Author Archives: Ali

Leo – Month 5

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What can I say that I haven’t already said? This child radiates happiness out of every single pore. He is so happy, so content, so loving and I CANNOT get over it.

He just turned five months old and, as I predicted, THIS is now my favorite age (as will be every single one to follow). I don’t say these things to project some sort of ‘fairy tale’ life that we’re living with our ‘perfect baby’.  I say them because they are 100% true and I feel so insanely lucky (not blessed…lucky) that he is ours.

Here are some photos that I took a few mornings ago.  No lie, I spent less than 20 minutes taking them and had tons to choose from because he is a gosh darn natural in front of the lens.  Just you wait.

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…..WHAT is happening?  Oh, that’s just my heart bursting.  Carry on.

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This one makes me laugh because he is LITERALLY doing a ‘senior photo’ pose.  On his own.  In a diaper.

He kills me.

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If anyone dares to claim that babies cuter than this exist…I will require proof.

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Also if you’re looking for me later, you can find me in his dimples.  I live there now.

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We’re teething over here if you can’t tell.  : )  Thank you Emily Woltjer for one of his favorite (and cutest) soothers!

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GAH!

I’m sorry but I just love his stinking face SO much.  And yes, I’m his mom and therefore find him cuter than likely any other human alive does, but I just want to get through to you what a beautiful soul this little boy is.  He is more than I deserve and I spend every day trying to soak up every bit of the love he gives me.  I knew I would love my baby but I didn’t anticipate that I’d love him so much for who he is, not just because he was mine.

As Jon tells him every day, ‘Leo, you’re just the best’.

Hardest thing about month five…don’t kill me but it’s really hard to even come up with one.  Hmmmm….I know.  The hardest thing about month five is how sunny it’s been and if you know CO you know that the sun is INTENSE here so we’ve had to wear sunscreen (which is a pain to put on) and alter our outside schedule to avoid the heat of the day.  I know, I know, what a great problem to have.

Oh, and duh.  Being away from family and friends.  Absolutely gut wrenching if I dwell on it for too long.  That’s the hardest part of life currently.  We were very fortunate this month to spend over a week with my parents in D.C. and a long weekend in Minneapolis where we saw many of our favorite people.

Easiest thing about month five was the transition to a four hour eating schedule because the little angel just did it on his own.

Worst thing about month five was how busy Jon was with work and personal travel.  It’s all good stuff, but it’s tough on all of us to spend that much time apart.  Thankfully, it’s smooth sailing for the rest of the summer!

Best thing, for me, about month five has been his capability to reciprocate my love and adoration for him.  He’s always been an ‘affectionate’ baby, but suddenly he’s like a little human being and he interacts with me in such a real way that just fills my heart with so much joy. Kid lights up like christmas every time he looks at me.

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Most unexpected thing about month five was FOR SURE his ability to roll with the punches we threw his way (May was CRAZY), specifically our trip to D.C. and then leaving him with babysitters for the first time in MN.  He’s just a champ and I don’t know why I ever doubt him.  : )

*side rant: this blog is going to get REAL boring if all I can come up with every month is what a gem of a human I birthed.  : )

Most loved baby item for Leo is without a doubt these dumb wooden balls I bought from Pottery Barn kids for purely aesthetic purposes in the nursery (I’d link them but they aren’t on the website anymore).  They are his (totally random) absolute favorite.

My most loved baby item this month has been his…play gym?  I don’t even know what it’s called but he LOVES it and would entertain himself in it for about an hour if I didn’t get so needy and scoop him out before that.  : )

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Funniest thing to happen in month five was maybe this, and I can’t explain it, you had to be there…

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Milestones are abundant.  Out of swaddle, two teeth, belly laughing, extraordinary hand eye coordination, rolling and scooting every which way, and I’m pretty sure he’s a genius.

Favorite memory of month five, and maybe of his life so far, is when he and I were lying together outside of the Jefferson Memorial in D.C.  It was SWELTERING hot and we’d been running him ragged for days and he was cooked and needed a break.  We just plopped down in the grass and stared at each other and giggled and smooched.  It was epic.

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Favorite outfit might have to be this one because…collar.

