Thursday, October 21, 2010

Twelve Weeks Old

It's hard to believe my baby was twelve weeks old last Friday! Almost three months! Barely yet a "newborn". And still a bundle of love! Here is the next post on our progress. To catch up on the last post, click here.


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Ten weeks old on Nana's quilt.

He sleeps in his crib during the day now! Success! Nice long naps, easy to go down, etc. He is still sometimes fussy before he goes to sleep, but not for long. He prefers, however to sleep on his tummy, which they will not allow until he turns over for himself at daycare... so he will have to adapt.

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I love this one.

One thing I sometimes do is make a "ohhh, so sad" sound to console him when he cries and let him know I feel for him. One day during week ten S tried to mimic this action while I was in the other room. He, however, did it so loudly in a falsetto voice that it sounded like pterodactyls had landed in our den. If Little Man had WANTED to sleep, there is no way it would have happened. I have to give him a big ol' A for effort, but it made me CRACK UP in the other room.


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In an outfit from his Great Great Aunt Jeannie.

Little Man has also increased his love of little toys. He likes to suck on Sophie the giraffe's head. He likes to "hold" the toys, and bring them close to his mouth if he actually gets a good grip. One "toy" that is easy for him to capture is a silk handkerchief. We have a set of these from my cousin Candy, who knows a thing or two about little boys with two herself. He can easily grab one of those and shake it all around. He likes that a lot.


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REALLY excited about camo day.
Or camo moment until the next blowout.

He has increased his drooling, and his waist size. Of course, three month old babies are some of the rolliest, polliest around, since they eat but still don't move around too much. He fits into this category. We will baptize him this weekend, and the outfit will just fit.

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"Participating" in cousin Sophia's baptism...
I'll tell you more about that one day on the blog...

A little about my state of being. I love being a mom. But, it has its lifestyle changes. I no longer have pretty toes. Thank goodness cooler weather is upon us! The downside to that, however, is that my feet grew while pregnant just enough that all my shoes are a tad uncomfortable. I am trying to find some replacements, but as of this writing have only tennis shoes and black loafers to my name that fit. Before it got colder, I could sneak wearing the sandals in my closet, since my toes stuck out. It limits the number of outfits I can wear to work because I don't have shoes to match!

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Eleven weeks on Nana's quilt.

Also, I spend a great deal of time feeding the boy. Now that I am back at work, I take two short breaks a day to pump out food for the boy. I tried breastfeeding to see how it would go. It was HARD, sister, at first. Very, very hard. And, another downside is it is all on you, pretty much, to wake with the babe at all hours to feed him. But, it has worked out for us and it is now so easy to feed him. No bottles to make or warm. (Until this week...) And I have managed to make an abundant supply for him. And, I have to say, I enjoy it. I really do. It is a special thing that I can do to feed my baby. It gives me "downtime" each day (and night...ahem) to spend with him and bond. Or, if he is semi-sleeping, to catch up on my emails or read a book. I have to say when I think about the day when I no longer breastfeed this baby, it makes me sad! It will be hard to give it up. It has turned out to be a wonderful thing for us. And now I am trying to make the transition to working, pumping mom. Pumping is not the most fun thing to do at work. We'll see how it goes - I hope it continues to be a blessing.


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While in Indiana...I'll tell you about that on another day right here.
Great trip.

Speaking of reading, my bookshelf has made a few changes. I've read Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, two books on being a working, breastfeeding mother. (One, called the Milk Memos, I highly recommend to anyone in this boat.) I have also read Get Me Out, a history of childbirth through the ages, Anne Lamott's journal of her son's first year called Operating Instructions, and numerous books on raising your child up right. I am sure it will ensure I still screw my kid up just as much as the next person.

So far being back at work has been good. I really enjoy being back and the work that I do. I enjoy the people I work with and the environment. Heck, I even enjoy not being quite as physically tired as you are after being with a baby all day. But of course I miss said baby terribly. I'm so glad to see him at the end of the day, and I think he's glad to see me too. He's such a sweet boy and such a blessing to me. And I am sure the eternal balance every working mom searches for will get better for me. We will find our rhythm and it will be alright. It's been so nice for my mom to be here to help with the transition. This first week he has been at home with her. Next week we ramp up to daycare. I am pleased with the care we have found for him, and I know it will be a good experience for him. He will love it. Mama will have to adapt...


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He is pushing up that head big time now!

