Thursday, December 9, 2010


Caleb and I took a nap together today. He's had a rough go with naps this week. Maybe because of teething, maybe because of the new skills he's learning, maybe it's just a phase he's going through. Either way, it's been a long week and we were both tired and getting grumpy when naptime came this afternoon.

I darkened the room and we settled into bed. He began to cry, so I softly sang a lullaby he's familiar with that I've been singing and listening to since I found out we were having a boy ("Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)" - The Dixie Chicks). He calmed right down, smiled, and settled in. When I finished, he shifted around until he was comfortable, laid his head down and drifted off. A few minutes later he picked his head back up, pushed himself over so he was snuggled right against me, grabbed my thumb and went back to sleep. It was one of those moments that stops me in my tracks. Even when I think I can't be any more enamored with him, he does something like that, and my heart holds him just a little bit tighter.

Thank goodness we had that time together this afternoon; it offset the madness that was bedtime tonight. That's just how it goes, isn't it?

Friday, December 3, 2010


December 2, 2009

It's Christmastime again, so I've again been listening to "Winter Snow" by Audrey Assad (with Chris Tomlin) a lot. I was just making peas and broccoli for Caleb when it came on. I flashed back to this time last year. I was about 25-ish weeks pregnant, feeling our baby boy jump and flip and kick all the livelong day, listening to the song and thinking about the paradigm shift that pregnancy brought for the season. One year ago I was expectantly hopeful - as the advent hope - of what the following year would bring, and what life would be like for Christmas 2010. I'm listening to the lyrics with the same enlightenment as last year and then some.

You came like a winter snow, quiet and soft and slow

Caleb was born into a focused, calm but determined, dimly lit room (with the exception of my doctor's spotlight). He came out quietly and took his time finding his voice. Even when he did, it was a soft cry and didn't last long before he settled down. And goodness knows it was slow; it took four hours of pushing before he finally joined us.

Falling from the sky in the night to the earth below

It was the middle of the night when he came; 3:27am to be exact. He had ten long fingers and ten long toes, his daddy's eyes and feet, my mouth and chin, and to this day we're not sure whose nose he has. He was a perfect little angel, God's beautiful little boy gifted to us to care after him on this earth.

As I sit here, listening to the song on repeat and hearing "dada" whispered softly on the baby monitor, I feel a renewed kinship with Mary and compassion for God who watched his Son transition from heavenly royalty to helplessness in flesh.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Growing, Growing, Growing

We're only about halfway through month 7 and some of my predictions are already coming true! In the last couple weeks, Caleb:

*Cut his first tooth, and the second is right behind
*Began babbling
*Said his first word ("mama"!!!)
*Started giving "hugs"
*Improved his standing (though it still doesn't last long)
*Learned how to tip his toy box over
*Reached the max height limit for his infant car seat
*Increased his appetite from one cube of baby food to two for each meal

Where did my little baby go???

A few days ago we got a nice jumperoo for a great deal on craigslist. Caleb loves it and is slowly discovering the joy of jumping. Those chubby little legs are ALWAYS kicking. Once he gets more stable on them he'll be a human pogo stick in his jumperoo! We're also picking up an Ergo carrier this week. Sometimes Momma and Daddy need toys, too!

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Greatest Fear

I'm afraid that God will take my husband and son away from me.

There. I said it.

I'm afraid that I love my husband and son more than I love God. I'm afraid that He will take them away from me to teach me a lesson. It's paralyzing.

I recognize that this is not the right perspective to have. God is not a giant bully man with a big stick, waiting around for us to do something that allows Him to beat us with it. He is loving and patient and compassionate and everything else in 1 Corinthians 13. His method of teaching us to love Him more isn't always to take away everything else that we love so that we're forced to love Him first. But maybe sometimes it is. And I'm afraid I will be one of those times.

I wrote last year about having to love Jesus more than I love my son, and how I was struggling with that even before his birth. Now that he's here the struggle has worsened and I find myself wondering whether it's even possible at all. Then I remember Job, and how God took away all of his children (as well as everything else he had) and he praised God anyway. Let's be clear on something: I am no Job. I am failing at loving Him more.

