Monday, September 30, 2013

Henry's first road trip.

This past weekend we took our little man on his first road trip.

Our destination: Tulsa

Our mission: see as much family in as little amount of time as possible

Day 1: JP headed into work to finish up some last minute things while I fed Henry and assembled all of his necessary items.  I also packed up some snacks and drinks so we only had to stop to feed Henry and not ourselves :) JP made it home and we packed our car in record time.  We pulled out of our driveway at 1:20 pm.  Our goal was to make it the whole way to Tulsa (normally a 7-8 hour drive), but we told ourselves we would stop whenever we needed to.  We stopped at the famous Buc-ee's in Madisonville for a pit stop and for Henry's feeding #1.  We made it to Dallas in record time, however, Dallas traffic was an absolute nightmare.  We had the brilliant idea of trying to take a different route around the city.  Bad idea.  It took us two hours to go roughly 40 miles from South of Dallas to Plano.  We stopped in Plano for Henry's feeding #2, and ate dinner at In-N-Out Burgers.  We continued our journey into Oklahoma, where we stopped in lovely Atoka, OK for feeding #3 in a wonderful Wal-Mart parking lot.  We pushed it the rest of the way until we got to my parents' house right before midnight.  Whew!  Long day.

So excited to be on the road!

Day 2:  We slept in to recover from our long day #1, then got up to meet JP's family at Zoe's Kitchen.  We then headed to JP's sister's house where Henry met his aunt Kerry and uncle Frank and his cousins, Brandon and Brad.  Later, Henry's aunt Jenny and uncle Marty and cousins Hunter and Cole came over and joined us for dinner.  Of course, Henry put on a show and flirted with all the ladies :)

Henry and his Gramma
Henry & aunt Jenny (or FA for favorite aunt)

Day 3: We had a lazy morning with Henry's Mimi and Papa until uncle Jordan came home from school.

Uncle Jordan feeding Henry

We all watched the Oklahoma State/WVU game until Henry's great-grandmother, my Granny, came over.  Henry LOVED being held by her.  He took two long naps in her arms.  A cold front was blowing through, so Granny rocked him on the porch, covered by a blanket, and he was so cozy.

Henry and his great-grandmother, Granny

Later that afternoon, Henry's great aunt Robin and Leslie came over for dinner.  Henry did so great, talking and smiling as he was passed from person to person.  Then, we watched the Arkansas/Texas A&M game, which didn't end the way we wanted, but we did get to see this fabulous little number:

Day 4: We had another lazy morning, then ate a late breakfast with Mimi and Papa.  We packed everything up again and headed out of Tulsa around 12:30.  We made it almost all the way to the state line, but had to stop in Durant, OK for a feeding and some Braum's fresh-squeezed limeades.  As we crossed into Texas, we welcomed Henry to his home state with a moving rendition of "Deep in the Heart of Texas."  We continued our trek through Texas until we stopped in Fairfield, TX for another feeding.  Henry was wide awake at this point, having slept a lot more than is normal for him during the day.  I sat with him in the back and tried to pre-occupy him as best I could.

Not too thrilled to be back in the car for another 9 hour drive

Around 8:00, when it was dark outside, he sensed that I was trying to shush him to sleep and threw a medium to large sized tantrum.  He cried off and on for about 30 minutes before he crashed.  He woke up right as we were pulling into our neighborhood around 9:00.

Goodness, this weekend absolutely flew by!  While we considered this an extremely successful trip, we also decided we will prrrrrobably be flying next time :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


My name is Megan, and I am a control freak.  Whew!  Glad to get that one off my chest!  I know many of you are clutching your hearts in absolute shock and awe right now, but it's true.

After we got pregnant, I received a lot of recommendations regarding BabyWise.  The idea of BabyWise is so intriguing.  Getting your baby to sleep through the night by 8 weeks?  Seriously?  That sounded absolutely amazing!  It still sounds amazing, although we have passed the 8 week mark without making it 8 hours yet.  After implementing its principles since Henry was born, I have come to both love and hate BabyWise.  I have not disavowed BabyWise; in fact, I'm still following most of its recommendations; however, I am not treating it as the be-all-end-all for Henry's life.

