Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Rachel has been telling us for some time now things like "You're the best daddy in the whole wide world."

It's become a little less heartwarming lately when it's been immediately followed-up by "And you're my only daddy in the whole wide world!"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rachel is Kaitlin

There are times when Rachel basically becomes Kaitlin, the little girl with ADD on Saturday Night Live - you know, the one who keeps calling "Rick! Rick! Rick!" and does the little songs and dances and just can hardly control herself. Tonight is one of those times. I actually have myself at least partly to blame seeing as how a serving of marshmallows is 4, and I gave her 12, not knowing that a serving would be so tiny.


(I guess that makes me Rick?)

How On Earth Does She Come Up With This Stuff?

Yesterday Rachel wanted to wear her Alice in Wonderland dress. We were standing in the kitchen watching the snow out the window when she realized the song "Winter Wonderland" was playing. And she said "This song is a complement. It's winter, and I'm wearing my Alice in Wonderland. It's 'Winter Alice in Wonderland'!"

I'm pretty sure she meant "complement" in terms of "goes along with," not "compliment" as in "I look good in this dress," but I have no idea how she knows of that usage of the word. Seems like every few days I hear her use a word I had no idea she knew and understood. I'm really curious to know what her I.Q. is. I think they test around the time of Kindergarten, so it'll be interesting to see how she scores. I have no desire to push her toward gifted programs, whatever the scores. It's high-pressure and you're competing with other people at the top of their classes, so it can be stressful. I think junior high would be the earliest I'd encourage formal "gifted" education if she was interested; otherwise, I'd rather she just do a good job in regular classes and enjoy learning.

In Ben news, still no teeth, despite what is apparently his complete misery the last 3 or so months. Not that he's been fussy and crying all that time, but you can certainly tell that the teething pain often bothers him, much more than it did Rachel. Poor little guy also had trouble digesting peas, like Rachel, and apparently blueberries. Not sure what else as I ended up just cutting back his foods to the first 4 vegetables, first 5 fruits and meats, in addition to cereals. He's now eating Puffs, too, although he can't quite pick them up and get them to his mouth without help yet. But he's gotten good at eating rice rusks. I never knew about those with Rachel. Although messy, they're large enough for younger babies to grab onto and steer to their mouths without much trouble, and they dissolve pretty easily in their mouths.

I'm now starting to reintroduce other foods again and hope that he does better with digesting them, although I won't be giving him peas or berries for a few more months. He's doing a lot of babbling at times and likes to say "Mam" or versions of Mama. He's also like a little growly bear sometimes - so cute to hear the growls and grunting, or the quick breathing he likes to do when he gets excited. He loves it when we imitate those sounds back at him, and he has the sweetest smile!

He's not crawling yet, but I don't think it will be long. He can scoot and roll around really well, though, so I have to keep an eye on him at all times and not leave him alone unrestrained for more than a few seconds. He'll be a month older than Rachel was at Christmas. It will be interesting to see if he's very much into tearing into gifts and his stocking, although I doubt it. He *does* like to grab things and stuff them into his mouth, though, so anything he can do that with should be a big hit!

Monday, December 15, 2008

If She Only Knew...

Here's the exchange that happened today when Rachel and I were in the drive-thru line at Burger King, talking about her kid's meal:

Rachel: I'll bet it has a toy!
Lori: I'll bet you're right. That's one of the cool things about being a kid, you get a toy with your meal.
Rachel: It's kind of boring.
Lori: Being a kid?
Rachel: Yes. It's kind of a hard life.

Wow, just wait until 10 or 15 or 30 years from now, kiddo!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sleep Hatred

ACK. How did it get to be December already with no more posts?

Anyway...what is with this thing my son has against sleep? Why doesn't he realize how precious it is to get sweet, sweet sleep? When Rachel got to be a toddler, she started to really fight going to sleep, first with naps, then being wired at night when it was time to go to bed. I finally had to stop forcing the nap issue because it was such a battle every day and because she'd drop like a rock at night if she hadn't napped in the afternoon. We had some rough late afternoons and evenings while going through an adjustment period, but now, if we get her to bed between 7:30 and 8:00, she does pretty well. The longer we push it past 8:00, the more she starts to lose it.