One of my closest friends lost her baby this spring. A full-term baby with no complications during pregnancy or birth. She was a perfect, beautiful baby girl. Except for the fact that she couldn't live and no one knows why. I don't know why my baby lived and hers died. She and her husband are not less loving than we are. They are not worse people. They didn't do anything wrong, didn't make some huge mistake, nothing to warrant their baby dying, but she did. The world I lived in before that was not free of miscarriage or stillbirth or neonatal death. I have other friends who have lost babies to miscarriage, and those losses were equally as tragic. But after this little sweetheart left the earth, I felt it even more deeply than I did the others and my world turned into one where babies die after perfect live births for no apparent reason, which somehow translated into a more realistic view of darkness and unimaginable heartache in a very personal way. Maybe it's because her baby was born just as alive as mine was. I know this mother reads my blog, so let me say to you: God is not punishing you by taking away your baby. And you are not punishing me by allowing me to be part of your grief.

I'm going to be very hypocritical and say that despite what I just wrote to my friend, I am afraid that He will punish me and take my baby away, and maybe my husband too. What does this say about me? Well, perhaps it says that I hold them too tightly. Perhaps I don't trust God enough to give them over to Him and trust Him for protection over them. Perhaps I'm just a big control freak (this is true). Whatever it says, I better take a knee and talk to God about a remedy because this is no way to live or love. I prayed it last October, and I'll pray it again: "God, thank You for giving me these incredible blessings to love, but help me to love You more." And I will continue trying my hardest to mean it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cutest Little Sailor

My Papa Willie never got to meet his great grandson. He loved bodies of water and houseboats, and everything that had to do with bodies of water and houseboats. My Aunt Sandy sent this as a gift for Caleb when he was born. This is a tribute to his Great Grandpa Miller. Is this not the cutest little sailor you've ever seen??

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We're All The Same

I am not a crunchy mom, nor am I completely silky. I consider myself to be somewhat of a hybrid. I use disposable diapers. I've never used formula. I don't co-sleep. I make all of Caleb's baby food. I opted for an epidural when I gave birth to him. We did modified CIO. I love babywearing. I also enjoy pushing him in the stroller or having him ride in the shopping cart (as does he). I breastfeed Caleb throughout the day, but at night he always gets a bottle. We have made these choices because they are the best for our family.

There is a very unfortunate divide between the crunchy and the silky, and in some cases, the categories argue amongst themselves. We're all mommas here. We're all making the best decisions for our children and our families as we see fit. Each and every parent reserves the right to make the best decision that applies to their specific circumstance. Do I agree with every decision another parent makes? No. Do I respect that they are making very loving decisions and caring for their infant to the best of their ability? Absolutely! Just because I might not do something the same way another mom would doesn't make me right and her wrong, or vice versa. The thing about raising children is that in most cases, there is no clear, conclusive "right" answer. The only time I truly take issue with how someone cares for their baby is when his or her health is endangered. Other than that, the choice someone makes about how their baby is produced, fed, carried, and cleaned is none of my business. The decisions we make do not make us superior to one another.

The bottom line is that we're all mothers, we all love our babies, and we all want what we believe is best for them. We should be able to share our methods and approaches to childrearing without fear of being raked over the coals. Let's set aside our respective textures and support one another, shall we?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Best Buddies

I love my boys.

What Do You Do All Day?

People often ask what I do all day. The honest answer? I'm not really sure. At the end of the day I know I've been busy but can't always recall exactly what I was busy with. I do know that my days typically include some measure of housecleaning, lots of playtime with the baby, an outing (errands, a walk, a playdate, etc.) and almost always a shower. Almost. For those who question how much work an at-home mom really does, this article answers it better than I ever could (click on it to enlarge):

For real. EVERYthing takes longer with a baby. For example, when someone is preparing to leave the house without kid(s) in tow, all she has to do is put on shoes and maybe a jacket, grab her purse and keys and she's off. When I'm preparing to leave, I have to: restock the diaper bag; make sure Caleb doesn't need a diaper change; change his diaper if dirty (and occasionally his clothes if the diaper leaked); fill up my water bottle and grab a snack (breastfeeding momma = needing water and a snack with me at all times); get him in his car seat; get my shoes and coat on; haul the car seat to the car and get him secured (though lately he's so heavy I just leave the carseat in the car and buckle him in there); go back inside to grab all my stuff; and then I'm ready to go. Leaving the house can be up to a 15 minute process. Until the weather really gets cold, I often forgo a jacket because I work up a sweat just getting stuff (read: the baby) ready. As Carolyn said, everything just takes longer.

