Andrew :: Two Months

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My poor, sweet Andrew. Total second child syndrome. He is nearly three months old, but nevertheless, here’s a two month update. πŸ˜›

As of his two month checkup on May 9, he was 9lb 3 oz, 22 inches long. At birth he was 6lb 8oz and 19.5 inches long.

He started really smiling! His personality is exploding every day and he’s so incredibly sweet and silly. He loves having his diaper changed, watching his Sissy dance and sing, and teasing mommy that maybe he is ready to go to sleep for the night. He has a smirk that rivals Han Solo’s.

Sleep is hit or miss. Some days he naps a lot, other days I wonder if he’s actually napped at all. Nights are still spent in 3-4 hour chunks, which is better than being up all night. He is sleeping in the pack and play in our room until at least sometime this summer, when we decide he’s sleeping well enough to transfer him to his crib in his and Lil’s room. No need to disturb her sleep if we don’t need to.

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We are nursing as much as possible, and supplementing with formula as needed. Some days it’s not at all, other days it’s one or two bottles. I’m trying to keep my supply up, but also trying not to stress or drive myself crazy like I did with Lily.

His neck strength is getting really good, and tummy time is becoming less tragic. He looooves to kick his right foot. Maybe he’ll be a drummer and kick that bass drum like a champ?

We went to a friend’s wedding as a family of four and made it through almost to the end of the night. Lily danced with anyone and everyone, non-stop. Andrew made his dance floor debut in my arms and charmed everyone to bits.

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Mother’s Day was truly glorious. Sean did a great job making me feel special and loved and relaxed. I got Dunkin Donuts coffee and a sandwich in bed and did not get out of bed until close to noon. We just hung out all morning in our pjs in our new king sized bed (!!!) and ate and watched The Office and Elena of Avalor. We got sushi for lunch and pizza for supper, and spent the day lounging and napping and watching movies. Like I said, glorious.

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We’re enjoying getting to know his personality as it emerges. Sean says (and I agree) that he is definitely a mama’s boy. He loves snuggling in my arms and he just prefers me. I chalk it up to being his main food source, but I ain’t complaining! I will take all the snuggles I can get every day of my life. Same still goes for Lil. Someday they won’t want to snuggle and give me hugs and be close, so I’ll take it as much as I can get it.

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The best thing is watching his and Lily’s relationship grow and develop. She is just crazy about him and the sun rises and sets on her as far as he is concerned. I’m so blessed to witness it all.Β 

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Introducing Andrew Joseph :: Birth Story

Andrew Joseph Birth Story Newborn Photographer Shannon Sorensen Photography

Two weeks ago, I didn’t feel very good. Lily and I spent Sunday the 5th in the car, driving up to Central Massachusetts for my cousin’s baby shower. When we got home that night, I was crampy and achy, and I chalked it up to spending a lot of the day driving along bumpy country roads. But the next morning, I didn’t feel much better. I dropped Lily off at school, and every step out to the car, my belly felt heavy and low, like he’d fall out at any moment.

I told Sean it was probably going to happen that week. He got serious very quickly and we went to my doctor to get checked out. After a delightful cervix check (can you sense my sarcasm?), I was told there was no progress and to go home and rest. I had another appointment scheduled two days from then, so I figured maybe by then I’d see some progress towards labor.

We got home and called Sean’s mom to see if she could come down for the night. Sean is usually home on Mondays, but he was scheduled for overtime that night. She came right down to help with Lily so I could rest. We did some quick power cleaning and vacuuming and made sure our ducks were in a row, and I think at that point, we both knew any day could be the day.

Sean went to pick Lil up from school and I rested a bit. They got home, and his mother arrived shortly after. He left for work around 5, and I started making some dinner – chicken tikka masala in the InstantPot. I was just about done cooking around 6 and went to sit down on the couch while the rice finished cooking. I felt a little gush of what I thought was pee, and rushed to the bathroom, because when you’re 37 weeks pregnant, these things happen and no one wants to pee on their couch. I had some spotting and when I stood up to wash my hands, I had another gush of fluid. Nope, that wasn’t pee.

I called Sean and told him to come home – my water broke.

Things were a bit of a blur for the next hour. I sat in the bathroom so I wouldn’t leak all over the house. When your water breaks, the fluid comes out in gushes ranging from a dribble to a hearty gush, and it’s a weird feeling, because unlike pee, you can’t hold it back. Sean’s mom made sure Lily was eating dinner and happy, and she helped me gather some things. I called my mom to let her know plans changed and the baby was coming that night. Once Sean was home, he packed a bag and got everything out to the car. Then it was time to go!