With Ben, he just hates going to sleep. He'll hang in there and cry, sometimes getting more and more upset to where he starts just screeching/screaming and I have to go in and calm him down and try to get him back to a place where he may drop off. He does that even when his eyelids are heavy and red and he's obviously exhausted. He's been sick with a cold (his 2nd or possibly 3rd), and he's so worn out, but still with the fighting the sleep.

Is this a boy thing? Moms of boys and girls, did you notice a difference between your girl baby and your boy baby and how they'd go to sleep? Or am I just cursed to have kids who will fight with everything in them to avoid dropping off peacefully?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Tale of Two Babies

Rachel at 5 1/2 months

Ben at just over 5 months

It's funny - I think they looked almost like carbon copies when they were newborns and brand-new infants, but already I think Ben is looking different than Rachel at the same age. I'm not sure if it's because Rachel looks like one of us and Ben looks like the other (and if that's the case, which one resembles who), or if it's just that they're each a different blend of the two of us.

Rachel's First Ring Pop

Rachel got a ring pop from my mom in her Halloween trick-or-treating bucket. The flavor? Blue Raspberry, or couldn't you tell?

The First Cold

Ben caught his first cold last week. Poor little guy was miserable, coughing a lot and sneezing and just feeling generally lousy. Even his eyes looked duller - see evidential photo above. I could tell he was starting to feel better when his eyes again began to sparkle and he tried to give me big wet kisses.

Of course, then *I* got the cold, but mine wasn't as bad and I was just happy that he was feeling better again! I hate when my kids don't feel good.

Happy Half-Birthday, Ben!

First - I can't believe it's been almost a month since either of us posted anything here. That's just plain sad, even if we *are* tired. So I'm going to try to be better about that.

Second - today marks 6 months since Ben entered the world! Yay! I can't believe 6 months have already gone by. It truly has flown, and it seems like it's been a much faster half-year than after Rachel was born.

Ben, you are a joy. Your laugh is infectious, as is your precious smile, and I love the way your eyes just light up when you see someone you love or when you find something amusing. You have a curious mind and catch on to things quickly. You're an enthusiastic eater, an explorer of fluffy stuffed animals and a connoisseur of whatever you can put into your mouth.

Our lives are richer for you being part of them. We love you dearly, little boy.

(Note: In many pictures, he now has an orange nose. He's carrying on the tradition started by Rachel. Like her, he's a big fan of sweet potatoes and carrots, so I'm trying to balance them out with green beans, peas and other non-orange foods.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another Thing A Five-Month-Old Shouldn't Know

"If I pull the place mat, the plate comes to me and I can grab the french fries."

I just wish I had caught the photo of him where he was leaning out, using Lori's hair as a rope in order to lean further and reach farther. 

Toes & Spoons

Two of Ben's recent discoveries have been his toes, and spoons.

He seems to take great delight in taking hold of his toes and pulling them up towards his shoulders. Amazing how flexible babies are! He also likes trying to pull off his socks and pulling the feet of his sleepers loose from his actual feet. He's getting better about playing with things, too, and will spend some time in the playyard with the LeapFrog Musical Ball and his stuffed dog and lion, alternating between chewing on his stuffed animals and making the ball create music. He'll also play for a little bit with the parts of his activity gym.

It's nice to be making some progress in his ability to keep himself amused, especially since he's getting too big for his bouncer, which he never liked much, anyway. He's also not a big fan of his swing, although he'll sit in it for a while. He had been sleeping pretty much exclusively in his swing since around 5 or 6 weeks old, due to reflux/gas discomfort when we'd try to lay him down in his co-sleeper. A few weeks ago, he apparently decided he was done sleeping in the swing, although we didn't know that was the problem until yesterday, really.

I'd tried to put him in the swing for his nap, and he resisted sitting back, keeping his little arms in front of the molded sides so that it was difficult to make him sit back. I was able to buckle him in, but let him stay sitting forward, figuring he'd grow tired, sit back and go to sleep. I checked on him 10 or so minutes later and he was still sitting forward. I tried to get him to sit back and realized I was practically squashing him into the swing. I didn't know that it was getting to be a tight fit and felt so bad that he'd sat there propping himself up with his arms because he didn't want to go into it. I ended up putting him in the other swing (the one we bought in Anaheim because we couldn't get him to sleep without it), which has a wider back, not so curved in. He fell asleep in there for a few hours but didn't want to stay in it for the night.

