Sunday, August 29, 2010

State Fair 2010 Update

2010 results letter.

So it happened this past week - I received my letter back from the State Fair of Texas regarding my photo submissions. You will remember my mother mailed them off for me the week before the Little Man was born. I told you about which photos I entered and why here.

And, you will remember last year I received a blue ribbon and a tenth place showing for the two entries, chosen by you. This year I chose two entries myself, largely based on my own likes and dislikes in my photo taking but also based on the feedback I received during last year's excitement.

Sunflower 1
This year's State Fair of Texas 4th Place Photo in the "Flora-close-up" category.

This year, both of the photos I entered into competition received a ribbon - they both placed 4th, also known as "Honorable Mention", in their respective category. Both photos will be on display at the 2010 State Fair of Texas.

The butterfly photo, entered in the very competitive "insect" division.
By writing that sentence, I feel I am now a character in a Christopher Guest movie.
But I digress.

This part - having two photos on display - two photos that received ribbons (only photos that receive ribbons are displayed, to be fair, at the fair. Heh heh) - is the exciting part. And, especially to have the butterfly photo place at all is a real honor. Heck, the whole darn thing should be exciting! But, after last year's euphoria, it's just not the same excitement for me this year. First, it's not the first year. Second, it's not a beginner's luck blue ribbon. And, I think the lack of overall excitement is understandable. It's not brand new. I didn't hype it here on the blog day in and day out. (Heck, I'm not hyping ANYTHING on the blog here day in and day out, am I? Hee hee.) I'm not getting enough sleep these days. My mind is preoccupied on one little boy. But, sister, I'm going to have TWO photos on display at the fair and that's nothing to sneeze at - it's a real honor. I am sure once it sinks in and I see them on display it'll be wham-bang exciting all over again. But for now, I am thrilled to have placed and that's about all I can muster.

That said, I did want to tell you all about it, and I hope if you're taking a meander through the fairgrounds you'll look them up. I appreciate all your encouragement of my crazy little photography habit now and forever!

Of course, when we get to the fair - and we'll be going to the fair - S can't wait to take LM to have his photo taken with Big Tex - when we get to the fair, we'll take photos of the photos and I'll blog about it here. Until then...see you soon!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Three Weeks Old

I have other things to tell you about that happened during his first three weeks of life, but I figure if I don't jump to the present I might be reporting on his first birthday when he is 16. My goal is to back-fill the other information as I can but try to stay up to date as much as possible going forward. We'll see how that goes! I am already a few days behind my plan with this post, but that was mainly due to the time it took to upload my photos...the new camera photo files are enormous! We will have to find a new way to upload/resize/something to streamline that process. we go:

One week old, lying on Nana's quilt.

The Little Man (or LM for short) turned three weeks old on Friday. It seems impossible he has been here for three weeks and impossible he has been here for ONLY three weeks. Life is not the same. Every day is an adventure and I am so thankful for this time with him.

This last week, S was home as well with us and will be here next week too. It's been just wonderful having this time as a family. My dad and Torchy left the week before that. They were such a huge help to us while they were here. S's mom came for two days to sit with us and was also a tremendous help. My mom arrives back in town on Saturday, and I am also looking forward to her return. This is a definitely a time when you want family help nearby!

LM and S when he was one week old.

At this point in his three week little life, he is generally a mellow baby. We have had some days where he seemed gassy or irritable, but they are not the norm, knock on wood. We learned at the pediatrician's office he was 8 pounds, which puts him in the 25th percentile for weight at that age. His head circumference was in the 40th percentile, and his height - 20 5/8 inches (1 and 3/8 longer than at birth) was smack dab at 50%. So, this led the nurse to say he was going to be tall and skinny like his father. Who the heck knows. The doctor checked him out and said he looked great. He has some gunk in his eyes occasionally, which is a normal newborn tear duct malady that should clear up by six months. If it doesn't clear up by then he will need a procedure. But, the doctor showed us what to do to help clear the ducts out and that seems to be working.

Big yawn (being held by Grandpa) at ten days old.

He also had to have the second heel prick test by Texas law. Boy, was that no fun! The nurse has to make his heel bleed and then completely fill five paper circles with his blood. This took forever. No, really, it did. I am not exaggerating or overreacting. It was a LONG process and LM screamed through the whole thing except when he would suck on my finger for a while. Poor little dude. I tried to focus on helping him through it instead of his pain and that helped me through it.

Is that the sweetest 10 day grin you ever did see?
Yes it is. Yes it is.

We scheduled his one month, two month and four month appointments while we were there and they sent us on our way. I guess there is no unpleasantness at the one month appointment, but shots begin at two months. Being a mom is not for the faint of heart!

