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Summertime

Summertime is upon us.  There's many distractions in our lives that keep us from posting updates: work, gardening, dogs that hurt themselves jumping off furniture, a hungry fifteen year old, you name it.  Excuses aside - here's a long awaited blog post.

July has been filled with traveling, visitors, changes in life (Jake going back to work full time).  And of course there's the little man.  It was previously possible to set him on the floor, go to the next room to grab some coffee and return to him in relatively the same spot.  Not anymore.  That's one of our biggest developments, scooting around town.  We're not sure when he'll crawl but basically he'll assume a domain that was once occupied exclusively by a dog and two cats.  They'll need to up their game to escape from his clutches.

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Lots of updates!

It sounds like a record on repeat but Thomas never stops amazing us with the new things he does everyday.  One of the things that's been a great improvement is bedtime!  For a while bedtime was a constant fight featuring Thomas fussing for almost two hours before going to sleep around 8 PM.  We worked with a sleep consultant and within a week he's sleeping through the night, it is almost magical.  I'll say no more on the subject of sleep so we don't jinx ourselves.

We also traveled this weekend to beautiful Park City, UT to visit family.  It was a great visit, and Thomas enjoyed spending time with Sarah, Wendy, Chuck, and JD.

Thomas is also getting more active, almost suddenly he's started bouncing in his bouncy chairs!

And finally - Thomas has started eating solid food!  

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Paws, claws, hands, and feet

We all start somewhere.  In the animal kingdom we are pretty much on top, yet it takes human offspring a very long time to develop after birth.  A foal for instance begins to walk shortly after birth, as do elephants, giraffe, and a host of others.  Obviously there's reasons for this, for one most of the animals mentioned have natural predators, so mobility is key to survival.  For humans our progression to standing on two legs meant the development of narrow, energy efficient hips while our intellect meant a larger head.  Narrow hips plus a large head means babies come out small and less developed.  Life on earth is very interesting, but no one is here to learn about the evolution of human life, so let's move on to Mr. T as I like to call him.

On the subject of mobility Thomas appears to be preparing for life on the move.  It's funny to watch his progression through the night during sleep.  Usually we place him towards one end of the crib and a few hours later he's inch-wormed his way to the opposite.  He's sleeping now on his belly with his knees tucked under his belly - child's pose as they call it in yoga.

When he plays during tummy time he's starting to flex his hips upward and dig his feet into the carpet.  It's only a matter of time before the four legged individuals around here will have to compete with someone who will eventually become smarter than themselves (not to give them too much credit).

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Keep on rollin'

There's a lot of good songs that feature lyrics about rolling.  I doubt any of those artists were referring to their 5 month old children.  The past week has been an exciting experience in Thomas's world.  He's begun rolling over from his back to his belly.  This is a pretty big milestone that required some adjustments on our part because it also means it's safer to allow Thomas the freedom of sleeping with arms free.  Gone are the days of being comfortably swaddled.

This has impacted everyone's lives.  It seems like each new milestone in baby development should carry a footnote that states *Warning this milestone may have the following side effects: Loss or interruption of sleep*.  It's not awful, we've adjusted since our days of sleeping 7-8 hours a night.  In fact recently we had a pretty good stretch of sleep from 9PM to 5AM only to wake up feeling hung over - despite not having had anything to drink the night before.

All things considered we wouldn't trade a sleepless night if not for all the smiles and giggles we've received, all the splashes in the bathtub, the dinosaur noises, and so on.  Rolling is just the first step on the path to greater mobility and more fun activities to share with Thomas.

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Eastbound!

We set off earlier this month on a trip across the country to introduce Thomas to his great grandparents.  Our flight path had us connect through Dallas on our way to Myrtle Beach to visit Jake's grandparents, Roger & Mary.  It was an exciting time in South Carolina that included Thomas's first visit to the beach and first thunderstorm!  Thomas also got to have a photo shoot in one of Dad's old outfits and got lots of hugs and kisses from grandma Maryann.

Next on our trip was Schoolcraft, Michigan, Mom's hometown.  We stayed with grandma Charlotte and grandpa Marshall who took Thomas swimming in the pool on multiple occasions with cousin "Squid."  We made an excursion to Ft. Wayne, Indiana to visit Jess's grandparents Ross & Nelda, as well as great uncle Tom and great aunt Holly.  At the end of our trip was a big family dinner where Thomas met even more family members!

It was a great experience on Thomas's first plane rides, six different flights counting connections!  On our last leg a nice flight attendant gave Thomas some wings to commemorate his first trip, a nice souvenir and reminder of the first of many journeys as our new family.

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April showers.. and sunshine

Dad here.  Returning to work has been challenging for us both, though I know the challenges for a working mother are quite more difficult.  So thanks Jess for handling it so well, and for being a great mother and wife.

Witnessing Thomas develop since we first brought him home has been amazing.  In butterfly terms he's still in the caterpillar phase, and definitely a hungry one.  But over the past two weeks or so I've noticed a definite change.  Our infant son is starting to cocoon into a baby boy, I notice it in the look in his eyes.  

One of my favorite moments each day is when Thomas fixates on my shirts which are often adorned with *NERD ALERT* something from Star Wars or Marvel comics.  He likes the contrast.  I don't pretend to think that he's excited about Wolverine or the Millenium Faclon.   What I know is I can see his focus zoom out and he locks onto my face, and there's a quick realization that happens - and most of the time a cheesy smile.  It's one of the best feelings, and in those moments I feel like a real dad.