Let's see - more about the boy. He is trying so hard to sit up. Seriously - he pulls up with his stomach muscles. He can't do it, but he wants to do it SO BAD. And when he has tummy time he moves those legs so fast - once he can figure out how to go, WATCH OUT! He'll be GONE!


twelve weeks
Twelve weeks on Nana's quilt.

He talks and coos even more these days. And my mom says he even did a belly laugh this week. (A week thirteen accomplishment...) I can't wait to hear that one. He still loves blinds and ceiling fans and his mobile. He now also likes the "aquarium" in his crib, though, and looking intently at new objects. He still likes music and movement and snuggles.


one week to twelve weeks
As requested, one week and twelve week collage.

As I mentioned, we will baptize him this weekend, and he will also cross over the threshold of three months, out of newborn baby land and into just being my sweet infant son. I love him to pieces. I'll tell you more about all of those accomplishments another time...when I have a moment to sit down at the computer and type.

See you soon.

Friday, October 8, 2010

An Absurd Proposition

While we are in Indy soaking up all the Midwestern hospitality we can muster, I thought you might like to see what we did last week with our Dallas cousins. Last week's adventure in absurdity was to take all five Dallas cousins - all under the age of three, three of them under five months - to the Dallas Arboretum for a photo shoot. Yea. Uh-huh. We did. And here are the photos to prove it.

I should first say that LM and I were late to the party, which probably increased the irritability of the older two when we got to the "all five" photos. I was doing good. We were up on time. We had everything near the door. I didn't put his sweater on him right away to prevent it going the way of so many outfits - worn only a few moments before ruined by spit up or poop. We headed out, only to be about five minutes late, which I would have called a wash. But, then, as I arrived at the Arboretum, I realized the one thing I forgot - LM's sweater - because I left it near the changing table to put on at the last minute. So we had to drive back home to get it. Thus, we were about thirty minutes late. To entertain the kids, and because they are so cute, they took some photos of the older ones while waiting on me. So...by the time we got to the group shot, they had already had enough, and it was pretty much all my fault.

LM, on the other hand, seemed quite content during the entire shoot. Each of the other children had their own little meltdown or just didn't feel like minding, but Little Man sat there, belly out for the world to see, completely content. Next time, one of the others will be the content one and Little Man will scream his head off, I am sure.

I should say, before we get going here, that the weather was FABULOUS this day. And it has been fabulous for a while now here in Dallas. And we are loving it. Makes all those 100 degree days worth it. OK, maybe not. But, we'll take it.


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One of the "good" ones.

There are the five children in question. Big Alexandra, rear, was DONE with photos. Cutie pie Andrew, foreground, found the Arboretum to be a very interesting place indeed and wanted to explore it. Forget sitting down for photos! The two babies that are near the Little Man both felt irritable about being placed on a pile of pumpkins. No one - NOT ONE is really looking at the camera.


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Reposition. Reposition.


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Reposition. Comfort. Reposition.
Notice LM over there. Like Buddha with that belly.


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Oh yes, MUCH better. Right.
And with shadows.


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And with ever more irritable children.


The shadows are my fault. I wanted us to try a sunny location. It just wasn't working out, though, in oh so many ways. However, the three mommies were undaunted by this turn of events! We moved the children to a shady place and tried again.


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Only we didn't get too far.
Check out LM checking out Kate. Or Kate's Mommy. Funny.


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Priceless. But not in a GOOD way...


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Meanwhile...well, you get the picture, don't you!
Even though we did NOT get THE picture. Ha!


Some more from that day:

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Katherine and Little Man.
Little Man is showing some concern about something.


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Then, this is funny.
When Kate would cry, LM started doing this.
I'm not kidding.


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Katherine, saying, "Peace out!"


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The three babies again.
Why does my son look like he uses eyebrow pencil?


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All this picture taking can wear a boy out!


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One more attempt at the three baby photo.
Sophia was not feeling it. LM was still chillin'.


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Will you LOOK at that BELLY!


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You thought we gave up?
Um, no. We tried AGAIN.


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Yeah. We finally got the message.

So, I am sure we will try this fiasco again. MANY times. But I am not sure we will ever get THE photo we are looking for. But we'll have fun trying.

See you soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Easy Photo Collages!

So long ago I told you about Picnik. You can make photo collages there, some for free. Now I want to tell you about Shape Collage! There is also an absolutely free version of this software too! I was so enamored by it, however, that I paid the one time low price to purchase the full version.