Yesterday afternoon, I put him in the co-sleeper for his nap. After just a couple of minutes of fussing, he laid his little head down and went to sleep for 2 1/2 hours! Then after being up for a few hours, I put him back down after his evening routine, and he went nearly 6 hours before he woke up again. He slept most of the night in the co-sleeper, with breaks for eating, only joining me in bed around 7:15 this morning. Victory! I'm hoping he continues to do well sleeping in there. I'd about given up hope that he'd be sleeping flat any time soon and didn't know what to do, as I can't fully relax and deeply sleep when he's laying next to me, especially when he keeps wanting to eat.

The other thing Ben is enjoying is eating his rice cereal. James already talked about he steered a spoon right towards and into his mouth. That may have been beginner's luck, but I don't think it'll take him a long time to master getting food itno his mouth once he's getting the chance to do it more often. So far he's only eating rice cereal, but with great interest and gusto. I figure we'll add a second cereal feeding soon, then in 2 or 3 weeks, start with green beans. I'm pretty excited to start him on other foods and see what he thinks. He's had an intense interest in our meals, and I suspect we'll have an enthusiastic eater on our hands.

Little Ballerina

Rachel has started her first dance class. It's a 45-minute Little Ballerina class, and she'll be in it for 11 weeks. Then she'll have a recital for two evenings the following week, on Dec. 9 and 10.

She's thoroughly enjoying herself, but she's quite the chatty one and definitely not the most disciplined dancer ;) We're hoping she'll develop a little more concentration and discipline through the class and maybe decide to take more classes, whether they're ballet or another dance or movement/gymnastics or sports, or something else she may enjoy.

Here a few photos of her from the first day of class:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Feed Me

We often (Lori, mostly) hold Ben on our laps at the dinner table when we're eating.  For some time now, Ben has looked with interest at the food we're eating.  And grabbing at it and our plates.  Or following the spoon or glass as it moves past him, mouth open, waiting, ready for the food. 

So, we asked at his last checkup, almost a month ago and the doctor said that at five months, it was ok to start him on rice cereal.  We figured last weekend was close enough, so on Saturday, we gave him a small amount of rice cereal mixed with breast milk.  He just ate it up.  Took him a little bit to figure out swallowing, but he didn't spit up or throw up any of it afterwards.  That night, a really horrible night with not much sleep.

The next day, we tried again, and again, he ate very well.  After he was done, Lori handed him to me.  I took a spoon from the drawer and held it out to him and he grabbed it.  It took him two tries and on the second try, got it into his mouth.  Shoved it in too far and made himself gag a little.  After that, content to take it from me and then immediately drop it on the floor.  Again, a really poor night of sleep.

Being the intelligent parents that we are, we wondered if there was a cause and so didn't give him any the next few nights.   However, the miserable sleep continued, so by today, Lori was ready to give him more.  She made up a bowl, and again he ate without incident.  When done, more, he wanted.  So, a second, smaller bowl was produced, consumed.  And again, requested more.  So another small bowl was made, eaten.

We were worried that he was going to be upset at the blandness, but that has not appeared to be the case.  We have a little eating machine on our hands.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Such Love!

Has any brother ever adored his sister more than Ben does Rachel? Perhaps, but he'd have to try pretty hard to look at her with more joy :)

In Jesus' Name I Pray, Yippee!

That's how Rachel ended her prayer before breakfast today :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Photos Added

We just added a most (but not yet all) of our photos from our recent trip.  If all you're seeing is the backs of our heads, then you're not connected to us as friends/family yet, or you haven't signed in to Flickr.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Where's Ben, Part Deux

I finally got some pictures that capture the "Where's Ben?" game. Here we are at the beginning, face fully covered:

Sneakily peering out to make sure his fellow game-player is still engaged:
Looking rather pleased with himself at the conclusion:

Monday, September 08, 2008

Trying to walk already

Ben has been pushing up to stand for a couple of months now. A few weeks ago, he started trying to move his feet forward, attempting to walk. He's got very strong legs, but the coordination will take a little time before he can actually walk. Still, I think that's pretty impressive for a baby who's not quite four months old yet.

One of his attempts was at the dinner table, when he stood up on my lap (with me helping to steady him, of course) and tried to step onto the table. I think he really wanted my dinner. He desperately wants to eat actual food. You can tell by how he watches the rest of us like a hawk when we're eating a meal.

