Hey! I'm Emily... homebody, amateur philosopher, professional photographer, mama and wife. This is my little world-- a place for me to preserve the little snippets of my life that bring me joy, make me think, or show my creative leanings. I'm so happy you're here. If you get a minute, please introduce yourself in the comments. If you like what you see, you are invited to follow my blog through your RSS Reader. Just click the link at the bottom of the page to add me.
Thank you for being part of my little world... :)

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Thursday, June 30

Day 25 Photos/Day 80 Words

May 6 was Day 25... We're so close to the finish line now!

{wrap: sweater sleeve   headband: hem lace and hand-singed, hand-sewn flower, made by me}
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And today, June 30, is DAY 80. Two and  a half months... Eighty months. It's flown, it's dragged... it's been a major time of adjustment and awareness...

I thought since we've made it this far with two kiddos, and since in many ways she is still in the routines of a newborn, I should take some time to document our typical Day in the Life before we move along and things change so much that I forget what these early days consisted of. So...

Our Typical Day, circa June 2011
Noah- 3.5 yrs. old
Lucy- 2.5 months old
Mama- freshly 34 (eek!)

Morning:
I wake up with Lucy, both of us in the living room, between 6:30-7:15am. She has been sleeping, swaddled tightly, in a co-sleeper bed on one leg of our sectional couch, and I have been sleeping on the other leg of the couch, usually with my hand blearily holding a binkie in or near Lucy's face. 

Joe wakes in our bedroom at 6:00 or 6:15, often to the call of Noah's voice--our 3.5 yr old who is still unaware that he can pop out of his toddler bed and come out on his own. Joe usually gets Noah, then brings him back to our room and lets him watch a cartoon on his iTouch while he finishes his snooze.

Joe showers, then he and Noah head downstairs to round up some breakfast. 
Typical Noah brekky-- Honey Nut Cheerios
A few variations-- poached eggs, or bran muffins, or toast/peanut butter
Typical Joe brekky-- cereal like frosted shredded wheat
his variations are similar to Noah's. 

As Noah eats breakfast, Joe assembles not only his lunch, but prepares a cute lunch for Noah and myself as well. He started doing this at the start of June, as a new idea for cutting costs and adding convenience to my SAHM life. It was all Joe's idea, and such a sweet offer. He even bought cute bento-esque boxes for us to make the whole thing more fun, and super portable. 

Meanwhile, Lucy and I are beginning to rouse, finally. Lucy nurses usually as soon as she wakes. We call Noah into the room and he gets to turn the sound machine (set to "rain") off for us. Usually he and Joe are in the room when I first unswaddle Lucy. We get some AWESOME morning smiles and cute stretches from her in the morning, so it's a fun thing to be there for. 

If Lucy has woken early enough, I get to hand her over to Joe before he has to leave for work, and I get a shower. Otherwise, it's a crapshoot when I might get that kind of time to myself. With Noah, Lucy, and I still in jammies, we bid Joe farewell and he heads off to work at UMSL at 7:35am. At this point, we usually indulge in some cartoons to ease into the day. We have a LOT of couch time these days...

Noah's current favorite show: Yo Gabba Gabba on Netflix. (He has only JUST discovered this show in the past 3 weeks. He is an insta-fan.)
Other favorites: Backyardigans, Super Why, Dinosaur Train, Bugs Bunny

MidMorning:
At some point between 7:35 and noon, I manage to get Lucy dressed for the day and Noah dressed for the day. MAYBE myself dressed for the day. Ha! There are various diaper changes for both kids (nope, the 3.5yr old is nowhere NEAR potty-trained), nursing every 2.5 hours for Lucy, and maybe a mid-morning snack for Noah and I. 

Activities we might do during the 8-1pm stretch:
* Cartoons, as mentioned
* PlayDoh or coloring for Noah while I edit photos or do some work
* Playing upstairs in Noah's "carnival" (the landing area play area) while Lucy lays on a blanket and is cheerful for brief moments
* Run necessary errands if we're feeling brave (otherwise, I put them off til Joe is home and I can go alone or with just Noah)
* Play dates, if we're feeling brave
* Hang out in the yard and water the plants, play with the hose
* Go for a walk with the new double stroller (to be introduced in a later post. It has a name. I love it.) or with Lucy in a sling.
* Necessary chores (often with Lucy in a sling. She loves the vacuum so I reserve that chore for one of her bad mornings. Insta-nap. Awesome.)

