Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Snippets: "I Want to Hold the Baby!"

So... Was it as fun as you thought it would be, Avery? ;-)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Snippets: Take Two...Or Three

Do you ever have trouble summing up an entire experience - an event, a milestone, a holiday - in one definitive post?

This year, Miles experienced his very first Christmas, and we all experienced our first Christmas as a family of four. Although I'd like to say something profound about the whole thing, I'm at a loss. So instead, I've decided to take the pressure off and simply put together a bunch of posts about Christmas moments that I found funny, moving or otherwise worth mentioning.

Here goes...

I spent much of my time at our various holiday gatherings attempting to capture Miles' first Christmas on camera. Before the age of digital cameras, I suppose I would've snapped a bunch of pics, called it good, and hoped that something turned out. Those days must have been less stressful. After all, no one expected to get a perfect picture.

So if you got your film back, and grandpa looked a little tipsy while holding your baby, you'd just laugh and put that photo right on into an album. And if you took a second pic...

...and your BABY looked a little tipsy while being held by grandpa, you'd laugh even harder. It, too, would go into the album. After all, you paid to have that film developed and you're not about to throw away a picture simply because your baby looks cross-eyed and big-nosed.

Today, though, we keep snapping and checking until we get a picture that's just right...or at least good enough. And then we delete all the bad ones.

But I think I'm going to start keeping some of the bad pictures.

After all, if my parents weren't forced to keep the bad pictures, would I have this one? With me looking like a crazed lunatic, my sister looking like an overexcited nut and neither of us in focus, I'm guessing not.

Or would I have this one? It's hard to say, but my guess is that, today, someone would have seen this pic and forced us to stand there even longer until my cousin Katie figured out how to keep that Cabbage Patch doll in her arms.

But "bad" pictures are funny, often touching and very real. So keep a few around. Your kids will thank you.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Boys at Seven Weeks

Rowan, Seven Weeks

Miles, Almost Seven Weeks

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Six Weeks Old

Week six brought more smiling and even a little cooing! And according to most of the baby sites I've visited, it also marked the end of Miles' newborn phase. He is now officially an infant.

Although I have no other babies to compare him to (and haven't had him officially weighed), my guess is that he's quite a bit bigger than your average infant. I now buy size 2 diapers and - as I reported last week - he wears 3-6 month clothes. I think I need to invest in a two-shoulder baby carrier that works well for infants. Although I love the fleece kangaroo korner pouch that I'm borrowing from my sister, it's starting to hurt my back!

But I am becoming stronger from carrying this guy around. He's getting stronger, too - holding his head up higher and higher every day!

Hmmm... Let's see.... What else happened during Miles' sixth week?

Oh, yeah! We endured the state's fifth largest snow storm and were stranded in our home for three days while we waited for the city to plow our street! (In case you're wondering: YES, I am still upset about it.)

The first two days were actually kind of nice. Cozy, even. We made Christmas cookies, watched movies and lazed around the house. By Monday, though, I was suffering from some serious cabin fever. School was cancelled, our street was stilled unplowed, and I was stuck at home all day with a stir crazy 5-year-old and a fussy baby.

When school was cancelled again on Tuesday, I contemplated promising the city that I would personally pick up any kids still stranded due to unplowed streets...on snow shoes, if necessary. But then I ventured out to Target with the kids and realized that the roads really were still too bad to have school buses driving around.

Thankfully, school resumed on Wednesday, the temps rose a bit and our road conditions improved (ever so slightly). Now we just have to hope for no more snow until the end of March. It could happen, right?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Five Weeks Old

Mr. Miles' fifth week brought a huge reward - his first real smiles! So adorable. This kid is becoming more babylicious each and every day.

I'd love to know how much he weighs right now, but it's not worth bringing him to the clinic during cold and flu season to find out. A very unscientific measurement on our home scale (I weighed myself alone, then holding him) suggested that he could be in the neighborhood of 13-14 pounds!

He is solidly in 3-6 month clothing now, although he can still squeeze into a few of his larger 0-3 month outfits. If he keeps growing at this pace, I will completely lose the advantage of having two boys born in the same season. Rowan's summer clothing simply might not fit his big little brother. We shall see...

We started introducing a daily bottle of expressed breastmilk to miles this week. Rowan wouldn't take a bottle, and we were determined not to have that happen again, if at all possible. (I'm going back to work part-time when Miles is 3 months old.) So far, so good!

Even Rowan got a chance to feed his little brother. (Is it just me, or does seeing them together only serve to highlight Miles' hugeness?)

Speaking of Rowan... we had a hard week last week. I don't know if it was cabin fever, sibling rivalry or impending Christmas craziness (or all of the above), but the whining reached a whole new level. Ugh.

I'm trying to cut him some slack, since we've experienced a lot of changes over the past month. Still, there's nothing more frustrating than attempting to eat dinner while bouncing a fussy baby and listening to your preschooler complain about everything under the sun. Here's hoping this week is better. Rowan's Christmas break is coming up, and I'd really like to enter that time with some good days under our belts! Pretty please?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Game-Changer (His First Real Smiles!)