BabyWise IS:

1.  A great resource to help shape your goals and approach to parenting

2.  A great compromise between attachment parenting and strict scheduling

3.  A guide to implementing a routine

4.  A well researched book with lots of data to back up its claims.

BabyWise IS NOT:

1.  A manual or how-to for every scenario that will come up.

2.  A perfect equation where input always results in the desired output.

3.  The only good source on sleep habits.

4.  Necessarily for every child

I began questioning the role of BabyWise in our lives when my husband pointed out that I was very grouchy at Henry's middle of the night feeding.  (I mean, who wouldn't be grumpy?!)  Around 3-4 in the morning, I would hear Henry cry, throw back the covers and give an overly exaggerated sigh of frustration after looking at the clock and seeing that it did not read 7 AM.  Where did this frustration come from?

I also may or may not have consulted my digital copy of BabyWise at 3 in the morning wondering, "Where is the answer for this problem?!"  "How can BabyWise not address this issue?!"  BabyWise was officially on a pedestal that needed a little more gravitational pull.

It is an absolute joy to feed Henry.  I try to cherish these moments because they won't last forever, and it's a special bonding time between just me and him.  Also, I know many women who struggle or just can't produce the milk required to breast feed despite the desire to do so.  Yet it's something that is easy to take for granted.  It's so easy to zone out during that time and not engage with Henry.  Whether it's watching tv or perusing Pinterest, anything that steals my attention away from my precious boy is robbing both of us of one of the great joys of motherhood.  After all, how long will I be able to hold my son's undivided attention?

These past few weeks have been challenging.  I love being needed, but it's not so fun when your child "needs" to fall asleep in your arms every. single. time.  It's not so fun when your child wakes up from his nap after 10 minutes because you are not holding him every. single. time.  I have recently tried really hard to put Henry down at the FIRST sign of sleepiness.  It really does make a world of difference in his fussiness level.  But it also leaves me with less time with him, because he is only awake about 30-45 minutes after his feedings.  Bummer.  I want more play time.

We have also had to "tweak" our schedule a little.  Although I read that a "full" feeding takes 10-15 minutes per breast, if Henry eats that much at each feeding, he will have a projectile spit up later because he has GERD.  Not pretty.

The lesson I have learned in all of this is that my baby does not fit in a box.  I'm sure you think this is a monumental revelation.  I realized that I was putting pressure on my child to meet certain markers because a book told me he should be meeting them.  Dumb.  Really dumb.  Henry is growing well, eating well, sleeping well, progressing well, and meeting all of his developmental milestones.  WHO CARES if it takes him an extra couple of weeks to start "sleeping through the night?"

And he's in the 15% of babies who doesn't sleep 8 hours through the night by 8 weeks...I'm teaching him early not to follow the crowd, right?

The big lesson in all of this is that I desperately want to be a parent that provides an environment for my child to flourish and develop into the unique individual that he is.  I don't want projections of who I think he SHOULD be to overpower the person he was created to be.  I don't want to set him up for a lifetime of feeling like he has to sacrifice himself to please me.  As a do-or-die people pleaser, I know how hard it can be to spend your life in a perpetual merry-go-round, constantly chasing after the unattainable prize of exceeding everyone's expectations.  That is NOT what I want for my child.

So I'm temporarily shelving my copy of BabyWise.  Oh, I'm sure I will still consult it from time to time, but from here on out, I am giving my child the freedom to be his beautiful self.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Henry's 2 month letter

Dear Henry,

I haven't written you a letter since you've been born, so I figured it was about time.  Please excuse my tardiness, we have been quite busy!

You just turned 2 months old, and it is absolutely amazing how much you have changed since that fateful Saturday night when they placed you in my arms.

2 months young!
My sweet boy, just 1 day old

Here are a few little remarks that I want us both to remember.

Week 1: Mommy and Daddy had no idea how much work you would be, but also how quickly we would fall in love with you!  For one whole week, Mommy and Daddy took turns sleeping because you would only sleep in our arms.  You were quite demanding, little one.  You slept anywhere and everywhere for probably 22 hours a day....the other 2 hours you were crying :)

We took a lot of naps like this

Week 2: Daddy went back to work and Mimi came to visit.  Of course Mimi fell in love with you right away.  We settled into a feeding routine, and you were kind enough to start sleeping in 4 hour stretches at night.  We took you for your 2 week check up, and you had exceeded your birth weight by 1 pound!  (I should have known then...)