Lucy naps between 2-3 hours in the morning stretch. This can be either in small chunks (i.e. 45 mins/1.5 hrs./1 hr or some kind of variation) or in two big chunks (like  1 hr nap, then a 2 hr nap.) If there is one thing I am feeling confident in as her mother, it is that if it has been more than an hour since her last sleep, she is probably ready to sleep again. So if she's fed and changed, and still cranky, she wants to sleep. I trust this implicitly, and it has not failed me yet. She goes to sleep immediately once I begin the nap-prep routine with her. 

She is often held or slung for her morning naps. 

Midday:
Noah and I try to get lunch in around noon. We love having Joe's prepped lunches because we can take them with us if we're on the go, or just have food READY as soon as Noah is hungry. Lunch is low-key... But always has dessert. 

We often have another hour or so after lunch to play before Noah's naptime. 

Afternoon:
Noah naps around 2:00pm. Even at 3.5 yrs old, he is still a champion napper. He has not fought a nap for months, and often is out for the count for 3 hours. We ALL love this, him included. His nap routine is much the same as it's been for a long time: we go to his room and turn on his sound machine. We read 2-3 books aloud, then I sing him 2-3 songs and leave the room. The only addition to this routine is Lucy. If she's awake and calm, she gets to come along. If she is sleeping, I might put her down in another room so I can give Noah all my attention and both my hands. And if she is screaming, I have learned that it is okay to put her down in the other room for the 7 or so minutes it takes to get Noah's routine done. This has only had to happen three times so far, and the first time was hard for me... But I realized that Noah needed to know he was a priority sometimes, too... and since then it has been easier. Plus, it is very rare that it has to happen. 

Once Noah is napping, Lucy and I get some snuggle time of our own. I feed her, then often it is time for her big nap as well, lasting 2-3 hours. I get her to sleep and this nap often ends in her carseat or co-sleeper bed, and I am free to move around. I'd say about 3-4 times a week, I give in and nap as well-- about an hour for my very own-- and the other times I work on photo editing, cleaning, or just reading/chilling out in the silence. 

Evening:
Joe comes home around 5:15pm. Often he comes home to everyone sleeping. He might even get 15-30 minutes of his own downtime before anyone wakes. Noah is up usually between 5-5:30pm, and Lucy and I are usually awake by then as well. Joe has also taken charge of dinner as part of his Food Project, so he makes sure to play with Noah/hold Lucy a bit, but then gets down to the business of dinnertime and we all orbit around him a bit, happy to have him home. I might nurse Lucy in the room adjoining the kitchen, Noah might help out with cooking or go outside a bit...
Dinner is around 6:00 or 6:30pm, and is usually simple... The less time spent prepping food, the more time together as a family. 

Post-dinner, we often go outside. We have a teensy garden this year, so we water the plants, play with the hose, perhaps go for a walk... Lucy loves the outside, so if she's having a fussy evening, taking her outside is often one of the solutions. Another common pastime for Joe in the evening is to join Noah upstairs in his play area and indulge Noah in his fanciful imaginative play. "Bad Robots" is the current favorite game. 

Bedtime:
Noah's bedtime begins at 8:00pm. He is totally over the BATH, and prefers showers. He gets a shower every other day, and is THRILLED on the days he gets to "skip a shower". When he is in the shower, he still plays with toys like buckets and tubes and things, and loves to clown around. Post-shower, Dad helps him brush his teeth and get into jammies. Lucy gets a bath every few days, usually before Noah's shower. 

After shower/bathtime, Joe and Noah (and if Lucy is cooperating, she and I) sit in Noah's room and read books. then we all have family prayer and Noah says a prayer of his own, and then Joe takes Lucy and I stay to sing to Noah and turn off lights. Noah loves to find ways to keep me there as long as possible, including asking me to repeat songs, let him sing them back to me, hold his hand, get one more drink of water, etc. When I finally extricate myself and am at the doorway, he has taken to asking, "What do you have to go do?" and I make it sound as boring as possible so he's not tempted to whine and say he wants to join me... So I say things like, "Feed Lucy", "put on my own pajamas", "got to bed 'cause I'm super tired", "do chores", etc... Even if I really am going to go downstairs, eat cake and watch tv with Joe--MUCH more fun!

After Noah is taken care of, Joe and spend most evenings on the couch. I nurse Lucy, we watch some tv...