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Favorite photo is obviously a tie between these two because no mere mortal could EVER choose.

 

Funniest photo…because photo shoots are never as glamorous as they seem. #faceplant

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IMG_6941Jon and my first ‘date night’ sans Leo – Chad and Anna’s spectacular wedding!

IMG_6929CHEEKS!!  Typical flight with this guy.

IMG_6892Celebrating Uncle Greyson’s birthday!

IMG_6661I was lucky to spend my very first Mother’s day with my very own momma.  : )

See you at 6 months!  (tear)

 

Leo – Month 4

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Well hello there cutest baby alive.  : )

Leo is 4 months old (4.5 at the time of publishing) and I was right about a 3 month old being the best because while a 4 month old is pretty great – they come with the 4 month sleep regression which is no picnic.

Life for me these days revolves completely around sleep. HAHA – no. Not my own. His. We’re just doing it all at once over here, transitioning out of the swaddle, taking naps in the crib instead of his rock and play, one feeding a night, and putting him down awake so he puts himself to sleep. Whew.

Anyway, here are some cute photos.

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Hardest thing about month four was a developmental leap happening at the same time as a sleep regression. I think we’ve made it through to the other side but there were a tough couple weeks in there.

Easiest thing about month four is forgiving him for his sleep issues because going in to get that kid after he wakes up is one of the GREATEST THINGS that happens in life. He is so happy and pumped to see you and smiles so much it seems like his face will burst.

Worst thing that happened month four was Leo and I both got sick at the same time the night before Jon left for Mexico for 4 days.  Again, combined with a developmental leap and a sleep regression.  It. Was. Rough.

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Best thing that happened month four was the INSANELY incredible response I got to this post. It’s one of my most read posts to date and certainly my most commented on. I received texts, emails and Facebook messages that were so kind and thoughtful and it truly means the world to me that people read this blog and then take the time to personally respond.

Most Unexpected thing about month four was how much easier getting his shots was than the first time. He took it like a champ and I was way less tragic.  : )

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Most loved baby item is Sophie the giraffe. I always thought people claimed their baby liked it because they liked it so much (because it’s cute) but he’s seriously obsessed with her. I think it’s because she’s ergonomically perfect for holding and chewing. In short, she’s not overrated.

Funniest development from month four is his apparent love of ‘blondes’. His favorite thus far seems to be Jon’s aunt Janet, but he’s yet to meet a blonde he doesn’t love. I like to tell myself it’s because he’ll only ever love one brunette (me).

Milestones are many.  Blowing bubbles, screeching, finding his feet, reaching and grabbing, and my personal favorite…opening his mouth like a baby bird and ‘kissing’ my face.  He also went through an upchuck phase which thankfully has passed. But I looked like this multiple times a day for awhile…IMG_6447

Favorite Memory from month four is of two parts. First was Leo meeting his Grandpa Bob for the first time over Easter weekend. The second is when Finley met Leo.  SO adorable.  IMG_6418IMG_6395

Favorite Outfit…seems pretty obvious.4Month-6

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Funniest Photo (Leo didn’t get the memo that it’s called HAPPY hour…)IMG_6498

Embracing my fears.

Remember those emotional anxiety symptoms I was having? Well, I couldn’t seem to shake them. As a matter of fact, they got worse. I actually found myself lying awake in the middle of the night a few times which is like adding insult to injury for a new mom. The lack of sleep only intensified my anxiety over the next couple of days. Finally, at around 4:30 a.m. one night, it dawned on me that a few specific things over the last week had really exacerbated my fears about the future and Leo’s health, happiness and general well being. Once I identified where this pent up angst was coming from my brain was able to better make sense of it all.

A blogger that I have followed for almost ten years, who now has a two year old little girl, posted about she herself having a troubling few weeks. She credited the majority of her ‘funk’ to a life long friend of her daughter (and little boy) suddenly passing away in his sleep. The thought of that happening to ANYONE, let alone Leo, is unequivocally unbearable for me to even think about. That is one thing all parents worry about and lose sleep over from the first day they bring their baby home and the fact that it actually happens to people is tough to take. I think I was in such shock to read that story on this ‘happy little blog’ I have read every day for the past 10 years that I didn’t fully process how deeply upsetting it was to me.