Papa, Mimi and Uncle Jordan

Week 3: It's you and me against the world, little man.  Daddy's at work, and the rest of the family is gone.  Luckily, we had some yummy meals brought to us so Mommy didn't have to cook.  This was a very sweet time for us, as we were still getting to know one another and settling into our routine.

Some very serious pouting after Mommy tried to give you your vitamin drops

Week 4:  This week, we took you out of the house a lot.  You and I went on our first walk around the neighborhood, we went on our first errands together, and it was your first week going to church.  You usually cooperate pretty well, especially when you're in your stroller.  You have really discovered your hands.  You have a daily "wiggle time" where you stretch and move your arms around.  Mommy and Daddy joke that it looks like you are conducting an orchestra.  This is the week you finally grew out of your newborn clothes and started wearing 0-3 month clothes.

First walk in the stroller

Wiggle Time

Week 5:  You discovered your teddy bears this week.  Mommy started putting you in your swing every morning while I eat breakfast.  There are three little bears that hang down about 8-12 inches above you and you love your bears.  You stare at them while you swing back and forth.  You have learned to track them with your eyes.  I think this is when you do your serious thinking.  You get a very stern look at your face while you look at your bears.

Teddy Bear time
Pouting because Mommy took off your clothes

Week 6:  Mommy gave in and took you to the doctor.  I had been wondering if you might have GERD, because you were not eating and sleeping well.  You would eat for about 5 minutes, and then arch your back and cry hysterically.  You would only sleep for 1-2 hours because you hadn't taken a full feeding.  This was a very exhausting week for both of us.  Your pediatrician agreed and put you on some medicine.  You LOVE your medicine.  It is strawberry flavored, and you lick your lips when you're done.  We checked your weight, and although you hadn't been eating well, we could not tell it by your weight.  You gained 2.5 lbs since your 2 week visit!  Such a big, growing boy!

Flirting with Mommy

Week 7:  You really started smiling this week.  You have been smiling since birth, but usually your smiles indicated Mommy and Daddy were going to get a big surprise in your diaper.  Your smiles are definitely intentional now.  In fact, Mommy and Daddy can usually make you smile, either by talking to you or smiling at you.  You also started "talking" a lot.  You're not exactly babbling, only making vowel sounds.  Lots of oooooohs and aaaaaahs.  We have little conversations where you answer me when I talk to you.  I'm so curious to know what it is you're trying to communicate!

Cheesin' it up

Week 8:  We started cry-it-out.  Mommy received some encouragement that you were probably old enough to start soothing yourself to sleep.  You would cry and cry in your bed until Mommy picked you up.  Sometimes you would even learned how to manipulate Mommy very early, little toot.  This was really hard for Mommy.  You cried for an hour twice on the first day.  Mommy just laid on the couch and tried not to cry.  It was so hard for me to not run into your room and pick you up.  You are learning very quickly, and you are now going to sleep after only 5-10 minutes of crying.  You are taking longer naps and your awake times are becoming very productive.  It is so interesting to see you interact with the world around you.  We bought you your first stuffed animal, Tigger, after getting your 2 month vaccinations.  You LOVE Tigger.  You talk to him, smile at him.  You track him with your eyes, and reach for him to touch his fur.  He is definitely your favorite toy.  You were very brave when you got your shots!  Mommy hated to hear you cry, but it's important to get your shots so you don't get sick with bad diseases.  We checked your weight again, and you gained 2 lbs in 2 weeks!  You are GINORMOUS!

In your Sunday best.

Tigger time

You are such a joy in our lives, Henry.  No matter what you do, we have nothing but love for you.  We love getting to interact with you as you grow and meet your milestones.  Every day is different, but it keeps getting better and better.  We can't wait to watch you grow and develop your own little personality.


Mommy (and Daddy)

Sunday, September 15, 2013


I have been meditating on this word a lot this week.