I am the keeper of our house. I do all the cleaning, cooking and maintaining of our home. This is part of the job description that I very willingly took on. I enjoy staying home to care for our son and keep our home. No, I LOVE it. However, like getting ready to leave, cleaning the house takes longer with an infant. I wrote about our daily schedule yesterday. There are two 2 hour blocks of time when Caleb naps. He doesn't always know that, so there are times that I'm cleaning while he's awake. I don't mind being interrupted to get on the floor and play, or wipe away his spit up, or pick him up and soothe him if he's feeling lonely. It just means that everything takes longer. He much prefers to be in the same room with me when he's up. Lately he enjoys hanging out in the kitchen with me, sitting in his high chair with a toy while I do the dishes. When I do laundry during his waketime, I bring the basket and baby upstairs and put him on the bed to play while I put our clothes away. I try to do all my chores during naptime so that he can have all my attention during his waketimes. I feel guilty when it doesn't work that way, but that's just the way it goes sometimes so I make an effort to incorporate him into whatever I'm doing.

What does it all boil down to? Flexibility. If you are too rigid and can't be flexible, you're going to have a very hard time as a parent.

For example, right now is mid-naptime for Caleb. He's had trouble breathing through his nose due to a bad cold, which has made for difficulty sleeping both during the day and at night. He's awake and refusing to go back to sleep, which means I don't get to shower when I planned, which means we won't be running errands when I planned. See? Flexibility.

(Addendum: Half an hour after writing that last bit I finally got him back to sleep. I'll get that shower after all but won't have time to dry my hair. My second point: Parenting is also about celebrating the simple luxuries.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

6 Months

6 month stats: 21lb 4oz (90%), 28in (92%)

(Caleb is technically 7 months now but only by a few days, so I'm posting as if he's still 6.)

Six months old. Half a year. Six beautiful months with the most incredible baby boy. I cannot express enough how much I love being this little six month old boy's momma! This month has been a full one.

Solids. This is the biggest change this month! Up until now, Caleb has been exclusively breastfed. Well, he gets a bottle from Daddy every night before bed, but it's milk that I pumped, so I consider him exclusively breastfed. Part of me was sad that he already reached this stage, but a bigger part was excited to see what he thought of all the new flavors and textures. He gets a meal of cereal in the morning and another of fruits or veggies in the evening. We started out with rice cereal per his pediatrician's recommendation. Lowest risk of allergy, easiest on the tummy for the first food.

(first time with cereal)

So far, we've discovered that he likes carrots and avocados, loves butternut squash and peas, hates sweet potatoes, and is starting to like bananas.

(yucky sweet potatoes)

(yummy avocado)

Limited mobility. Caleb can't crawl yet, but he's working on the tools to get there. (Not that Momma is complaining; I'm relishing the ease of life with a mostly immobile baby.) This month he started doing big push-ups. Then he learned how to get his knees up underneath him, then got up on his knees and elbows at the same time, and now occasionally gets up on all fours. He stays in place during all this. However, he can really get around by spinning around on his tummy. He uses his arms to twist himself around. After enough 360's he is able to get to the place he was reaching for. I suspect he'll be army crawling in another week or two.

"Talking." We aren't to the point yet where Caleb makes distinguishable syllables, but he loves to "talk" and exercise his vocal chords. He has quite the range, from squeals that only dogs could hear to low gutteral grunts. He mostly uses vowel combinations but also favors soft consonants; "ffffff", "bbbbbb", "pppppp." Jonathan and I especially get a kick out of his latest trick, a motorboat sound by exhaling and rolling a "b" with his lips. I often hear him after he wakes up or when he's supposed to be falling asleep, rolling around and playing in his crib, doing his motorboat impression.

Caleb perfected his whine this month. The first few times I thought it was cute, but it got old really fast. He also uses his voice to express himself through yelling. If you take away a toy he's enjoying, you may well be shouted at. If he's having lots of fun during playtime on his blanket, he might let out a happy holler. Within the last few weeks especially, he is really letting loose with the vocals.

Lately I've been working with him on "Mama" and "Dada." Jonathan and I use these names around him frequently. When I say them to Caleb, he usually gets a big grin, kicking and flailing with excitement. He sometimes focuses on my mouth as I slowly say them, touching my lips and moving his along with me. I've also started baby sign language. The two we're practicing first are "more" and "all done." He hasn't tried to mimic me yet, but loves it when I sign. (Well, really, he loves it when we do anything with our hands.)

