Monday, August 29, 2011

A Day in Our Life (During the Summer)

Our sweet boy likes to sleep in.

The boys at breakfast. Sometimes Burke is dressed...

Sometimes still in his pj's...

Always happy...

Sometimes just in his diaper thanks to drool and spit-up...

Ready for our morning walk with Daddy and Rutherford!

Sometimes Burke falls asleep on our walk...because 13 hours of sleep just isn't enough for a growing boy!

We have playtime.

Lots of playtime!

And lots of naptime too!

We like to watch the Phillies play!

And Burke loves his bathtime before bed.

After bathtime comes naked hiney time. Our little boy loves to let it all hang out--and it buys Mama and Daddy a good 15-20 minutes when trying to stall before bedtime.

And then...usually by 8pm, our sweet boy is ready to hit the sack and do it all over again!

We had a great summer together--meeting our baby boy and watching him grow so fast! Now it's back to work, but we'll always treasure this time we spent together!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Working Solution

It was inevitable--my maternity leave was bound to expire sooner or later. I was hoping it'd be later. But here it is, nearly the end of August and it has come to an end. No one could prepare me for the hopelessly headfirst dive I would end up taking into this journey called Motherhood. No one. No one could explain to me just how much I would love my child. How great love could really be. No one could make me understand. I had to do it for myself, as every parent must do. Because until it's your turn, you simply have no grid for understanding the depths and wonders of it all. It just does not make sense.

But it was my turn. And with some minor trepidation--what if I don't love him or her unconditionally? what if I want to give him or her back at the end of the day like I do with other peoples' kids? I think I'll miss life the way it is...just the 2 of us...--I had no choice but to take the plunge on June 3, 2011. And my life will be forever changed. And I am forever blessed because of it. Even now as I remember the day I first met my precious son, I have tears brimming to overflowing, my throat thickens and my heart aches with love for him. And each day, this love has somehow, someway, miraculously gotten even stronger. It is fierce. And it is forever. He can do nothing to make me love him any less.

Each day is filled with new wonders, new explorations and lots of babbling, giggling and smiling. Rediscovering the world through his eyes is the neatest thing. So how could I possibly leave my sweet boy and return to work? The rise to shareholder could never hold a flame to the love I felt for my son and my passion for being his mother. Power, money, status...I could care less. All I want is my boy. My family. Love. And that is enough. So on my knees I went. Lord, I can't make this decision. Please do it for me. I asked if my maternity leave could be extended by 2 weeks, so that I'd return after Labor Day. And I also asked if I could return part-time, working just three days per week. I didn't want to return at all (and I still don't) but this seemed to be the best working scenario that I could fathom. After a few weeks, I found out that the shareholders had granted both of my requests. Praise the Lord!

So for now, I will be working Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. And while my heart aches at the prospect of being away from my little man for those three days, I will rejoice for the time that I do have with him. No time will ever be taken for granted. And knowing that Burke will be spending those days with his two grandmas--who both love him very very much--also helps ease the pain. Jesus keeps telling me to trust Him. And so I will. With my job. With my life. With my son. And even, with my love. He is love, afterall.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Birthday Love

This is the day that the Lord has made! A beautiful day to celebrate 29 years. Sunshine and a cool breeze. My kind of day! My little man gave me a great birthday present by sleeping a total of 12 hours last night! Another night of 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep...blissful! All that growing must be tough work, because he wakes up to eat and goes right back down to sleep for another 3-4 hours at a time. Thank you, Burke! When I got downstairs this morning, this is the sight that greeted me:

My sweet hubby had this all set up for me! When I saw the card labeled Momma, tears formed in my eyes. This was my first birthday as a Mommy...and it was so special. My son is the best gift I've ever been given (and yes, I'll always treasure him as though he is a gift). And my husband is the most thoughtful, loving man I know.

I love the Toms shoes that Ben bought for me. They are the Classic Burlap style and are super comfortable. But it is such a neat gift knowing that not only did I get a new pair of shoes, but with that purchase, so did a child in need! Two for one...such an amazing mission. I also got a gift certificate for some pampering at a local nail salon...something that is much needed, much appreciated and without a gift certificate, I never do. I can seriously count the number of manis/pedis that I've had in my entire life on one (well, definitely not more than both) hand(s). It has always been a wonderful experience for me, but it just never became my priority. I am so thankful that Ben purchased this gift for me...he truly gave me the gift of just an hour of alone-time, something that is hard to come by these days. And finally, the best gift of all was the photo book that Ben made for me from Burke. It came a few days ago, and Ben was so excited that he could not wait to give it to me. I cried joyful tears as I looked over each page filled with sweet pictures of my little man. Great job, Ben! (He is not a creative or techy soul by this was most definitely a labor of love and I appreciate it very much!).