Get ready, I'm being pretty transparent today.

The dictionary defines this word in these ways:

1.  adequate for the need or want; sufficient for the purpose or to satisfy desire
2.  sufficiency
3.  in a quantity or degree that answers a purpose
4.  fully
5.  used to express impatience or exasperation

I just can't seem to get enough.  I just can't seem to be enough.

There's not enough time in the day.

I'm not sleeping enough.

Henry's not sleeping enough. (last week)

Henry's not awake enough. (this weekend)

I don't have enough time with Henry.

I don't have enough time with my husband.

I don't have enough time to myself.

My husband doesn't love me enough.

I'm not loving my husband enough.

I'm not a good enough mother.

I'm not enough.

I've been developing this frantic sense of urgency lately.  I feel like time is just slipping through my fingers.  I can remember thinking to myself when Henry was born that 10 weeks at home was going to be an eternity.  It's not.  It's not enough.  I'm confident in my decision to keep working, for a variety of reasons that I won't go into here, but one of the reasons is because no amount of time with Henry will ever be enough.  I can also remember thinking that if I spent all day at home, the house would be spotless, dinner would be a deluxe culinary masterpiece, my hair and makeup would be done, I would catch up on my reading, I would drop my baby weight quickly because I would be working out daily.  Oh, how naive, pre-motherhood Megan.  Most days I'm lucky to get to shower and brush my teeth.  I can't keep up.  I have fallen victim to the clock. 

In my feelings of inadequacy that I am not doing enough--enough around the house, enough in my marriage, enough work, enough mothering, enough exercise--I find that I need more and more of my husband to where he can never possibly be enough.


Today in Life Bible Study we discussed pursuing peace and avoiding bitterness.  I admit, a bitter seed has been planted in my soul.  And I'm saying enough!

The bottom line is that only my Father God, my Lord, my Savior, my Provider, is enough.  Only He can complete me, only He can define me.  I'm directing my prayers to Jehovah Jireh, Yahweh Yireh, which means the Lord who provides.  I'm doing a study on the names of God, which has been a very powerful way for God to reveal more of His character to me.  I highly recommend it.  The book is called Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler.  

My deepest, most fervent prayer is that He would provide.  Because Lord knows I can't do it.

That's enough for now.  (Sorry I couldn't resist.)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Guide to postpartum living.

So, I think I know around 20 people that are pregnant.  No joke.  If this post helps anybody at all, then I feel that I have accomplished something.  Let me say that I am an information gatherer.  Most of the time, however, I don't do anything with this information.  I pinned so many things regarding pregnancy and hospital bags and how to prepare for a baby, but I honestly didn't read much of it.  I read a lot of blogs and how-to's, but didn't find any of them super helpful.  So, if you are an information gatherer like me, add this to your list of to-do's that probably won't get done.  Despite all of my attempts at preparation, honestly nothing matches the experience of just going through it.

Ok, first and foremost, if you are a first time mama, and it is really important to you to look cute in your going home outfit, I give you two claps for your effort.  Honestly, the thought never even crossed my mind.  I did, however, bring some really comfy, stretchy jersey-ish material pants, which I highly recommend.  Word to the wise: those first few days they will give you ginormous pads that may as well be diapers.  Here's a hint: if you wear pants home that are somewhat clingy, you will LOOK like you have a diaper on.  Don't say you haven't been warned.

For those first few days after delivery, I highly highly recommend witch hazel pads.  I was sent home with a big container, and I used these religiously.  I could tell a huge difference between the days that I used them and the days that I just plain forgot.  I was also sent home with a spray bottle of benzocaine numbing spray that was a life saver when I was hurting and didn't want to take a Motrin, and also helpful for that nagging itchy feeling you get when you're healing.

This is what I was given in the hospital.  If you buy witch hazel pads OTC, they will probably be labeled as hemorrhoid relief, but they are good for more than hemorrhoids, trust me.

One of the most exquisitely painful things is breastfeeding...only initially.  Once you reach the bottom of the pit where you think it is as bad as it can get, you are right, and it starts to get better.  The Little Engine That Could will be your new mantra..."I think I can, I think I can."  My best friend during this time was lanolin cream and some gel cold packs.  I am hopeful that the second time around, this might be easier...can I get some affirmation from second time mamas?

