Thursday, October 31, 2013

6 Week Peak

In future years we will be celebrating Halloween, carving pumpkins, making costumes, & trick-or-treating. This year, though, we are savoring our sixth week. Halloween has been celebrated through watching Hazel & Heidi, my cousin's children, enjoy the holiday at multiple events and return with bags of candy.

 We have a six week old! In everything I've read about babies and their development there is one thing everyone agrees upon and that's the fact that all babies are different and develop at their own rate.

So, what does turning six weeks mean for us?

It means that Ian has rolled over four more times! He rolls from his stomach to his back almost as soon as he is placed on his belly. It's remarkable. He's still somewhat surprised, but he is constantly trying to flip his rump, so perhaps he knows how it's done?!

And it means he loves to practice standing up on our laps. He gets an excited and "proud" look on his face when doing so. Each day his legs feel so much stronger pressing into my lap. We have to brace him by holding his ribcage, but he holds himself up. So strong.

For a few days he had eye goop in his right eye. Yuck! Poor boy. It seems to be getting better now and for that we are grateful. It's a good thing we have a student doctor around to tell this mama that goop like that is okay and fine.

He had a visit from his Äma and Grumps this past weekend. We celebrated Grumps' 60th birthday with a Swiss Fondue and surrounded by family. He was thrilled to have his favorite meal and cuddle his grandson all weekend and we were happy to have him here. My mom sang Ian song after song, soothing and cuddling him throughout most of their visit.

While they were here Ian slept through his first quilt show. Haha. We went to the local guild's show and saw some beautiful quilts. They had one series that was multiple quilts depicting the Allegheny River, all placed side by side in a continuous flowing row. Quite neat!

He's had many visits with his second cousins, Hazel & Heidi. Everytime they see him they want to touch, look at, and dote on him. Hazel always says, "He's so cute." It's so sweet and I have to admit, the girl's right!

He's becoming more social and aware. Yesterday I was sitting with my grandma and Aunt Beth and he was really looking at us. He stared for long periods of time, which is new for him. He still had stared a bit before but then would look away quickly or to the lights or windows. Not yesterday! He looked at me on and on as I talked and smiled at him and at the very end he gave me a surprise.

Although he is not regularly flashing social smiles, he is smiling a lot! He smiles at the pattern next to his head, smiles in his sleep, smiles to some sounds or voices, and just yesterday (right on the 6 week turning point) he smiled after we had a long gaze into each other's eyes. He smiled as he turned away. I'll take it! Made me melt.

He continues to love the outdoors and going on walks. The carriers are acceptable to him as long as he can see the world around him. He especially loves sleeping in them, seeming to get his longest naps while we wear him everywhere. We try to talk to him about what we are seeing to increase that vocabulary ;)

He's very good at tracking sounds. I saw an activity where you take a toilet paper tube and talk into one ear, getting them to follow the sound by turning their head. Then switching to the other side. He turns his head each time. He also tracks Leif as he walks by, listening to the clicks of his toes.

His hands seem to be a bit more coordinated this week, too. He's grabbing the stuffed animal I place next to him to look at, grabbing our noses, things around the diaper changing station, and especially my hair.

They say that fussiness peaks at six weeks. He has seemed to follow the book in that he's been pretty fussy. This relates to a growth spurt but also to the fact that he is becoming more social and gaining new skills. It's also because I am still learning him, his signs and cues, and don't always get it right the first time! I'm a work in progress, too.

It is such an adventure raising a child. Ups, downs, joys, frazzles, endings... new beginnings. I find myself starting to mourn the days that have already passed, but the excitement of the days to come make me eager for each new day. My constant prayer and wish is to just stay present in each current moment.

Happy Six Weeks, Son!
You are very loved.

a BIG thank you.

