Monday, August 31, 2009

Working on sitting...

Luke is starting to get very strong! He is holding his head up almost all the time now, and when we carry him against our shoulders he likes to hold his head up by himself and look around. He's working his abs really hard to get them ready to sit up by himself. Meanwhile, he's doing really well sitting with help from one of us. We'll either hold him by his sides, put a hand behind his lower back, or let him hold onto our fingers and pull himself into position and use them to steady himself.

He's also getting a lot more smiley... making funny faces at us while changing his diaper, and smiling with recognition when he wakes up and we get the day started, or when I pick him up from day care. It's really sweet to see that look on his face that he knows who we are!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baby fun time!

Last night after Luke's bath, the three of us got out his playmat that we haven't really done much with yet. Now that he's getting older, he is starting to take more interest in things he can see and hear, like the mirror in the picture and the zebra with the rattle in it (you can see the zebra's tail next to Ryan's face). He's starting to learn how to shake his hand a little when we put a rattle on his wrist, and while he doesn't know how to grasp things and hold onto them, he seems more interested when I take his hand and help him touch different textures of toys. It's fun to watch him grow into a little learning and playing machine.

He's not really enjoying tummy time yet - mostly he just kind of lays there and buries his face in the playmat and screams. But it's important, so we make sure he can breathe and let him scream it out for a couple of minutes before we flip him back over. He recovers pretty quickly, and since he's already doing well at sitting up (with support of course) and holding his head up, I know it will be pretty soon that he's able to push himself up while he's on his tummy!

Two months old!

On Wednesday, Luke turned 2 months old! We celebrated - ha - by going to see Dr. Alberts for his 2 month checkup. He weighed in at 11 lbs 7 oz (up from 7 lb 11 oz back in July), was 24 inches long (he's grown 3 inches since he was born!) and his head circumference was 38.5 cm. Dr. Alberts said he looked happy and healthy, his sleeping and eating habits were good and normal, and she told us to keep doing what we're doing because he's doing great!

Luke also had to get his 2 month vaccines - an oral vaccine for Rotavirus, and 3 injections (Hep B, Hib and DTaP) which he was very unhappy about. I cried a little bit just from seeing him so upset! After the doctor, he had to go straight to day care and clueless parents that we are, we didn't have any baby Tylenol on hand to take with us. I ended up having to take half an hour in the afternoon to swing by HEB and pick up the Tylenol to deliver to the sitter, but he seemed to calm down when he saw me in the middle of the day. Since then, we've been keeping up with his Tylenol every four hours or so (except while he was sleeping!), and he had a bath last night to help relax him before bedtime. He seems to be feeling much better and slept really well last night.

This morning Luke saluted the Longhorns and wished them good luck in this year's hunt for the national title!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dance, dance, dance

Luke was wide awake Sunday evening, so to wear him out a little bit I put some toys on his wrists and let him flail around in his crib for a few minutes.

The Sunday Morning Diaper Challenge

Sunday morning I got up and started getting Luke ready for church. Usually it's a pretty simple process - take off his cloth diaper, put him into a gDiaper, and get him dressed. But this time was quite a challenge. (What follows may be graphic to those who aren't parents, but will probably be funny to those who are...)

I took off his pajamas and found that his diaper was just barely wet. Not bad! So I loosened his diaper and started stuffing the insert into the gDiaper, when I heard a grunt. I looked down just as he let go of a big poop and a stream of pee flew into the air and landed back on the changing pad. Luckily I still had the diaper underneath him! I took the diaper out from under him and put a clean cloth diaper under him while I started cleaning him up, and he sprinkled the area two more times before I managed to get him covered and cleaned. I put the gDiaper on him and had almost gotten it fastened when I heard another grunt and he dirtied ANOTHER diaper. I took the gDiaper off, shook the insert into the trash can, stuffed another one in and managed to get it onto him this time. Luckily, he was completely empty by then so I didn't get sprinkled again.

All told, the changing table casualties were 2 cloth diapers, one diaper cover, a gDiaper insert, five wipes, and the changing pad cover. I hadn't put his clothes on for the day yet, so it was no big deal that the pajamas had to go into the hamper. Still, quite an exciting morning for changing a diaper!
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Out and about

We had a long day out on Saturday! We started out with lunch at Titaya's Thai Cuisine, where Luke wanted out of his car seat so he could look at all the interesting decorations on the walls. After lunch, we headed up to IKEA in Round Rock, where we walked through the whole store without buying a single thing! Ryan and I checked out the bed frames, but Luke was more interested in all the bright lights. We wrapped up our big day with a trip to Grapevine Market in Round Rock for a wine tasting, where Luke finally started to get fussy (probably because he can't hold a wine glass yet). It was hard to get him to fall asleep Saturday night, but when he finally did, he slept for nearly nine hours! Whew!
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The critic