Other developments. We've had Caleb on a schedule since he was 5 weeks old. He thrives on his schedule (definitely takes after his momma!), and I love the predictability and stability it brings to my days. We have flexibility within our schedule and never make Caleb suffer for the sake of the clock. He has gradually been able to go longer between feedings. In the last week or two he's transitioned to a four hour schedule. This is the outline of what our days look like:

8am - Wake, eat, play
9am - Solids (cereal)
9:30am - Bathtime
10am - Nap
12pm - Wake, eat, play
2pm - Nap
4pm - Wake, eat, play
5:30/6pm - Catnap if needed
7pm - Solids (veggies or fruit)
7:30pm - Begin getting ready for bed
7:45pm - Bottle with Daddy
8pm - Bedtime

We are not blind to how blessed we are by Caleb's ability to sleep through the night. He started sleeping 5 hour stretches at 2 weeks old. By 5 weeks he was sleeping 8 hours at night. By 4-5 months he was at 11 consecutive hours. Then we went on vacation for a week at the end of September. Since then, he's been waking up in the night. We're trying a few different things to get him back to his 12 hour nights.

We heard Caleb laugh for the first time around 3 months. Month 6 has brought more laughing and, if possible, even more smiles. Tickling him is usually a surefire way to get him to laugh, but sometimes all it takes is a funny face or silly noise. I gotta say, he has a wonderfully contagious laugh. (I'm working on getting a video of it to upload.)

There is plenty more I could say. Caleb will reach for us now when we're picking him up or taking him from someone else. He's learning about playing games (his favorite is peekaboo, he loves it when I hide and pop up from behind the couch or his crib). He's figuring out the concept of cause-and-effect. He understands object permanence, which leads to the occasional separation anxiety. He sits extremely well unassisted (though eventually topples over, and laughs about it). He isn't very into standing but we're working on that. He grabs his feet as soon as I lay him down for a diaper change. He reaches out to feel everything he sees. He loves bathtime and splashes water all over the bathroom with his vigorous kicking. When we clap he holds onto our hands so he can clap with us.

All in all, he is a thriving, happy, intelligent, incredibly amusing six month old baby boy. He brings unending joy to our lives. Somehow, it just seems to get better every month. My predictions for month 7 include crawling, clapping, assisted standing, possibly his first tooth, and maybe even "Mama" and/or "Dada."

Catching Up

I had big plans for my blog after Caleb was born. I was going to write about all the new things he did, all the things that Jonathan and I thought were so newsworthy and the rest of the world would probably find borderline mundane. Then life took over, I blinked, and seven months went by with nary an update. I really wanted to begin with Caleb's birth story and have all my posts in chronological order. However, I never "found the time" to write out his birth story, and everything following was put therefore put on hold. Consequently, I have no written record of his development over the past seven months. I've resolved to throw my original plan out the window and begin writing as I have time, about whatever I can remember. Maybe someday I'll organize it into a journal. If not, at least I'll have something.

So, seven months. I can hardly believe I have a seven-month-old baby. That sounds so much older to me than six! I think that's because he's now into the second half of his first year. A friend of mine has a boy who's three days older than Caleb. She wrote on her blog that he's now closer to being a one-year-old than a newborn. That's exactly it.

I can't tell you how often I sit back and think, 'I can't believe this is my baby.' I've held other people's babies, and I've handed them back. I didn't know what was best for them. I wasn't their primary caretaker. I couldn't decipher their different cries, didn't know what time they went down for naps, didn't know the tricks for making them smile or laugh. But, this one is mine. I know his schedule. I designed it with him. I know what his different cries mean. I know his tickle spots, the noises that make him smile and squeal with delight. I know what his favorite toys are, how he prefers to be held, the difference between yelling because he wants something and yelling just to hear his own voice. When I hold him, I don't have to give him back.

There have been some challenging moments over the last seven months, but none of them compare to the fun ones, the exciting ones, the melt-me-into-a-puddle ones. The next several posts will highlight some of those moments and hopefully catch you up on who our son is and what life has been like for us. His Daddy and I count ourselves the luckiest people on earth that God has chosen us to parent this little man. It's an awesome responsibility.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

So sorry for neglecting you. I think of you often. I hope to rendezvous again soon, and frequently.