Current TV shows I'm DVR'ing (and Joe is tagging along with): 
So You Think You Can Dance
Bachelorette
America's Got Talent

Current Show We Are Watching On Netflix together:
LOST

Lucy is usually asleep by 9:30 or so, and Joe and I smooch goodnight and go our separate ways by 10:00pm. This odd arrangement for the time being is working really well for us, but is something I NEVER imagined would be my life. Joe sleeps on the couch with Lucy/cosleeper the first part of the night. If Lucy wakes before 1:30am, he is to give her a bottle and put her back to sleep, then come get me the next time she wakes (around 3:30). If she wakes AFTER 1:30 (usually around 2:30am recently), he just comes and gets me then. We switch places and he gets the bedroom for the second half of the night and I get Lucy duty. Lucy usually sleeps a good solid chunk from 9:30-10:00ish to 2:00-2:30ish. Then when I take over, she will usually wake to nurse every 2-2.5 hours from then on-- typically about 2-3 total feedings. I can't complain-- this sleep thing is WAY better than with Noah at this point. 

Things I might do while nursing in the middle of the night:
* read a Kindle novel on the iTouch
*check in on Facebook/Twitter/emails/message boards/Pinterest on my iTouch
*play a game on the iTouch
*lay my head back and sleep, accidentally letting Lucy graze for 45 minutes a side instead of 10-15 minutes a side.

And that.... Well.... That is our life right now. With VERY little variation. And has been for over a month now. It'll shift and morph over the next couple of months, so I wanted to grab it and document it before it did so.

It's all good. Good days. Bad days. Baby smiles. Toddler brilliance. Passing smooches and hugs with Joe. Summer gardens and shorter to-do lists... Tis life. 

We're living as best we can. 

*

Monday, June 27

Lucy's Day 24

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And Notes From This Morning:

* My fingers smell like strawberries from cutting some up for Noah's breakfast
* Lucy is snuggled into her carseat with a binkie held in place by a blanket... Giving me two hands and a moment to myself
* I am reading Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah on my friend Amelia's recommendation. I'm reading on my iTouch Kindle app, which still feels like cheating on "real" books, but is awfully handy.
* The headband Lucy is wearing in her photo above is from Pooks and Lulu, on Etsy, and it was a total splurge purchase because I love it so so much.
* She was a good girl in her third week and slept/posed for me in that shot, but she wouldn't close her little mouth, and I only got about 4 shots before she woke and was done. I love that I even managed the one above, "perfect" or not.
* I feel melancholy this rainy Monday morning.... I don't feel like I have it in me to get out of the house or unpack from our weekend trip to Columbia, or get work done, or do something clever with Noah. I hate this feeling... Mostly, its not fair to Noah...
* I felt empowered to make some new goals yesterday-- was feeling charged up about them...But clearly this morning's "fresh start" isn't really looking too impressive. Maybe tomorrow?
* I've been typing one-handed while I rock the Lucy carseat (oy, you should see these typos!!) and lo and behold, she zonked out. Cute!
* Except Noah is now poopy (how awesome that my 3.5 yr old is not at ALL potty-trained?) and that cancels out the sleeping baby victory.
* New Elizabeth Mitchell CD is providing the soundtrack to my morning. 
* Off to rescue the day since its only 8:40 and its not a bust yet.

Wednesday, June 22

Smatterings....Including a CURRENT Photo of the LucyLoo

Remember how yesterday, I mentioned that all the Lucy photos I'm sharing kind of keep her in a time capsule of newborn-ness? And that she really HAS grown? I promised a current image for the blog, and am happy to share with you Lucy's 2-month photos, taken on June 12. This first one is an homage to THIS brilliant idea, found on Pinterest, originally done by www.younghouselove.com. They did weekly photos from birth, which is AWESOME because infants change like CRAZY in the first weeks... but since I was well-entrenched in the 30 Days of Lucy at that point, I decided I could adapt this cool idea to be a MONTHLY thing for my Lucy. Starting late, at Month 2... since I didn't even know this awesome idea existed during Month 1. Anyway, enough yammering. Here's the pic:

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But since I caught Lucy being cute, I had to snap a few more before the crying photos inevitably began... And BOY HOWDY, did this girl give me some cute stuff:
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I mean, I am SO in love with her eyes! Not only the current color (as-yet-to-be-determined what they will ultimately be)... but the sparkle and awareness that begins to enter a baby's eyes after the first month. I LOVE her alertness, and the trademark Lambson Big Eyes I apparently bring to the genetic table. Noah always had the same round head and big eyes as a baby... Check it out. *swoon*)

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Seriously. She is such a cute baby! And the happy moments we get? PRICELESS.

