"At last I have found it...My vocation is love!"
St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Friday, April 16, 2010

Elise: Two Months!

Dear Elise,

Seasoned mothers warned me that the time would fly-- and, boy, were they right! Tonight I opened up your dresser drawer and hesitantly removed the stack of your newborn clothes. Already, you have moved on to the 0-3 month size! I'm thrilled that you are growing and thriving, but my heart sinks a bit when I realize how quickly it's happening. That's the story of motherhood, I suppose... 

You still have a healthy appetite! And, I usually can predict when you'll become hungry... Your favorite time to eat?: It involves me sitting down with a plate of hot food. That moment when I longingly move my fork towards a first bite-- yeah, that's usually when you start whimpering!


Your circadian rhythms seem to be well-established now! I'm a lucky mom! You still wake up once or twice a night to eat, but these feedings only seem to be little snacks. After a few minutes-- or sometimes even a few seconds-- you are sound asleep once more.

There have been a few nights when you've seemed inexplicably cranky. Daddy has figured out an effective (and hilarious) way to soothe you: He sings the Gilligan's Island theme song and moves you along with the tune. I don't know how he came up with this. But it works. And it's funny. (My favorite part is the little dip he does during "...the tiny ship was tossed...") 

Growth and Milestones
I returned to work about two weeks ago. It has been difficult, but June 2nd (my last day of teaching!) is just around the corner. In the mean time, Dad has been a wonderful caretaker! Today, he took you to your two-month checkup. The doctor was pleased with your weight gain-- you're just over 10 lbs now!

You seem to be getting bigger every day! Dad and I noticed that your cheeks seem much fuller, and you now have the slightest and cutest double chin (don't worry, it's cute on babies...really, it's a compliment!). Your arms and thighs are beginning to develop squishy-delicious little rolls! But perhaps your most noticeable physical change has been your eye color. For the first few weeks of your life, your eye color was unclear-- a dark, grayish color. Now, your eyes most certainly are a deep shade of blue! This is quite a surprise considering that, when I was pregnant, I pictured you as a little Asian baby. Who knew that you'd have blue eyes, blond eyebrows (!), and dark strawberry blond hair?!

Another recent milestone has been your increased alertness. You're awake A LOT throughout the day! I especially love it when you're in a smiley mood, squeaking and grinning. What treasured moments! 

-everything from last month
-hanging out in your swing, Baby Bjorn bouncer, or on your sheepskin rug when you're in a happy mood (you can last 20 minutes or so)

-making eye contact when you're especially awake

-everything from last month

I love you, buhbee!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Newborn Must-Haves: Part 1

One of the first things I ask new moms is what baby products they recommend. With so many choices, it's super helpful to know what is tried and true!

So, here is the first installment of my top baby products (in no particular order) that I've found to be excellent during these first six weeks:

1. Summer Infant Swaddlepod

Long story about this thing, which we lovingly refer to as Elise's "sausage suit": When I was pregnant, I read an excellent book which informed me that infants have a startle reflex. The reflex easily is triggered when babies are placed on their backs, especially when their little limbs can flail. The book's author, a pediatrician, recommends swaddling as a way to help infants sleep on their backs without activating the reflex-- and the crying and protesting that follows. After reading this, I excitedly purchased several swaddling blankets. I felt so clever... MY baby certainly would not have a problem sleeping on her back!

Fast forward to Elise's first week... That little stinker broke out of every swaddle! We wrapped her so tightly, it almost seemed cruel! Yet, within minutes, that baby Houdini would have her arms free. We even tried one of those velcro swaddling blankets. Again, she broke free!

Finally, while we were shopping one day, my mom stumbled upon the Swaddlepod. I decided to buy it and make one final attempt to try a form of swaddling with Elise. It turned out to be an excellent purchase. Here's why I like the Swaddlepod:

-It's easy to use... no folding corners or wrapping a squirming baby!

-It has two zippers that run in opposite directions. You can unzip from the feet up in need of a diaper change.

-The fabric is stretchy, so the baby still is able to move her arms and legs a bit-- just not enough to break free.

-It truly makes a difference! I cannot get Elise to sleep in her bassinet without it!

-It looks hilarious on a baby!!! (That's gotta count for something, right?)

2. Sakura Bloom Ring Sling

I love the idea of wearing a baby, because it seems like it creates a win-win situation. Parents get hands-free time, and babies are able to remain close and feel secure. It also seems to me that riding around on mom or dad would be an educational experience-- that a baby would be able to take in more sights and sounds than he or she would in a stroller or car seat.

