Friday, February 27, 2009

12 Weeks!

We're here in Iowa. My speech is done. Phew. And we've been hanging at dear Shelly's house much of the day, playing with the kids and entertaining Caroline and catching up on what has transpired in life and ministry in the last, oh, six years, and just generally relaxing. Good stuff. And Caroline is now 12 weeks old!

Here are a few shots of her today!

But I'm sure you're all eager to hear how the travels went. Well, Abuelita was right. It was fine. She didn't exactly nurse on take off and landing on both flights, sort of, but she slept through the landing on the second flight and nearly slept through the take off on the first. She didn't seem to have any trouble with take off. The first landing she was nursing, but I suspect her ears were bothering her- mine were and she kept pulling off the breast and fretting. Poor thing. But really she was pretty content, even smiley on the flights. And she got some good sleep on both flights. She also managed to have a MAJOR blow out on that first flight which made our very short layover a bit touchy. I managed to leave my purse on the plane in my mad dash to get her to a restroom to change her- completely! Kev went back for it, but as it was we made it to our gate JUST before final boarding (though we never heard an initial boarding announcement). I had really been looking forward to pre-boarding privileges, but didn't manage to get them, somehow, in either case. That second flight was pretty empty so the stewardess urged us to take up two rows and the stewardess, proud grandmother of an eight month old she doesn't get to see often enough doted on us throughout the flight. I asked for water and she brought me nearly a liter of water, the whole bottle saying "You're nursing. You need this." And sure enough I drank the whole thing. After both flights when people on the plane would see here they'd say "There was a baby on this plane? I had no idea!" Phew. One business man said "How did you keep that baby so quiet?" We didn't really, she was a bit squawky at the end of that first flight, but I answered "By the grace of God." Indeed.

A few shots from the trip out here:

At home, all ready to go!

Waiting for our first flight! Isn't this outfit adorable. The fleece pants and jacket were a gift from cousin Kelly, thanks! And the shirt I found at Goodwill!

Happy in a carrier!!!!! Hooray!!!! The Baby Bjorn works for us! Thank you again, Rebecca and Josh! And don't they look cute? Diaper back pack on his back (again, thanks, R and J!), gorgeous girl on his front!

At a yummy Thai Restaurant in Iowa City (oops, we went the wrong way on the highway, but yay! I love Iowa City and Thai food!) in the very comforting arms of Shelly who let a very tired mommy and daddy rest and eat while she comforted a very grumpy baby. Note the different outfit... BLOW OUT! You can't see it very well, but she's putting on a lovely pink sweater we received in the mail this week!

The speech giving last night was exhausting. Afterwards we relaxed in the home of our wonderful hosts and with dear Shelly. Our hosts, btw, are enamored with Caroline, even though they've seen and heard her at her angriest. They are skilled grandparents and they've done their fair share of walking with her and comforting her and entertaining her. We'll have to get shots of her with them before we go.

Caroline conked out after playing with daddy through the speech. We were all that tired! She is a good visual for the energy level at the end of the day. And frankly, so am I! Yesterday she wore a gorgeous outfit from G.A.S.. In these shots she's lacking the jacket, but... still... isn't it lovely? Thank you, Aunt Sherry!

Tonight we're going out to dinner with our hosts Cal and Joy, Shelly and her husband Blake. They've hired a babysitter and Shelly is thrilled to be having an adult (plus baby) evening out!

And tomorrow more relaxing for us, I guess. I should study, but... I think we need to rest up for the trip home.

I'll be serving as liturgist and singing in the first service at Shelly's church Sunday and then we'll head to the airport and will take two flights home. May they go as smoothly!

I'm sure we'll have more pics from the weekend to share! And I'm working on prepping some videos from the past few weeks too! I know I keep promising...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"All my bags are packed..."

Well, not quite. And we're not quite ready to go.

The sweet one is eating. Daddy is showering. Mommy is blogging.

