Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Lazy Newborn Days

Well, the blogging has taken a bit of a hit during this maternity leave but I really have been just soaking up my time with both Olivia and Eric.  While I do have a 6 month maternity leave that I will be forever grateful for, the shortness and preciousness of this time off is not lost on me at all.  I can't even really talk about (or apparently blog about!) how much it means to me without getting choked up.  I enjoy working and the flexibility my job allows me, but uninterrupted time with these kids is a precious gift that I am in no way taking for granted!

But, I do want to remember it all - so on to the blog! ;)

We were blessed to get a visit from the McGuires for the 4th of July.  During the last few tough months of the pregnancy, this trip was something we were all looking forward to.  We unfortunately didn't get many pictures of the whole gang, but Aunt Jennie gave me a tutorial on the elusive Moby wrap and we got a glimpse of what life will look like in 6 short months via sweet baby Grady.


Our actual Fourth of July was quite uneventful - Eric was his usual sleepy self and even Olivia (clearly worn out from her weekend with the McGuire boys) fell asleep around 5:30 while watching a movie!

In an effort to fully cement the notion that we spoil our kids, we started taking Eric to a baby spa. The spa boasts that their treatment (floating in this ridiculously cute baby tub & baby massage) leads to happier, sleepier babies.  So clearly I was all over that.  I do think he slept better after we went, but the cuteness of the experience alone was worth the money.

Olivia has been getting a little stir-crazy staying at home, so we have been trying to think of indoor activities that wouldn't be too crowded.  Our local tennis club has a bowling alley that was the perfect answer for a Sunday afternoon (and E slept the entire time!).

We also got a visit from Matt's Grandma Geri - the kids' great grandmother.  It was so nice for them to spend some time with her.

 During the visit, Olivia accidentally bumped into Eric.  It was a complete accident and he was fine - didn't even cry.  But I could tell it scared her and she immediately ran upstairs yelling "I need a bandaid!"  I knew she didn't hurt herself and figured she got embarrassed and needed a minute.  I gave her a few minutes and then went to check on her.  She was busy at work in the playroom making a card for Eric. ("To Eric.  I am so sorry.  I did not know that you were that close.  I love you.  Your big sister Olivia.")  I know I am completely biased but this sweet girl has such a good and caring heart.  She doesn't like to be mean to people or when Matt or I are mad at someone.  I try to be more like her and I just hope she can always maintain that sweet soul of hers.

And..best of all...this month brought SMILES from baby Eric.  And we all are huge suckers for his toothless grin.  In all honesty, Olivia really does get the most consistent smiles from him, but he has been giving them to Matt and I more freely lately too.  He's a pretty smiley guy this month!

One evening I was nursing him and he stopped and just grinned up at me.

As I sat there alone with him in the living room, I couldn't help become emotional at his very presence.  And thinking about how close he was to NOT being with us is pretty scary...a lot of "ifs"...if we hadn't done another round of IVF, if Dr. McKnight hadn't used that particular hormone regimen, if his little embryo didn't implant and/or make it.....a whole lot of science and love and luck brought this little guy into our lives and I don't know if I will ever stop marveling at his very being.  Before he was born, I wasn't concerned about whether I would have enough love for him but I was sort of worried about the magnitude of my love.  I mean I've had 5 and half years to fall madly in love with Olivia and to say I'm obsessed with her would be putting it mildly.  So I was somewhat concerned that this little guy would take a while to reach that level.  But, I'm happy to say that in the 8 short weeks he has been with us, my love and obsession with him is really at full peak.  So, we can all relax - I'm about as attached to these 2 kiddos as can be! ;)

We also took Eric to meet Sofie, Minah and Henry.  Like us, he will learn to fall madly in love with this family.  Aunt KK, Sofie and Minah made Eric this amazing mobile for his room.  Not only is it visually amazing, my favorite part are the love notes hidden inside.

After a failed attempt to make slime last month (the directions failed to mention that the contact solution had to contain boric acid!), we finally succeeded when Doug & Charlie came over.

We are loving our happy 2 month old!

At 2 months old, Eric is still pretty sleepy.  We are on somewhat of a schedule - he eats every 2 hours and is awake for about 45 minutes before its back to sleep.  He has a little trouble during the witching hour but its not terrible. At night we have been getting some stretches of 5/6 hours of sleep, which really makes all the difference.  He doesn't love being swaddled but we keep trying.  When he falls asleep his face goes through every emotion (sad, angry, worried) and usually ends on happy.