I’ll be forever grateful Sean took this picture of me and my baby. I felt alllll the emotions hugging her goodbye, knowing all our lives were changing that night. She was so sweet and excited. Leaving her was incredibly hard.

At the hospital, we were brought up to labor and delivery. Sean wheeled me up as contractions were coming on faster and stronger. We got all checked in and prep for a cesarean began. I was reminded several times how difficult my veins were trying to get an IV in place. I was glad I had shaved my legs that morning. Sean let me squeeze the heck out of his hand with each contraction. Our nurse was an angel.

Around 10, we walked to the OR, which was conveniently about 20 steps from our room. Sean had to wait outside and I was given a spinal anesthesia. I kept laughing and cracking terrible jokes because I’ve discovered that’s how I deal with nerves. I’m so thankful that everyone in the OR was nice and kind and friendly, because nothing is more awkward than lying naked on an operating table under blindingly bright lights while the lower 2/3s of your body gets numb.

The next 15 minutes or so involved Sean coming in, both of us nervously waiting as surgery began, I could ever so slightly see my guts above me in the reflection of the lighting equipment, and after some rather strong pushing of my uterus, he came out and blessed our ears with the healthiest cry I’ve ever heard. The boy has LUNGS.

Andrew Joseph was born at 10:31pm on March 6, weighing 6lb 8oz and measuring 19 inches long.

He is a sweet, snuggly boy. He is happiest when cuddled up on someone’s chest. He has zero tolerance for wet or dirty diapers. The slightest mess and he wants to be fresh and clean. He is a nursing champ, which I am grateful for. So much of our first two weeks with him has been different from when Lily was born. Going into surgery not exhausted, and actually getting some sleep that night between feedings, put me in a good place to get up and walk the next day. I physically felt so much better after this surgery.

Having that first night to ourselves before any visitors came was worth it’s weight in gold. We had plenty of bonding time, and there was no pressure to let anyone in to meet him. Our moms arrived with Lily in the morning, allowing us to be rested and ready.

Getting to witness Lily meeting Andrew was the highlight of that first day. She held him, kissed him, sang to him and doted on him. She is an incredible big sister. The past two weeks have bee a big learning experience for all of us, but overall, she is doing great and I am so proud of her.

I am sitting here thinking today should have been the day we met him, and instead, we’ve already enjoyed him for two weeks. What a blessing. My heart is full. I’m the luckiest lady in the world to have the family I have.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the past two weeks.

4 Creative Books For Your Tiny Artist

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Storytime is serious business in our house as part of our bedtime routine. And when I say serious, I mean necessary. From the very, very early days of Lily being tiny and squishy, we’ve read at least one or two books nightly. We have our typical favorites (Where the Wild Things Are, Angelina Ballerina, Curious George), but we’re also always on the lookout for books that are a bit off-beat or have some fun-loving humor that we all enjoy.

We have a few books that I really love, not only for the story they tell, but the visuals. Before kids can read, they’re soaking in what they see, and bedtime stories need to be just as visually engaging as the story itself, if not more.

As an art-loving mama, here are a few of my favorite creative reads for kids – all Lily approved!

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Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson

This was a favorite of mine as a kid, and quickly became one of Lily’s as well. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the story of a little boy named Harold who goes on an adventure that unfolds itself as he goes along, drawing the scene with his purple crayon. It shows the imagination of a child and how quickly things can go from simple to complicated, and how a child will deal with the complicated. As an adult, I have a new appreciation for Harold “making his bed” and “drawing up the covers”. The subtle play on words is wonderful.

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Beautiful Oops, Barney Saltzberg

Every child is an artist…even when you make what seems to be a mistake! Beautiful Oops is all about finding the art in what seems to be a mistake. Take a spill, rip or stain and turn it into something. It is a very “glass half full” mentality, and each page has a tactile example for the kids to play with.

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The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers

This one might be more fun for the parents than the kids. Read silly letters from different colored crayons and the joys and frustrations of crayon life. This is a great one to practice fun voices on!

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Pantone Colors, Pantone

I think this will be great for kids of any age. For babies, it can be a very basic color book, with the color and a picture featured on the righthand page. On the left, kids can start to distinguish between light and dark tones and variations of a color, and young readers may read the color descriptions.