*

On to other smatterings of randomness....

Noah is in Primary at church... a Sunbeam. It is so cute to see him start to learn like a KID and not a toddler, and it is a crack-up to hear his retellings of his lessons. Often, too, he'll come home with some AWESOME piece of art/project from his lesson, and I MUST keep it forever. Like this one, from Mother's Day:

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Not only am I TWENTY-ONE (cool!), but I am the BEST at the airport. You should see me. No one rocks an airport like I do. And for the record, Honey Nut Cheerios is HIS fave food, not mine. Mine is still chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. (But after a trip to Soulard Farmer's Market this last weekend, and a stop at the artisan cheese booth, specialty goat cheese is threatening to usurp that spot.)

And then this one, from this past Sunday. (Shh--- I suspect his sweet teacher helped a LITTLE with this one...)
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Too cute for words, right?

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And on to today. Did I just drive around in our car for an hour, JUST to keep Lucy asleep long enough for a decent mini-nap? Why yes, yes I did. We were leaving the playground from a playgroup gathering, and Lucy was on the edge of a meltdown. She chose sleep instead, and crashed within 3 minutes of us getting in the car. So instead of heading home, which was 13 minutes away, I asked Noah if he wanted to go on a drive and we hit up Taco Bell for a cheap lunch and cruised town. For an hour. We headed north on Skinker, then east on Page... North on Union til we got to I-70... Then we headed into the city and ogled the Arch and some trains and the other industrial buildings of the riverfront... Then headed back west on Arsenal, north on Jefferson, then west on highway 40 til we ended back on Skinker and finally pointed toward home.

Was it worth it? Oh yes. It absolutely was. Noah and I chilled, listened to Regina Spektor, enjoyed the gorgeous day and the sights from our windows... and Lucy slept better than if we had gone straight home and tried to shift her settings.

*

Last random bit: Have you guys been to Oh Lolli Lolli, the candy shop on De Mun in Clayton? SO cute, such yummy variety, and right smack next to the playground we like to play at sometimes. Noah and I got ourselves a treat after our playgroup today. Mine was a small bag of triple-dipped toffee balls.... And I truly TRULY wish I could show you a photo of this amazingness.... This new favorite treat I've discovered....
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But somehow, during that hour-long drive, they disappeared. 

Trust me, though--- AMAZING. I'm going to have to keep myself from going back for more. 
*

All righty...  Lucy ended up sleeping another hour AFTER we got home (Atta girl! Thank you!!!), hence this blog getting done... But now she is awake and nursing and she writhes when I try to type as I nurse... So I'm outta here. She's not getting anything accomplished at the moment. 

Toodles!

Tuesday, June 21

Still Finishing The Project: Day 22 and Day 23

Five days since we started prescription Zantac. Is she doing better? Well...... yes. BUT. I hesitate to even talk about it much-- I simply don't want to jinx our run of good behavior. Does she still cry? Absolutely. Am I merely feeling better because for most of the last 5 days there have been extra people around to help out? Maybe. Maybe she would have been good these days anyway. Maybe maybe maybe........ all I know is, it was the WORST it has been early last week, and now, a week later, is it markedly better. Not perfect. But better.

And that is all I'll say on that for now.

Meanwhile, who still have newborn photos of Lucy to share? THIS GIRL. Yikes!

My sister Beckie said that it was funny to see Lucy in real life right now, at age 2 months, because all you guys are seeing on the blog is NEWBORN Lucy. It's like she still seems so NEW... until you realize that I'm just behind, and you're seeing old photos now. Oops! I have some cute current ones of the girl. Maybe I'll post one of them tomorrow, to give you some context. 'Til then... let's give ya TWO of the "30 Days" project instead of one.

Day 22:
This was one of my favorite set-ups... A blanket I have loved since I pleaded for friends out-of-state to find me one. And the flower on the headband is the one from THIS tutorial post I wrote earlier this year. Combined, we get SUPREME CUTENESS.
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And a wee little smile:
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Hooray, Lucy for holding that pose for me!! It was the only time in 30 days I got you to do it, and I am THRILLED. :)
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For fun, since she was still sleeping, I swapped to a flower from THIS tutorial, and snapped a few more. Here, with her little mouth hanging open (it would NOT close, as much as I tried!)
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and here, just lounging in the basket...
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I loved Day 22. And it was such a success that there were no "crying photos" at the end of the session! Wahoo!!