I went with Medela because that was the brand of my pump, and I am weird about things matching, but any brand is probably fine.

Invest in good nursing wear.  This list should include 3-4 nursing bras and lots of nursing tops.  FYI, there will be some leakage that occurs, so unless you want to do laundry every day, or smell like breast milk all the time, invest in 3-4 of every nursing clothing item.  I initially only bought a few nursing tops, because I honestly thought they were ridiculous, but when you nurse 8-10 times per day, you get tired of pulling your shirt down, and taking your shirt off or having various parts of your body exposed unnecessarily.  My go-to is a nursing camisole.  I usually wear this with Nike shorts on bottom and if I am expecting company or going out in public, I can just throw a t-shirt on over the cami.  I promised myself I would never be a mom that wore work-out clothes out in public unless I was on my way to the gym, or had worked out in some capacity that day.  Let's just say this is one of many promises I have broken to myself.

Sleeveless Clip Down Double Opening Nursing Cami
I bought several of these from Motherhood Maternity in various colors.  I managed to get a 3-for-1 sale, so watch for that!

Clean yourself.  To be perfectly honest, there were days I went without showering or washing my face.  Gross.  I felt gross, my mood was gross, I'm sure I smelled gross.  I discovered that even if I just jumped in the shower for a 2 minute rinse, I felt so much better.  Most days, I just washed my hair, maybe halfway blow-dried it and threw it back up in a pony-tail.  Shara, if you happen to read this, don't judge me.

Get out of the house.  Although I was restricted from exercising, I was allowed to take a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood.  After Henry was 2 weeks old, I took him in his stroller for a 20-30 minute walk.  Just seeing the blue sky and getting my daily dose of sunlight did wonders.  It was so refreshing to get a change of scenery.

Go on a date night!  Hopefully you have great friends and family like us, who offer to watch your little one so you can re-connect.  I think the sooner, the better.  JP and I went on a date night between 1-2 weeks after Henry was born.  It was hard to leave Henry, but I think it would have been harder if we had waited longer.  Although we spent almost the whole time talking about Henry, it was so nice for JP and I to have a quiet moment and not worry about Henry might be needing.  These days, it is getting increasingly more rare to have an uninterrupted meal together.

I highly recommend BabyWise.  This is not a "cry it out" method, nor a strict schedule.  In fact, I find that there are a just a few golden rules to live by, and the rest comes naturally to your little one.  So far, we are 7 weeks in, and Henry is only feeding once at night and sleeps for 5 hour stretches.  I can't tell you how much stability this has given to our family.  Henry is thriving, gaining weight well, and sleeping well.  JP and I are rested and can plan our days around Henry's feeding schedule.

You don't have to read the whole thing, but I recommend skimming the parts that apply to you.

The only product I would absolutely recommend is the Graco Rock-n-play.  For the first 5 weeks of Henry's life, we put him flat on his back (Back is best!) when he was sleeping, either in his pack-n-play or in his cradle.  About 4-5 weeks, he developed a bad case of GERD, and became very fussy and restless in his sleep.  We have noticed a huge improvement in his sleep since investing in the Rock-n-play.  It is super lightweight, so we can easily lug it up and down the stairs if need be.  It is pretty well inclined, I would guess 20-30 degrees, so that he doesn't spit up or gag after feedings.

This is a life saver for babies with reflux.  

This pretty much sums up what I found to be the bare necessities during the first few weeks.  I keep marveling at the fact that one moment can change your life forever.  Thanks Henry, for giving me the previous gift of being your mama for the rest of our lives.    

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Progression of Henry.

And now for your viewing pleasure, a 6 week progression of Henry.  It's so hard to believe that he is 6 weeks old!  I am really having a hard time with the fact that he cannot wear his newborn clothes anymore.  We packed them up this past week to make room for his 0-3 month clothes and it was so sad to think that he'll never be able to wear them anymore.  Time really does fly!

1 week old

2 weeks old

3 weeks old

4 weeks old

5 weeks old

6 weeks old