Here is what this software can do - it can take bundles of your photos and turn them into a photo collage. And, that collage can be different shapes - even words. And, if you get the full version, it is fully editable in Photoshop. Here are some examples I threw together in a matter of minutes.

heart collage
The heart collage - one of the shapes available - displays photos from our wedding.


baby collage
This one is a collection of pregnancy photos before LM was born.


first month small file
And this one? Well this one is a bit absurd.

That one includes every photo taken of the Little Man from birth to one month. Absurdity abounds. In the fact we took that many photos. Also that I chose to see if the program would make a collage with over a thousand photos. But, they are all there. Check them out. Ha! I do think, as I am sure you can ascertain, that a few less photos would probably make a more meaningful collage. Ahem.

Here are a couple with only a smattering of photos. These are made with my "favorites" from the newborn photo shoot:

collage circle
If I were really serious about this one, I would space them out a bit more.
This is the "circle" shape.


collage l
Here I told the program to put the photos in an "L" shape.
You know, for Little.

The program allows you to make a high res or low res photo, depending on whether you are planning to print it or post it online, for example. It also has lots of personalized settings for the digital photo guru where you can override the automatic defaults in favor of your own flavor of digital-ness. Me - I go with auto whenever I can. Ha.

Anyhoo, I thought it was a pretty cool little program. Check it out for yourself!

As for me and my baby, we're leaving on a jet plane today. Can't wait to make it to Indy! We'll miss S while we're there, but will be so busy meeting Midwestern relatives, it will keep is preoccupied. And it's a short visit. Wish us luck with the plane flying! I'll tell you about it when we get back and I have a moment to compose.

See you soon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Good-bye, Dear Friend

John with his wife Jennifer and son Jack

Last week we bid farewell to one of the best friends one could ever ask for in this life. And I really cannot do him justice in one blog post, so I am going to just scratch the surface, then enlist his help. S's friend since 2nd grade, John Goldberg, passed out of this life and onto the next. You will know him from this blog in a couple of ways. First, I have asked you to pray for him here and there as he was battling the effects of cystic fibrosis on his body, waited for a lung transplant and then two years later fought rejection of those lungs. Second because once upon a time on this blog we celebrated the anniversary of those lungs being put into his body and the life they were giving him. Third because I wrote about a fundraiser held last January in his family's honor. Then he went through another lung transplant as well as a kidney transplant last May. He never really fully recovered from those surgeries and went to be with the Lord on Friday September 24th. Last Wednesday there was a memorial service in celebration of his life. It was a wonderful service attended by so many people who were touched by John's amazing spirit and gift for being such a wonderful friend.

And what a life it was.

He packed a lifetime of lifetimes into 36 years. There are so many people who don't fill up their days in double that time in the way John was full of life. What an inspiration he was to so many people. What a man of his faith. What a solid, never changing, always fighting, kind, generous and exemplary soul he was. His family is also an amazing group of people - his parents and siblings and his wife and young son. They are so strong and encouraging. They were to John and are to many others. John was such a wonderful friend to my S over the years. And to me too, for the last at least fifteen years of my life. And we miss him already!

At the memorial service, they reprinted an entry John made on his Caring Bridge site last November. I remember reading that entry when he made it with tears running down my face. First because it reminded me how fragile John's life - our lives - this world, really is. Second because it showed the humanity of and bright shining light John was to the world. Third because he spoke so truthfully and honestly to us that day in his writing, and that was just how he was all the time. I want to share what John said with you here, as a testament to him and to the kind of person he was. Here is what John said:

This is John again and I wanted to share something that the Lord has placed on my heart tonight. I am so grateful for my doctors who are working diligently to stabilize my lung functions. Please pray that Dr. Torres, Dr. Blewett, Dr. Rosenblatt, Dr. Da Maio and Dr. Wait would be given wisdom from the Great Physician as they help me fight this rejection.

I want to assure all of you that I am still fighting and will fight till the end of this life but more importantly I wanted to say that no matter what happens God's grace is sufficient, He is faithful and He promises us that he will make our burdens light - we just have to turn to Him and surrender all.