Another thing that happened was a colleague of Jon’s passed away. He was traveling in Europe with his wife over 6 months ago when he suddenly collapsed. He was hospitalized overseas (away from his friends and family) for many, many weeks and then finally brought home to then months later be declared brain dead. Recently, his family made the impossible choice to remove him from life support. The thought of his children, what his wife has gone through these last six months, and the fact that he had the best of his life ahead of him is just…it’s horrible.

Both of these incidents are things you think will never happen to you, could never happen to you. But they happen to people all the time and it is so, so scary. I said in my last post that it’s not all gloom and doom over here, that I’m not as paralyzed in fear as it seems, and that remains true.  I just find that it helps me to process and sort through things by writing them down and also feel that I can’t be the only one who thinks about this stuff.

All of this emotional baggage was brought to a head by a completely random night of movie viewing. I simply do not have the time or the energy to watch movies these days, but for some reason I was overcome with the desire to see the film Lion. I took Leo to three different RedBox locations before I was able to procure the DVD. That doesn’t sound like a ton of effort, but I assure you that with a three month old, it is. Once Leo was asleep I started the movie and from the opening scene until the final credits I sobbed.  I didn’t get teary, I didn’t just sniffle, I ugly cried my way through the entire thing. I already knew the true story that the movie was based on but even so, I just completely unraveled. I had to shut it off half way through and take a break because I was such a mess.

The story is about a little boy that gets separated from his family, essentially lost, and the journey that his life takes after. I couldn’t decide who I was crying for the most; the boy, his birth mother, his brother, his adopted parents…you could find reasons to empathize with them all. The mothers were an obvious place for my heart to go, but I kept going back to the little boy and putting Leo in his place. It was excruciating to imagine. The film ended with a final gut punch as they said the little boy had been pronouncing his own name wrong, mistakenly saying it was Saroo instead of Sharu, which in Hindu means Lion. Leo’s name means the same and we often refer to him as Leo the Lion. I immediately went into his room, WOKE HIM UP from a nap like a certified crazy person, and held him and cried for about ten minutes.  I told you, I was a total mess (but seriously, the movie is really good and don’t let my intense reaction to it scare you away).

The moral of the story is, the movie was tough to get through but it was also cathartic as it allowed me to release all the feelings I’d been keeping locked up for sake of putting on a happy face for my family. It was in thinking about all of these things that I was able to realize, truly, how much my husband and little boy mean to me and that it is a bit scary to admit HOW much. It’s like when we were trying to get pregnant, I didn’t want to admit how much I wanted it because then I would have to admit how sad I was if it didn’t happen. Or why it was tough for me to be unabashedly happy when I did get pregnant, because if it didn’t work out, if something went wrong, I would have to admit how devastated I was. I was protecting myself. And now, with Jon and Leo, if I really allow myself to fall as in love with my new family as I am, I have to not only wear my heart on my sleeve but have it walk around outside my body in the scary world every day.

I found this quote yesterday which could not have been more perfect or come at a better time.

No one ever told me how much fear is hidden in love.

So yes, it may seem that I have a few irrational fears right now, but just remember that I’m new to this mommy gig and having my heart triple in size overnight takes some getting used to. Going forward, the trick for me will be to just embrace the fears because at the end of the day the fears are there because of all the love that’s there too.

Yes, there are photos.  : )

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This is parenthood.

I have been unusually emotional these last few days.

Perpetually on the verge of tears, it feels like my heart is being tugged into my throat. Combine that with a sudden and acute awareness of my mortality and how short life is.

I know, heavy stuff.

My worry is that these feelings have set up shop in my life and don’t plan on leaving any time soon. In fact, if I’m totally honest, I’m preparing myself to live with these exact feelings for the rest of my life. This is what parenthood is…isn’t it.

Uffda.

Before Leo was born, life was just sort of happening around me. Sure we made plans and propelled our life forward, bought a house, made investments, went to the dentist. But I was waiting for something, for a baby and for our family to start, and so I just sort of went through the motions thinking that once we had our baby, then life would ‘really’ start.