Ready for his close-up, on Grandma's lap.

Little Man is a good little eater, but takes a long time to eat. The pediatrician felt he was using me as a human pacifier and suggested some new ways to feed to speed up the process. We have introduced the pacifier more as well when he is not feeding so he can suck on something else. Ahem. He seems to really appreciate having the pacifier at times and then at other times is not interested in the least. So time will tell whether he is a pacifier baby or not, I guess. At times when he is gassy, the gripe water seems to help him more than the mylacon, but I guess that could change.

We are also trying to get into more of a rhythm to his eating, awake time and sleeping time. That isn't going the way the book says it should...I am trying to not think I have messed him up already, but that it will take us both a while to figure that out too. In the meantime, we keep trying and we feed him and love him.

Two weeks old on Nana's quilt

Up until now, he has only worn newborn onesies, outfits and pajamas because they are the only things that fit. We had to move up to size one diapers though, because he was peeing out the sides of the newborn ones, no matter where you aimed it in the diaper. Ahem. Size one diapers (And 0-3 month clothes) are still really a bit big but there isn't anything in between! His little newborn pajamas are starting to show signs of being outgrown too...I am so glad he is growing so nicely, but it is sort of sad too - they only stay that little for such a short time! I am trying to drink in this time with him full of memories.

Sweet little kissable bird mouth!

Let's see what else I can tell you about him so far - he likes music a lot - he likes the music on his bouncy seat, and he loves for people to sing to him. Anything. At all. Even when he is fussy, this calms him down immeasurably. In the mornings, when we are awake and alert, (both of us) we have started investigating a couple of rattles and other little toys - just something new and different for him to check out and look at that holds his attention for a while. He also likes fabrics with patterns on them. He is sleeping in the cradle pretty well for naps and at night, which we really didn't start until he reached two weeks, so I feel that is going really well. He does not, however, seem to like to sleep there during the day. We have a ways to go on that one. We will keep trying.

Big eyes - looking much older, I think.

He sleeps one 5-6 hour stretch each night most of the time. One night he even slept for seven hours. I, of course, did not. I woke up in a panic when I realized the time and figured he had stopped breathing or something! He was fine, of course. I guess it is a new mommy rite of passage. I will do it again, don't worry. Anyhoo - this stretch at night coupled with a nap during the day usually keeps me rested enough to not go insane. For the most part. Insanity for the new parent is a relative term. Ahem.

I tried to pose him curled up on this cute bench.
He stretched out too fast...don't worry - I was close enough to catch him!

He likes to be held. He likes to cuddle up next to your neck - your skin - he likes to touch your skin - and will wrap one little arm around your neck and snuggle right up next to you. He does not like to have his hands wrapped in the swaddle at all - so we swaddle "below the armpits" and he seems to appreciate that. He likes to have his hands up near his face and around his mouth pretty much all the time, which, if you will remember, was exactly where they were in the womb. Little Man also likes to be rocked. We don't have a baby swing, but we might be purchasing one in the near future!

Speaking of poses, daddy posed this one...
wifebeater shirt, hands in pants, sitting in the recliner.
That's his boy! And check out the shark shorts!

We have taken a few trips out of the house just to get out - one to eat one night when Little Man was snoozing in his car seat. One time on a fussy day so he would calm down as we drove. Once to Babies R Us to return/purchase supplies. But, mostly we stay home. We focus on the feeding and revolve around his schedule. One day we will get out and about more but that can wait. It's too darn hot out there anyway! A good time to sit at home with a newborn, I'd say!

He is growing right before our eyes!

The other night we Skyped with Dad and Torchy - it was cool to be able to see and talk to one another over the Internet. We hope to get my mom all set up on that as well when she is here next week before she returns to Indy. It will be a fun way to stay in touch and let them see the baby moving and interacting with us. Better than photos! I wanted to bring the Skype call up because I am certain LM recognized dad and Torchy's voices! No kidding...he was VERY asleep when the call began and as soon as he heard them he began to stir. I think he knew who they were. Very sweet.

Three weeks old on Nana's quilt.

Little Man is a sweet boy who has that wonderful new baby smell, makes those precious new baby sounds and is a gift to us. We are enjoying him and are so glad to have him as our son!

See you soon!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

He Has Arrived!

Our boy arrived on July 23, 2010 at 1:11pm. I know it is two weeks and two days later, but hey, it's his original due date, so maybe I'm not too late. Ha! (Or it's days or weeks later and it's just now posting to Facebook. Sorry - I have no control over that.)