Our second week in Pennsylvania is nearing its end. Jim's rotating in a family medicine clinic and hospital setting in Clarion and New Bethlehem. He's been able to come home every night, which has been really nice and he's had the weekends, too. My Aunt Beth has given Jim the biggest gift by encouraging him to work in my Uncle John's incredible workshop. 

Uncle John was a very talented and respected craftsman in many areas, woodworking being just one of them. His shop contains almost every tool there is, each well-maintained and organized. This shop, within a straw bale barn construction building, was his dream. Meticulously planned and designed over years and years and then finally coming to fruition, it's a woodworker's dream. It's what Jim dreams about too. Getting to spend time in his shop means a lot to Jim and he's just as meticulous as Uncle John was about organization and caring for tools. I know, I share a kitchen with him ;)

Thank you, Aunt Beth, for this chance! Jim's making something for Ian. More on that when it's done, perhaps :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013


There's nothing so sweet as watching a sleeping baby. The way they lie with their arms splayed out to the sides and their face showing complete contentment and bliss. Yesterday I changed his diaper on my aunt's rug and then left him content to look around while I did something in the kitchen. He soon drifted right off to sleep.

There's also nothing so sweet as watching my grandma hold Ian. She repeats over and over again, "Such a beautiful boy," "What a gorgeous boy," "Look at this big, big boy!" Yesterday she said, "Everything is just perfect. His fingers, his nose..." She sings him Rock-a-by Baby every time she holds him, but cannot quite remember all of the words. After singing it once she continues to sing the melody while making up all sorts of random lyrics about how she cannot remember the words or about her day. It's adorable. Don't worry... video has been taken already :)

During our first full day here we went to the pumpkin patch with my cousin and her family. I'm grateful for this sweet time with my family and Ian. Here's our little five week old pumpkin in with all the rest.

Thanks Cecilia for the knitted hat!!!
There's something so sweet about being a mama. To be all that another being needs to survive. To be able to carry something so little for nine months and then raise them for life. To have the heartbeat that soothes the babe when weary. It's pretty special.

First family pumpkin patch picture!

I'm grateful for Jim's sweet love for our Ian. He gets home from full days and immediately comes to take time with our little one. Often the evenings are his fussy time, in preparation for sleeping the night, and so his time is often fussy. But Jim works to console him with a variety of techniques he learned in his peds rotation. He's quite good. It's so sweet to see the two of them together

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happy birthday, Grumps!

Happy birthday to my dad who turns 60 today!!! 
Not only is it the big 6-0, but it is his first birthday as a grandpa. 
And boy, does he love being a grandpa so far...

Growing up we jokingly told Dad that his grandchildren would have to call him "Grumps." No explanation needed. When we got pregnant I asked him what he'd like to be called and he thought about it and said, "Grumps." So, there it is. I still can't believe it, but I think it's funny and strangely sweet.

We look forward to many visits filled with music for Ian Forrester.

We also look forward to a weekend of celebrating his birthday with him in Pennsylvania, surrounded by his mother, sister, niece and her family, and of course, us! A swiss fondue is in the works for Saturday night. I'm sure that there's no better way to celebrate his fall birthday than 
with a fondue and his first grandchild.

See you soon, Daddio!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Month One

Ian Forrester turned one month old on Friday! It's incredible to think that one month ago we held him in our arms for the first time. Today I feel like we might have blinked through this month and not that he's been here forever. I don't want to blink and have him be 20 years old already.

He's not social smiling yet, so these moments are fleeting gas smiles :)

So, for now I'll cherish this babe that is able to fit so perfectly on my chest and under my neck while sleeping and I'll enjoy the eyes that fix on mine while he's nursing.

This month has been great and hard. I realize that I haven't talked about those things that have been difficult, so here are a few things that, no doubt, all parents have experienced. Recovery from labor... no one really talks about that, but the soreness and pain finally took their leave about two weeks after he was born. Ian has had a fair amount of evenings when he cries for a period of time (leaving this mama and papa desperate and exhausted) about a burp, lower gas, perhaps overstimulation, or being tired. Sometimes we can figure it out and sometimes we can't. It's the times when we can't that break my heart and leave me frazzled. It's a helpless feeling. We are learning what works best to sooth him and what signs he can give us to clue us in to his needs. I feel like I am finally learning him, but they say that babies are always changing.