I thank God for another year and for these two amazing boys. He has blessed me abundantly and I am so thankful.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Flying the open skies with an infant

Not quite one year ago, Ben was asked to the best man in his best friend, Josh's, wedding. At the time, Josh told Ben that they were trying to book the wedding for September 10, 2011 (9.10.11). Not long before this time, we found out that we were expecting our first baby, who would be due in late May or early June. Perfect, we thought! Our baby would be about three months old by the time of the wedding, which we thought would have been just the perfect time to attempt to fly with an infant. Ben, of course, happily accepted the job of best man.

A month or two later, Josh called Ben to tell him that they had booked a beautiful venue for the wedding and they were going to marry on July 1. JULY 1!!!!!! Immediately, we began surfing the Internet trying to do our research on when it might be safe to fly with an infant. Our baby might be one month old...if it came on time. First time moms are not known to deliver early. What if the baby was 2 weeks late? I could not fly with a 2-week-old. Should we buy tickets or wait til the last minute? Oh the flood of questions. Fortunately, everything I read said the same thing: as long as we had a healthy baby, it was safe to fly with a newborn. The major concern was the germs floating around the tight cabin of the airplane. And the baby might have discomfort in his or her ears due to the changing pressure, but it wouldn't cause any damage. Whew! Just to be sure, though, I asked my doctor at my next prenatal visit whether it was safe to fly with an infant. She confirmed everything that I had read, but then explained that while it may be safe, it may not be comfortable for me. Me? I had never considered myself a reason why we might not be able to fly. She said that if I had a c-section, I might be too uncomfortable. Or I might not be comfortable nursing on the airplane. Well I'm not having a c-section, so I don't need to worry about this...I thought. So we bought our tickets and were set on going. 

Well, I had to have a c-section and as progressed as I was at 36 weeks, our sweet boy came only one day early. On June 3, 2011, I delivered a healthy baby boy who would only be 3 weeks old when we took to the open skies. Fortunately, I recovered well. The nurses were amazed at my recovery just in the 4 days we were at the hospital. And friends of mine who had c-sections were similarly impressed at my mobility. God was good, as He always is. So, on June 29, we set out for Baltimore Washington Internation Airport in order to make the nearly 5-hour flight to Salt Lake City.

Despite my expedient recovery, I was still in a lot of discomfort. And if I did too much walking or moving, my abdomen was especially sensitive. Fortunately, it did not hurt me to wear the Moby wrap, as it sat well above my incision site. Burke loved the Moby wrap and he ended up spending pretty much the entire time in the airport and on the plane in it. I loved it too, because I could shield his little face from the germs as much as possible.

Needless to say, my little sweet pea was snug as a bug in a rug. He slept nearly the entire flights there and back, much to our relief. (No one likes a screaming baby...especially his parents). On the flight to Salt Lake City, the flight timed up perfectly with Burke's feeding schedule. I was able to nurse him on takeoff and landing so that his ears would hopefully not bother him as much. He wasn't even phased. On the way home, since he had already eaten and was sleeping, I simply slipped his pacifier into his mouth. Other than noticing him suck on it every now and again, there was no evidence that our little traveler even knew he was changing altitudes with such speed.

Other than feeding, the only other questionable task when flying with a newborn is changing those dirty diapers. I did not know that there was a changing table in the bathroom until we were nearly to Salt Lake City and I was told by our flight attendant. Regardless, I would not have used it during that flight, since I had a window seat. Too many people to disrupt and much too cumbersome for me to go climbing over people with a child and his accessories. Since he was such a peanut, Ben and I just did the ol' change-the-stinker-on-our-lap deal. One of us held the babe on our lap while the other did the very quick change (we just prayed he didn't hose down the airplane or any of its passengers between diapers). This method worked out well for us, but on the way home--since we had front row seats--I did use the changing table in the bathroom. It was surprisingly comfortable to use considering the tight confines of the airplane bathroom.