And, I can't help but compare my 2 babies at 2 months each.  To Matt and I, they couldn't look more alike!

And of course, lots of cuddling and snuggling!

(This is Matt, scared to move, after he finally rocked E to sleep!)

I walked in one morning to find Olivia like this before school.  Really could not love this any more!

And, I had my first mini solo adventure in watching the kids.  Matt went to Dallas to play tennis with Uncle Lloyd so the plan was for me to have the kids Fri-Sunday.  I did pretty good and was patting myself on the back Friday night when I had them both down by 5:30 pm (another sleepy movie for Olivia!).

And luckily Matt/Lloyd won their Friday night match.

On Saturday night, I sent Matt this picture as we were about to all go to sleep.  Again, pretty proud of myself for surviving 2/3 of the trip.

Unfortunately, about 20 minutes after I sent this,  I got super sick.  We still aren't sure what it was (current thinking is a vertigo episode, but I've got a doc appointment next month to confirm) but needless to say I was in no shape to take care of myself, much less the kids, alone.  So Matt's parents rushed over to take care of me, armed with some antinasuea medicine that saved me and then sweet Matt drove home in the middle of the night to take care of us.

So not a great way to end the weekend, but I did get a little sneak peek into what life will look like once Matt begins traveling this Fall.

And finally, our little guy had his 2 month check up.  He got 3 shots that he took like a champ and is growing well:
Height: 23"
Weight: 10 pounds, 13.5 ounces

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

One month with baby Eric

We have one month under our belt as a family of four.  And just like riding a bike, we are slowly remembering how to swaddle, shush, burp, and survive on very little sleep!

For me personally, from an emotional point of view, having Eric around has been completely different than when we had Olivia.  With Olivia, I was so scared and overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a mom and the seemingly monumental task of keeping another human alive, that the whole thing often felt really scary and serious.  But with Eric, I think I'm more confident in my ability to be able to take care of him...which has made for a much more relaxed and happy mamma this time around.

And, I attribute much of that relaxation to the fact that together, Matt, Olivia and I learned how to be a family and how to take care of each other.  We developed our little village with Olivia that we now have firmly cemented for Eric which takes out a lot of the unknowns and uncertainties that loomed with Olivia.  We know the doctors and lactation consultants to call; we have babysitters that we feel comfortable with; we have learned how to tune out unwanted/unhelpful parenting advice and perhaps most important to me, I know when I go back to work, he will join a school community that will nurture and love him as much as they did for Olivia AND that the bond he and I have won't be broken by the time apart.

So, that leaves me with less time to worry and more time to love on these sweet little babies of mine!  (That being said, don't be alarmed - I'm still the good ol' worrier I've always been.  Baby E had a clogged tear duct and for 2 days I had worked myself into a complete frenzy with worry about him!).

At 5 weeks old, baby Eric is still a pretty sleepy little guy.  He has figured out days and nights, but mostly enjoys sleeping both the day and the night away.  We have also gotten the hang of eating and I'm working hard to get those sweet chubby baby cheeks that his Aunt Naz requested basically the minute he was born!  I think we are getting there:

He is getting better at tummy time and is starting to track toys when we play with them.  He can also focus on the person talking to him and he really does seem to always look around if he hears Olivia's voice.

And, speaking of Olivia, she has been settling into her role as big sister.  She is really helpful and we try to give her room to help take care of him - burping, rocking, running in to give him the pacifier when he spits it out mid-nap.  For the most part, she has been enjoying it.  The 2 issues we have had are (1) her nighttime routine and (2) his crying.  At night, Matt and I have established a routine of taking turns putting Olivia to bed.  One of us does the whole routine-  teeth, nightgown, books, etc.  And, it is obviously a sweet and snuggly time that we both enjoy.  Well, recently when Matt has played tennis at night, I couldn't get Eric to settle down and go to sleep.  He'd cry every few minutes.  Which meant Miss O's mommy nighttime routine was extremely interrupted.  I won't bore you with specifics but I'll just say that all 3 of us cried that night.  So, we decided later that some nights we may have to amend the routine if Matt is gone to include Eric too.  Olivia reluctantly agreed.  Which leads to the second issue she has with him - his crying.  She can handle a little fussing.  But if he is really wailing, she gets SUPER upset.  I think its a mix of sadness for him and the whole "nails on a chalkboard" baby crying thing.  When we give him a bath she stopped helping us because she said it was too sad to see him cry.  Another time, there was an accident on the way to school, so our usual 15 minute commute turned into 45 minutes.  And poor Eric could not get to sleep, so he spent the better part of that 45 minutes crying.  At first Olivia was really concerned and trying to sing and talk to him.  She even had the idea to get my phone and put on white noise.  But nothing worked.  So as we finally made it into downtown, she had enough and yelled "Eric! You're driving me crazy!"