The great news is that I'm blogging from my very own, now much healthier computer! They finished repairing it by late morning yesterday and we picked it up in the early afternoon while running some necessary errands.

The less than great news is that our driveway is empty. (Please don't panic, mom, this is less than great, not bad news.) So while running said errands, in a grocery store parking lot, our car just. would. not. start. The battery was clearly fine so this was mysterious. While waiting for AAA, 20 minutes later it started again. So we cancelled the call and on the drive home called the pastor of church one (see Kev, bizarrely enough, was the only one of the two of us who had a cell phone handy- bizarre because this is the guy who didn't want a cell and didn't have one for the longest time- and Kev had a total of TWO nashville phone numbers in his cell... so... we tried a friend first, while waiting for AAA, thinking we might need a ride home when the car got towed... no luck. Then we called the pastor, the only other number Kev had!) and we let him know that we didn't need a ride (today), but that we did need a referral to a mechanic. He didn't have that. I take it he does his own car repairs. But he gave me the number of a church member who could surely help us. And he answered right away, listened carefully to our mysterious car situation, and made a glowing reference to a mechanic less than 5 blocks from our home. I called the mechanic while still driving home and he said to bring it right to him. We did. And when we turned off the car in his lot, it once again wouldn't start. He hooked up his scanner and couldn't find anything wrong. Looked under the hood and watched as a co-worker tried to start the car several times (and NOTHING- other than the dash lighting up- happened that we could see) and determined confidently that we need a new starter. I was fearing much worse. We paid off the car when we moved here. I knew repairs would begin replacing car payments, but we've had a wonderful grace period. And thought this could be a biggie. It is not cheap, but it is not bad.

So we took out Caroline's car seat, pulled her stroller out of the trunk, grabbed our two small bags of groceries, the diaper bag, and my backpack and we walked home. Nashvillians were shocked we would be willing to do this as it was "so cold", but it wasn't really that cold at all. And we got some exercise in an otherwise hectic day. And the best thing of all about this was that Caroline slept like a champ straight through the errands and though beginning to wake through the diagnostics at the mechanic, and then again through the walk home!

And, you know, I had wanted to find a ride to and from the airport, as we're not planning to bring Caroline's car seat, my friend has borrowed one for us on that end, and it is going to be hassle enough with the abundantly more stuff with which we're traveling (it took SO LONG to pack yesterday- and I had visions of ordering the house for a peaceful return, but... um... no), but most of my friends, if not all of them, will be on spring break when we get back on Sunday and we couldn't think of anyone who could take us on Wednesday and pick us up on Sunday. Until... the providence of our pastor being the only local number available kicked in. We called him back once home to let him know what had happened and asked if he or someone in his family or someone he knew might be able to assist with transportation. He could do it!

So he's picking us up in a little over an hour and a half.

We have toiletries yet to pack, changing of the wee one, and dressing of us all to do. A computer to pack, hooray, and a few other odds and ends too. The babe is done eating now. Daddy is starting the change. We're almost ready...

So looks like, so long as I have a signal I'll be able to post this week!

And once again I realized how overly attached to my computer I am! It was more distressing not having my computer than not having the car. Wow.

Thanks again for all your tips and assurances.

Please pray not only for our traveling mercies, but also for Pa, Kev's dad, who flies to Colombia today in order to fulfill a six week (?- Ash Wednesday to April Fools Day!) accompaniment mission there. Abuelita was there, doing the same peacemaking work, while Caroline was born. This is GREAT stuff and we are so happy for them and proud of them. And we covet prayers for them in their separation and especially for Pa as he serves.


Monday, February 23, 2009

hoping, somehow, to be able to post

So, my mac is in the hands of geniuses who promise it will be all better in myriad ways in... 24 to 48 hours. If it is 24 hours, I can pick it up tomorrow evening and will have it for the trip- which would be GREAT. If it is 48 hours... I won't be picking it up until next Monday. Sigh. Or, I suppose Sunday evening if we get in on time.

I'm sitting at Kevin's computer now. It is so strange to be working on a desktop!