He's got his next appointment on 9/17, and I think the doctor is going to tell us we can start introducing foods soon. I think he's still having some kind of reflux problem, and I'm afraid that might actually cause solid foods to be delayed, but I'm hoping that it's either subsiding enough on its own or that the doctor can prescribe medication to help him feel better.

He's still sleeping in the swing because that's where he seems most comfortable physically. We're going to try elevating one end of his co-sleeper to see if we can get him started sleeping there again. I'd rather he get used to sleeping lying flat so that if we're out somewhere, it's easier to put him down, since it's not practical to take the swing with us. It also makes our upcoming vacation a little stressful because we're not sure how he'll sleep in the hotel room. Currently when we're out somewhere and he gets tired and is fighting it, we put him in the carseat and swing it back and forth or rock it on the ground. He's getting pretty heavy, though, and we know he needs to learn to soothe himself to sleep if we're ever to have solid nights of sleep consistently.

Where's Ben?

Ben has started to get into playing "Where's Ben?" We started out trying to put a mini-blanket over his face and then pulling it away, saying "Where's Ben?" but he didn't like having the blanket on his face. So I would hold the blanket up to my own face and say "Where's Mommy?"

After a week or two of that, Ben started to hold the blanket up to his own face. I noticed him doing that and said "Where's Ben?", and he lowered the blanket down. He brought it back up and we did it again. Now he's doing it on a semi-regular basis, including when I put him in the swing for a nap a few days ago. He often goes down for naps in an unhappy way, but not that day, so that was a nice change.

He fights sleep, just like his big sister did. She still does if she gets any sleep in the afternoon, and will call out repeatedly and keep getting out of bed and just stay generally wound up for several hours after we put her to bed when she's napped or fallen asleep in the car. Hence the stopping of naps. They hadn't been working well, anyway, for some time. I tried to have her do "afternoon quiet time" instead, but she would pop out of her room every 5 to 10 minutes to tell me some vitally important piece of information, like "Alicia is Diego's cousin" or something else just as key for me to know.

And then if I tried to have her stay in there and *not* pop out, she'd get very upset. I finally figured out that she didn't like feeling so isolated. It was becoming a battle ground, so I decided that it wasn't a battle that was important to me, and we did away with mandatory in-her-room time. Sometimes she goes in there on her own and plays for a good amount of time, which is nice.

Other times, we play "Who are you from 'Beauty and the Beast'? Who are you from 'The Lion King'? Who are you from 'The Berenstain Bears'?" THAT is a game that can really wear on you when you play it 50 times a day for a week. We've had to impose No-Who-Are-You days a few times just to give ourselves a break. I'm glad she has such a good imagination, but she sure could use more playmates her age to exercise it with!

She's back in preschool now for the fall and is so happy to see her friends from there. Last week was Slow Start, where they attend for 1 hour on Wednesday with parents in the room, then 1 hour on Friday with parents down the hall. Today was her first 3-hour day back. She and her friend Hannah were *so* sad on Friday when their parents came to pick them up, so I suspect they're both pretty happy to be back to the full schedule now.

I couldn't decide which of these two photos I liked best, so I posted both!

Ben seems to be thinking "Uh, what's going on here?"

He doesn't always look this startled when Rachel's with him :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Seeing things from a new perspective

We've been working with Ben to help him strengthen his back and tummy muscles so he can sit up, since he seems to hate missing out on anything. I think he'll be less frustrated once he's able to sit up and play with toys, or just see what's happening around him.

Today I put him on the couch next to me while I changed the cover on the Boppy. I laid him down against some couch pillows so that he was reclining somewhat. But was he satisfied with that? Nosirree, Mr. Ben pulled himself forward so he was sitting up. First time for that! I think he was pretty darn proud of himself, too.

He is still, however, very bitter about having tummy time.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Ben is now giving kisses. Sure, they're saliva-riddled and not necessarily on the mouth or cheek area, but today he leaned in, pulled my face toward him and just gave me big giant wet ones. Either that, or he was trying to eat my face, but I'm pretty sure he was being lovey and wanted to kiss me like I'd been kissing him. What a sweet little guy we have!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Future Olympian?

Rachel has taken a great interest in watching the Olympics with me, from the opening ceremony to many of the athletic events. She's watched everything from swimming to diving to rowing to beach volleyball to gymnastics...whatever has been on, she's watched it. I've had the TV on a lot in the last week and a half, but I figure it's okay, because the Olympics are a special event. And it's toward the end of summer break and Rachel is going a little stir-crazy, so this helps to keep her occupied.