Well, he’s here and it has started and now I’m in a panic of how quickly it’s all going to end. I lie awake at night wondering if we should live in Denver or somewhere else, stay in our house or move to the suburbs, breast feed until he’s five or consider 6 months a success. I wonder if earlier that day when I laid him down on his play mat and left him alone for 5 minutes I did irreparable emotional damage.

You know. Things like that.  : )

I realize a lot of this is completely normal and let me assure you not nearly as distressing as it sounds. It’s just that I can see so clearly into the future now that Leo is here, the problem is that there are many different futures. How do you choose what’s right?  It’s intense!

To make the things that Jon and I dream about possible (a place in the mountains, fun family vacations and experiences, a big ‘forever’ home) he has to work really, really hard. That will likely mean less time at home for him, more Leo duties for me, and more stress all around. The alternative is he pumps the breaks at work, probably doesn’t reach his full potential, and we make ourselves ok with the fact that we’ll never have a place in the mountains or give our kid(s) the experiences we hoped to. Maybe it doesn’t have to be one or the other, maybe we can have both?

Suddenly living in Denver isn’t as straightforward as it has been. Raising kids is going to look a lot different than I imagined not having my family nearby. I am constantly looking at flights home and then have to repeatedly remind myself that we live here. Not there. I can’t have one foot in one place and one in the other, as much as I’d like to. I’ve done that before and it’s torture, but you know what else is torture? Having a 3+ month old that my Mom and Dad have only seen once and that 3 out of 4 of my siblings have never met.

Moving back to Minnesota isn’t necessarily the answer either.  Jon would have to give up his career and never know ‘what could’ve been’.  We would have to give up living in a climate that we love and all the mountain activities that we enjoy.  Would it be worth it though, to raise Leo near close friends and family and give him a similar upbringing to what we had?

I DON’T KNOW!

That’s the problem you guys.  I don’t know what the right answer is.  Hence the night time paralyzation.  The reality is that I’m only familiar with one upbringing, which is my own, and no matter how many options are in front of us, one that I know isn’t going to happen is us moving to Ada and raising Leo in my parents house in a time before the internet and cell phones.

So.  It’s going to be different from what I know no matter what.

I realize that he’ll likely be fine (probably more than fine) no matter what.  In all honesty, it’s more about Jon and I than anything else.  What can we live with?  What can we live without? What are our expectations for our own lives and do they have to change now that we have a child?

The truth is, Jon and I need to sit down and get real about what’s really important to us and how we make those things a reality. Honest to goodness I want to make a vision board (don’t tell Jon, I’m going to try and trick him into it) and hang it somewhere so that every day we have a visual reminder of what’s really important. It was tough to map all of that out pre-Leo because you never know how parenthood will change you. Now that he’s here, and we understand more clearly the love we have for him and our willingness to sacrifice for him, we can start coming up with a plan.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to adjust to living with my heart in my throat and do my best to soak up every second of my time with Leo, and be ok with the fact that I don’t have it all figured out just yet (and never will).

Wait, you thought I would actually write a post and not include any photos?

Do you not know me at all?!

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“That glass coffee table is a mistake”, they all said.

“You’re going to regret that once you have kids.” they said.

Want to know how I got 30 uninterrupted minutes of laundry, kitchen cleaning and emails done?

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How do you like me now?

 

 

Leo – Month 3

Disclaimer = If you came here for something other than a boat load of photos of my baby, you have made a terrible mistake, turn around.

As for the rest of you, onward.

Guys. How great are 3 month olds?!? I’ve always loved babies and kids, and newborns are pretty amazing, but for me there’s something special about this stage we’ve entered. Leo is still very much ‘all baby’ but he’s past the newborn stage and is just so much fun. He’s relentlessly smiley, full of expression, rolling over and super interactive. I’m sure I’ll say this about every age, but this has been my favorite stage so far. He’s a little person but still a baby. It’s so great. Just the other morning I was playing with him and he laughed for the first time and I NEARLY DIED. He looks at us with recognition and visible adoration and my whole heart lives in my throat most days. I can’t get enough of this little munchkin.