Ryan has been working very hard on his podcast (it's up now at his website, Speak Podcast) and Luke decided he would help Ryan out. We may have to spring for some baby-sized headphones, but I think I see a successful producing career in his future. (Just like Mommy!)
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A bath in the sink

Friday night Ryan gave Luke a bath in the sink. Up until now, all of Luke's baths have been in the bathtub with Ryan, but now that he's able to hold his head up a little better it seemed like the sink would be easier. He fit in our bathroom sink pretty well - it was like it was made to be a baby bathtub! Luke's enjoying his baths much better now - it's just the after-bath routine of getting lotioned up and dressed again that he doesn't like.
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Lukleberry Finn

Luke looks so cute in his hat, especially when he wears overalls!
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another week flying by

Tomorrow our little boy will be 8 weeks old! I can't believe it's been 8 weeks already... the time has really flown by. This week Luke started smiling more, but he is usually very smiley while I'm changing his diaper, so I don't generally have a camera handy.

Luke has been sleeping through the night all week, and I'm very thankful that he decided to do that the second week I returned to work. Monday morning I woke up and realized that I hadn't had to get up to feed him at 5:30, and he was just starting to wake up when I got up at 7:30. Part of it, I think, is that we have started putting him down to bed in his crib instead of in the pack and play in our room. We're also not putting him down when he's absolutely asleep most of the time - instead, he's starting to get drowsy, so we swaddle him and lay him down, turn on the little sound machine on his crib, and turn out the lights. I think he's really starting to get the idea, although I wonder if there's a time down the road when he will start waking up again. I'll just enjoy the extra rest while I can!

Luke and I went to the Mothers of Young Children group at church again this week, which I really enjoyed. I brought Luke's stroller in this time so that he could be up a little higher and see what was going on. We all played "Are You Smarter Than A Preschooler?" and I think Luke got a kick out of watching Mommy act like a big dork - I caught him smiling and almost laughing a couple of times! The group has been really nice - it's great to meet some other moms who are not only around my age, but have kids that aren't too old (but still older so I can benefit from their experience!). We've been talking about activities for the upcoming months and I'm particularly excited about the retreat in January that everyone was talking about last night.

Ryan got the news this week that he'll be switching to a dayside schedule in a few weeks. While that means Luke will be going to daycare all day, it also means that we will all get to be together in the evenings, and won't have to stay up until all hours to enjoy one another's company. It'll be nice to get Luke into a routine that involves both of his parents when we're all together.

I'm looking forward to a low-key weekend here in Austin with Ryan and Luke... we'll try to take lots of pictures!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Statistical analysis for mommies

Today I discovered, which is a site that lets you track your baby's habits. I should have been doing this all along... I've got nearly two months of missing data now! Basically, you input the baby's diapers (along with what was in them), sleep and awake times (including times you've put the baby down but he's not sleeping... also known as "transition time" or "attempted naps"), feeding times and amounts, measurements, and immunizations. The site aggregates the data and after a little while, you can start to look for patterns in baby's routine.

I think this will be really helpful as we gear up for Luke's two month checkup on August 26th, but also as he gets older and starts eating more, sleeping longer (or not as long, as the case may be)... and even when he gets into eating solid foods. Now that I'm back to work, it's also helpful because Ryan and I can both track Luke's habits (if I can get him on board with my new data obsession), plus I can input what happened while he was at day care, and we can both see his patterns as they develop.

There's also a journal function to track milestones and firsts, although I prefer to use Blogger for journaling, but it might be a nice way to jot down some notes! If you're a baby mama or daddy, you've got to check it out!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fun out of the sun

For some reason, on Friday I was bent on getting Luke a sunhat. I thought I'd pre-shop on the internet before actually venturing out to a store, but wasn't able to turn up any hats that I actually liked - most of them were pink, or ruffly, or elastic, or just plain ugly. And none of them could be had for less than $15, and many of them were only available online. So I decided instead that I would dig out the sewing machine that my parents gave me for Christmas when I was in college and make one!

I picked Luke up from day care and we circled back around to JoAnn Fabrics, where I browsed the cute cotton fabrics and vowed not to spend more than $10. I ended up with half a yard of blue fabric with white polka dots and half a yard of brown fabric with white polka dots, and some blue thread to match, and spent about $7.50. (I think the thread was the most expensive part - isn't that always how it goes?)

