Monday, August 31, 2009

10 Weeks Old

A couple of days ago:

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And just a few days old:

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They change SO quickly. Incredible.

Fully Prepared To Eat These Words.

I hesitate to even type this into existence, but I sincerely feel that we've conquered the majority of James' grumpy belly. I can tell that his sleep is deeper and less interrupted. He no longer strains, grunts, and then fully awakens with a hard and cramped tummy (as often, anyway). His cries are half-hearted and not as urgent and piercing. We still have moments, and Jim still employs the fart aerobics as needed, but I think the worst is over.

And get this! Last night we put him down at 8 pm. He woke up at midnight, 4:30 am, and then for the day at 9. Each time, he awoke with just wimpy cries, I nursed him for 8-10 minutes, burped, changed a diaper, and then he went right back to sleep.

I'm still completely prepared for more night battles with the gas demons, but for now I'm just reveling in the well-rested, happy, and bright eyes of my boy.

Thank you, Jesus.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hilarious.

Last night, I had a dream that Jim and I were vacationing in Italy with two other couples (some of our married friends). Except that in my dream, we weren't married, but they were.

We were all laying in the grass listening to a live concert surrounded by ancient buildings with terra cotta roofs and Jim put his arm around me. All of those giddy feelings ensued and my friend Jamie shoot me an excited look. Jim got up for some reason and she RAN over to me and said, "Omigosh! Are you guys gonna go out now??!"

I woke up so happy and silly-headed... I love him so much.

Dream analysis: We just watched Casino Royale, hence the Italian setting. We also just hung out with all of our friends for a wonderful vacation-y weekend. AND I just love Jim a lot.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yes, I'm Going To Give Unsolicited Parental Advice...

Of course, it's my blog, so probably not technically unsolicited.

Anyway. I know I'm relatively new at this, but when it comes to babies' sleep at night, here goes:

We've sort of made our own mish-mash technique, using lots of different ideas. Basically, we just make sure to have a steady bedtime routine, making everything dark and night-timey, and we're shooting for a nap routine during the day. For the past week or so, even at the lake, he's gone to bed at 9:30, woken up at roughly 2 am, 5, and then 8 for the day. I'm so proud of him, especially since his cantankerous belly makes it really hard for an uninterrupted stretch of sleep to occur.

All that to say, my biggest piece of sleep advice would be to NEVER EXPECT ANYTHING. I got all frustrated, upset, and in a tizzy last night because he was NOT following his normal pattern. Instead, he was up every 15, 20, or 45 minutes, with gas attacks. I ended up "sleeping" on the guest bed in his room because it was so frequent. Around 3:00, I regrettably remember saying in a loud, stern voice, "NO. NO." I honestly don't know if I was telling James no (like he would obey and go to sleep... pshaw!), myself no (for being so impatient) or the gas no. After that embarrassing display, I took a deep breath and just decided to quit expecting him to go to sleep and embraced the fact that I would be up every 20 minutes for the rest of the night. The next time I laid down, I prayed, "God, please just give me enough rest to not be angry at him the next time he wakes up. You know how much I need." Sure enough, he was still up ever 20 minutes for the rest of the night, but I was a little more sane.

As an educator, I realize the importance of having high expectations for children. However, with my 2 month-old, the expectations are really more about MY reactions and behaviors. If I expect things that he can't deliver for whatever reason, I'll only be disappointed and yell stupid things in the middle of the night. This is where daily sufficient grace is employed. Lord, be gracious to me!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Grocery Store Expedition

Grocery shopping with James is a strange combination of...

a.) enjoying our outing at a leisurely pace while watching him gaze around at the stimulating lights and colors. Or,
b.) shopping at break-neck speed so that if he DOES start to go bananas, I'm hopefully close to finishing the trip.

In both cases, he usually starts to fuss at check out. I think he gets sticker shock, just like Mama.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It Happened...


I was doing laundry and had to make a pile of onesies that James had outgrown. When I showed Jim the pile, the tears started a-flowin'.

I've heard it AT LEAST 6,500 times: "Enjoy these moments. They fly by so fast." I guess I thought that if I enjoyed them, they would slow down. That's not how it works, I suppose...

(Pic - Sunday afternoon nap)

Friday, August 14, 2009

First Documented Social Smile!

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Incredible.

I was browsing La Lache League's website and found this article about <wait for it>...

So beautiful, on so many emotional, spiritual, and relational levels. Sheesh...

The Boys! The Boys!

A few shots of my favorite guys...

Helping in Daddy's classroom

Snuggle bug...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A New Day

Just a little update on happenings 'round these parts...
  • James' gassy belly has been MUCH better for the past two or three days. I think after the 6 week peak, things started to get a little more organized in there. Plus, Mama's milk production has evened out so we don't have as much over-active letdown (this = less gas, yay!)
  • REAL, social smiles are coming more and more frequently and it's just absolutely The Most Wonderful Thing in the world. No kidding, I'll get a big gummy grin and sit there for 15 minutes trying to get another one, because it's basically the happiest thing on this earth since finding out 5 years ago that Jim had the same crush on me, too!
  • My brother and his wife have moved back to Greenville from Birmingham. This excites me to no end for the simple fact that when we say goodbye now, it's only for a 20 minute drive! Awesome.
  • Jim is back at school, getting his classroom and curriculum ready for this year. I'm so thankful he loves his job and is so darn good at it!
I feel like the new "normal" is starting to take shape in our family. I've gone grocery shopping by myself with James (an ENORMOUS accomplishment for me), we're sleeping for 4 and 5 hour stretches at night, and I'm feeling like my old self again. No, I take that back. It's a new self. A Mighty Mommy Self. And I'm beginning to like this self. :)

Uncle Mikey and James
Thank you, God, for your faithfulness.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

They Were Right.