We had a lot going on this last month including two plane trips, one back home to Minnesota and one to Arizona for a mini vacation (post on that coming soon). We’re still in the thick of a major basement remodel, Jon’s company is moving into a brand new beautiful building, it’s tax season, we’ve got about 20 upcoming trips and obligations and just this last weekend threw a dinner party for 10 people. There have been a lot of moving parts made more chaotic by the presence of a baby. It’s a super busy time in our lives when all we want to do is stop time and sit at home with our sweet Leo. I think it’s hardest on Jon because he’s got so many great things going on work wise but feels really torn wanting to be at home too. There have been a lot of adjustments for both of us and we’re figuring it all out one day at a time.

Leo turned three months this week and it felt like a bigger deal than I expected it to. All day I kept acting like it was his birthday or something and actually kept referring to him as ‘the birthday boy’.  By sheer coincidence he had a few things being delivered that day that I then started calling his ‘birthday gifts’. I think I need to find more time to spend with grown ups.  : )

We spent the morning in his room snapping some photos and THEY ARE SO CUTE! In my humble opinion.

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The above photo is a very accurate representation of what he’s like all day. He lights up like a lightbulb when I smile at him (which shatters me) and it’s difficult to smile at him with a giant camera in front of my face. For his four month photos I’m going to have Jon help me so we can capture more shots with those deadly dimples.

Month One, Two & Three.

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I can quite literally feel my heart swell when I look at these photos. It’s like when you have a crush on someone, that giddy feeling…butterflies.

Oh my god. I have a crush on my son.  I’m the creepy boy mom that’s going to ruin him because I can’t get a grip and will probably sabotage all his future relationships with women.

Oh well.  ; )

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If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already heard about the beautiful quilt being featured in these photos. If you don’t follow me (you should – @alihendrickson) we recently received this beautiful heirloom in the mail from my mom. She made it with her own two creative hands using fabrics we picked out at Fancy Tiger Crafts on South Broadway in Denver and I LOVE IT. The back has the softest most snuggly fabric and we cuddle with it all the time.

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I’m sorry but babies simply DO NOT get yummier than that.  The overalls are TOO much.

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And that concludes our photoshoot.

Almost.

This is one of those ‘birthday gifts’ I had mentioned above. A blogger I follow posted this Jolly Jumper and her son loved it so I thought we’d give it a try. It’s from Canada eh? He seems to like it and I find it endlessly entertaining and hilarious so we’re keeping it. Once he gets a little bigger I think he’ll freak out over it. Until then, I will exploit him for my own enjoyment.

*edited to add that we’re on day three with the jumper and Leo is nuts over it. Like I have said, standing is his absolute favorite.Leo3Month-31

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Oh, you thought we were done with photos?  Silly you.  This is where the iPhone shots begin…

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Hardest part of month three was a accepting a realization I came to. I wasn’t foolish enough to enter into parenthood with unrealistic expectations on how life would change, I knew that it would.  However, we had SUCH a good baby right out the gate that I might have gotten a little too comfortable with a few things. The main adjustment we’ve had to make is how much I’m able to be ‘on the go’. The first 2.5 months I was able to run all over town and he would sleep really well in his carseat for hours at a time. Also, since our amazing carseat reclines, I was able to put him in the carseat in the stroller and not worry about his neck or posture while he slept. Running our errands, grocery shopping, and being semi-in the world was pretty easy. Well, his naps started suffering and that came to a screeching halt. I read that you should respect their need to sleep and provide a comfortable place for them to do so. That has been true for us, especially for his first two naps of the day. He is a much happier baby when we are at home and he can nap comfortably and uninterrupted in his room. Unfortunately for me, by the time these naps are over it’s usually around 1:30/2:00. If we get a walk in we’re approaching his afternoon nap and then his crabby hour right before a 7:00 bedtime. So, long story short, I feel pretty tethered to home and feel like I have to sacrifice a walk around the park, which we really enjoy, in order to get any errands run. It’s been a tough adjustment, more for me than him.

Easiest part of month three was traveling. I had built up a lot of anxiety around air travel with a baby, but it could not have gone more smoothly.  Jon and I kept looking at each other like ‘is this for real’? I have a feeling we may not be so lucky in the coming months with trips to D.C. and Minneapolis, but MAN was it awesome while it lasted.