He weighed seven pounds, four ounces and was nineteen and one quarter inches long, and that was a little over two weeks early. I think he would have been HUGE had he stayed in there to full term! My blood pressure wasn't having any of that though, so he came out early. And, he came out screaming, which on an early baby is a comforting sound. He had APGAR scores of 8 and 9 so he is a healthy little man. Two days after we left the hospital he was gaining weight. We are working on eating well and it seems to be working. We named him Luke and he is perfect. Here are some photos from his birth day - who knows when I'll get further than this in the photos:

Maybe the last photo of just the TWO of us.

S in scrubs, about to become a dad.
Self portrait.

Me in the operating room, behind the curtain where the rest of my body laid.

As you know, I had to have a c-section because of a previous surgery I had two years ago. I learned after the fact that the doctor that delivered the baby confirmed this was the best decision, because at the end of the procedure they did not do a couple of steps they normally perform because of the adhesions from the prior surgery. So it was a good call to go this route. Having a baby by c-section is sort of an out of body experience. They numb you from the chest down with a spinal or epidural. This sort of numbing feels sort of like being numbed at the dentist's office - you can't feel any pain, but you can feel the doctor touching inside your mouth, tugging or drilling. Yep - you can sort of feel the tugging and moving about going on here too...but you can't see anything because the curtain is up. The doctor did call out what was going on the whole time, and told S to stand up and take photos once the baby was most of the way out and screaming at the top of his lungs.

Not for the squeamish...

I know some of you will hate that I posted that photo. Sorry. Just pretend it's on Grey's Anatomy and it's grape jelly. Heh heh. I love that you can see the doctor is smiling during the procedure even behind the mask. He is clearly someone who enjoys his work and was in the moment there with us. Very nice. I know I said I knew I'd get the "boy doctor" and I did, and it all turned out just fine. I actually really liked having him there and through the weekend with us. We learned he is one of the best doctors for a circumcision from the baby nurse, and he was so good and easy to work with as he checked in on me every day. He even wrote orders on day two for the nurses to leave me alone a bit so I could get some rest.


After the Little Man was delivered from my abdomen, S went with him over to the warmer where they weighed him and stamped his feet. The nurse in the OR indicated his feet were large. Who knows. S has large feet and so does my dad, so you know, genetics are on that side for sure. They cleaned him off, gave him his APGAR scores and wrapped him up to come on over and meet me. He screamed through all of this, which as I said before was a comforting sound at this point in the game.

S with the Little Man and me in the operating room.

The nurse said to S, "Take him over to his mama and he will stop crying." So S came over to my head behind the curtain as the doctors continued to work to put me back together. And, sure enough, as soon as I opened my mouth, the Little Man stopped crying. He just looked at me with this overwhelming peace on his little face. He knew immediately who I was. And who S was when he spoke too. It was amazing. We were now parents.

One of the very first photos of just the THREE of us.

Getting acquainted.

Squishy little face.

Daddy and Little Man checking each other out.

We went back to a room for about an hour or so of "recovery" where my meds started to wear off and they made sure we were alright before sending us upstairs to the postpartum floor. We spent time looking at him and reveling in our new found family-hood. The hospital requires "skin on skin" time for much of this period with mother and baby. It best regulates the baby's temperature and gives the baby his first change to breastfeed. It was a very special time for the three of us. Then, it was time to go upstairs to the nursery. We called the grandparents who had been waiting anxiously to see him and told them to meet us upstairs...we were on our way.

Luke in the nursery.

Quite possibly my favorite shot of the day.

Once they brought Luke to the window, the grandparents descended - all four of them - with FOUR cameras. Priceless! You can see we were still hanging there in the hallway too, waiting to go to our room. They didn't get a chance to hold him until an hour or two later in our room, but they got to SEE him here, and boy did they jump at that chance! Grandparents already spoiling him with attention!

Later that evening S's brothers and their families as well as the grandparents got their first shot at holding the boy up close and checking him out. Here are the photos of that time together:

Grandpa Craig




Older cousins Andrew and Alexandra

Aunt Kim and Uncle Mark

Uncle Michael and Aunt Brooke

The new family.

It was a pretty perfect day. It would have only been more perfect if his Indiana Aunts and Uncles and cousins had also been able to all be there to greet him. But, that will have to wait a bit longer!

That night we barely slept. Adrenaline was still in full force. We didn't even calm down to sleep until well after midnight and then the nurses were in all night long checking on me and the Little Man so the next day we were pooped. But we made it. We had several other wonderful visitors while we were in the hospital, which I will do my best to chronicle on another day. For now, this is all I have time for - Little Man is hungry again and I must go!

We are so glad to have him here with us. We cannot fathom, really, that we are a family now. And we have a lot to learn every day. But, it's wonderful. Incredible. Amazing. A fabulous new journey.

See you soon.