Thursday, December 30, 2010

2 months

Our little man is now two months old. And how much he has grown in such little time. He's no longer the little newborn that simply ate, pooped, slept and cried. Of course, he still does those things, but he also smiles and coos. He now shows interest in things. He gets more alert everyday and likes to look around to soak in his surroundings. He definitely knows the voices of his mommy and daddy. He loves his activity mat. He is so proud when he makes contact with one of the toys dangling down towards him. He loves music. He loves lights. He loves mirrors. He is kicking his legs more and getting bigger every day.

Each day my love for him grows stronger. His smiles light up my world. I love when he's tired and snuggles against my chest. I love when he talks to me.

In the last month, we celebrated Owen's first Christmas. Christmas Eve began with a visit to the doctor for a well check and some shots. The shots made him pretty crabby, but I guess that's our payback for taking him to the doctor on Christmas Eve. The report from the doctor was good. She called him a star baby! But he still did good at church. There was something truly special about holding your infant son while singing hymns about baby Jesus. He was so tired at the end of the day on Christmas that he didn't even wake up when we put his pajamas on him or changed his diaper. Owen gave me a great Christmas present -- sleep. Since Christmas he's slept 6 or more hours each night...that's a trend I like. He too got lots of great presents that I know he'll love in the months to come. It's crazy to think that next Christmas he'll probably be walking around and he'll be able to open his presents on his own. It'll be fun, but this Christmas was definitely special with our infant boy.

I wish I could keep my little boy a baby forever so I could always protect him and keep him safe. Last week we went to a funeral for a girl that I have known since my childhood. We played soccer together from elementary school all the way through high school, and although she was a year younger than me, we went to the same school for most of those years too. She committed suicide. During the funeral, I held my baby tight to me, gave him kisses and told him I love him. Although I can't protect him from the evils of the world, I pray that he knows he'll always be able to find a safe place in my arms and that his daddy and mommy love him unconditionally. We would go to the end of the world and back for this guy.

Two months means that there is less than one month left until I go back to work. As that day gets closer, I find myself increasingly yearning to soak up this time with my little guy. If I don't feel like I held him enough during the day, it makes me a little it's a day with my boy I won't get to do over. So we cuddle a lot. We sing songs and talk together a lot. And he still eats, poops and sleeps a lot. I don't like thinking about going back to work, but sometimes I force myself to think about it and visualize it so hopefully I can prepare myself a little bit for that difficult time. It also helps me remember that this time is for me and Owen and to take advantage of my time with him. That's why you haven't seen as many blog posts from me. Sorry, but given the choice between having a laptop in my lap or my baby, I'm going to choose my baby.


Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas.

New light. New hope. New love. New joy. New peace.

This Christmas is like none other before.

My arms have never been more full of light, hope, love, joy and peace.

My heart has never been more full of light, hope, love, joy and peace.

With more light, hope, love, joy and peace in my arms and heart, I have more to give. May God help me to do just that.

I wish you and your family Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We fought Mother Nature and we won!

Alternatively titled: Dave graduates!

Can you see the irony in this? Dave didn't want to walk in his college graduation ceremony. But I wanted him to, and I convinced him to do it. But then the nastiest snowstorm these parts have seen in the last 18 years decided to appear the same day, threatening to force us to stay home.

But we're hardy Minnesotans and Mother Nature couldn't stop us!

At some point during the week, the meteorologists started predicting a big storm for the day of his graduation ceremony. This storm was unpredictable and they were predicting everything from a few inches to over 20 inches. So pretty much anything. But as the day got closer, it became clearer that this was going to be a big storm.

Fast forward to Friday afternoon. Dave got a couple of emails saying graduation would not be canceled due to weather. We decided we better make the hour drive to his school that evening, so we could safely get to Mankato before the storm started. Especially with our little man, traveling safely was our number one concern. So we hurried about that afternoon and successfully out ran the storm, getting to the hotel shortly after the freezing rain and snow started. Us - 1, Mother Nature - 0.

