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.