But, other than that, she continues to be a great big sister - eager to help, anxious to snuggle and attentive to his needs.

This month we celebrated Father's Day for Matt as a father of TWO.  This guy.  I do not know really how to put into words how much I love and admire him.  In the last few months of my pregnancy, I was sick and it felt like constant bad news each time we went to the doctor.  I can't count how many times I called or texted him close to tears with the latest update, always saying "Its okay, I'm fine" and always knowing that he wouldn't listen and would leave work to come meet me at the hospital.  He picked me up from work when I was sick, he took care of Olivia tirelessly, and he maintained his usual and much-needed logical, rational, thoughtful responses to each little stumbling block we reached.  I think that most times he doesn't get the credit he deserves, but in these past few months he was 100% the glue that held this family (and me!) together.  So, I knew I wanted to try hard to make his Father's Day special but in the end, it included a fussy newborn, a cranky 5 year old, and a tired mamma a few weeks out from giving birth and still trying to recover.   And even with the lack of relaxation and fanfare, he remained calm and grateful for our (unsuccessful) efforts.  There is no one I rely on as much as him and no one who exceeds my expectations as much as him.  We sure do love this guy.

(This is the day before Father's Day - at our newborn photo shoot....I will only say my nerves were completely shot before the photographer even arrived and, once again, Matt stayed calm, cool and collected.)

With Olivia, we were pretty regimented about making sure she slept in her crib.  With this little guy, we have been a little more lax about it - especially a certain daddy who claims he is so cute and cuddly that he needs to be snuggled to sleep!

(And a certain other dad I know doesn't mind a cuddle either!)
He joined Olivia at school for her (LAST!) Dad's & Donuts

While baby Eric took his nap, we made Matt a special picnic lunch and ate outside while Olivia played in/on the water table.

We also said our final goodbyes to Aunt Yazzie.  She and Grant and my parents came over for pizza one night before they left.  It was a sweet and lovely night that included Olivia grabbing me, Yasmin and Eric and forcing us into my room and saying "Okay, everyone on the bed for a cuddle."  (And then my heart exploded again!).  Lots of Facetime in our future!

We will also miss "coustint Crosby" too....who loves to snuggle with his mamma, just like his newest cousin

With a good swaddle, this little guy can sleep anywhere this month:


After a particularly sleepless night, I decided to venture out alone one morning while the cleaning lady was at our house.  So E and I took a trip to Starbucks, we sat outside - I drank coffee and ate oatmeal; he took a little snooze and it was about my favorite 30 minutes that day!

One of the most special treats we got this month was a visit from my dear friend Bethany.  She drove all the way from Dallas to treat us to a delicious dinner that she cooked herself for us.  It was so lovely to sit in my kitchen and chat with my friend while she cooked and then cleaned up.  After dinner we all played a game and she got in some snuggles with baby E.  The next morning she woke up early and took Olivia to get Starbucks for everyone.  In moments like this, I couldn't help but marvel at the little village we have of friends who have become family and take care of us when we need it most.

Another special visit was from Connie - an old family friend who crocheted a sweet baby blanket for Eric just like she did for Olivia.

This month we also began preparations for Olivia's transition to Kindergarten with uniform shopping. It was a surreal experience in which it seemed like I blinked my eyes and my little girl went from this baby to this big kid:

And here is Miss Sass in her new big sister shirt

Olivia was eager to learn about and help with E's monthly photo shoot.  

Before Eric was born, one of our friends told us about a nanny who warned against holding babies too much, lest they become "holdy babies" and will only sleep or be happy if they are being held.  We laughed at this idea, but as baby Eric becomes more and more particular about being held, we can't help but wonder if we created our own "holdy baby."  Though this term was no doubt meant with a negative connoctation, we are particularly proud of this accomplishment and the 3 of us are just loving our "holdy baby."