Saturday morning we woke up to a snowy mess with a nice thick layer of ice underneath. Graduation was still on so we bundled up Owen and ventured out into the middle of the storm. We slowly made it to campus and Dave dropped us off at the door and we were safely inside the nearly empty auditorium. Dave met us inside after slipping on the ice and smacking his head on the ground. Us - 1. Mother Nature - 1.

Although it took a bit of extra effort to get to Dave's graduation, it was well worth it. I was so proud of him. He's put in so much effort over the past couple of years and overcame so many obstacles to get his degree -- all while working full time and driving 50 minutes each way to get to his school.

Even though Owen won't remember being at Dave's graduation, it was important to us to have Owen there. Owen, Chubs and our future children were Dave's inspiration for finishing his degree. So Owen had to represent. The two of us sat there together, so proud of Dave. Actually, Owen slept. I held Owen as I cheered as loud as I could when they announced Dave's name -- while also taking pictures and crying.

Our original plan after the graduation was to drive to the next town and reassess the snow situation. We have friends that live there, so we figured we could hang out with them if the storm made travel too difficult.

But the conditions deteriorated significantly since the beginning of the graduation ceremony. This was seriously the kind of winter storm that would have killed pioneers if they got caught in it. Lots of snow. Winds sustained at 35 mph with higher wind gusts, creating white out conditions where you can't see more than a few yards in front of you. Ice covering the roads. Snow on top of the ice, so you can't figure out where it's extra slippery. Enough snow on the roads that in some places it was hard to even tell where the roads were. They literally pulled the snow plows off the roads, because conditions were that bad. Us - 1. Mother Nature - 2.

Needless to say, we were maybe three minutes away from the university when we decided to stay in Mankato. We called up the hotel we stayed at the night before to see if there were any rooms available for that night. Thank God there was! I gave them our credit card number while I was on the phone to reserve our room. We weren't risking driving the rest of the way to the hotel to reserve our room only to find that they had booked up in the meantime. We weren't risking hanging up to try and book the room through Priceline only to have no rooms available. We needed that room and we got it. And good thing we got that room, because they actually closed the highway that was our route home. So we couldn't have gone home even if we tried. We spent the rest of the day and night there. We at food from Friday's for three consecutive meals (it was attached to the hotel). Despite getting stuck in Mankato, we had a good afternoon. We were safe. We were together. We had time to relax and do nothing except snuggle with our little guy and stare at his precious little face. Us - 2. Mother Nature - 2.

We woke the next morning to lots and lots of snow plows clearing the road in front of the hotel (a road we couldn't even see from our room the day before). The storm had cleared. We could go home. And that's exactly what we did....with a baby in one arm and a diploma in the other.

Us - 3. Mother Nature - 2. We won!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Newborn photos

My sister-in-law is a photographer. If you've followed my blog for any length of time (or know me in real life), you probably know that. So for several years now I've been oooing and ahhing over newborn photos. I hoped that when we had a baby there would be a way for her to travel from North Carolina to take newborn photos of our little one.

So when the time came, my wish came true. Not only did Katie fly to Minnesota to take photos (and to meet her nephew), but so did a photographer-friend of hers, Jessica. Two photographers took pictures of my little guy! Newborn photos are kinda complicated. They have to be done within a certain number of days of birth. So even though she had her flight and we had studio time scheduled, we weren't 100% certain we'd be able to get the newborn photos we wanted. But Owen was born just in time (he was a little old, but was still a champ for his session). He must have known how badly his mommy wanted these photos.

Last week, Jessica blogged our photo session. Check out how cute my little guy is! She is a great photographer and I would recommend her for anyone looking for a photographer in the Twin Cities.

I had a great time watching Katie and Jessica take pictures, especially after admiring pictures of other people's newborns. It was cool to see how they do it. I never would have guessed how much work goes into getting these pictures. The baby must be sleeping...and there are several strategies they use to get him to sleep and to keep him that way. So obviously there is a time constraint. Then there is other photo-related stuff they have to figure out, like the lighting. Finally there is the positioning of the baby. But in the end, their hard work was worth it....and I get to reap the benefits of having beautiful pictures of my little guy to keep forever!