Just like his big brother did, Miles began flashing his first real smiles just after 4 weeks!

With Rowan, I remember feeling that this milestone was such a huge game-changer. After weeks of fussiness and "what do you want?!" moments, there was suddenly a light of joy and recognition in his eyes.

I now feel the same way with Miles. Seeing his face light up at the sound of our voices is such a reward after these demanding (and delightful) first weeks. It's as if he's saying, "Here I am, mama! I know it's been a lot of work to take care of me, but we're going to have so much fun now. Just you wait and see!"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Four Weeks Old

It's actually quite ironic that this is the picture I snapped yesterday, because today Miles gave me what I'm counting as his first real smile! I hope to catch one of his happier moments on camera soon.

But of course, life can't be all smiles for a newborn. Sometimes, things are pretty darn rough. Your mom is always taking care of your every need...feeding you, holding you, and making sure that you're clean. You have to nap all day. People keep telling you how cute you are. Oh, and everyone thinks it's fabulous when you eat all the time and gain lots of weight. Sometimes you just need a good cry to deal with it all, you know?

One thing we're not crying about this week is my nursing oversupply problem. Things have calmed down a bit, thanks to some tips I learned on kellymom. The most effective strategy for me has been to keep feeding him on the same side for at least four hours. (Sometimes more!) I was doubtful that it would work, but it seems to be doing the trick. Apparently, it helps your baby get more fat-rich hindmilk (reducing fussines and gas) and signals your body to slow down production. Miles does seem less fussy now, and feedings have been much less stressful.

And now, let's devote a little time to this kid's hair. Can you believe it? I do not fluff if up like this, I swear! After I give him a bath, I comb his hair into a respectable executive style, but it sticks straight up when it dries. There simply is no calming down these unruly locks! (A sign of his personality, perhaps? Uh oh.)

His wild hair is pretty adorable (and distinctive), in my opinion. I do hope it calms down by the time he's an adult, though. I can't even imagine what a grown man might look like with hair like this...

...or can I?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Made-for-TV Moment

Sometimes your kids say things that melt your heart... Or make you wonder if they've been rehearsing for a Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-TV special. Such was the case last week, when Kyle and Rowan shared this little moment:

Kyle: "I love you, buddy."

Rowan: "I already know that, Daddy."

Kyle: "How do you know that? You didn't even think about it."

Rowan: "I know because I don't have to think about it."


(Naturally, I couldn't help but play the part of the mom whose eyes filled with tears.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Plan B

Our Thanksgiving plans were derailed this year when six members of Kyle's side of the family came down with the stomach flu. Yikes!

So we spent our first ever Thankgiving at home...just us. No rushing around to get ready. No packing the diaper bag. No driving for an hour. Just a low-key day hanging out as a family.

Well...I guess it wasn't totally low-key. I still wanted my Thanksgiving dinner! I cooked all of our traditional favorites, substituting a chicken for the turkey. We feasted on roast chicken, cranberries, vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy (my first time making gravy!), sweet potato casserole, dinner rolls and lefse.

In what I am still thinking was a Thanksgiving miracle, Rowan even ate the chicken!

Yummy... yummy... yummy!

Miles nursed through part of dinner, threw up on me and then promptly fell asleep, leaving me to enjoy my meal. (I only dribbled a few drops of gravy on his sleeper.)

After dinner, I snuggled with the boys while Kyle cleaned up.

Then we had some apple crisp with whipped cream for dessert.

And finally, Kyle got some time to watch football, snuggle with Miles and rest.

It certainly wasn't what we had planned, but it was a lovely Thanksgiving! I couldn't ask for three sweeter guys to spend my day with.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Three Weeks Old

Who stole my perfect baby and replaced him with this fussy thing?!

Yep. The two-week honeymoon period has ended. Just like his big brother did, Miles started to exhibit a bit more fussiness in his third week. He's still sleeping well at night, thank goodness (and knock on wood), but he's been having fussy spells during the day now.

The culprit? I think I'm experiencing an overabundance of milk again this time around. You see, while some new moms struggle to maintain an adequate milk supply, I produce enough milk to feed all of the babies in Africa — possibly from right here at my desk, since that's how far the milk seems to eject. (In case you hadn't noticed, the concept of "TMI" doesn't really register with new moms and nursing moms.) The consequences of my oversupply for Miles: gulping, gasping, air-swallowing, gassiness and general frustration.

The good news is that I've been through this before and knew what we were dealing with right away. I'm following advice that I found on kellymom, and it already seems to be helping. My supply has calmed down a bit, and so has Miles.

Let's hope things continue looking up tomorrow. After all, I'll have a Thanksgiving dinner to prepare (and eat)!

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's the Thought That Counts

Last week, Rowan handed Kyle this little piece of blue fuzz and said, "Daddy, I found this in my my pocket at naptime. I was going to throw it away, but then I noticed it was your favorite color. So I kept it for you."