I was eager to experiment with wearing Elise, and this beautiful linen sling was the first one I tried. I've found that it's easy to use, comfortable to wear, and supportive for baby. It's especially great for trips to the supermarket, Church, etc.

Though a Sakura Bloom is pricey, I find it to be well-worth the investment. And, I've had excellent luck finding them used in the For Sale or Trade forum at The Baby Wearer.

3. Ergo Baby Carrier

This is the baby carrier that my husband primarily uses. Elise is too small to ride in it without support, so we also purchased the Ergo Heart2Heart Infant Insert. We like the Ergo because:

-It's something my husband can wear without feeling silly!

-The brushed cotton canvas fabric is incredibly soft.

-It has padded, adjustable straps and actually is comfortable to wear.

-It can be used for front, side, and back carries (though, infants can only be worn on the front).

-It even can support a toddler up to 40 lbs!

4. Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover

My friend Katie gave me this lovely nursing cover as a baby shower gift, and it has become an essential item to keep in my diaper bag. It is soft, well-made, and actually comes in prints that aren't babyish or hokey! My favorite feature is the rigid neckline that allows you to peek at your nursing baby without lifting the cover.

5. Aden & Anais Burpy Bib

These burpies are great! They are made of soft muslin, contour to your shoulder, and nicely absorb the many lovely liquid disasters that are possible with a baby. The best part is that these burpies have snaps that allow them to double as bibs! (Or an emergency skirt when baby produces a poop explosion on a plane... and mommy and daddy have forgotten to pack an extra outfit! Yesthisreallyhappened.)

Elise: The Six Week Update

Okay, so it's really the six week plus two days update, but it's close enough!

Dear Elise,

The other night I was trying to think of one word that sums up motherhood so far. To be honest, I was pretty stumped; no word seemed to capture it perfectly. Then, it hit me: joyous. Being your mom brings me a deep joy. Remember that joy is something deeper and more constant than happiness. Joy persists even in the midst of difficulty (and in the midst of poopy diaper explosions and 2 a.m. feedings!).

From Day #1, you've had an incredible appetite! When you're hungry, nothing can be done to distract you. You "peck" and open your mouth like an eager baby bird! You also pant like a little puppy!


Your first two weeks were tough, because Daddy and I were getting to know you. Thanks to your pediatrician's advice, some informative books, and good old fashioned trial and error, we now know what helps you fall asleep. Daddy has perfected vigorous side-to-side swinging in the Ergo carrier, which almost always puts you to sleep-- even when you protest. At night, I usually let you fall asleep on my lap (on the Boppy pillow) as I type on the computer. Once you are sufficiently limp, I carry you into the bedroom and put you in your "sausage suit" (I'll explain what this is in another post). I gently place you in your bassinet, and you sleep for 2.5 to 3 hours. You can be a noisy sleeper and let out an assortment of grunts and whimpers, but I'm getting pretty good at distinguishing your sleep noises from your waking noises. When you're ready to eat, you begin to grunt... You never cry! I wake up, remove you from your bassinet, and bring you into our bed. You nurse for a few minutes and drift off to sleep. I also fall asleep, but wake when I realize that you are ready to return to your bed. Your Daddy likes to wake up early, so he takes you between 5:30 and 7:00 a.m. and lets me sleep in! (Yes, your dad is awesome!)

Growth and Milestones

Dad and I weighed and measured you a few days ago. You were 23.5 inches long and about 9 pounds! You started smiling the day before we left for our visit to California. During our trip, Nana and I got many more heart-melting smiles out of you! You also seem to be learning how to coo. One evening while you were laying on my lap, I heard you squeak. When I looked down, I was surprised at what I saw...your eyes already fixed on my face and a huge toothless smile!


-sleeping on our chests
-staring at windows and lights
-vigorous motion
-warm baths
-going to Church (you're very serene in environments with music and/or ambient noise)


-diaper changes when you already are cranky
-being swaddled
-being on your back when you are awake

I love you, baby bird!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The first line is always the toughest to write.

My least favorite part of writing a paper?: the introduction. First impressions are huge, especially when the goal is to convince a (sometimes unknown) reader to stay tuned. Oh, the pressure!

So, here it goes (wince)! I will do my best to introduce my vision for this blog:

With this blog, I hope to...

-be one of "those" mommies and share adorable stories and updates about my baby daughter Elise! :0)

-share thoughts and voice questions about some topics that are near to my heart (motherhood, marriage, spirituality, health, sustainable/responsible living, etc.)

-discuss my family's journey as we try to choose real life in a world of counterfeits (real whole foods, real relationships, real beauty, and-- most importantly-- the real and loving God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

Welcome to my world!!!