Until last week, I felt like a walking airhead. I could not focus on anything other than Ian and could not answer simple questions very well. That's what sleep deprivation will do to you! If I didn't get an hour nap at some point during the day then I really was lost. The last few days I've felt well enough that I haven't taken a nap or really been able to lie down.

Breastfeeding has worked itself out! I no longer need to lie down during feedings and Ian seems to be content and getting enough hind milk. It took most of last week to work this out and a few phone conversations with the lactation consultants at the local hospital (MRH). BTW, they have a great service! They call you daily to make sure everything is in order and you can call them any time. The only day they don't work is Christmas, so they are always available. This was huge for me. When he does get fussy, I know that it's because he's tired and that it's not a breastfeeding issue. It's so nice to be able to differentiate now.

During his fourth week of life we have had some new developments! Ian actually rolled over two times!! What?! Yes, he did. Now I don't think that he meant to do it either time, but it certainly happened. The first time he flipped over his eyes showed the shock and disbelief about what he had just accomplished. The second time, admittedly, he was on a slight incline in our yard, so gravity probably helped him out. But, every time he has tummy time, he starts to try to flip his bottom over... so, perhaps we'll be meaning to roll over soon!

This past week Ian has started to reach and grab for things. His mama's hair is a popular handhold, as well as her shirts. He really hugs me while I'm nursing him and that is just the sweetest feeling. One day while Jim was holding him, Jim started to move him, but Ian's must have felt like he might be falling and his reflexes caused him to grab Jim's nose before falling. His papa was shocked by his strength and speed.

Aunt Christine & Ian
Within the last few days it's been easier to put Ian down for naps. He allows me to place him somewhere after he's fallen asleep, even though he certainly prefers my chest to anywhere else. This gives me a chance to get a few things done while he's napping, but I feel like I am missing out on some awesome cuddling time. So, I pick and choose when to rest with him and when to work. It is nice to have this freedom. He likes napping small spaces like bassinets and the Moses basket we are borrowing from our friends. He can often be found napping in the Beco or the Boba, so I can be mobile and take Leif for walks or rock him to sleep as I move around the house.

In the evenings he can tend to be a bit fussy, but my aunt once had someone tell her that it's the baby's way of getting ready to sleep better at night. I'll take it.

As you can see in this picture of Jim with Ian on the fence, his neck control continues to astound us. While on a walk, Jim was wearing Ian in the Beco, Ian spent the whole time craning his neck out and up so that he could look around, pushing his arms against his chest for a better look.

Ian's Aunt Christine came to visit us from Philadelphia for two nights! It was lovely to have her around to talk to all day, share, and catch up. She doted on her new nephew and helped me so much around the house. Christine, we are so grateful for all you did!

My dear friend Meredith, a pseudo aunt, came to visit us from Richmond for a day. It did my heart so much good to see her, though the time is always too short. The sign of a good friend. Ian got lots of cuddles.

Kristy, who saw Ian the day after he was born, came to visit and couldn't believe how much he's changed already. It's hard for us to tell, since he's always with us. Alia also came to coo over him one day after work.

Ian's paternal grandpa, John B., came to visit on Friday, the day he turned one month old. He gave him many cuddles and accompanied me to the mechanic to get something done with the car and take care of Ian. It was nice to have him around one night! I know it was hard for Kim to miss this opportunity, but she talked to Ian twice on the phone :)

Thank you to Diana, Melissa, Joi, Susie & Casey, & Mary for meals!!! We really appreciated them.