Over the years I have heard people say how inspirational or courageous I am - well the truth is I am a sinner just like everyone else – no different. A sinner who was in need of a Shepherd. That Shepherd, Jesus Christ, left His large flock of sheep to find me when I was lost. And He found me when I was six years old, a little lamb, and has guided me my entire life. I have made plenty of mistakes but that is what sheep do, research a little more about sheep - not that bright. The greatest compliment that I could ever receive in this life would be that I was inspirational because Christ was showing his inspiration through me. That I was courageous because Christ was courageous first. That as a sheep, I did the best I could to follow my Shepherd with faith and obedience knowing that he would protect me and would lay me down in green pastures. Plenty of fresh sweet grass – Sheep love grass. The sheep would lie down at night before falling asleep knowing that they had food in the morning given to them by their Shepherd, Provider and Protector.

I love all of you, this is not a goodbye because I am fightin’ but the Lord placed this on my heart and I was compelled to share this with all of you.

Some truths I have learned over the years.

1. Hold on to your faith in Christ. If you don't know Him, Just ask. He already knows everything about you, loves you, forgives you and wants to spend time with you.

2. Love your wife, husband, significant other, etc… and the children in your life like God loves you – They are blessings from above.

3. Love your whole family to the very best of your ability and keep those relationships in good repair. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Life is too short not to forgive.

4. Love your friends just as they have chosen to love you.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – this is one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn – still learning.

6. Finally, if you are broken hearted ask God to wipe the tears from your eyes and He will. He is the only Person in this life that will never let you down!

By the way I am not in Heaven yet and I have a long way go on the above list! You can ask anyone who has talked to me lately. I am actually pretty cranky.

I love all of you good.

John

And now John IS in heaven. And he is no longer in pain. He fought that horrible disease like a prize winning champion. And now he can rest. And breathe. And we will miss him but will be comforted by this knowledge.

We miss you already, John. Peace.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Photo Shoot for Kate

So Baby Katherine's mom (and my sister-in-law) Brooke and I tried to use the same newborn guide I downloaded for taking photos of LM to take photos of her. The upside of this attempt was she was right about the target age for such photos. The downside for us was baby Kate decided to be WIDE AWAKE during the time period we chose to try to snap some shots. That notwithstanding, we were able to get a couple of cute ones, so I thought I would share them here with you:

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Squirrely newborn naked shot.

This one worked out alright - I do think she was awake, but just momentarily shut her eyes. These are the shots I never got of Little Man. So I'm glad it worked out to get a couple of little Katherine.

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So sweet.

She was also awake here. I include this photo to remind myself and all of you that Amateur is darn well the most important thing to remember about my photography...I was using the window light, but this photo would have been better had I also put some studio light on the subject. Oh well. Sorry Kate. You look mahhhvelous anyway.

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Hereby proving the awake-ness.
Again, should have added more light.

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Tiny hand...

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...tiny feet.
Look - no cankles yet! Give her a few weeks. ;-)

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Another pose, with the studio lights.

This was the first round of this pose. I had a pillow underneath the blanket that we had used with Little Man. Turns out - oh yeah, remember - that Katherine is much smaller than LM was when we photographed him. Her neck looks a little uncomfortable, no? We removed that pillow in favor of smaller towel rolls in the second try at this pose.

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She is saying to us here, "I will NOT go to sleep."

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Bird mouth. A family newborn favorite pose.

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And my absolute favorite.
Caught you looking asleep anyway, baby!

So, while Katherine kept us on our toes, we were able to get a couple of fun shots, I think. And again it was fun taking them. Always easier when I am not the one with the ten day old child. Ha! Brooke and Katherine both did a great job of trying and being patient with this amateur. We might try it again sometime - you never know.

See you soon.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Nine Weeks Old

So I know technically he is already TEN weeks old by the time I'm getting this post up, but go with the flow. Following is the nine week post. Ahem. It's only one of about TWELVE posts I currently have in the draft stage, but can't seem to get to the "publish" stage. Something about a small infant's needs does not allow me to get them finished. One day...

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Seven Weeks on Nana's Quilt

Anyway, as I said, here is the nine week post. Little Man continues to grow and grow and grow. During his ninth week, he had his two month doctor appointment. At that appointment, we learned he now (then) weighed 12 pounds and 15 ounces! Goodness! He's a good eater. He also gained almost an inch and a half in length and his head grew. But the weight was the biggest change, moving him from the 50% to the 75%. I joked with my sister-in-law Brooke it might turn out my kid is the fat one. But, we won't call him fat. We'll call him husky, bless his heart.

