Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Declan - Two Months

Dear Declan,

You're two months (and two days) old! And you are a CHUNK.

We'll get official stats tomorrow at the doctor (you haven't been for a checkup since you were two weeks old!), but we're pretty certain you're bigger than your brother was at this age. You've already outgrown your 0-3 and  three month clothes and are well into six month clothes!

Marshall at two months:

(By the way, funny coincidence that I took the above photo of you and then searched my photos for one of Marshall at two months and found this one in the SAME diaper at the same age! What are the chances?!)

So, as may be obvious, you're a great eater! You nurse every two hours or so, sometimes more often. You eat only on one side at a time, which is weird for me still, because your brother insisted on both sides every time. You also don't have as good of a latch as Marshall did, but it doesn't hurt me, so we're sticking with it until it becomes a problem. You have only had to take a bottle two or three times, but it has gone well, so I'm truly thankful for that! 

I'm also thankful that you don't spit up as much or as often as Marshall did. BUT you do still spit up more than the average baby. We do still have all our old burp cloths, so we're in good shape! 

You have such a sweet, mellow personality. You are a super sleepy dude (your wake time is usually 30 minutes, but sometimes you'll push it to an hour or so), but when you're awake we love making you smile (it's so easy!). You're generally content with anyone, but I will shamelessly say that you seem to smile most with me! I'm milking it for all I can while it lasts. You're also starting to coo a little bit, and sometimes I can get an almost-laugh out of you!

Your first time cheering on the Bruins!

Scout is still way more into you than he was with Marshall. He'll crawl all over you and cuddle with us while you're in our arms, so that's huge!

And you and Marshall are continuing to develop your sweet bond. Marshall loves cuddling next to you, talking to you, repeating, "Hi, Dec!" over and over again, and explaining things to you. We ask him to show you something, and he'll dive into "teacher" mode, where he'll say matter-of-factly, "So, Declan, we go like this..."

I feel so blessed to watch this relationship grow.

You and Daddy have a pretty sweet bond, too. He is the master at getting you to sleep and playing with you, reading to you, and telling you all about our world.

Our days lately start relatively early with a morning snack for you while I'm still in bed (maybe around 5:30 or 6), and then usually you'll go back to sleep for at least 45 minutes. It's perfect for allowing me time to get myself ready and get Marshall out of bed and spend some time together. Then we scramble to get out the door (the 15 minutes or so before we walk out the door are easily the most stressful of my day, but we always make it work). 

After dropping off Marshall, we often come home and cuddle on the couch or play if you're awake. We go for several walks each week, and I'm loving the longer walks where we get to explore even more of our neighborhood.

But often we end up back here:

(I still have to shove a burp cloth down my shirt to prevent let down on the other side.)

We also do a lot of this:

You still sleep a LOT. I love it because we cuddle so much (and yes, you do sleep in your co-sleeper once in awhile, when I convince myself to put you down), and I can still get a lot done around the house, so no complaints here! 

I love when you're awake, too! You love your bouncer and play mat and always give your "friends" such sweet smiles.

You do tummy time and hold your head up a bit, but honestly you don't give it too much effort. We'll get there eventually.

Recently you found your left fist and have been sucking at it more and more. Marshall sucks (only) his right thumb, so we wonder if maybe you'll suck your thumb, too, and perhaps it'll be your left.

As for sleep, you are a truly fantastic sleeper. We have you in your co-sleeper still, right next to my side of the bed. You go down for the night around the same time Marshall does--7 or 7:30--and wake up every three hours or so. You eat, Daddy changes your diaper, and you go right back to sleep on your own(!). Repeat. The longest stretch we've ever gotten from you was five hours or so, but that's rare. During the day I'm trying to follow an eat, play, sleep routine, which is hit and miss. Sometimes I give up pretty easily and just let you fall asleep while nursing. It's just too sweet.

(We use a Halo Sleep Sack with the swaddle arms, because you're already a little snug in the Miracle Blanket.)

Declan, we absolutely love your sweet, calm presence. You make us all so happy and truly light up every room with your beautiful eyes and precious smile. I can't wait to see what the next month brings!