On Saturday we had our first longgg car ride with Ian. I was a bit apprehensive about how it would go, but he did very well. Somehow most of our stops for gas, food, and the bathroom also seemed to coincide perfectly with Ian's feeding schedule. We did have a few cries, but overall he slept the majority of the ride and was content.

Earlier last week we tried giving him a bottle for the first time, in preparation for our long drive. He took it with no problem! The idea was that I could possibly pump and then feed him as we were driving. We didn't end up doing that, but it was nice to have the flexibility. I did give him one bottle along the way, though. See picture to the left. Jim wants to start giving him one feeding a day soon :)

The craziest thing happened while we were driving. I was talking about one of our best friends, David, and an experience we had near the New River Gorge, as we were driving through that area on Saturday. It was right then that we saw the car that he drives and I jokingly said, "Speak of the devil." Well, as we went to pass the car IT WAS HIM! So we stopped and got to visit with him and introduce him to Ian before he started his day of climbing. Small world.

Why the long drive? Jim is rotating in Clarion, PA this month and Ian and I came along to live nearby. We are staying with my aunt, grandma, cousin and her family on 20 acres for the next four weeks. It's nice to be surrounded by family. Pictures to come.

Happy One Month, Ian Forrester!!!!

You love: sleeping on our chests, grabbing whatever's in reach, being outside (!!!),
lying on your diaper changing pad, 
the pacifier, and cooing.

We love you, love you!

Friday, October 18, 2013

How do you pack for...

How do you pack for three people and a dog for a month?

Better question, how do you pack for a growing infant for a month?

How do you pack for a seasonal change in the weather?

How do you pack for a place you know so well, but have never visited, lived in, or experienced in the fall?

How do you pack and contain your excitement for spending a whole month with your relatives? Yup. I get to spend a whole month with my grandma, aunt, cousin, her husband, and two children! Each day I'll be able to spend time with family AND my newborn son.

Jim will be rotating in Clarion, which is about 30 minutes away from my extended family. So, we're all packing our bags and heading up north. We'll be there for four weeks.

I sit surrounded by bags and baskets. Hope we don't forget anything too important, but I'm pretty sure they have stores in NW Pennsylvania ;)

So now...

How do you drive 8 hours with a newborn? (Prayers appreciated!)

What items are most important to have handy and what bags should contain them? Where should they be placed?

I'm sure it won't end up being 8 hours, or even 10 hours. We may be in for a longgg haul. Wish us luck!

Tomorrow it's farewell, Virginia...

Hello Pennsylvania!


Happy ONE Month, Ian Forrester!!

Today marks one month since Ian first was caught by Jim and placed in my arms!!! A one month post is to come, but we've been a bit preoccupied with above's topic and I want to be able to focus and write a good post. Plus, our internet can't support loading pictures and what post would be worth it about Ian without some pictures!!! I've been taking notes so I remember what's changed and my thoughts. Stay tuned for the one month post!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Growth Spurt

Well, they say that growth spurts tend to come in multiples of threes: three weeks, six weeks, three months, etc. You get the picture. Ian, punctual as ever, was right on target.

Happy three weeks, Ian Forrester!!!

One of the many expressions :)
As soon as we passed his second week of life, Ian began a crazy growth spurt. Already a big baby, he was ready to take on more! He's been showing this by wanting to eat constantly, fussing, wanting to eat again very soon after, sleeping, and wanting to eat again very soon.

Disclaimer: The next four paragraphs are a journal for me about early breastfeeding/being a mama. Feel free to skip if it's TMI! I've gone through, and no doubt will continue to go through, the new mama worries about whether or not my milk supply is enough for him, if my diet is affecting him and my milk, if I didn't burp him properly and that's what's leading to more fussiness... on and on. You name it, I thought of it.

