Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas with Family, and the Onslaught of Dirty Diapers

BJ, Shepherd, and I just returned from Christmas with the Gensics. We had a wonderful week passing Shepherd around and playing cards.

On Christmas Day, we went to my mother-in-law's mother's house and spent time with the other side of the family. I don't know what it was about Christmas day, but Shepherd dirtied more diapers in a day than I thought was possible. To make matters worse, the diapers weren't containing the poo very well, so he also went through three outfits. On our way back to the Gensics that night, he wet another diaper only minutes after we had hit the road. The minivan was packed, so his Nana had to change his diaper while he was in his car seat. It took a lot of maneuvering, but he got cleaned up. My favorite part of Christmas day was probably when he looked up at his Nana with a look that clearly said, "Are you seriously going to change my diaper like this?" See below.

My parents are having some pretty serious Shep-withdrawals, so yesterday I made them a video of Shepherd smiling and playing. I decided to post it here if for no other reason than to prove just how stupid a parent will act in the pursuit of a smile from a two-month old.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and just in case I don't post again before Saturday, Happy New Years!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twas the week before Christmas...

BJ, Shepherd, and I are currently gearing up for our first Christmas together. We will be leaving in about 3 hours to spend the week with BJ's family.

The house looks mostly the same as always as far as decorations go. The only difference is the third stocking. It is actually a pretty big difference.

Friday, Kayla and Darby came to see Shepherd on their way to a family Christmas in Arkansas (I am under no allusions; When people come to our house, it is to see Shepherd). It was so good to see them. As you can tell, Shepherd thoroughly enjoyed the visit.

I had to work three days this week for insurance purposes. By the end of the week, I was having pretty serious Shepherd withdrawals. So this is how I spent Saturday.

Monday night, we had our little just-the-three-of-us Christmas. Shepherd got his first Christmas present from us. It was Runaway Bunny by Margaret Brown Wise. I don't know what he thought about the book, but the crinkly sound the wrapping paper made was awesome!
We will be returning next Monday, so hopefully I'll have a blogpost going up detailing Shepherd's first Christmas. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Year of Shepherd

My good friend Kayla did a blogpost this week about the one word that she feels best encapsulates 2010 for her. This got me to thinking about how I would define 2010, and it didn't take me long to come to the conclusion that my word of the year is 'Shepherd.'

BJ and I started the year with fertility tests. After a year of disappointment, it seemed like something must be wrong. Sure enough, the test showed a few issues, but before we could get to the follow up appointments, we found ourselves gawking at a plus sign on Valentine's Day.

From there, it was eight months of anticipation. Of course, it included nausea, extreme fatigue, crazy swollen feet, and lots and lots of contractions (I was in labor for months!). But it also included celebrating with family and friends at showers, me and BJ getting our home ready, and washing and folding all the new baby clothes while trying to wrap my mind around the fact that a baby would actually fill them one day.

And then came the delivery. Every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. for the past 7 weeks, I've thought to myself, "This is when I was driving home from work and started really feeling contractions." Then at around 10:00, I think about how I went to bed hoping I could catch some sleep in between contractions. If I were awake at 3:00 in the morning, I'd think about how BJ and I got up and watched an episode of Battlestar Gallactica while timing contractions. After a few clocked in over 5 minutes apart, we decided it wasn't worth going to the hospital and went back to bed. On Friday mornings, I think about how we went to Taco John's for breakfast and then stopped by Walmart to buy BJ deoderant and Lowe's to get a light bulb. Mainly, I had wanted to keep walking around to help with the pain. At 10:30 on Friday mornings, I think about how I called a nurse to tell her everything I just put here, and she said in a shocked voice, "Sweety, you better come in. It's time." And then at 11:30, I mark the time I went to the hospital and the nurse there started laughing when she discovered I was already 7 centimeters. Oops, probably waited a bit long. But for the best moment of them all, I remember holding Shepherd for the first time at 1:12 in the afternoon. I know a week is going to come when I don't think about all of this, but right now I'm still living it over and over again.

The past 8 weeks have been without a doubt the happiest of my life. I love being at home and taking care of my son. I love dressing him in the mornings. I love breastfeeding. I love talking with him in coo sounds while working on art. I love playing the piano with him in my lap. I love our nightly pre-bed rituals that help him calm down. I love every bit of it.

Now the year is ending in holidays that are made all the more special by Shepherds presence. He's starting to smile at me. Sometimes when he looks at me and grins, I literally stop breathing for a moment. I actually have to think about re-starting the whole breathing process again. His smile is that amazing.

I am currently writing this blog post in a position that is extremely uncomfortable because Shepherd has fallen asleep on my chest/left arm. Despite the awkward-ness this lends to typing, I can honestly say I'm okay with the arrangement.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

BJ's Parenting Techniques: Part 2

Night time has become a battle of sorts since Shepherd's birth. We aren't in battle with Shepherd, but we are in battle with all the things that can keep Shepherd wide awake. There are lots of things that can do this. Our nights are getting better with each passing week, but this progress is only due to the techniques we learned in The Happiest Baby on the Block, a book I will recommend to all new parents for the rest of my life.

When following techniques laid out in books, I tend to do my own loose interpretations. Not BJ, though. He goes by the book. Exactly. So when the book said that swaddling babies ages 0-3 months old is the first step in calming them, keeping them calm, and helping them sleep, BJ learned how to do a serious swaddle. Unfortunately, our crafty son has a way of maneuvering his left arm out of any swaddle, waving it around like a flag of victory, and then scaring himself with it sufficiently to wake himself up and start crying. After about three weeks of this, BJ started the duck-tape swaddle.

First, you pull the left side over and firmly tuck it under.
Then you pull the portion from below the feet up and duck tape that sucker.
Next, you pull the right side to behind the back and put two -count it, two- pieces of duck tape.
Lastly, secure the feet of the swaddle with two fairly long pieces of duck tape. (Without this step, the feet always find their way out.)
In this tight and secure swaddle, Shepherd sleeps peacefully for hours. The problem-solving skills of a sleep-deprived father are impressive.

(As a note of interest, the bed has no sheets on it because Shepherd had peed on them earlier in the day. He pees on lots of things.)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Back from Thanksgiving

We've been back from Thanksgiving for almost a week, but it has taken me a while to catch up enough to write. Our trip was wonderful, although we now know that a baby adds approximately five hours to a 14 hour trip. Good to know.

Before leaving for Texas, Shepherd had his first Sunday at church. He was the cutest thing ever in his Sunday outfit. According to some, he dresses better than his father. BJ recommended the church throw a shower for him if they want him to dress that nice.

After church, we tried to get a family portrait to document his first Sunday. Unfortunately, Shepherd likes picture time as much as his father. The only way we could get him to calm down was with a pacifier and the football hold. A little weird for a family portrait? Yes, but that's our son.

After a very, very, very long drive, we made it to Texas.

While in Texas, Shepherd got A LOT of cuddle time with everybody. It was a perfect week both for him and for everyone else.

After looking at old baby photos, we discovered that Shepherd is a perfect mixture of his dad and his Uncle Bro (he has his mouth and chin exactly).

Needless to say, it was a wonderful week. The drive down wasn't even so awful because we got to see Emerald, Eric, and Lily along the way. And now I know that Shepherd makes holidays even better. Of course, I had suspected that would be the case already.