All my love,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Caleb's birth story (and lots more) is coming this week, but for now, I have to share my sweet boy's contagious little smile:

I can't believe how much I love this little boy!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


No, I am not 47 weeks pregnant. I just haven't blogged in 7 weeks. Here's why:

Every night I look back on the day and wonder how it went by so fast. It's the best kind of busy I've ever been though. I'll be setting aside some time soon to write about the experience that brought our son into the world. And an experience it was!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Just Another Day

After months of waiting, March 20th - the date that's been engrained in our heads since our first ultrasound in July - has come. And gone. It's funny how significant the date was leading up to it, but once we got to it and knew that that particular number, 3/20/2010, held no magical labor-inducing qualities, it was just another day. Today finds me officially "past due" but I don't really have any qualms about it. I'm almost always uncomfortable, it's increasingly difficult to sleep at night and I struggle with being patient. However, it's important to both Jonathan and I that Baby Boy comes on his own. We really don't want an induction and are willing to wait longer than we'd like in order to avoid that.

In the meantime, we're relaxing together and enjoying our last little bit of time as just us. We go on walks, out on dates once or twice a week, and watch movies snuggled up on the couch. We talk about how we think labor might go, how we'll spend the three weeks of leave he's taking from work and what we think life will be like with our son. We're both so anxious to meet him but also very much at peace with waiting on his arrival. He's not even here yet, but somehow he's already teaching us about selfless love.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Baby showers.... check.
Birthing classes.... check.
Set up nursery.... check.
Wash baby clothes/bedding/blankets.... check.
Choose a name.... check.
Pack bags.... check.
Clean house.... check. And check. And check. And check... etc.

There are many more preparations we've made in addition to this list. In short, we are totally and completely ready for this little boy to make his entrance. Apparently he is not quite there yet. That's ok... just as long as he gets there fast! Today marks t-minus 4 days until the due date. I've reminded him frequently of this date. If he refuses to cooperate, he will be served an official eviction notice. It's been my absolute privilege to carry him the last (nearly) 40 weeks, but at this point I would much rather have him in my arms than my uterus!

Little Man's Room

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Olympic Events

In honor of the 2010 Olympics, I've decided to list the events in which I'd like to compete:

*Knuckle cracking
*Full-body-joint cracking (equivalent of skiing Super-G)
*Number of freckles per one arm
*Feline conversation (Tigerlily totally knows what I'm saying to her.)
*Starting out at the back of a pack of cars, and ending up out front (timed event)
*Parallel parking
*Height of heels able to walk in (ineligible until post-March 2010)
*Distance spitting (my daddy taught me well!)
*Marathon shopping
*Knowledge of Friends episodes

Monday, February 8, 2010

Life Is Changing

Baby boy is continuing to grow... and grow... and grow! He is healthy and looking absolutely perfect so far. At our appointment last week, my OB measured him 3 weeks behind so she ordered an ultrasound to make sure his growth is looking good. He must have been positioned funny because he weighs about 5 lbs 9 oz, about a week ahead of his gestational age. We weren't supposed to get any ultrasounds after 20 weeks unless something was wrong, so this was a blessing for sure! We were thrilled to get a peek at him again after 14 weeks of wondering what he looks like and how he's changed. I was completely captivated as soon as she started the ultrasound, as I watched him opening and closing his mouth, playing with his tongue, heaving a big sigh, wiggling his arms and legs which he had scrunched up against his body. He is so cute! 6 weeks had been feeling like hardly any time with all we have left to do, but after seeing him again, it suddenly feels like way too long. All I want to do is meet and snuggle my little guy.

Here he is with his mouth open (his tongue is that little round spot at the back of his lips):

His profile with mouth closed:

Sleepy little eye:

Arm tucked in:

And leg tucked in:

Jonathan and I have been talking about things we want to do this summer. Already it seems so natural to think about the logistics of going places and doing things with an infant. It's fun to see how excited he is about going on hikes while carrying his son in the front pack; taking walks around the lake with the stroller; going to parks and beaches with our little guy. All things we've done before, but all things that will seem brand new with our baby along with us. Life will undoubtedly be different for us but we are not sorry at all for the things we'll be giving up. It's a new kind of life for us and I can't imagine it will be anything less than better.