Day 23:
This became one of the "casual days", one where I just couldn't muster the energy to do a formal "set up" during Noah's naptime. I napped with Lucy instead. So when Joe got home from work and Noah was awake from naps, we just headed outside with Lucy's quilt and did a few quickies- not formal, not "pro"... just cute. And I got to show off the fabric from the back of her quilt, my current favorite fabric right now. (Love you, Amy Butler!).
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And Noah actually ASKED to be in a few shots. Awesome!
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And after Lucy had had enough, I dragged Noah off to shoot a few of just him... Because I love him, ya know?

The boy of many expressions:
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(Love that one! Ha!)

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And that's all for today. 
More tomorrow? Maybe!

Sunday, June 19

My Dad. My Joe. Papa Joe. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

1979.Washington DC. Dad is on "daddy duty" with Julina and I (ages 3 and 2), watching pigeons flap and fly.

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He has ALWAYS been there for us. Always. I love you, Dad. Thank you!

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2011. MoBap Hospital L&D Room. Joe's first photo as a dad to two. (FreshArt Photography)
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He continues to boggle my mind as to his ability to be such a good daddy and husband. Joe, you are my HERO. I love you!

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1973ish. He is in high school, preparing for a role in Oliver!. He has a future as a daddy to four kiddos.
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Papa Joe, you have raised an amazing son that I now get to share my life with. You are the best kind of grandpa to my babies. Thank you for your devotion.


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It's been the best kind of Father's Day. I got to see my dad yesterday, and Joe's dad is in town all weekend. I gave a talk in church and the men got brownies from the ward. Noah helped draw a completely charming family photo of his family. Everyone in the house got naps. And Joe prepared an AMAZING North Carolina barbecue dinner (corn fritters, cole slaw, root beer, banana pudding with 'nilla wafers) for us--- an homage to his dad and his grandpa. 

And I slathered green paint onto both my kiddos' hands to make a Father's Day giftie for the grandpas. Messy. Funny. Awkward. 

Perfect. All of it!

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ETA:

{Thank you, sweet friends and blog reader folks, for the incredible show of love and support and empathy for my last blog post. It is amazing to me that when we tell the truth, and when we show the good AND the bad in our lives, we ALL grow from it. I am so grateful for the many many many comments I've gotten-- they have lifted me up more than you can ever know. 

Lucy is doing better. I dare not say  it too loudly. Might it be just a "good few days?" Might it be that Zantac?? Or might she have already been on track to turn the corner? Will we ever know? Will she get "bad" again? I don't know. Who knows?? But for now, I whisper, "thank you. Thank you, Lucy, for more smiles and less crying. Thank you for a bit of a break."

And we'll keep waiting and watching and loving the good, the bad AND the ugly.

Thank you again, all of you.}

Thursday, June 16

A Difficult Truth (And Day 21)

It's been a week since I blogged last. A long.... long...... long..........long week. Seems appropriate, then, that Day 21, the next photo in line, is this one:

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Day 21, back in early May. She had been excruciatingly difficult ALL day. By the time it was photo time, she had actually given  in to sleep, and I thought the photo I'd been planning might work. I got Joe ready to assist with his hands as props, and we almost got everything lined up. And then she broke wide open again, bawling. Frustrated, both from the failed photo attempt and from the day-long exhaustion of dealing with her crying, I said, "Fine. Let's just shoot THIS. This is how she was today anyway. Day 21 is THIS." And I shot four or five frames of that crying, and was done. The end.

Because THAT was Lucy, that day.

See the tear squeezing out of her right eye? SO sad. Seriously.

The truth is, as lovely as Lucy is in her photos... as sweet as she looks when  she sleeps, she is NOT an easy baby. Want evidence? Want to see the OTHER photos from my Lucy Days that I haven't shown here yet?

Warning-- these might break your heart:
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It devastates me to admit it... breaks my heart to face it... And took me SEVEN weeks to finally confront the truth--- but here it is: my beautiful baby is one of THOSE babies. A colicky baby.

I have a colicky baby.

Why is that so hard to confront? To admit? To face?

We all want our babies to be the pinnacle of perfection: Nurse like a champ. Sleep through the night. Contentedly coo in a bouncy chair. Self-soothe. Charm everyone they come in contact with. The ultimate Angel Baby.

When  things turn out differently, there's this grieving period, I think. Mourning the baby you THOUGHT you might get and coming to peace with the baby you have. Pretty as she is, as much as I cherish her, I have been working through those less-charming reactions and emotions. The things we NEVER want to admit in public:


I LOVE my baby.... but I'm not sure I LIKE her much right now.