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As a design nerd, this one was truthfully more for me than for Lily, but she loves flipping through it and pointing out her favorites (reds, purples and pinks).

What are some of your favorite creative books for kids? Have you read any of these?

Play With Me!

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She’s a little storyteller. Each day I’m watching her make up new little stories and scenarios, sometimes hilarious and other times questionable, with her little figurines and stuffed animals. It’s delightful to watch her play sometimes for reeeeeeally long stretches, keeping herself entertained and occupied. These beautiful long stretches of independent play…

And then there are days where all I hear is “Play with me! Play with me! Mama, play with me!” and the guilt washes over me nice and thick because I have a list as long as my arm of things I need to do, and as a self-employed wife and mother I’m feeling the pressure to get the work done and prove that I can make this work, but I’m feeling pulled (sometimes literally, physically pulled) to sit on the floor and settle a confrontation between Belle and Michelangelo over who put all the leprechauns in the bathtub. I mean, seriously. Who would do that?

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There’s a lot of pressure in the world. I see article after article each day telling me it’s ok to say no to my kid and do my work, and directly under that an article that says “It’s ok, Mama Bear, you put that work away and go enjoy that beautiful day with your kid. They’re only young once, right?”

Thanks. Thanks for this confusing mess of emotions and guilt, internet.

Here’s the truth – there is no right answer. All of our lives are so damn different and messy but sometimes great and not complicated but maybe a little complicated. Some days we’re Wonder Woman and some days we’re The Hulk. Some days we are getting shit done and other days we’re lucky if we get dressed or just accept that tomorrow is a new day and tomorrow we’ll put on deodorant and try to do better.

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I’ll say it again: There’s no right answer.Β 

Can we all just agree that we’ll decide what we need to do at any given moment and chalk that decision up to trying our best? I play with my kid. I love her imagination and her wacky sense of humor. I don’t think she ever feels neglected. She’s learning and observing that while I call her my world, the universe does not actually revolve around her. She’s learning that we have a balance in our family where sometimes mommy needs to work and sometimes mommy will play. Sometimes Disney Junior will be on all day, and other days we’ll be out hiking or at the playground for hours on end.

As long as we’re trying to find that balance, we’re doing just fine. Stop beating yourself up. Stop judging that other mom’s balance – her’s is not yours. Do your thing and I promise, we’ll all be all right. πŸ™‚

And if all else fails, call in Boba Fett for some assistance.

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Lily :: One Year Old

Last week, we did a lot of celebrating. Lots of singing, lots of cake eating, lots of friends and family showering love down on this little person. It has been hard to sit down and write about Lily turning one. It’s a real transitional time for her, and for us as a family. I still call her “baby girl”, but she’s more of a toddler now (my weekly Babycenter emails tell me so). She walks, she babbles, she has an attitude, she willingly hugs Sean and I. She is feeding herself and no longer drinking from bottles. She formed an attachment to a stuffed animal and is falling asleep clinging to it rather than falling asleep in my arms at the tail end of a bottle.

Lily, you are so much fun. You make each day brighter. I love being your mama and am so excited for a new year of adventures, trying new foods, going on our first vacation, and watching you blossom even more. I love your spunky, firecracker personality. I love that you reach up for us to pick you up now, and hug our legs, and cling to our necks when we’re holding you. I love that when I pat your back at night, rocking you to sleep, I sometimes feel the soft pat you your hand to my back.

You now have 4 teeth, and you rounded out your first year with two single ear infections, one double ear infection, one ER visit, a quite a few colds. Your hair is coming in thicker and thicker, and it’s a beautiful blondish auburn to compliment your blueberry eyes and pale skin. The back of your head is growing in curly, like a little duck butt.

You are testing your own limits, as well as ours. You are looking for our reaction, whether we react at all, or laugh. You love making us laugh and will do silly things if we keep laughing. You are also starting to mimic motions, facial expressions, and sounds, so we need to start making sure we’re on our best behavior!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a heck of a year – a real adventure. We’ve learned a lot, about ourselves, each other, and who this little girl is becoming, day by day. There have been numerous challenges, joys, and a lot of laughter and tears. I wouldn’t trade our family for anything. I’ve felt more love in my life squeezed into this past year than ever before. It’s awesome. Cliche, but awesome.

And anyways, I like cliches.