Worst thing that happened month three is of two parts.  The first was a hitch in the giddy-up during our trip to Minnesota. The purpose of the entire trip was to introduce Leo to people, specifically the rest of my family as the only to have met him was my mom. One by one they all dropped like flies due to a sickness spread by my two year old nephew. Everyone decided it was best to avoid the baby and nobody came to meet him. It was unavoidable, but pretty tough to take (devastating for me) for everyone.

The other worst part of month three was his immunization appointment. It was absolutely gut wrenching to see this happy, clueless baby go from lovingly gazing at us to screaming and confused. I just sat there and held him and wept uncontrollably for about 15 minutes. Thank goodness for breastfeeding because it immediately did the trick. I, however, took about 48 hours to recover.

Best thing that happened month three was his transition into being super interactive. It’s so fulfilling to get those smiles, facial expressions and laughs out of him and to feel like he’s really responding to and understanding you.

Most Unexpected thing that happened month three was (excuse my french) getting shit on in a restaurant by my child. We were in Arizona, finally sitting down to brunch after an approximate 90 minute wait, and he stood up on my lap and just ‘let it all out’. Right down his leg and onto my shirt and lap. Besides the pooping of the pants being unexpected, what also surprised me was my reaction. Cool, calm, collected with the willingness to just take care of business. I guess when it’s your own baby it’s not such a big deal.

Most loved baby items from month three are The Wonder Weeks app, Noggin Stick and Baby Bjorn Bouncer. The Wonder Weeks is an app that helps you track the ‘leaps’ that your baby/child is making. It goes really in depth telling you what is happening to them physically and mentally as they develop and gives you a strangely accurate timeline of when to expect said leaps. It has been nearly dead on with Leo and has helped me understand and empathize with him during those crabby times. The Noggin Stick is currently Leo’s favorite toy and it’s really great for developmental growth. I’ve heard the same from many other parents so go ahead and get yourself one! Finally the Baby Bjorn Bouncer. This is my favorite because he likes to chill in it, it isn’t hideous, and it was super easy to travel with as it lays completely flat. We brought it to Arizona and it was helpful to have in the hotel room.

Funniest thing to happen was this: 2017-03-19_17-19-24_969

Milestones were many.  The biggest one would have to be that one day he just decided to roll over, from his back to stomach, which according to the internet he’s about 2-3 months ahead of schedule on. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…genius.  ; )

Favorite Memory from month three would probably have to be our trip to Arizona. It was a big moment to realize we were on our first vacation as a family and that there would be many more to come. I’d elaborate but I’m going to write a separate post on that trip.

Favorite Outfit and Favorite photo are the same:17883679_10100263381543817_4006529811363492463_n.jpg

Funniest Photo: what even is that face?!2017-03-28_14-40-44_128

Leo’s Arrival

 

So, it took us a minute to get pregnant. I don’t think that’s a huge surprise to anyone as I’ve always expressed my desire for kids and we were married 5 years before Leo was born. I would like to go into more detail but won’t be doing so because it’s not just me in the equation and it’s not just my story to share.

I only wanted to quietly mention it because my entire view of the world, especially where Leo is concerned, is through a different lens after what we experienced. I assume that will shine through now and again on this blog when I talk about Leo. It’s also part of his story, and mine, and it felt disingenuous to exclude it altogether. I look at him and have a deep understanding of what a miracle he is and I’m proud of hard how we worked mentally, emotionally, and physically to bring him home. We’re on the other side now and I don’t feel the need to ‘get deep’ and try to express our pain in getting here. We got here and we feel lucky every day and if you’re someone going through infertility and need someone to talk to privately, I’m absolutely your girl. Otherwise, let’s look at some newborn photos of my sweet Leo.  : )

2017-01-10_09-49-11_165Now THAT…is a newborn.  : )

There he is, my whole heart. All 8 pounds 14 ounces of him. All 22.5 inches. All dimples.

At this point I was still in a little bit of shock but started sobbing almost immediately after these photos were taken.  Also, I’d been awake for something like 18 days straight.