When we first started watching, Rachel said "I wish I could be in the Olympics some day." So we talked about how she might be if she chose a sport and started working really hard. She really enjoyed the swimming events in particular, but she also has paid a lot of attention when the female gymnasts are on, asking questions about how they are. After the women's individual all-around was done and the medalists were receiving their medals, she asked me to put her medal on, so I pantomimed that. Then she said "Flowers, please." I handed her the bouquet of imaginary flowers, and she turned and held it over her head just like the gymnasts had done.

So who knows? Maybe in 12 or 16 years, we'll have our own little summer Olympian.

Monday, August 18, 2008


It's pathetic how little we've posted this time around. It feels like we hardly ever have time for that, when I don't think that's actually true. We're just filling the time in other ways, but I want to do better with documenting things that are happening with Ben and Rachel so we can look back on them some day like I've been doing with Rachel's early months.

So, here's a "potpourri" of short items to get us a little caught up:

- Today is a banner day! Ben drank a 2-oz. bottle of formula, the first time he's successfully eaten from a bottle since he was born. He's had a few millileters here and there, but so far had soundly rejected bottles. I gave him a bottle about an hour and a half after he'd last eaten, and he sucked it right down. Granted, he spit up afterward and had the hiccups, but I'd guess he spit up probably half an ounce or so. Now I'll have to get busy pumping and see if I can get him to keep taking bottles a few times a week so that I can actually be away from him for longer than a few hours, thus making grocery shopping much easier. Plus, then James and I can actually have a date now and then on our own.

- Rachel has inherited her dad's penchant for making up songs, and creating lyrics to songs that already exist. Example: "Mighty to Save," which she sang this way:

Mighty to sing, our God is mighty to sing,
Party, party party party...

(The second line is in place of "Forever, Author of Salvation.") Although she's not far off, I suppose. Heaven probably *will* be like the best party ever, so I guess God would be the Ultimate Partier.

- Ben is getting to be quite the talker. He's making a lot of different sounds now and really enjoys it when we repeat after him and try to match his sounds and facial expressions. In fact, we went to the zoo last week, and he spent most of the day either sleeping in his stroller seat or hanging out in the Baby Bjorn, facing away from me. That evening, after I had fed him for the last time and was putting him to bed, he just wanted to talk and talk and talk. James thinks he was telling us all about everything he'd seen that day. I think he'd just missed the face-to-face contact we often have during the day and wanted to catch up.

- Teething - I think that's already happening. He's been a Droolosaurus for probably 3 weeks now. Of course, Rachel drooled for a couple of months before we actually saw a tooth appear, so I don't anticipate seeing anything before another month or two passes, but we may be seeing a tooth break through on the early side of the range of 4-7 months when most babies get their first.

- Growing - At his 2-month appointment (when he was actually about 10 weeks old), he was 23 1/4 inches long and 14 lbs., 1 oz.! I was surprised to hear he was that big. His next appt will be at the 4-month mark, and it'll be interesting to see if he's kept up the pace or if height or weight has slown down at all.

- Developing - Besides all the chatting, he's started grasping onto things, like a little blanket with ribbon tabs on it that my brother gave him or little stuffed animals. He's also noticing toys and that levers and buttons do things and is trying to make them work, although his coordination isn't quite there for some of what he tries to do. Then he gets frustrated and upset, but I imagine he'll figure things out soon and will enjoy seeing the cause and effect. Last week, I showed him a lever on the Fisher Price aquarium in his co-sleeper. When you press it and let it go, it makes a starfish spin around. He immediately turned towards the aquarium and started to try to do it himself. I took his hand and made the lever work. The next day, when James put him in the co-sleeper, he turned toward the aquarium, took hold of one hand with the other, and tried to make the starfish spin! Smart little guy :) He rolled over front to back in the middle of July, and just yesterday, he made it almost all the way from back to front. I admit, I don't give him enough tummy time and I need to get better about that so he can strengthen his muscles and work on rolling over and pushing up. But he's doing pretty well nonetheless.