I wish being a mother of two was still a dreamy "someday" and not a difficult NOW.


These aren't pretty feelings. It puts knots in my stomach to confess them, and I am daily struggling to reconcile them and get through to the other side.


I'm pretty hard on myself these days... I feel selfish. I feel a little nuts. I feel frustrated. I feel disappointed. Surprisingly, what I don't feel is alone. As I've been letting the truth of Lucy's temperament be known, I've found that there is an incredible network of mamas out there ready to lend instant love and support to me-- ready to lift me up with emails, notes, cards, calls... Incredible sympathy. Stories of their own struggles with tough babies. Encouragement. Advice. Tips. Ideas. I have felt so humbled to be loved by these women in spite of my not-so-pretty feelings. These women have helped me get out of the fog of new-mom-crying-baby despair a little... to see the light at the end and to keep pushing to get there. Ladies, if you're reading this, you know who you are. You are saving me, daily.

I feel it is important to reassure anyone who might not get to talk to me one-on-one these days that I am doing okay with regards to post-partum depression and such. My frustrations and anxieties are direct responses to the stress of the nonstop crying in my home. I've been reassured by my OB and nurses that for now, this isn't PPD.

What it is, is a sweet baby that is high-maintenance and VERY needy. Very particular in what works to calm her, to get her to sleep, to keep her asleep. There is a LOT of crying. Intense crying. We're lucky that she's not the WORST colicky baby ever--- we do get some good days, and good half-days. But when it's bad, it's exhausting, and frays the nerves of everyone in the house.

(Want  a 30-second visit into what I'm talking about? Watch at your own risk. And turn the volume down a little. This is Lucy from just two hours ago:)

*

I don't know... I could write about it all day... hash through what makes it "colic", describe why I think it might be silent reflux, go into the details of how she seems to KNOW when I am not using both my hands to soothe her, and immediately wails until I give both hands back to her. I could talk about pros and cons of the ideas many of you are thinking of suggesting. Most of what you'll try to tell me, I have already heard in the last 7 weeks, and have tried. Not that I don't appreciate advice and theories... I've just been dealing with this for so long already that most of the conversations have been had. Books? Read 'em. Slings? I use three different styles regularly. Swaddles? She lives in them for sleeping. Swing? Hates it. Baths? Hates them. White noise? LOVES the vacuum, is apathetic to most other types. Car rides? Nope. She screams til she sleeps. Gripe water? We give it to her. I think it's a placebo for ME more than anything. Mylicon? Seems to help her toot a bit more. We use it.  I just talked my pediatrician into giving me a trial prescription to Zantac, so we'll see if reflux is part of it or not.

The truth is, among all the tricks, ideas, stories, and everything, it's probably just going to take TIME. The cure of TIME.

So. For now... it's just good for my heart to get the story out. To confess that my baby isn't the Angel Baby we all hope for. To purge a bit of the guilt for feeling frustrated at my life right now. It's not pretty. Any of it. Her crying. My feelings. The mood in the house a lot of days. But. We're managing. My main goal is to seek out and create pockets of peace. Good moments. To remember to look upon her sweet sleeping face and let myself love every bit of her while she is quiet and still. I am trying to laugh a bit more. Let go a bit more. Find new ways to do things with one hand. Accept help. I am trying to pray more. I am trying to listen to what I am supposed to learn from all of this.

Much of the time, I am just coping. Getting from one moment to the next. But sometimes, there is grace. Sometimes we hit a sweet note of joy. Sometimes she is cooing and smiling and Noah is doting on her and Joe has a yummy dinner in the oven and I have managed to comb my hair that day...

Little things get us through. 

I don't want to lose this entire period of her life, when she is so perfectly tiny and lovely, to grief and stress. I am grateful for the photos I worked so hard to get in her first 30 days... So that when we emerge from this tough time, I have evidence of the good and not just memories of the bad. 
I want to remember her tiny blonde widow's peak hairline. 
I want to remember how every time she is done nursing and I sit her up to burp her, Noah runs over and excitedly says, "Hey Luce!" and tries to get her to smile at him. 
I want to remember how well Joe and I have been working as a team to manage this time in our lives.
I want to remember the incredible circle of support and the light and lifting up of all the prayers from loved ones and friends.
I want to remember her little fists. Her perfect little nose. Her tongue darting out like a snake. 
I want to remember how she slept in our arms ALL THE TIME (And love that we got that time with her instead of resenting that it took us away from other things.)
I want to remember the incredible joy I feel when she gives us 10 or 15 minutes of sweetness and contentedness.
I just..... just want to remember that this, even this, is beautiful.