All those people that said having children teaches you to pray harder. They were dead on. I think it has to do with realizing my COMPLETE incapability of knowing what in the world to do minute by minute with James.

Since about week 3, James' lower gas has been the enemy of our household. The silent (sometimes) evildoer that has come to try to ruin our first sweet weeks with him. His poor belly cramps up, hard as a rock, and he cries out in obvious pain. In everything I've read, this is all very common. Not normal, but common, and usually clears up by 3 months of age. I try not to get all bent out of shape about it, although thats not always easy. James still sleeps well at night and is eating just fine. His little intestines are just learning to digest. Jim has also become a professional "fart aerobics instructor" and has discovered a myriad of ways to help James expel the demons... to his absolute glee, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Anyway, back to my point. When the intestinal incubus struck a few nights ago at about 4:16 am, I found myself praying like I've never prayed before. No amount of rocking, walking, bouncing, rolling, singing, massaging, etc. was consoling our tiny son. I found myself screaming in my head, "Lord please fix his belly! It's hurts him so much! Please!" (In a tone of how have you not seen that he's in pain?!) It's usually right at that point of climax when dear, wonderful Prince Husband comes in and takes a turn soothing. Jim is quite the baby whisperer and the awful, unbearable, what-felt-like-an-eternal belly bout was soon over.

And that's just it. That's normally when I pray the most - when I'm right in the thick of things and I "need your RIGHT NOW, God!". I'm only very slowly learning to pray quietly, throughout the day for, not only my son's belly, but for his soul, mind, and future. It hurts me that I pray more for his gas than I do for his heart. C'mon, Sara...

In the quiet of this morning, I sat reading on the couch while Jim soothed James to sleep for his morning nap. The hardwood creaked in the same places as Jim methodically walked around the center of our house, singing softly. It wasn't long before I was in tears, realizing that James was fast asleep (like arms-hanging-limp, mouth-hanging-open asleep), safe in his daddy's strong arms.

And that's just it. I wrote a post when I was pregnant asking God to grant me the grace to daily put James back into His arms. I'm still pleading for that. And trusting, little by little, that it will come. I want to learn not only to pray harder, but to pray better.

(P.S. We've employed Mylicon and gripe water, to little avail - just FYI.)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

All Binkys Go To Heaven

When I was in first grade, we had to put our Welsh corgy, Binky, to sleep. I was so distraught at school the next day that my brilliant teacher pulled me aside, gave me a stack of paper, and told me to write a book about it. So without further adieu, the story of Binky's passing ... complete with transcription and commentary :)

"My family loved Bingcky very, very, much. And I loved her too." The red circle on Binky's hind quarter was the wound from getting hit by a car. In the top corner are our ages (Binky 13, Matt 11, Mikey 7, me 6, Dad 36, Mom 37). We really did have triple bunk beds and they were awesome.

"This was the 3rd time she got hit by a car! And she could not hear." Which was why she was struck in the first place :(

"So we had to put her to sleep!" Notice the cross on top of the vet... interesting. Only Dad took Binky, then brought her home to bury her.

"There is a dogwood by her grave! She was in pane."

"It was very, very, sad when she died, but soon we will get a new puppy." This scene was perfectly accurate. Matt was leaning against a bent tree as daddy dug Binky's grave. She was in a thick, black plastic bag.

My dad found this while cleaning out some old papers. What a treasure. Mrs. Belk was a fantastic teacher, and I'm certain Binky is in doggy heaven, paddling around a pristine lake near a mountain of chestnut trees.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Beach = Taste of Heaven

Jim and I just returned from a glorious time with his family at the beach. I love my son with all of my heart, but it was so nice to have Jim's parents snuggle him for a few hours - many times - so we could go play (movies, beach, lazy river, pool, etc.). It was perfect.

This was James' first road trip and he was fantastic! The 4 hour trip down was without dramatic event. He slept most of the way and ate dinner in a dark gas station parking lot (in the back seat with mama, of course).

We got to use the new pack n' play (thanks, Dundor and Dar!) and he slept GREAT in it.

We hoped to get a picture of him actually on the beach... but it didn't happen... so sad, I know. I think he'll enjoy it more when he's a little older. Right now he'd probably squish up and give us his angry face when the salty wind blew sand between his rolls. I wouldn't blame him.

The trip home was a little more exciting. A lap diaper change parked under an interstate overpass revealed an astounding 5-baby-wipe blow out. I think we ALL had road belly...

Other than that, James was a champ and it yielded a much-needed relaxing time for his mama and daddy. We're so thankful to Jim's parents for such a great time.

Cheers to beach vacations!

JWT 3 and JWT 5

James and his sweet Nonna