Friday, September 21, 2012

Grace Louise is Great and Smart!

My silly girl cheesing next to her stamp chart, a new incentive system we have been using for a couple weeks.  Before the baby was born she was napping and sleeping through the night with no potty accidents, but has since been waking up wet.  I decided to reward her with a stamp for the times she woke up with a dry diaper.

First of all, she thinks stamps are the coolest thing ever. (As you can see in the picture, she found the stamper and gave herself some unearned stamps that I had to mark out... no cheating!) When she gets 20 stamps she gets a reward.  Her first: a date with mommy and daddy and a blue raspberry icee at Cafe Creme! I wish I had a picture of that bright blue tongue! She was delighted- and oh so proud!

Because she was so responsive to the incentive chart, we've been giving her more opportunities to earn stamps.  She even named her chart, "Grace Louise is Great and Smart!"  I think so. She's been earning stamps not only for dry bedtime diapers, but also for serving without being asked, helping with extra chores, and obeying consistently.  For her next reward, she's requested a trip to the mall to ride the carousel :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sisterly Love


Friday, September 14, 2012

One Month

Our new baby, (who we are affectionately calling Sweet Baby James, Jamesy, or James H), has been earth side for a whole month!  The past four weeks have been amazing and totally life changing.  There have been some growing pains, adjusting to having a newborn in the house, but oh so totally worth it.  We all love him to pieces!

We're starting to see some smiles, half-smiles.  The first one cracked while at the doctor's office a week ago.  He weighed 11.6 lbs at his first official appointment with the pediatrician, clearly not having a hard time gaining weight!  He is solid and hardly feels like a newborn, holding his head up and filling out 0-3 month clothes.  I think he's going to be a big boy!  

Our Jamesy isn't speaking in complete sentences yet, but makes some really cute sounds! A high pitch, "Ahhh," coupled with a half smile, when he's awake and happy.  And the best… "Mmm Mmm" after each loud gulp when he nurses.  

He seems to enjoy watching the Gators play, even when things get a little rowdy!  He likes the bouncer and is watching the mobile turn now... tolerates the swing, but only for a few minutes.  He really loves to be worn in a sling or wrap-- somewhere close to my heartbeat.  You'd think he lived in a womb at some point... 

He is most alert in the mornings and loves that time with his Sissy.  Grace Louise usually climbs up in the bed with us and spends time talking to him and cuddling.  What an amazing big sister! Her affection and concern for him is beyond her years.  

James H. has a routine that is pretty predictable, eating about every three hours, napping after being awake for 30 minutes or so, and sleeping one long 5 hour stretch at the beginning of the night.  He is handsome and dimply.  A turned up nose like Grace Louise had at that age and dimples on his chin, cheeks, and even in the middle of his lips!  He will drive the ladies mad!

No other tricks yet other than stealing our hearts :-) 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A few of our visitors

We tried to snap a picture of James H with most of our visitors in the first weeks.  Here are some pics of our little guy getting to know his family.

Can you feel the love?   

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First Day of (sort of) Preschool!

Our local homeschool support group is full of ah-ma-zing moms and kids, and I am so excited that the newly organized co-op includes activities for preschool age children!  I anticipate this being wonderful social time for Grace Louise and something fun just for her during this big life transition.  We are meeting at Bok Tower every Tuesday for 4H, arts and crafts, outdoor play and exploration, story time, classical education memorization... did I mention snack and lunch time? and lots of free play time after "class"?  She could hardly contain herself last week.

Here she is on our first day (hence the #1).  Also, our first outing alone with baby brother.  We survived!

Fourth Trimester

I've been trying to figure out the past few weeks if I really do have a tougher postpartum recovery experience than most women, or if plenty of women share the same struggles and just don't talk about it.  Either way, I think I deserve to be able to name this time... the fourth trimester.  

Following James H's easy birth, came a much more difficult recovery.  I had immediate pelvic issues (symphysis pubis dysfunction- which I struggled with towards the end of my pregnancy) that made it painful and difficult to walk in the hours after birth.  My chiropractor made a house call that night, bringing me some pelvic pain relief which has since improved drastically!  

I also have a muscular tear in my pelvic floor that has required extra healing time and left me with more than uncomfortable swelling and inflammation during the 2nd and 3rd weeks postpartum.

It's still much better than after Grace Louise's birth... this is what we say.  You know, keeping things in perspective.  

Honestly, though, as much as I would have loved to be out and about sooner, this place of resting and healing has brought its own disguised blessings.  Lots of snuggle time with my new precious baby- and bonding time for the whole family.  Jimmy has been so available to us and we've loved having him around.  Mr. Mom he calls himself.  Although, now that I'm feeling better, he is ready to resume his former role...

The hands and feet of Jesus have been so evident in the physical support through meals and helping from family and friends.  I will never ever ever go see a new mom and baby without bringing food and cleaning a room!  I am praying HUGE blessings of returned favor on all those who are supporting us during this transition!  

God certainly keeps me relying on Him.  In the past 6 months I have journeyed through reading Ann Voskamp's 1,000 Gifts and started my own thankfulness journal.  Oh how my eyes have been opened to accepting all that God brings to my life, including trials.  I've been encouraged not just to pray Lord, protect me from this, keep me from that.  But instead Lord, I need only more of you.  And however He brings more of Himself to me, I will take it.  

Lastly, I can't write about the Fourth Trimester without including some pictures of my lovely placenta, which adequately nourished my baby boy for 9(+) months!  With help from my mom, I processed and encapsulated the placenta in the days following the birth and have eagerly taken them daily, hoping that it will now nourish my own recovering body.  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Just life.

Grace Louise loves to hold her baby brother with the Boppy pillow.  She holds him several times a day, and per friends' advice, I rarely tell her no.  This transition has been tough for Grace Louise, and we've certainly had some behavior issues in the past weeks, but her affection towards James H has been totally loving and wonderful!  Jimmy snapped this picture of us having a little family reading time in bed the other night. LOVE!

Our cozy little man.  He's pretty easy... gassy at times, but otherwise predictable, already jumping on board with the eat--play--sleep schedule and nursing every 3 hours.  He tolerates the bouncer and swing a few minutes at a time, but prefers to be held.  Who doesn't?!

Hanging out in the sling.  This sling was (basically) free with a coupon code, and I'm glad I ordered it!  Though I wouldn't torture my back and shoulders with it on a regular basis, it is great for wearing him for short spurts around the house.  Like his big sister, he falls asleep almost immediately after I put him in.  Did I mention he is quite the snuggle bunny!  I can't wait to wrap him up in the Moby :-) My fave!

Our goofy girl's new silly scrunchy nose face.  Seriously, she's grown up more than you can imagine in just the few short weeks that she's been a big sister.

First Bath

We've been waiting for James H's umbilical cord stump to fall off before giving him his first bath.  Just like with Grace Louise, I anticipated this mom/baby bath time with my new little guy.  We both enjoyed the warm water, and I have to admit, though he smelled yummy before, he smelled even better afterward!

A lovely massage followed and all were happy :-)

Big Sister joined us for his next bath, and we tried out Jamesy's Tummy Tub.  He seemed to really like it, and will probably even more so when he can sit up by himself.

Bath time has always been special for me and Grace Louise.  Considering I birthed both of my children in the water, I obviously have a fond connection with the soothing qualities of a warm bath and think it's a fine place to spend some quality time with my babies :-)