What I've learned and figured out is that my milk supply is plenty, actually to the point of too much. It comes out too quickly for him, leading to fussiness because he needs to be burped and frustration because he. wants. food.  So, since my let-down is too strong, I need to lie on my back and allow him to nurse while lying on top of me. This slows the milk down and allows him to take what he can handle. Thank you, Ina May Gaskin and your guide to breastfeeding! In a period of desperation I turned to early problems and this was right there for me.

This won't last forever, as my milk supply adjusts. So, until then I'll lie down and feed him and stay away from activities and engagements that don't allow for a mama lying down somewhere... ;)

What I've learned is that this fussiness is normal. He's not colicky, just perhaps frustrated with too much supply. Then in the evening, all women tend to have less of a supply because their bodies are tired and that's when his fussiness peaks. Okay, it's normal. Though it's hard to see my baby frustrated and I'm going to continue to trouble shoot non-stop. Friends have confirmed it, a La Leche League leader talked me through everything (nursing, poop, sleep time, etc.) and said he sounds great.

The pediatrician definitely confirmed this at our appointment last week. He weighed in at 10 lbs. 5 oz, which puts him in the 90%. His height was 22.75 inches which puts him in the 99% (WHAT?!) and his head circumference was 14.75, putting him in the 90%. I guess that all of these things explain why some of the newborn clothes don't fit him anymore! Especially length-wise.

So, as I've said before... steep learning curve! And it will only continue for the rest of his life. Right? I'm predicting right.

This week Ian has started to train his eyes to look at specific things. While nursing, he will often stare into my eyes for much of the feeding. What an incredible feeling that is!

Ian loves being outside lying on a blanket or stationary in the BOB (mobile crib) while I play fetch with Leif or lie next to him. His eyes dart and dance around, taking in the new environment with all of his senses. He also loves looking toward windows and lights. Darkly patterned fabrics also interest him these days and he continues to do well with holding his neck up during tummy time or while lying on our chests.

Sleeping with Ian has changed a bit the last couple of nights. I have never been very good about remembering and timing our sleep, but I tried. I believe that the last two nights we've slept much more than before! Perhaps 2.5-3 hour chunks each time! Good job, Ian!!! And, I think that he is sleeping more soundly, going to sleep much easier than ever before and allowing me to transfer him off of my chest and on to the bed without opening his eyes and needing to be soothed again. I've also gotten more relaxed and savvy (if it's possible) with nursing and cosleeping, not second-guessing every move, since it's become more routine.

His favorite position for sleeping is certainly on his chest. Too bad this isn't what doctors recommend anymore! He can often be found sleeping on his Papa's chest in the evening or mine during the day. Sometimes I try to place him somewhere and run around getting a few things done, but he never seems to sleep as long or as hard. They say that the first three months of their lives are like fourth trimesters in that the baby is really just used to being with you all of the time and that's really what they need developmentally. So, most of the time I am either sleeping or resting with him or walking around wearing him in the Beco or Boba (Both are sanity-savers! Thank you Mom & Aunt Beth!).

If it's possible, it seems as though his hair has taken a more reddish tone. Perhaps we have a ginger on our hands! I was born with red hair and it quickly changed to blonde, while Jim had blonde hair, as well. But Jim's grandfather, known as Red, was known for his great red, curly hair. My grandma always wanted a red-headed grandchild. Perhaps she'll have a red-headed great-grandchild! You never know!

This past weekend he got to meet Aunt Phoebe for the first time! She provided lots of cuddles for Ian and comfort and conversation for his mama. Thank you, Phoebe!!! We went to the Blacksburg Farmer's Market and grocery shopping for our outing. It was wonderful having a third person shopping with us because we were able to divide and conquer the list quite quickly, while Phoebe pushed Ian around in the stroller. That evening Jim marinated and cooked us some xixos (Brazilian for shish kabobs) over the fire pit! SO yummy. He was inspired by a Brazilian booth at the Farmer's Market that makes our mouths drool for the rest of the week.