So. That's all for now. Forgive the less-frequent blogging. They say this colic stuff peaks around now, and then gets better. I certainly hope that's true, because this week has been the hardest yet. I'll be back when I can... But until then, this baby wants BOTH my hands most of the day, and I'm gonna give them to her. She needs me. And I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, June 8

Day 7 and Day 20: Her Parents....

Day 7
Photos with dad... My two sweet loves. I love these images more than I can describe.

Day 20: 
Photos with me... Set up by me, shot by Joe. Lucy was kind of a stinker on Day 20, I'm not gonna lie. I may look serene in the photos, but it was a LOT of work to get a scant few final photos.

Mama and Dad, each loving on their Lucy. I'm so glad I made these happen in her first 30 days. They are already favorites of mine:

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And a few more "casual" shots--- showcasing the REAL work of Day 20-- soothing the fussy baby:
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Tuesday, June 7

Baby Clothing Cupcakes: Such a Great Gifty!!

Have you seen this insanely cute baby gift idea?? I was recently gifted with TWO of these brilliant boxes of goodies, and couldn't wait to share it here!

See, you start with a cupcake box....

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And you buy some little baby onesies and pants, or a layette set, and you roll and manipulate them into the shape of a cupcake. You set your "cupcake" into a coffee filter liner or an actual Texas cupcake liner, then place in your box, and decorate and embellish as you see fit:

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And then you put them in the box and it's like you're delivering a box of sweet cupcakes to your friend, except instead of adding inches to your friend's hips, you're giving them something completely USEFUL.

SO CUTE!!

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My sweet friend Beth sent the "little sister" cuppie in the mail last week, and it reminded me that weeks ago I'd set aside the other box of "cupcakes", a gift from my other friend Melanie, to photograph and talk about the cleverness. 

So today, ready to dig in and actually unwrap those cute clothes, I finally photographed this amazing idea and am so delighted to share it with you guys! 

It's a relatively new cute concept... blogged by several crafty-type folks with tutorials to match, like these ones:





It's a perfect gift, really. I mean, I AM obsessed with cupcakes, right?!! *swoon*  Thanks, Beth and Mel. I am so so so so happy you thought of me when you found this idea!!

*

And let's talk about that quilt featured in the background above, shall we??? Since seeing a gorgeous newborn photo snapped by Jodie and Kim of FreshArt, HERE, I've realized how much I'm drawn to the look and vibe of vintage patchwork quilts and have ached to get my hands on a few-- not just for photo purposes, but also just to have in my home. I love how they make me feel! But anyone who shops for vintage quilts knows-- they are usually over a hundred dollars each, and I really just don't have a lot of expendable money like that... So most of the time, I look, but don't buy. But last year, browsing an antiques mall,  I found a brilliant one for an incredible price (used HERE, in our maternity session by FreshArt)... and the collecting began. And by "collecting", I mean, I had one. And after the Gypsy Caravan last week, I now have TWO. Isn't my new one a beauty?? Both were less than $60 each- both have some wear and tear that lowered their value-- but both are so pretty, and I am delighted with my two quilty treasures. I guess I can now officially call this a collection.

:)

Monday, June 6

Noah's Big Day at the Hospital

It's been a busy spring, mostly because of the new kid in town. Busy enough that I might have failed to mention that my other kiddo had been experiencing some eye problems since March.  We went to an initial appointment to get it looked at, and  after a couple of months of watching to see if it would improve, the opthamologist finally recommended surgery.

The issue is something called "strabismus", and involves one or both eyes crossing. If it is related to farsightedness, they can treat it with a patch and glasses. But in Noah's case, there is no vision issue--- it's muscular. So a patch and glasses would do nothing to help... And therefore, as much as it broke my heart, we scheduled the surgery. It is a simple procedure-- a "same day surgery" that truly doesn't have lingering pain for my kiddo. Still, to know I was sending my little one to an operating room to be put under anesthesia... to be cut into... It was a rough thing to get ready for.

So, my little man had this procedure done just this past Friday. Joe took work off, my mom and sister came to hang out with Lucy at home while we both went with Noah to the hospital.. And we tried to make it a grand adventure for all of us. I brought my camera and caught the days' events for our personal history.

Here, in photos, is Noah's Big Day at the Hospital:

We started with the usual-- the nurse checking his vitals. Noah is currently 41" high and 38 lbs.