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A Little Man outfit for the Little Man
With a Little Man Attitude

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In the same outfit he wore home from the hospital.
Only now it hardly fits. Jabba the baby, so to speak.

Seriously, it is probably too early to tell anything about this colossal weight gain except that it's all good and it's creating some absurdly adorable thunder thighs. And thunder calves. And cankles. The only time in one's life when cankles are adorable. And it means we are quickly outgrowing anything 0-3 month size. 3-6 month clothes, here we come!


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Eight Weeks on Nana's Quilt

Let's see - what else have week been up to - one thing I neglected to mention in the six week post is that LM loves the duck photo, which is hanging above his changing table. It is the photo that won the blue ribbon last year. I had no idea what to do with a photo of rubber ducks until I had a nursery to decorate, and it seems to go alright in there. He gazes up at the ducks and just smiles and coos. It really keeps his attention, and was one of the first things that regularly led to vocalizing. He still loves the ducks and looks forward to checking them out when we change his diaper.

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My sweet boy.

He is also still enamored with ceiling fans and window blinds, but now he is also very interested in faces. The inanimate objects are cool and all, but people's faces are the best. He is especially fond of mommy and daddy's faces, and will smile with abandon at us if we have walked away for a moment. He also will follow us throughout a room if someone else is holding him. He locks in on where we are and what we are doing while we are not holding him. This is a completely enduring quality of his, for certain.

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Chillin' - and looking more like Daddy every day.

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Two months on the quilt.

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Also on the quilt, just a different angle.

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Showing off his battle scars from the shots.
Brave boy! Also shown - those thunder thighs!

Little Man enjoys it when you talk to him and play with rattles and other small toys with him. He likes to look at and hear the different objects. If you sit and talk with him, he will try to mimic your facial expressions. He LOVES it when you stick out your tongue. He will do likewise to copy you. He also likes it when you "cluck" your tongue after he does it, like you're copying him. So cute. His smiles are the absolute best, so of course, whatever he likes, we do it!


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Checking out the mobile.

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"Talking" to the fabric.

He has recently found his mobile above his bed and will sit and watch it for several minutes at a time with amazement. He is also quite fond of the pattern on his crib bedding. Sadly, that will be coming out soon, since he's starting to move around a bit in his sleep. So, no more pattern for him for now!

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Love this one.

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In the bumbo.

We have tried sitting in the bumbo seat, and he likes that for a little while. He is still not completely secure in it, but will continue to like it more as he has more control of his upper body. Note to the parents out there - don't leave your child in a bumbo unattended! It is not safe to sit them there without watching them the whole time! My pediatrician shared this with us - he has seen broken legs from children who were left unattended in a bumbo and fell over. So, don't do it. OK, that's my public service announcement for this post.


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We visited Daddy at work.

Speaking of upper body strength, Little Man pushes up pretty good when on his tummy and he holds his head up so well many strangers think he is three months old instead of two. He also likes to "stand up" on his legs in your lap and push away with his legs in the bathtub and anytime he has something to push off from.


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He likes to ride in the car, but if he is getting a little bit tired, he doesn't like it when you stop. So, a regular drive through town will be a series of crying fits followed by complete contentedness when the wheels begin to roll again. It's as if he thinks you stopped his ride. And, I guess, well, you did! It's easy to know when he finally dozes off, though. It's when the fits of rage at the stoplight cease.


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His hair and eyebrows are filling in more.

Speaking of getting tired, the "fussiness" that is a prelude to sleep in babies of this age is getting less. He still gets fussy before he goes to sleep but it's a shorter period of time, which is nice. His left eye's tear duct still gunks up, but the doctor says that is not a big deal until much later. So we massage it twice a day as we have been instructed to do. He "throws up" a bit after he eats, but a normal amount, and the doctor says, nothing to be alarmed about. I really like LM's doctor. He doesn't mind any of the silly questions I ask him. I am sure he answers them hundreds of times each week but he acts like it is totally normal and fine to ask. Then he answers you in a very thorough, analytical way, which I appreciate.


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I'm not sure he's so excited about the chair prop...

LM is still not a huge proponent of sleeping in his crib during the day, but he is also getting better at this little by little. He is still a great sleeper at night, usually going six hours at one stint. This will help when Mama goes to work again in two short weeks.


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Nine weeks on Nana's quilt.

I will update you again on the little guy at twelve weeks - right before I return to work. Until then, I will soak up every last minute with my fella. And, take a trip to Indy! So, more later.

See you soon.