Truthfully, I’d only been awake for a little over 24 hours, but it felt like much longer. We got to the hospital at around 1:00 in the morning which was kind of great as the roads and hospital were very quiet. It felt more private, which I loved. I labored at home for several (8!) hours which I managed to convince myself was just cramping from a procedure I’d had done earlier in the day. It’s called denial people. Things started to get pretty intense around midnight so I woke Jon up (yes, he slept through nearly all of my labor) and told him we’d probably get sent home for a false alarm (more denial) but that I needed to go to the hospital.

A bit later I was pushing and a few hours after that Leo was in the world.

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It was surprising how calm everything was, even when it wasn’t. I credit this to the fact that I was four days overdue and we were expecting it at any moment. I calmly endured labor, we calmly headed to the hospital, and perhaps most surprising to both of us was how serene the labor and delivery room was.  I knew better than to believe what I had seen on T.V. where childbirth is concerned (very dramatic), but when it was just me, Jon and one nurse in a dim and quiet room pushing, I admit – I thought it would be more chaotic.  Grateful as I was that it wasn’t, it was a bit of a surprise.  Things did get a bit dramatic at the end, and I’ll spare you most of the details, but suddenly I was on oxygen, baby Leo wasn’t breathing and there were about 15 people in the room.  Thankfully we were in great hands and although Jon was given a scare (or two) we were all snuggled up as a family of three, and healthy as can be, before we knew it.

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Nothing against Rose Hospital, but we were ready to bust out of there after the first night. Everyone told me I’d want to stay forever, that I’d be afraid to leave the nurses and that I’d be terrified to put Leo in the car to drive home (like seriously everybody) but all I felt was a need to get him home and start our new life together. We were ready. We’d been ready for a long time.

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I thought my heart might explode when I saw him in his carseat. So trusting and fragile and angelic and I can’t breathe.  The mittens.  It’s the mittens.

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Our families were pretty anxious to come and meet him, which we understood, but one of the best things we did for ourselves was to have it be just the three of us for several days after getting home.  Those days will go down as some of the most treasured of my life, all of us getting to know each other, wrapped up in our private little cocoon.  I know it’s not for everyone but it meant the world to me.  We just sat in the quiet and stared at one another.  It was total magic and another thing I can’t linger on for long as it brings me to tears to think about.

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I mean….

…can we just talk about that face?!?  He’s gotten so, so big since this photo was taken.  I miss that tiny little munchkin!

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I always wonder if he looks exactly the same to everyone in all these photos because I swear he’s got about 100 different facial expressions. I think I’m likely the only one who notices (or cares)!  Maybe this is the case for every baby, but since day one that little munchkin has been so wide awake and observant. Hopefully that means he’s a genius.

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Those little elephants kill me.  He only fit in his ‘coming home from the hospital’ outfit for a week or two.  This kid was super long (22.5 inches, the longest one of our nurses had seen in her short career) so lengthwise he grows out of clothes quickly.  He’s thin, however, so it’s made for a bit of a tricky dressing situation.

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I never doubted that Jon would be a good dad.  Nobody THAT excited to have a baby (especially a baby boy) could fail too badly at being a parent.  But watching him fall into his role with ease and grace has been pretty thrilling to watch.  He has exceeded every expectation that I had both with how good he is with Leo and also how good he is with me as a new mom.  It’s totally true when people say ‘it’s just different when it’s yours’ and that little boy is lucky to belong to be his.

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So far motherhood has been wonderful.  Honestly, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do so the adjustment hasn’t been too severe, I felt super prepared.  People tell you (over and over and over) that ‘you can never be ready, you can never really understand’ and I think that’s kind of true, but I imagined what it would be like and I was pretty close. Granted, we haven’t had to deal with a crabby baby that doesn’t sleep, which would be much harder, but I feel like I even prepared myself pretty well for that. My advice would be manage your expectations.  Expect the worst and hope for the best. I think the feeling you can’t really experience until you’re a mother is the patience and understanding you will have for your baby. I feel like it’s endless. So, even in those rare tough moments, I haven’t felt or reacted as I imagined I would, with stress and anxiety. I’ve been quite calm and have felt capable of just helping him to feel better. I was also determined to be a calm and easygoing presence in Leo’s life because I believe that a spastic and stressed out parent can create the same behavior in their children.