We love you, little boy!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Another Thanksgiving on the books! We have had quite an eventful week around here. The first unusual event: My brother and sister-in-law came down for a visit for almost the entire week! They had been planning to come for an extended visit to meet Declan and spend some time with Marshall. It was so wonderful to see them!

We are all especially excited because Chris and Ashley recently announced that THEY ARE HAVING TWINS!!! Ashley is due in Spring, and I am absolutely ecstatic about becoming an aunt for the first time. We're also thrilled that Marshall and Declan will have cousins so close in age!

So, back to this week: We've been busy with lots of fun outings, little adventures, park visits, meals out, and lots of time hanging out around the house together. My parents joined the group on Wednesday, and they all stayed only two blocks away from us, so we easily packed up and walked over whenever we all wanted to hang out.

By Thursday, Terry and I were scrambling around getting ready for Thanksgiving, because we were the hosts! We handled the turkey, gravy, stuffing, and apple pie. Terry's family joined, too, so we had ten people (plus little Declan!) and plenty of food! Appetizers, salad, potatoes, yams, pumpkin pie, vegetables, and lots of wine. I was a little stressed about hosting (not to mention the fact that Marshall skipped his nap), but it all worked out wonderfully. I was also so excited to use our wedding china!

 Oh, this glorious turkey. We bought it from our local butcher, and they brined it for us ahead of time. Terry got it all prepped and threw it in the oven. And it was DELICIOUS.

I took care of the pie--my very first apple pie--a brown butter a la Martha Stewart. Plus some homemade whipped cream!

I insisted on some group photos.

Amid all the chaos of hosting, we have found some moments to slow down and enjoy our little family, too. Like this morning, when Marshall and Daddy played peekaboo with Scout. :-) 

Today, my family took Marshall for a while so Terry and I could focus on all our cleaning and tackle the pile of dishes. After a couple hours, we had a clean house and the group joined us again just in time for Marshall's nap. We all relaxed for a while and looked up Black Friday Deals online, and then after Marshall's nap we headed to Firestone Brewery for a couple drinks and appetizers. We came home for dinner, which included Marshall devouring a small slice of pie,

as well as bath, bedtime, and a bit more hanging out before my family left. 

Another awesome holiday, and lots of fun watching my family bond with Marshall and Declan all week. Hearing M's sweet little voice say, "Uncle Chris, can you play with me?" and, "Aunt Ashley, you're coming with us?" makes my heart so happy. PopPop and JanJan got lots of love, too, and we're sad to see them head back home. Luckily, Christmas is right around the corner! 

I am so thankful for my family, especially "my boys" who fill my days with noise and chaos and so much joy I sometimes wonder how it will ever be better than this. And then, somehow, the next day gets even better. For this, and for so much in my life, I am thankful. May we all enjoy a holiday season of peace and love.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Halloween 2016

...only two weeks late. That's not bad, right? (Okay, now almost a month late, and I'm racing to publish this post because today is Thanksgiving and we need to only be one holiday behind!)

We had several Halloween-related family events this year, starting with a visit to our local pumpkin patch about a week after Declan was born.

Marshall really liked the hay maze; in fact, it was the only activity there he was willing to try! (They also had a petting zoo, giant bounce house-style pumpkin slide, and more.) We just went in the maze about fifteen times, which was fine with me since I was still recovering from Declan's birth.

Eventually, we headed to the pumpkins and chose some to bring home. It took about 30 seconds, and I must say I was pretty happy that Marshall chose the perfect toddler-sized pumpkin for himself and then a super tiny one for Declan!

My boys in green!

Declan slept the entire time. :-) 

 Oh, we did find a bulldozer for Marshall, which was a hit for a few minutes.

On to pumpkin carving! I thought it would be cute to carve out on our lawn, but there were ants everywhere and it turned out to be more of a hassle than anything. 

So we went back inside for the artistic part.

Our finished products! (Declan's is a "d".) Mine is scraped out but not carved because that's the reality of life with a newborn.

Halloween night we got all ready and ate a quick meal once Marshall was home. He was willing to eat without the costume but the head was there to stay.

And then we headed out for trick or treating! Have you ever seen a cuter dinosaur?