Perhaps you've noticed that while I don't blog like I used to- daily posts, sigh, what a dream- I have been disciplined about posting every Friday, on her "birthday", to capture an image or images from the week, and offer updates in some form or another. Often I do this posting during "Battlestar Galactica". I know, BSG fans, this is ridiculous. As the series races to its close it deserves my full attention. But, by the time it is over, I am WAY too tired to post. And before it rolls around I'm way too busy- usually. So we have friends over to watch with us usually and I hope they don't mind, but I take the time to post these updates. I figure it is better to do it then than when we're enjoying dinner and conversation.

Well, if I don't have my computer back getting images up on Friday may be an impossibility. Getting stories up... possible, very possible. So... just so you know... images may be delayed this week. I'm sure I'll have lots of images to post when we get back. And wow. I really need to update my photo albums on facebook. This isn't hard. I don't know why I never get around to it.

Thanks for the travel tips. Several people at school today recommended Benadryl, as did one of you. That gave me hope for an emergency measure if breastfeeding on take off and landing doesn't work for some reason or if she is just CRANKY (particularly red faced and screaming) as she can be. Called the pediatrician to see if it would be an option and NO. She's too young. Sigh. How do you tell all those on the flight with you that you are SORRY?

Oh well. There will be stories to tell. That is for sure.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

travel tips?

We are taking our first big trip with Caroline this coming Wednesday through Sunday. We're flying to Iowa so I can speak at a friend's church. So... dear friends who've been mommies and daddies before, or aunties and uncles, or great babysitters or whatever... any tips for the travel???

Friday, February 20, 2009

Just Cause- Hand Knit Love

The hat was a gift from Uncle Tony and Aunt Patty! Isn't is ADORABLE! She's been wearing it ALL WEEK! The sweater was made with love by Rebecca. Isn't it BEAUTIFUL! She has also been wearing it all week! This was her look on our walk about the park one day... getting some MUCH needed sleep.

The Lot of Us

With the girls!

With K.A.!

Valentine's Day in the Dress Lovingly Chosen by Grandpa

11 weeks!

Caroline has had a very full 11th week. Valentine's Day- on which daddy and mommy- mostly daddy- cooked for the next two weeks and then enjoyed pizza and Mad Men at home. And then, early the next morning, our dear friends, the A Family arrived after driving ALL night. What a gift of love to have them with us! Caroline especially bonded with the youngest of the family, H. H paid careful attention to the ways that we comfort and calm her and she replicated them... to great effect. N, the middle child in the family, also was wonderful with Caroline. One day, all the women and girls went shopping together and N and H were in the back seat with Caroline offering a little finger and singing one of the sweet songs Kev has made up since her arrival. "Caroline Grace, what a pretty face, who'd've thought you'd be so cute. Caroline Grace, what a pretty face, shoulda known you'd be so cute." It was so sweet to hear this coming from their little voices. And of course, K, mom in the family was FABULOUS. And T and E, the men in the family, they were pretty darn great too. And while they were here, their last morning here, I believe, Caroline rolled over for the first time! We've been more diligent about tummy time (slightly more diligent) and she doesn't especially like being on her tummy during her active alert times. So... she turned over! And lots of people saw it happen! Woohoo!

Caroline still has intense times of crying. It seems that they're lasting longer now, but happening less frequently. It seems when she's really tired, over tired, she cries intensely. Or when she's quite hungry and not quite getting fed fast enough (say she wakes up in the car and its 10 minutes to home). Sometimes though, she cries for no apparent reason... still... intensely.

But... we are having so many wonderful stretches of active, alert... she's "talking" so much more. And I have discovered that if I nuzzle my nose into her belly and my hair sweeps across her neck and face she throws her head back, mouth agape, giggling almost, appearing enraptured. Tis wonderful.