I will say, the thing people do say (over and over and over) that is completely true, is you’ve never experienced love like this in your life. It’s been a little different that I expected in that I thought it was going to be this totally overwhelming feeling all the time, but instead, for me, it’s been a quieter and more steady feeling that builds more and more the longer we’re getting to know each other.  It’s pretty awesome.

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So far this little guy has done me a huge favor every single day for almost three months. He has been such a good baby, which has allowed me to really enjoy being a new mom. I hate to say it aloud, and risk jinxing myself but, it’s been pretty easy so far. I feel a little guilty some days that he’s so good, especially when I have lots of friends who tell me all the time how lucky I am with his demeanor. Maybe, because of how tough it was to get here, we’ve earned a bit of guiltless joy.  : )

Leo – Month 2

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This baby is messing with us, I swear.

He is so chill, so happy, and a great sleeper.  We waited all of month one and into month two for the proverbial shoe to drop, but it hasn’t yet.  We’re hoping this is his personality because so far it’s awesome.

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Funniest face he’s ever made.  Hands down.  : )

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He’s growing so fast, which is made worse by the fact that he’s super long, and so he seems bigger than he is.  He also hates being held like a baby and prefers to stand up whenever possible. He’s so adorable and so sweet and watching his personality develop is a treat.

You know how this goes now…iPhone shots coming up next!

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Hardest part of month two was being cooped up inside during bad weather. We really enjoy our walks around Washington Park and would get a serious case of stir crazy when it would be too cold to take him outside.

Easiest part of month two was getting him on a schedule as he pretty much created his own!  When you have a great sleeper/napper combined with a great eater, life is pretty good.

Worst thing that happened month two was my skin losing it’s mind due to all the hormones coming and going.  Nothing to make you feel beautiful like a broken out face a month after giving birth.

Best thing that happened month two was attending my breast feeding ‘circle’ with my lactation consultant and realizing how much he was eating and how much weight he’d put on. Do NOT underestimate the stress that comes with making sure you’re newborn has enough to eat or the joy in finding out that he does.

Most Unexpected thing that happened month two was that we moved him from sleeping next to my bedside in a co-sleeper into his crib in his room. I thought he’d be in our room until 6 months old (as that’s the recommendation), but he napped so well in his crib, and was keeping us up at night with his grunts and sleep shenanigans, that we tried it out one night and it was a huge success! He’s been in his crib every night since and everyone is sleeping great. You really just have to do what’s right for you and your family and follow your gut.

Most loved baby item from month two (and probably every month) are his KicKee Pants pajamas. They are the softest, stretchiest, coziest, cutest pajamas on earth. I was gifted a swaddle blanket from the same brand from my friend Emily and he hasn’t taken a single nap without it since. They’re amazing and we’ve stocked him up through month 9 in all of the CUTEST patterns.

Funniest thing that happened month two is a typical ‘parent of a boy’ story.  Right when his little tushy hit the bath water…pee everywhere, he’s even hit himself in the eye a time or two.  He LOVES baths, so much, and not just because he gets a free pee in.  Hopefully we’ve got a water baby!

Milestones from month two were going down to only one wake-up per night (after his 10:00 dream-feed), finding his hands (to suck on of course) and this kid loves standing up more than anything in life.

Favorite Memory was a morning I had gone into Leo’s room to get him and brought him back into our bed for a bit. Leo, Jon and I spent about thirty minutes snuggled up together, which had happened before and has happened since, but I was hyper aware of it that morning for some reason. It was one of those moments you dream about when you imagine starting a family. The sun was shining in through our windows, Leo was bursting with smiles, Jon was holding him. I remember realizing that it was happening and took a few seconds to just let my heart swell and bathe in gratitude for this baby and what he has brought to my life before quickly jumping back in to be in the moment.

Favorite Outfit from month two is this one for obvious reasons…A28A1E68-8526-4A65-968C-DF68EC9142E8.jpg

Favorite photo is this one because his face in that hat with that nuk…just…kills…me.IMG_5705

Funniest Photo award for month two has to be this one.IMG_5544

See you in month three!