We are grateful for the meals we received last week from Jana, Deb, & Caryn! Thank you :)

I love this precious picture.
Sometimes I still look at Jim and say, "We have a baby!" or "We're parents?!"

What a joy to watch him grow and a true blessing to be his parents. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Two Weeks?!

I know, I know... this is going to get old very quickly, but I cannot believe that I have a two week old baby! It wasn't long ago that we had no idea what gender he would be. It wasn't long ago when he would kick me nonstop. And it certainly was not long ago that I had to pee all. night. long.

The trade-off is incredible... I no longer have to pee every two hours, but instead I get to cuddle and nurse my baby! So sweet.

Disclaimer: These posts are a great avenue for me to be able to remember all of these little details. I apologize for the length, but feel free to just peruse the pictures :)

So far Ian has been a relatively easy and content baby. When he's hungry he shows the signs of routing and eats. He continues to be a marathon eater. When he has a dirty diaper, we change it, but he doesn't really seem to mind. When he's tired, he looks tired, yawns, and sometimes rubs his eyes. When he does cry it's normally my error or because I placed him in some safe location while I ran to the bathroom in desperation!

Ian has started to become more vocal and can focus more on things around him. He loves looking out the window toward the light and he also loves falling asleep nestled within the nook of your neck. I absolutely love it when he trains his eyes on me.

Ian responds well to music, sometimes being consoled by a lullaby already. He really responds to my voice, and likes to be kissed and massaged.

Ian's a strong baby, able to hold his head up for long periods of time, even from the very beginning. He always impresses us during tummy time.

He's already grown so much! I can see it in the rolls of his neck and cheek. Monday was our most recent visit to the doctor, and my first solo trip, and he weighed in at 9 lbs. 10 oz! He's already well past his birth weight within a week and a half. Good job, Ian!

Oh, and those smiles. They aren't directed at anyone, just gas smiles... but, boy do I love seeing Ian Forrester smile. My whole being rejoices each time.

This past weekend his paternal grandparents came into town! Oh how they loved cuddling our little one. Kim changed dirty diaper after dirty diaper between making a dinner of spaghetti, and tons of chili for our freezer and baking loaves of pumpkin bread (also for the freezer). Thank you, Kim!

While they were here we also had our first outing, other than to the doctor. We went to the Blacksburg Farmer's Market and Ian slept the entire time in the Snap-n-Go stroller. Our second outing occurred on  Sunday when we went to Heritage Park with our friends, the Foxes, and went on our usual walk to wear out our dogs. Ian rode in the Beco (Thanks, Mom!) and slept the whole time! The only thing about sleeping the whole time that we're out is that I don't get a nap too ;)

We've also had visits from a few women from MOPS who brought us meals (Jenny, Kristy, and Erin- thank you!!) and Chris, who also brought over a meal. This weekend we're excited to host Aunt Phoebe and introduce Phoebe Forrester to Ian Forrester!

Sleeping with Ian has been to be expected! He's a newborn and they wake up all through the night! The first night he whined and whined being away from me for a second, so I quickly learned that co-sleeping was the way for us to survive together. For the last week and a half he's been swaddled and lying next to me, but the last two nights I've tried putting him in what we call our "mobile crib," which is the BOB stroller in the reclined position, and he's slept well apart from me for two hour stretches. I get better sleep but also struggle with being away from him as I fall asleep, checking on him every time I hear a sound! Funny how that works! Nine months of being together and I just don't feel right without him, and he without me. It's an awesome relationship that exists between a mama and her baby.

It's hard to believe that, had I gone two weeks late, he would have just arrived in our lives yesterday. Cliche as it may sound, it seems like he's always been here.

You may be wondering how Leif is handling the new addition. The answer is LIKE A CHAMP! He only sniffs him, if that. He's very gentle and calm around Ian, even when he's crying.

Oh, how I love being this boy's mama. I'm in love with every coo, yawn, sneeze, and snuggle.

Well, that's a wrap of the two weeks!