That's probably enough for now, although I could certainly go on. I'll try to post some photos today or tomorrow and start getting caught up on that. I'm also putting photos on Facebook, which is easier to upload (when it works) than putting them here, so you can always see them there.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Troy-Bilt 1, Uniden 0

You know you're a parent when you hear the thrashing sound, stop the mower and
  • The words 'Dang it!' come to mind first.
  • And then you think 'Oh yeah... I saw her leave that there.'
  • And remember that you thought at the time 'That's not a good place to leave a walkie-talkie.'
  • And 'I ought to pick that up.' 
  • But then didn't.

Poor little guy did not stand a chance.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Young Republican

There's hope for this state afterall.

Not sure how or why, but Rachel knows who Dino Rossi is. Every time she sees him on TV, she exclaims "Dino Rossi!" and asks us to turn up the TV. Ironically, most of the time she notices him, his image is appearing in an attack ad by our current lame-duck governor.

We wonder if she likes him because he has the same name as the original purple dinosaur, Fred Flintstone's pet Dino.

We've been teaching Rachel to cover her ears and sing "la la la" when commercials play, though lately every so often she asks us to unmute a commercial, announcing, "It's ok, this commercial is for kids."


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Who are you from...?

Rachel has discovered a game we end up playing a lot... she'll come up to us and ask one of two questions...

"Can you guess who I am from ________?"
"Who are you from ________?"

The blank will always be filled with the name of a Disney movie. Or now Pixar movies, too, because I don't know a lot of the characters in the Disney movies she watches.

If it's the first question, the answer is always "Belle" or "Aurora" or "Nala." If it's the second question, you can either directly answer "Bullseye," "Gaston," "P.T. Flea." or "Luigi" or you can let her guess.

We play this game a lot.

Monday, July 07, 2008


FINALLY got a good photo of Ben smiling! He's been laughing out loud for close to a week, too, and not just in his sleep like he'd been doing. He's such a happy boy. He does cry, but there's nearly always a reason for it, and most of the time it's easily solved (diaper change, feeding, putting him in the Baby Bjorn so he'll stop fighting sleep). He is really a joy to have in our lives.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

News: Teacher lets Morningside students vote out classmate, 5

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (TCPALM.COM) — Melissa Barton said she is considering legal action after her son's kindergarten teacher led his classmates to vote him out of class.

After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn't like about Barton's 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher Wendy Portillo said they were going to take a vote, Barton said.

By a 14 to 2 margin, the students voted Alex — who is in the process of being diagnosed with autism — out of the class. More...

Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Together

Okay, I hate that Blogger turns photos for some stupid random reason. But this picture is too cute not to share - the first time I caught both of them smiling in one photo. It's so nice when everybody's happy!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Deja Vu All Over Again

It's weird how foggy your memory gets of those early days. For us, it's been just shy of 4 years since we experienced having a newborn around, so Ben's crying and fussiness seemed frequent. But looking back at the early posts with Rachel, we definitely had those "why-oh-why-is-she-still-crying-and-what-in-the-name-of-all-that-is-holy-can-we-do-to-make-her-stop" types of posts. Ben actually hasn't been too bad yet, for the most part, although there have been a couple of rough nights.

It just had seemed like he's harder to keep happy because he doesn't want to spend much time in the bouncer or swing or laying in his co-sleeper or playyard, so most of the time when he's not eating, he's either being held or is in the Baby Bjorn on either me or James. But I do remember the first 7 or 8 weeks with Rachel were pretty brutal, with lots of nights of very poor sleep. Although we're not getting tons of sleep, most nights we're getting some, enough (for me at least) to feel functional. I'm definitely not getting the kind or amount of sleep that I need to actually do well and have the patience that would be so beneficial right now, but I'm getting by.

I wish that we felt the same sense of wonder at every little thing that Ben does. I'm guessing it's pretty normal to feel that more with your first child, but we documented a lot of that on the blog, so we're more aware of it than we otherwise would be. To be sure, Ben is a great little guy and we're happy he's part of our lives now. We just need to be more specific about that here.

As you can see from the picture, he's a happy little guy when he's fed and clean and not having gas pains or tired. Those are a lot of conditions to meet, but when they're met, I can lay him on a blanket and look down at him, and he'll want to have a conversation. He gurgles and coos and tries to make all kinds of sounds already, and moves his tongue around. If you mirror his actions, you can see excitement on his face and in his eyes, and he'll wiggle and do more.