Pretty sweet, huh?

(P.S. Kyle: Please do not let this kid pick out my Christmas presents!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two Weeks Old

Little Mister Miles is two weeks old today. His second week proved bittersweet, as I was already forced to pull many of his little gowns and sleepers out of the rotation because they're too small. [Sigh]

I do love his chubby cheeks and roly poly legs, though. And I think that having a bigger baby carries some significant advantages. Miles seems more "finished" than Rowan did as a newborn (if that makes sense). He has no trouble eating, he has a fairly predictable wake and sleep schedule and he seems quite sturdy when I handle him. Still, I will admit that it's a bit heartbraking to watch my baby grow out of everything so rapidly!

Miles continues to be a fairly easy far. (He had a rather fussy evening today, so I'm wondering about the days ahead...)

He generally wakes up between 7:30 and 8 a.m. and has a nice, long alert period (lasting about two hours). When Miles first wakes up, Kyle and Rowan talk to him while I shower and get ready for the day.

Between 9:30 and 10, he nurses and sleeps until his next alert period in the evening (waking every couple of hours to nurse and have his diaper changed). Sometimes he wakes up fussy for a little while during the day because of a gas bubble or because he has to poop. But generally, he's a sleepy guy in the middle of the day.

His evening alert time usually happens around dinnertime. Again, it lasts about two hours. (This is when he was fussy this evening.) Then we get him into his pajamas, swaddle him up, and he's a sleepy guy all night (again waking every couple of hours to nurse and have his diaper changed).

Rowan is adjusting well to being a big brother, but I can tell that it's been a major change for him. Whenever I take pictures of Miles, Rowan suggests (or should I say demands) that he be in some pictures, too. I happily oblige, always eager to snap more pics of them together.

And then, of course, he suggests (or should I say demands) that he be in some pictures all by himself. Once again, I oblige. After all, he's pretty darn cute, too.

Wrangling a newborn and a 5-year-old certainly has us on our toes, but we're surviving...and having lots of fun along the way!

Monday, November 15, 2010

First Snow!

Nothing says "first snow of the season" like... ecstatic 5-year-old trudging through the backyard slush...

...or a precious little newborn donning his "Baby's First Snow" romper...

...or a giant tree branch crashing down inches in front of the car we paid off the day before.

Ah, another Minnesota winter has begun.

Thankfully, nothing was damaged and no one was hurt!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Week Old

Today, Miles is one week old! Strangely enough, this little guy has both turned our world upside down and woven himself effortlessly into our family life.

So far ― and I hate to say this for fear of jinxing myself ― he's been a relatively easy baby. He nurses well. He has two or three predictable alert periods during the day. And he generally sleeps for two to three hours at a time at night between feedings. When Miles has had a few short crying spells at night, Rowan has remained blissfully asleep in his room. So far, so good!

But I won't celebrate (or gloat) quite yet, because I seem to remember two weeks being a bit of a "who stole my perfect baby and replaced him with this fussy thing" turningpoint for Rowan. We'll see...

Right now, I'm just trying to soak up every newborn moment. Watching his sleepy smiles and laughs. Feeling his hot, swift breaths on my neck. Rubbing my nose in his wispy hair. Kissing his chubby little cheeks. I can't get enough of him!

He's already changing so much. He seems to see really well, has impressive neck control and shows interest in his hands. We've even seen several awake smiles (which I realize is probably a total fluke, but it sure seems real to us)!

All of the pediatricians who examined Miles after the birth (and I gave birth at a teaching hospital, so there were many) commented that he seemed older than a newborn. And then the pediatrician at his one-week visit said the same thing! I'm not sure whether to feel proud because he's so strong and alert or start crying because his newborn phase feels cut short.

Rowan has been adjusting well to his new role as big brother. In fact, he almost always refers to Miles as "my brother." "My brother wants to nurse, Mama" "My brother is sooooo cute." "Do you think my brother's favorite color is red?" "Why does my brother's umbilical cord stump stink?" "Will you make sure that my brother doesn't spit up on my Halloween candy?"

Watching Rowan assume the role of big brother has been one of the most moving experiences I've had as a mom. I feel amazingly blessed to have two healthy and (in my totally biased view) adorable and brilliant boys.

I may be the only girl in this house, but that's perfectly OK with me. I wouldn't trade my guys for anything in the world.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Not a Rowan Repeat

Rowan Brand New (6 pounds, 12.5 ounces)

Miles Brand New (9 pounds, 6.8 ounces)

Rowan's First Bath

Miles' First Bath

Rowan's One-Week Weigh-In (7 pounds, 8.5 ounces)

Miles' One-Week Weigh-In (9 pounds, 13.5 ounces)

Although there's no doubt they each have a look all their own, I can still tell that they're brothers.

Rowan Sleeping

Miles Sleeping

I can't wait to see who Miles ends up looking like as he grows up!

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