He was a little shy, a little uncertain, a little excited. I soaked up every minute. Highlights included a huge cat ("cat tunnel") over a doorway, selecting treats, and Marshall insisting that he wasn't allowed to eat his candy until we got home (his own rule). 
We hit about six houses and headed home. It was truly a perfect little Halloween, especially for Declan's first. He was a dinosaur egg, all tucked into the Ergo. 

And now it's Thanksgiving and we're hosting and it's time to bake a pie! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Declan - One Month

Happy one-month, Declan! 

We are so thrilled you're here. You have added so much to our family already, and we love getting to know you.

Especially your big brother. Marshall seems to have a healthy curiosity about you ("Declan's sleeping?" "Declan's waving at me!" "Declan, you're waking up a little bit!") while also continuing to enjoy his usual independent activities and play. He often likes to cover you with a blanket, and we're working on not covering your face. :-)

He likes to hold you and loves holding your hand. Often, he'll call you "Dec." (He also used to say "Ducklin," which was too cute.)

I know this relationship will continue to grow, and I'm excited to see where it goes.

This weekend was Daylight Saving time and at 4:30 in the morning I heard, "Hi, Declan!" and awoke to find Marshall standing next to your co-sleeper in our room. I think he likes you.

Daddy and I like you, too.

(Creepy photo of me, but cute of you!)

You also celebrated your first Halloween! Marshall was a dinosaur, and you were a dinosaur egg.

We won't get "official" measurements until your two-month check up, but my unofficial measure of standing on the scale with and without you suggests that you weigh 11 pounds, 9.6 ounces and are about 24 inches long. Big boy! A little bigger than your brother at this age, but we'll see if that continues. You've already outgrown all your newborn clothes and some 0-3 month clothes. It's a little sad to know I'm packing those items up for the last time, but I also know what fun we have in store for us as you grow up.

Scout seems to feel a lot more sure about you than he did your brother. He walks up to you frequently, snuggles up to us (and you!), and has been much more willing to hang out with the family.

For me, this month has been such a wonder. When you joined us, I had a little trouble because I was in a lot of pain and felt frustrated that I struggled to recover from childbirth, even without a C-section. I have also struggled to balance my time, energy, and attention between you and Marshall and am still (and will likely forever be) working on that.

You seem pretty chill, though. You rarely cry, and we've only heard you get worked up maybe once or twice? You grunt a lot, especially in the early morning hours, and you are LOUD. We have nicknamed you "little goat" because you really sound like one! I'm trying to figure out if there's anything I'm eating that might upset your tummy, but mostly you seem content.

Except during cold diaper changes. :-)

You look quite a lot like your big brother did at your age, but you have dark hair (and you HAVE hair). Although it does seem like your hair might be falling out, so we'll see what happens there. When you open your eyes, you look less like Marshall because your eyes are smaller and more...piercing? Intense?

Nursing is going really great. You eat only on one side at a time, which is new for me, but you also eat more frequently--every hour and a half or two hours, I'd say. At night you'll go three hours. And so far, your spit up is WAY less intense than Marshall's! There's still some, but it's super manageable.

 You sleep a LOT. I usually get a long nap from you in the morning and then several catnaps throughout the day. You seem to love the Baby K'Tan wrap, and so do I. You're so snug and cozy in there and will sleep soundly while I run errands or bring Marshall in to day care. I love this snuggly newborn time, and sometimes I'll just chill on the couch holding you.

I also love when you're awake! At home, we lay out on a mat, read a book or two, talk, sing, and dance. You have recently discovered the "witching hour" in the evening and tend to be pretty fussy from 4 pm until 7 or so. It's a tough few hours, because Marshall is getting home from school, you're upset and difficult to appease, we're trying to throw together dinner, and we have to get Marshall to bed. But we're finding our rhythm, and you're finding yours.

The best part of this month has been seeing your first smiles! We kept telling ourselves they weren't the real deal, because it's still pretty early, but now we know for sure those are social smiles! It's such a beautiful sight. You really light up and seem so happy. You also have really great head control and seem eager to look around. I can't wait to see more of your personality and skills emerge!

Overall, we're just so happy to have you here, little boy. You are calm, alert, and certainly a joy to snuggle. Every day with you has been absolutely wonderful, and I'm already excited for month two! We love you, Declan!