He's been smiling in his sleep since he was just a few days old, really, and he laughed in his sleep at just 8 days old! (What on earth does an 8-day-old baby find that funny, anyway?) A few weeks ago, he started to smile while awake, as in exhibit A above. He's becoming more interactive and will study faces like he's looking for answers to a great mystery in them. He seems like he's going to be a very thoughtful, contemplative person, so it will be interesting to see if that holds true.

Now if he could just learn to take naps and go to sleep at night when he's not attached to someone.


We've been looking over the archives of this blog and two things have stood out.

(1) We posted a lot more in the early days of baby #1.
(2) Things are not that different this time around (regarding lack of sleep and stuff like that.)

So.... we'll try to be better about that. But first, another Rachel post.

After the last day of this summer's day camp, the conversation was naturally around God and obeying and Jesus and the conversation wound around to the point where Lori found herself telling Rachel about how we ask Jesus to come into our hearts and change our lives. And Rachel wanted to do that. So Lori led Rachel through the little prayer. We're not sure if she's old enough to actually comprehend it or not, but it was heartwarming/exciting none-the-less.

Now to work on the anger. Because that didn't magically go away.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ferocious Four

A typical stall tactic lately, especially at bedtime (or when already in bed) is to call for one of us because she wants to tell us "something." We'll come and it'll be something like "Tomorrow at Chuck E. Cheez-its I'm going to tell you something." (Yes, that's what she calls it.) Or "I love you."

Tonight, she was having a rough night of it and Lori and I were with her in her room. She was mad at both of us, but moreso me. Lori was between the two of us and Lori and I were sitting on the floor.

She tried to get around Lori and Lori blocked her and she said "Mom, I want to tell dad something ... " and as Lori started to move, she continued " ... and hit him."

It was incredibly wrong, but it was all I could do to keep my laughing stifled to point that only Lori could hear me.

Lori, looking curiously at me, quickly raised her arm, toll-gate fashion to block Rachel's path and save me from a beat down. (My hero!)

In all honesty, we are really struggling with Rachel. If we could give any advice to other parents, do not wait until your strong-willed child is almost four to have a second child. Especially if she is also empathetic and prone to be upset when others (like, say, a hungry baby) around her also upset. And don't wait until the week after her school gets out for the summer. In a northern state where it's not dark in the evenings until really late.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


This is Ben's "concerned" look. We see it often :)

Boy, it just seems hard to keep up with posting these days. So much changes in the early days of a baby's life, not to mention things that happen with Rachel, and it's a challenge to try to get a significant amount of it documented here.

It's been busy trying to attend to the needs of a newborn while also trying not to neglect a 4-year-old who is really social and likes to interact a lot and always wants to do things. Obviously, it's worth it, and I'm sure it will get easier with time, but it's certainly a difficult task for now, especially with the many nights of interrupted sleep.

Of course, this past Sunday was not only Father's Day, but it was also the day we dedicated Ben at church *and* the day that we had Rachel's birthday party. What's that you ask? Why, yes, we are insane. Way too many significant events happening for one day, but we made it through.

The dedication went fairly well, although there was a diaper leakage issue before the service started, so Ben was dedicated in a sleeper because that was what I had on hand for a change of clothes. I don't think anyone minded the casual attire, though. He did start to cry right as it got to be his turn, after the other two babies they'd dedicated. It didn't get too bad, and fortunately there was no one else after us, so we didn't have a screaming child for someone else's dedication. I'm not satisfied with the photos from our camera, so hopefully one of the other two people who were taking pictures from our friends and family will e-mail me some good pictures, and I'll post a few.

Rachel's party was fun, mostly. Our family members came home with us from church, and a couple who might as well be family (Hi, Corey & Gilda!) arrived soon after to help us get ready, and it all came together on time. Rachel seemed to really have a good time, and she had 3 little girls from church who came to celebrate, along with their parents and other family friends. The other girls were anxious to go outside, so the kids all ate their food quickly and plowed through the cake and ice cream. Then as Rachel tried to open gifts, she had more help than she needed from two girls who really wanted to open the gifts themselves and had a hard time understanding that was Rachel's job. She didn't seem to mind, even though James and I did, so at least she enjoyed herself. After that, they all went and played outside until it was time for people to start heading home.

Rachel had a hard time deciding what to play with after that and pretty much played with everything a little before going to bed that evening. All in all, a rousing success!

