marshall and Whitney went rushing out, a whirlwind of other nurses came rushing in, started disconnecting the fetal monitors and my IV, covered my bottom half back up, and quickly told Hubs and our moms that we needed to do an emergency c-section and that our moms needed to go to the waiting room and Hubs needed to come down to the OR with me. As we were getting rolled down to the OR, Hubs’ dad had just gotten there, our moms met him in the waiting room and told him that they just rushed us down to the OR, and my mom called my dad (who hadn’t gotten there yet, he got stopped by a train) at let him know. We were whisked into the OR, Hubs went one way to get suited up, I went the other to get rolled onto the OR table, numbed up, and cut open. It seriously went that fast… Four minutes. And it’s a good thing, too, cause when we got into the OR, the baby’s heart rate was down into the 50s. Nancy came in and pushed more drugs into my epidural to completely numb me, and two seconds later, Dr. Marshall was slicing and dicing. Four minutes from the time we got on the table (4:30 pm) to the time Mason was delivered (4:34 pm). And get this… Hubs wasn’t even in the room as they pulled Mason out!!! They forgot about him being back there until it was almost too late! He walked in right as the nurse was taking the baby over to the warmer; Hubs started walking towards me, and the baby was getting walked the other way! And let me tell you, this baby was so “pale” that he was blue. Come to find out, when we quickly progressed from 8 to 10 cm in a matter of minutes, the baby dropped down quickly and his cord got caught between his head and his way out, which kinked like a hose and cut off most of his oxygen supply; it actually left a big, long, red indention in the side of his face and head, in the exact shape of his cord – Dr. Marshall took a picture of it on her iPhone to show me (and she actually still had the picture on her phone when we went in for my 6 week postpartum check up). But all 7 pounds, 12 ounces of his 20 inch long self started crying right away – after they sucked all the goop out – and they put him on oxygen to help get his counts up where they should have been.

Here’s our sweet baby boy!
You can see the mark his cord left on his head.

Hubs and baby were only in the OR for a few minutes, they brought him over for me to kiss on real quick, then they wheeled him back down to the room because they were still a little worried about him and wanted to check him out completely. So now they started stitching me up (Dr. Marshall actually glued my incision shut, so it just looks like a paper cut; no staples, yay!) and I took my opportunity to catch a few zzzz’s. (Little did I know, I actually stayed in the OR for about 3 hours – it was about 7:45 pm when I got back to the room – so I got some sleep while they were working on me) One of the nurses came back in and told me Mason was doing great, and was really starting to pink up, and another one came in after they got me all closed up to take an x-ray (just to make sure they didn’t leave any instruments in there). It was about this time that I started to shake really bad; the nurses finally realized that they were in such a rush to cut me open and get the baby out safely, that no one covered me with any warm blankets (and let me tell you, that OR is freezing!) Between the hormones after delivering a baby and the extreme cold, I was full-body, practically convulsing kind of shaking. Nancy (one of my favorite nurses of our stay, besides Whitney, from that night, and Karen, from a couple days later) got me loads of warm blankets and started trying to warm me up. After we got the okay from the x-ray guys, I finally got to return to our room and hold my sweet baby boy for the first time.

He finally pinked up, and after taking a couple different blood tests and what not, the doc said he was a-okay, perfectly healthy. He scored an 8 on his Apgar test, the two points were taken off only for how extremely pale he was when born. And that’s all folks, that’s the crazy, exciting, terrifying, wonderful birth story of Mason Alexander; born Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm, weighing in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces, and 20 inches long. He’s got blonde hair, blue eyes, his daddy’s nose, momma’s mouth, and let’s face it, he’s a little mini-me of Hubs, so everything else comes from him. And I’m perfectly okay with that.

I’ll get you caught up on the last seven weeks of our lives tomorrow… and maybe friday, too; a lot has happened in the last seven weeks, I’m not sure if I can cover it all in one post. =]

ta da…

Have I ever told you how much I love Adobe and all of their products; like Photoshop and Acrobat Pro? Just in case I haven’t told you, I freaking love them! After a couple of weeks of brainstorming and “un-rusting” myself in Photoshop, I finally have the baby book done, and it’s even compiled into a PDF book. Awesome. Now, let me preface all of this by saying that this book is no original idea… I compiled all of the pages and prompts with the help of a couple of pre-made baby books and with some Googling of what other people have done. But I will say all of the pages were originally created by me… and many, many, MANY hours went into creating all 65 of those pages. But it’s finally finished. Here’s the Baby Book (all 65 individual pages) in a Picasa album; to save loading time, I decided to save each photo in very low quality, since it’s not going to stay a digital album and I’ll post more progress pictures as I actually get the pages printed and in the scrapbook. But just for your viewing pleasure, here are a few goodies for ya…

I’m so excited to start getting these pages printed, filled out, in the scrapbook, embellished… there’s so much to keep me busy, YAY!

baby book…

I’ve started a new project: baby book. I originally bought this really, really cute Carter’s baby book, but as I’ve been flipping through it, looking at what all is in it, I’m seeing that pre-printed books like this are nice for the convenience factor, but let’s face it, I like to get my hand dirty and do things like this myself. Hence my growing scrapbooking and card making obsession?? So that’s what I decided to do. I already know that this baby is going to have one stellar scrapbook, I’ve even been thinking about starting on it now, just so I would have something to keep my hands busy for a while, since I can’t really get down on the floor anymore, which leads me to postpone the painting of the paneling in the family room. Anyways, I digress. I figured that if the Bug is already going to have a scrapbook which sort of catalogs all the “big” happenings in his little baby life, why not just sort of combine his scrapbook and baby book all into one giant thing? Yes. That’s the winner right there! And that’s exactly what I’ve been working on the past couple of nights. I’m just sort of playing around with it for now, trying to feel out the best way to go about this. I’ve googled it and read other peoples’ blogs about it, and most just print pages of text out in Word or something of that nature, and just paste on/in their scrapbook pages… I think I’m going to take a similar route, but I’m using Photoshop instead, and I may end up just printing the pages onto my actual scrapbook paper – like, feed my 12x12s through the printer so the text looks like it was pre-printed! Good idea, eh? I think so.

So for now, things are looking kind of like this:

 Which, even though it’s just blah, unfinished, white space right now, will eventually look something like this:

except with more text (I didn’t feel like copying all of the stuff on the page) and not with a busy paper like that (it was just the first digital paper I clicked on in the folder). I’m thinking the pages with text like this will either have to be solid-ish papers (so that the ones with pictures and stuff can be fun and patterend and embellished), or maybe a patterned one like this, but tweaked so the pattern doesn’t seem so “bold” and distract you from the words you actually want to read. Needless to say, it’s definitely a work-in-progress… but a fun one, at that.