I liked the look of the tulip hat, and the fact that it only had one pattern piece. All I had to do was measure Luke's little head, do some math, draft the one pattern piece and voila! I'd be stitching in no time! Well, that was true - I drafted the piece, cut out 6 of the blue and 6 of the brown, and in about two hours I had a finished hat. That was way, way too small. It was probably slightly larger than a beer koozie, except it wasn't flat on the bottom, so I couldn't even use it for that. (In hindsight, I think I neglected to leave enough for seam allowances.) So, into the trash it went, and I went back to the drawing board.

I also liked this little bucket hat, but again had to measure his head, do math, and draw some pattern pieces. But, there were only four pieces to cut out of each fabric, so there was a lot less margin for error. I was kind of grateful that I'd warmed up with the too-small tulip hat, since the bucket hat involved pinning and stitching CIRCLES. Oh, man - I hate that. But after a minor mishap in which I sewed the brim on wrong (and at Ryan's suggestion, ended up leaving it on and sewing on another piece, stiffening the brim), I finished it in about three hours.

And the result was this:

Okay, so it isn't perfect by any means, and my zigzag stitch is horribly uneven and the brim may be just a tad ruffly, but it actually turned out kind of cute.

I need to take a better picture of Luke actually wearing the hat, but I was pretty pleased with my efforts. Last night I took another crack at the tulip hat, but it ended up being way too big. I guess it's not meant to be.

Grandparenting in the digital age

We live about five or six hours from my hometown, where my parents still live, and as such it's really difficult for us to make the trip up there in a weekend when you consider that Ryan doesn't get home from work until 11:30pm on a good night, and I have to be at work at 9am. So we've been chatting with my mom from time to time via Google Talk. Really, we're chatting from within Gmail, which has a simple, straightforward video chat function built right in.

It's funny to think that even five years ago, this functionality was available but would have been difficult and expensive for us to set up. And ten years ago, we probably wouldn't have been able to get our hands on what we needed to do it, let alone have enough bandwidth to see one another. It's nice that my folks can see Luke via webcam, even if we aren't close enough for frequent visits.

My mom went up to Oklahoma City this weekend to visit some of her family, and we were able to show off Luke over many miles just by clicking a button. It's no substitute for hands-on grandparenting, of course, but it's a nice way to use the technology we have now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The new normal

Yesterday was my first day back at work. It was a little bit of a weird day - Luke woke up around 6am, so rather than feed him and go back to sleep, I fed him, got ready to go, and ran a couple of errands before I went in to work at 7:45am. Then I spent the next hour trying to remember my computer's password.

It was a good day at work, and I went home on my lunch break so that Ryan and I could take Luke to his first afternoon with our new sitter. We loaded up the spare diaper bag with all of his "school" things and drove over to her house. We rang the doorbell and took him inside. We told the sitter about his gDiapers (which she had agreed to use) and his formula and gave her all of his paperwork, and... that was it. No tears, no drama.

Everyone kept telling me how hard it would be to go back to work, but truth be told, I was eager to get back down to business. We knew that I would be going back to work all along, and that Luke would be going to some kind of day care or babysitter, so there was no wrestling with whether it was the right decision or not. It's what's right for our family right now.

After work, I picked Luke up, got the daily report from the sitter (who seemed to really like the gDiapers!) and we went home. I changed him, we walked the dogs, and then he was very sleepy, so we laid down and took a nap. We'll learn our new routine as we go along.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


You know you've had a good lunch when you fall asleep and don't even bother to stretch your legs out. (Nearly 5 ounces!)
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mommy's night out... and shoes!

Luke and I ventured out for a night out at our church tonight, where the Mothers of Young Children group was meeting. I decided that since Luke will have to get used to wearing shoes when he goes to day care (whichever one he ends up going to), we would give shoes a try. It took me longer to put the little shoes on his feet than it took me to outfit him in a fresh diaper, his shorts, and a tiny pair of socks. I discovered that it's really hard to tell which baby shoe goes on which baby foot... I'm not sure if it even mattered which was left and which was right, actually.

We drove downtown in rush hour traffic, but managed to make it to the church on time and got settled in. I introduced myself to a few of the other moms in the group, and met some of the other kids - Luke was definitely the youngest in the group, though! One of the moms made a delicious couscous dish and brought a chocolate fountain with some fruit and other goodies, and after dinner they played "Sex and the City" on the projector. Kind of an interesting choice for a church moms' group, but it was more of a moms' night out kind of situation, and we all had a good time. I left before the movie was over because I needed to get Luke into his pajamas and settled down for the night, but I think I'll probably go back to check things out when they meet again in two weeks. It's nice to meet some other moms!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Choosing a day care

Next week I'll be back at work, which I'm excited about, but the thing that I'm not too excited about is that we will have to send Luke to be cared for by people we don't really know in the afternoons. I realize that there are people whose job it is to do this, and have much more experience in caring for babies than I do, but it's still terribly unnerving to think about, and I'm glad that Ryan will be the one dropping Luke off every day, and not me.