Poor James got the short end of the stick with a "Happy Father's Day!" greeting, along with cards and gifts from me and Rachel. But I think he enjoyed Father's Day nonetheless.

Here are a few photos from the day:The girls each decorated their own paper tiaras - don't they look sweet?
Mmm, I like cake :)

One of her gifts was a Snow White costume, which she's worn all or part of for the last 3 days.

Daddy & kids hanging out on the evening of Father's Day.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

4 Already? How on Earth Did That Happen?!

Believe it or not, our little girl turned 4 years old yesterday. Here she is, waiting for us to serenade her with "Happy Birthday":

Opening up her gifts:

Someone's excited to be at Chuck E. Cheese's!

Riding with her pal Chuck:
And here we all are after an afternoon of playing (mostly Rachel & James) and feeding a baby/eating (that would be me & Ben, who wanted to eat constantly for the last 2 hours we were there):

Wow, Rachel, we can't believe you're such a big girl. We love you and thank God for you every day!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm Ready for My Closeup, Mr. DeMille

I can't believe it's taken me almost 2 weeks to actually get back to posting pictures, and I just realized I posted *no* closeups of Ben in the last group. That's just sad.

Anyway, here are more pictures from the first few days of Ben's life:

I'm not sure about this whole bath thing.

Okay, I definitely don't care for it at this time. (Not sure why the picture got turned or how to fix it, but hopefully James can.)

Looking like a little angel :)

Big sister waiting for some hand sanitizer.

Rachel is such a sweet big sister! She's really loving and gentle with Ben.

Captured a yawn :)

Just hanging out, being casual in my blanket burrito.

Our new family of four!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I Just Can't Wait to be Queen!

That's how Rachel likes to sing the song from "The Lion King." Obviously she thinks well of herself.

She loves to sing and dance. She's got very good rhythm and is really developing an ear for the tune of a song. I've been asking her if she wanted swim lessons or dance lessons for her birthday next week, and she's answered "dance" every time. So now I'm looking for an inexpensive class of some sort to see how she likes it. Hopefully it will be a good experience for her and something she'll want to keep doing, but if not, that's okay, too.

Rough Night

Ben has had some really good nights where he's given us 4 or 5 or even 6 hours of sleep since he was born. He's had some not-so-good nights where he wants to snack his way through the wee hours, and I end up with a night of interrupted rest. But last night was by far the roughest we've had.

He's had trouble with gas the last 4 nights or so to varying degrees. I didn't get him to sleep until about 12:30 last night, then he was up again crying at 1am. I brought him into bed and nursed him for a few minutes until he went back to sleep. That worked then, but not at 3am when he again awoke and was fussing and crying. I tried nursing him, but he was too upset to latch on. He just kept wiggling around, trying to get comfortable. I got a few burps out of him, but not enough for lasting relief. He and I were basically up from 3am until around 5:40, when I was finally able to soothe him enough to get him back to sleep.

But when 7:30 rolled around, he was again crying to eat, and Rachel came in 20 minutes later, so I figure I got around 3 hours of sleep altogether. So far I'm functioning alright, after a crankiness to the start of the day. I'll admit that the morning was filled with TV-watching for Rachel, but I also interacted with her without biting her head off, so I consider it a success.

She's in her room now, hopefully going to sleep soon for a nap. I'm eating lunch and trying to decide if I should also lay down to rest this afternoon, or use the time to update our Money program and get dinner started so it won't be a problem to finish it later, even if Ben needs to eat at an inopportune time.

Overall, Ben's been a mellow baby and the nights haven't been too bad, so I'm hopeful that this will be the exception rather than the rule, and that there won't be many times like this. But they stink when they happen.

Friday, May 30, 2008

No Vanity Here

Finally, some photos of our new little guy. And obviously I have no problem throwing off vanity, judging by the first photo ;) Here we are, about 20 or 30 minutes after his birth.

Here's a very proud daddy :)

Here are my doctor and my labor nurse, both of whom were really great!

Grandma Jean & Grandpa Jim, Ben's paternal grandparents, were his first visitors.

Here's Grandma Jan (maternal grandmother) and big sister Rachel.

Ben wasn't too sure about his first bath. He's still not a big fan :)

Here's James' brother, Jeff, and his wife, Hillary.

More photos to come, but it took me 3 days to get this post completed, so I figured I'd better get it published before any more time passed!