And, praise Jesus, she is finally sleeping three to four hour blocks at night again. For the past two weeks, most nights she was sleeping 1-2 hours max, and then would be awake for nearly an hour between. I was almost at my breaking point when, while the A's were here... she clicked back into a more sane sleep schedule. Ah... She must have been in an extended growth spurt. Whatever it was... glad it is over... for now.

(Jack, I will refrain from a discussion of what you think I've been discussing too much here... but I could go on...)

We have taken so many pictures this week that it would be too much for one post. I'll post several just pic posts tonight. And I really do need to post a video, but those aren't on the computer yet. But here are a few shots from today. Caroline's Great Grandma Til sent this sweater, made by a friend of hers. It is gorgeous and she was THOROUGHLY admired when we were at the mall this afternoon (my computer is a bit sick and we were there for HELP at the genius bar!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

10 Weeks! Pics from time with Pa and Abuelita (Eepa)

Caroline's 10th week was especially blessed because it began with a wonderful three days with her Pa and Abuelita (whom grandchild #1 has taken to calling Eepa, so that will likely be her grandparent name! But we'll stick with her chosen name a bit longer!) These are Kev's parents, btw, for those of you who don't know us as well and might have trouble keeping track! They came with the stated intention of babysitting for a night to give us a date. Saturday night we took them up on that. But we had a full day Saturday BEFORE the date. While I was at Weight Watchers, the rest of the fam went to B.R'Us in search of a play set for Caroline (one of those pads on which the baby lies with various toys, mirrors, etc that either hang over head or can be placed on the floor for tummy time) and to pick up a few other things as well. We grabbed some lunch en route to the park where Kev and I went for a hike/walk early in the third trimester- the profile pic for this blog was from that hike. It was a GORGEOUS day (and it has been a GORGEOUS week this 10th week of Caroline's life!) and so we wanted to take the walk around the lake that we took a few months ago. And walk we did. Here are a few pics from that walk. She slept peacefully the whole time as Pa pushed her around the lake. Abuelita and I got way ahead and had a good conversation as we walked.

So that last one is of a smile in sleep, which she has been doing since week one, but which we've never caught on film before. I was loving shooting pics in the natural light and was just snapping away when- shazam! I caught it!

I had been pumping diligently all week and we managed to get enough milk for three bottles, almost 10 ounces! We went out for a nice dinner and a movie. We got all dressed up, we looked pretty snazzy. No pics of that though. We checked in after dinner and all was calm at home. So to the movies we went. Caroline was sleeping soundly, and had been for a few hours, when we got home after 10. She had only had two of the bottles and woke up shortly after we got home ready to eat- and I was ready to feed her! It worked out perfectly! And what a gift! Thank you Pa and Abuelita for making a special night for mommy and daddy possible! What. a. gift.

Sunday, we all worshipped in both services. Caroline spent most of the morning pooping (we've been spending so much time waiting for and then celebrating poop these last 10 weeks!) But we did manage to make it through both services with occasional trips out to handle necessary business. Caroline sat with Pa and Abuelita while mommy and daddy sang with the choir in the second service, twice.

We returned home to a delicious pot roast (one of the Once A Month Cooking recipes- EVERY. SINGLE. RECIPE. HAS. BEEN. DELICIOUS!), but Caroline was inconsolable for most of the lunch time. She really needed to sleep. She was awake for most of the morning which is not normal for her. We think she was so upset because she was past tired. Kev's parents suggested that we might take her for a walk or go for a ride or something. As it was another beautiful day, we all got in the car and rode over to a park in the city. She fell asleep practically as we were getting her into the car. We took another lovely walk together and she slept through most of it. We had frozen yogurt for dinner, mmm... from our favorite shop! And then came back for cribbage.

All in all... a GREAT weekend.

The only downer from the weekend was that it felt like I wasn't getting any sleep. It felt like Caroline was eating a bit, falling asleep, waking up a bit later fussing, eating a bit more, falling asleep, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat... This is exhausting.