We have a day care all lined up, deposits paid, start date set, forms filled out, etc. But this morning I got a phone call from another small day care that's run by a church and happens to be loosely affiliated with our church, saying that they have an opening in the infant room on September 1st. Now that we have a choice, it's a tough thing to wrestle with.

The first day care is close to where I work. They don't have a half-day program, which means we're paying for all-day care, even though we only plan on taking Luke there in the afternoons. On the other hand, we would have the flexibility of having a full day available if, for some reason, Ryan gets called in to work dayside. Since we're paying for all-day care, it's a bit more expensive.

The second day care is nearly downtown. We would only be using the afternoon care, which makes it a little less costly, but we wouldn't have the flexibility of having the mornings available just in case. But I went and toured it this afternoon, and I have to say, I just feel better about this place. The first place seems perfectly adequate, but there have been a couple of things about them that have seemed weird to us. A couple of times, when we've called them, they just answer the phone with "Hello?" - if they answer at all - and then seem cagey about identifying themselves. They told Ryan that it was because they thought he was a solicitor. But if you're running a business, shouldn't you answer the phone every single time and answer a little more professionally than that?

I'm also a little more inclined to go to the second day care because it's affiliated with a church, which appeals to me. The teacher-to-child ratio in the baby classes are the same (1:4) at both, but the teachers in the baby class at #2 are a married couple who have been at this place for 17 and 18 years. That slow turnover is pretty amazing, and it's a big plus to me.

The biggest thing, though, is that the place that called today just gives me a better feeling. I can rationalize the pros and cons all day long about each, but a big part of parenting, I'm learning, is that sometimes your gut just tells you what to do (or what not to do). And with a decision like this, I think that going with our guts may be the most important thing we can do. I guess we'll talk it over tonight when Ryan gets home from work, and see where our guts lead us.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Measuring progress... what have I done today?

One thing I'm learning as a new mom is that it's easy to feel like you haven't done anything, or done enough. It's easy to fall into the "to-do list" mindset of wanting to accomplish everything, but it's just impossible. I've read several blog entries lately, including a great one from a blog called New Mom Help, about thinking instead in terms of a "what have I done list."

Thinking like this reminds me that I can't do everything, but I can instead focus on doing what's important. It's nice to have everything clean and picked up and put away, but sometimes it doesn't all get done. But each task has lots of mini-tasks, and I can do the most important mini-tasks and feel like I have accomplished something.

In the past day or so, I've actually gotten a lot done. Sure, there is folded-up laundry on the table, and a baby bottle sitting in the living room, but I did manage to wash the cloth diapers (very important!) and put them away on the changing table, do another load of laundry and fold it up (it's not all put away yet, but I will get there), make the bed, get dressed (a biggie!), and Luke has been well cared for today (the most important of all).

If the only thing I do all day is feed and change Luke, then I've still accomplished a lot. We have a good stockpile of gDiapers, so if I don't manage to get to the laundry task and we run out of cloth diapers before I get them washed and dried, it's no big deal. If for some reason, I blew through two dozen cloth diapers and 120 gDiapers without stopping to do laundry, the grocery store is just next door and I can get some more.

Thinking in terms of what I have accomplished instead of what's left undone at the end of the day really helps to put things in better perspective.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cooking with Daddy

Tonight Ryan made pork chop suey for dinner, and Luke helped. Well, at least Luke hung out in the sling with Daddy for a little while. He was having kind of a fussy night, and finally settled down in the sling for a bit until stir-frying with a baby on became prohibitive for Ryan. It was a nice change of pace for Luke to be carried around the kitchen by someone else!
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Trying out the recliner

Yes, someday he'll ask his wife for one of these for his birthday. And then someday she'll end up sitting in it instead.
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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bath night

Ryan and Luke's tradition together is bath night. Luke gets a bath every other night or so when Ryan gets home from work. It's a nice way for Ryan to unwind and spend some good bonding time with Luke, and Luke gets good and clean and gets a slathering of baby lotion so he smells oh so good!

Luke didn't like the bath too much at first, but he's grown to enjoy it more and more, especially when Ryan doesn't use the bath seat and just holds Luke in his lap in the warm water. He's gotten to the point where he only gets upset when he's not in the water or in a hooded towel. As long as he's covered up with water or something fuzzy, he's a pretty happy boy!

After bathtime, Luke gets re-diapered and we put on his pajamas, he gets one more feeding and then he usually sleeps really well. It's nice for all of us!