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He was in surprisingly great spirits most of the day. Here is a goofy face from him:

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Our nurse was Micki, and she was WONDERFUL with Noah. He responded to her kindness so well, and was quite the charmer himself. Everything she explained to him and showed him elicited the most ridiculously cute reply from him, repeatedly:

"I like that!!"

Whether it was, "Noah, this is going to squeeze your muscle." or "Noah, this stethoscope will listen to your heart.", he chirped happily in response, "I LIKE that!"

He basically won everyone over with his charm and happy mood.
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Then it was time for his "special fish pajamas." He kind of wanted to stay in his street clothes--- I think the change of clothes made it feel a bit more scary to him...
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But the gripper footie socks got him smiling again.
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I love these three shots, taken in a row-- they show how his mood would dip, but go right back to cheerful-- this whole experience was like that for him. (And notice the middle pic-- it shows a bit of the eye thing that is the reason for the surgery. See the left eye cross a bit?)
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His hospital bracelet... ("I LIKE that!")
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The surgeon (Dr. Greg Lueder, opthamologist- AWESOME) came in to talk to us about everything. (Noah looks a bit nervous again...)
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And we were told that Noah could bring Mai into the operating room with him. HOORAY! So Mai got a name bracelet of his own... but it made a better collar for him.
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Micki then gave him the liquid sedative he'd get to help him zone out prior to the anesthesia. before drinking it:
"I LIKE it!"

After drinking it:
"Ew.EW!! That's yucky! I don't like it!!"

He got a bit of Sprite to wash it down.
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Then it was time to walk him to the operating room doors. This part was the hardest for all of us.
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Because he had to go somewhere we couldn't follow. My little guy...
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The procedure took about an hour total, including the small time in recovery he spent still knocked out. We played on our iTouches and had a snack... mostly, we just waited. 

When he came back to us, they darkened the room for his comfort. He was groggy, but awake. He never cried, never whined... He was just mellow and a bit out of it--- asking questions over and over, like what was the clicking noise? (It was the I.V. he was still hooked up to, administering doses of fluids). What was the nurse's name? ("Micki! Remember?" "I LIKE your name!")

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And he talked about having "crumbs in his eyes"--- his own little description of how it must have felt to have the irritated eye socket with the teeny cuts and stitches in it. We all encouraged him to not touch the eye, and to use a cold washcloth instead. He got a grape Popsicle to nibble on.

He was also fascinated by the mess of stuff on his left hand-- the board and tape anchoring (and hiding) his i.v. needle.
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How sweet is my baby boy?
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Loving being in control of "his" TV:
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We spent a good stretch in our recovery room, fawning over our baby, laughing at his cute questions and exclamations, and monitoring his reaction to the anesthesia (watching for nausea, perhaps an emotional jag, etc.)... But he continued to be simply AWESOME at this whole thing--- as easygoing as he was prior to the surgery, he was just as fast to recover and was a model patient. Before long, he had earned the right to get up and walk with Micki the nurse to the "Treasure Chest" to pick out a prize for being such a good patient. As she was taking his i.v. out and getting him up to go walk, he said, "Micki, I love you."

All of us melted into puddles. he tels US he loves us, of course... But this was the first time I'd seen him spontaneously volunteer the sweetness to someone outside of his family. She was visibly moved, too. Such a tender moment!

See him holding her hand? They were buddies, for sure.
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He picked out a Hot Wheels fire truck, and was given a pair of radical star sunglasses to help protect his eyes. he took his prizes and shuffled back to our room.
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And after getting dressed and getting his things together, we made sure he got a photo with his sweet Micki.
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Then he donned his radical sunglasses. Ha!
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As we left, about 4 hours after arriving, we enjoyed the features of the fabulous Children's Hospital at Barnes Jewish... Including some fabulous aquariums, great art, and even a fully electronic miniature train set that was installed in the ceiling of the lobby. (The boys enjoyed watching it for a while!)
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Since our kiddo hadn't eaten since the night before and seemed to not have any tummy issues from the medicine, we treated him to Fitz's for lunch so we could dote on him just a bit longer before getting back to the little sister waiting for him at home. 

Our cute little guy was clearly feeling great and ready to eat-- he cleaned his plate!

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And so.... We survived! Noah proved to be just about the coolest patient ever, and we both crossed through a new parenting portal-- the one where you have to let you kiddo go through scary stuff without you--- and we survived. All of us. And rewarded ourselves with cream soda floats at the end. 

:)