So I decided early this week to try a more intentional night time feeding plan. Basically, when Caroline wakes up I get out of bed and get her out of wherever she's sleeping (the co-sleeper or our bed) and I get into the glider and feed her for 10-15 minutes on one side. I listen to my iPod to keep track of time and keep me relaxed but awake. I then burp her and switch her to the other side for another 10-15 minutes. Then I put her in the co-sleeper, or our bed, and let Kev know her status. If she's not quite asleep, he'll be on baby duty, trying to get her to sleep either in our room or out in the livingroom if she's quite worked up. This worked really well the first night. But the second night (Juniper warned me about this on facebook!), well, the second night was confusing and I think we ended up missing a feeding to the distress of sweet Caroline. I think that maybe Kev woke up at 3 thinking she had just been fed, but in fact she hadn't been fed since 12. He spent the better part of the next three hours with an inconsolable little girl whom he ended up driving around for nearly an hour to get her to sleep some. When he woke me at 6 I was totally confused... And she was CRAZY hungry. So I rocked her and apologized profusely to her and she ate, and ate, and ate... I felt pretty good that day, but daddy and baby were wiped out.

We agreed after that that we needed some sort of plan to guarantee that we wouldn't get too confused in our exhaustion. The plan is simple really. When I am finished feeding Caroline I will tell him what time it is. And if she is inconsolable for 30 minutes or longer, he'll bring her to me to eat. Things have been fine ever since. But now I know how long my nursing is taking and how much this eats up a night. And wow. I am not getting nearly the sleep my body requires. That said, at least now I'm approximating full sleep cycles. And hopefully the stretches between feedings will stretch out little by little.

If I figure out how I may have some videos to post. Abuelita would sing with Caroline and get her to sing along. It was fabulous to watch! We've taken to trying this too! I think we have a video of Abuelita and Caroline singing together (though it wasn't one of her more involved singing times!) And we have some video of Caroline on her play mat! I wish we had a picture of her on that because it was a big part of this 10th week, but ah well... another time. She does quite well on there. It really seems she's trying to roll over in her tummy time. She is close! And she really looks at the baby in the mirror.

The last few days she has become quite a kicker, even when she's happy. It often seems like she's trying to swim away.

We get SO MANY more smiles these days, and she's "talking" more and more. Oh, we are so, so blessed.

A few more pics for good measure:

First with Abuelita! They had such special times together this past weekend!

Next with Pa and Abuelita. We delayed our photo shoot until late Sunday night. Caroline was too tired by then. So, no face shot, but a great one of them, no?

And isn't this the cutest thing ever? Caroline spent a lot of time on one or the other of us in the glider this week. And a lot of time sleeping on us this week. She's sleeping on me as I type this actually!

Friday, February 6, 2009

9 weeks! First Shots, Growth report, Visit, and Some pics...

Twas an intense day, this first day of Caroline's 9th week. She had her first shots today. She handled them beautifully. She got righteously mad just after the shots (which were done VERY quickly and graciously), but she didn't get as mad as she is capable of getting and she calmed pretty quickly. Kev has said more than once today that he truly swelled with pride at what a trooper his daughter was. She had a meltdown as I was changing her in the Whole Foods restroom (had to run a quick errand after the ped appt.) and has had a few other intense times today. We're just giving her lots of love and she's coming through it.

She is now 10 pounds 8 ounces, and 23 and 1/4 inches. I anticipate a big surge by 10 weeks as she definitely seems to be in a growth spurt right now.

The intense day had a lovely end though as Pa and Abuelita arrived! They are delighting in her in all her many moods!

Oh, and the dresser is together, the clothing rewashed, and it is GORGEOUS.

Tomorrow is supposed to be quite warm (almost 70!) and we're hoping to take Caroline for her first hike. We tried to do so last week only to find that the road was blocked to the lake at which we hoped to hike. So... tomorrow, elsewhere, we'll try again. Perhaps we'll have pics from that to share.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Two Months!

I am still, often more than once a day, overcome by a wave of awe and disbelief upon looking at my daughter. I literally think the words, "My God, I have a baby."

It is like she is born all over again in these moments.