Burke didn't get sick. He didn't scream. No one got peed on. Ben and I were exceedingly calm. My incision site was fine. And we got hooked up with free drinks on the way home! The flight attendants fell in love with Burke and even had the entire flight crew sign a certificate for his first flight. So take to the skies with your infants, for I cannot guarantee that other aged babies will fare nearly as well. (That will be a post further down the road, I'm sure).  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

To My Darling Burke: The First Two Months

Dear Burke,

Your short little life has been packed full of exciting new things for both you and for Mama and Daddy. In your first month, you did a whole lot of growing. You grew nearly 3 inches and gained about 1.5 pounds!

About two weeks into your life I noticed that you started making tears. They still haven't rolled down your sweet cheeks, but when you cry (mostly in your car seat, which you are NOT fond of) your little eyes are very moist. It breaks my heart to hear you cry and I always feel guilty when you are in your car seat too long. You are just such an active boy, and have been from the start. You hate being confined--and I can't say as though I blame you.

You were about 3 weeks old when your belly button fell off. Daddy told me in the morning that it had fallen off sometime during the night, but he did not know where it was or when it had fallen off. (He does your diaper changes at night and then brings you to Mama to eat...such a good Daddy!). Well, I later found it in the lint trap of the dryer when I was doing your laundry (which for such a small person, you sure have a lot of), looking even more shriveled than before. Imagine a moldy raisin. No. I did not keep it.

Daddy said you gave him your first smile when you were three weeks old. But when I came to see this smile, you just cried. But we both witnessed you give away a big smile to a strange lady in the airport the very next day. From that day onward, you were one jolly boy, giving away many smiles to Mama, Daddy and anyone (or anything) else who caught your fancy!

It has been so fun to watch you grow, and observe, and laugh and talk. Each week you become more and more interactive, and you really are so happy in your waking hours!

You took your first airplane ride just two days before you turned 4 weeks old. And you did fabulous! We flew from Baltimore to Salt Lake City, UT so that Daddy could be the best man in his friend, Josh's, wedding.

You stole the show in your tuxedo onesie! The most handsome boy at the party. You also dazzled the flight attendants on our flight home. They were so nice to us and even had the whole flight crew sign a certificate memorializing your first flight! Just one month old and such a great little traveler.

You were just five weeks old when we drove nearly nine hours (overnight) to Myrtle Beach. While you are not fond of your car seat, you did great on this trip since we drove overnight. You were getting so much better at sleeping at night--sometimes 4-5 hours at a time! What a wonderful gift for Mommy and Daddy. We spent a week at the beach with Grammy and Pappy, Uncle Jonah, Aunt Moriah and Uncle Matthew.

Somewhere between six and seven weeks, you discovered your hands. And those chubby fists were at your mouth all the time after that. You began noticing your toys and even started batting at them during playtime. Playtime is never quiet with you, as you love to talk and coo and imitate the sounds we make. Such a bright and happy boy!

You are such a strong boy, too. We watched you push yourself up when on your tummy so that your eyes could look straight out. Such a strong neck! Daddy is very happy now that you can control your head and neck so well...he does not have to worry so much. You think you're bigger than you are, trying to sit up when reclining on the Boppy!

By eight weeks, Love, you were really tracking people and things and your dog boy, of course. You love to sit in your bouncy seat and play and talk to Mommy while I'm working in the kitchen and you follow me from the table to the counter and back again. So smart! And your Rutherford cannot leave your side. He loves you so much. You have really started noticing him these days and you watch him as he sniffs out crumbs under the table.

While you found your hands at 6-7 weeks, you really started studying them intensely around 8 weeks. They must be very interesting! And you found that cute little tongue too, because now you love to stick it out just for fun. You haven't slept through the night quite yet, Love, but it's mostly because you go to bed a little earlier than we do. You did sleep for seven hours the other night, which was so wonderful for Mommy and Daddy! With all that sleeping, you are growing so much! You grew another 1.5 inches (so now you're 23 inches long) and about 4 pounds. You weighed 11 pounds 11 ounces at your two month check-up! I love those little rolls of chub that are forming around your legs, arms and wrists. And those chins and cheeks are just irresistable, Burke. You are one handsome and abundantly loved little boy! Mama could not love you any more!

These past two months have been the best of our lives, Burke. Daddy and I are so blessed and love you so very very much. We thank Jesus for you every day and pray that you grow up to love Him and to fulfill the destiny He has for you. We pray that above all you love deeply, for that is the most important thing in this life. And I pray that we are able to show you just how deeply we love you, for it is simply a love that words cannot describe. Happy two months, sweet boy!

Mama and Daddy