 

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Picture Update

Looooooong couple of days here, but didn't want to leave our audience waiting! Here are some pictures of the little man to tide you over until I get a chance to update!

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They see me rolling ...

So much has happened between today and my last post, six days ago. Or, rather, so much DIDN'T happen.

We went through our first sleep regression, which has struck fear in this mother's heart. The kid was up literally every 1-2 hours for three or four days. Lots of tears and frustration on my part. Thankfully, it seems to have generally passed (KNOCK ON WOOD), although he's still struggling a bit to smooth out his schedule. While he slept hard during the day today, as an example, he's fighting sleep this evening. Not exactly sure why since he could barely keep his eyes open during bath time, but hey ... you do you, kid.

Part of this sleep regression is because Thomas is going through the third leap, alternately called "The World of Smooth Transitions." Yeah yeah, another name for what you guys all experienced when you were raising your kiddos. The Wonder Weeks, which is what we generally follow, has it down to a T (for Thomas!), though. We had 3-4 nights of awful sleep, and all of a sudden we get a changed kid. He finally slept for more than two hours on Sunday night. Monday was the first day he found his fingers to suck on (although he keeps choking himself ... he'll learn), he's thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to laughing, and last night he rolled over from tummy to back (check out the video)! Moving on up in the world, this kid.

We were lucky enough to have Uncle Corey in town with us from Thursday until Sunday. It's always nice seeing your family interact with your kid, and watching Thomas and Corey was no exception. They did lots of kicking on the floor together, Corey got him some cool shoes, and there were many stories read. While Corey and Danelle live far away, we're lucky they love us (and their nephew!), and we were both sad to see Corey go.

The countdown is on for me to head back to work, but thankfully I'm feeling a bit better about it. I cheated last week, and went in on Friday to get myself eased into the situation. I left refreshed and happy, so I'm hopeful it will be a relatively easy transition to full time. It's going to be even easier since my parents are coming out to watch Thomas in April, and, it would appear, bringing my cousin with them for the first week. It'll be a full house, but so fun to hang out with everyone. The biggest benefit is that Thomas will get some quality time with his grandma and grandpa, and mom and dad can maybe get some extra sleep!

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Sleep Transitions

Not a lot going on here. Usually, that's a good thing. Lately? Less so. The "not a lot going on" happens to involve sleep, and frankly, we'd like a bit more! Now that he's getting (much) bigger, the Rock and Play is a bit outside of our comfort zone for snoozing. The other night he randomly woke up around 9:30p, and Jake and I turned on the monitor. It was that moment that he decided to start kicking like a bucking bronco. It was also that moment that I decided that perhaps letting him sleep in it with it looking less stable ... I was going to begin to shy away from that.

We've also taken this time to get him off the pacifier for going to sleep. Most babies, according to the experts (ok, the internet) don't really "need" the binky until they're a bit older. Thomas, at 2.5 months, can't fall asleep without it. Problematic when he spits it out after 20 minutes at 2am. So we're breaking that habit before we both go back to work full time. Wish us luck!

Our doula said that it takes 3-4 days for babies to adjust. Last night was his first half night in the crib ... only 2.5-3.5 to go! And then it all be smooth sailing (riiiiiiiiight).

Otherwise, the days are pretty quiet and, thankfully, a bit routine. We are battling a bit of pinkeye right now. Thomas has a clogged tear duct which randomly gets infected, so we get to stick our fingers in his eyes four times a day (ahh, parenting). He's also found his new favorite plaything ... his dad's arm. We think its the contrast of Jake's arm hair against his skin. Very intriguing stuff?

We're getting ready for our next big influx of people when Team Marlotte (my parents) make it into town at the beginning of April. Going back to work is also on my agenda. In fact, I'm thinking that I'm headed in for a day of work on Friday to ease myself back in. Of course, this could not happen if Thomas decides to have a rough night on Thursday. I'm kind of looking forward to it. I'll be able to wear a shirt for more than six hours without someone throwing up on it! What a great concept.

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Sleepy Sunday

You know you're getting late in maternity leave when you have no clue what day it is! Three weeks from tomorrow I go back to work (I can't talk about it), so I am very happy to enjoy lazy days like today. 

Our to-dos today included a run (for me), a grocery store visit, and a bath (for Thomas specifically). Just a few photos from the day. One where T was being especially cute while cuddling up after a story. Another couple from dad cutting his nails (he was so tired, he kept falling asleep!).

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Ten Weeks Old

Part of the problem in having a blog about your family is that to you, everything is SUPER exciting, but it's hard to feel like those of you out there in blog land are as intrigued. That being said, I've gotten a few notes about not updating the blog, so I HEAR YOU! And we will make more of an effort, even if it's just to post the 900 pictures we take a day. :-) I figure, at a minimum, you guys like to watch him grow as much as we do.

I do this countdown thing in my head every time we have a "weekaversary." Once again, it's hard to believe that my kiddo is 10 weeks old! Where was I 10 weeks ago? Just starting to push. That's right, my kid was born at 3:38p, and I started pushing around 12:30p. It was that large head that make it take so long!

Thomas and his new friend, Paul.

Thomas and his new friend, Paul.

It's absolutely crazy how much he changes, and how quickly. Jake and I spent some time watching "old videos" (videos taken in the last 10 weeks), and we both kept saying, "look how little he is!!" When you're 10 weeks old, everything is filled with firsts. So what did we have this week?

First meetings. Thomas finally met our friend, Michelle (she's been traveling for work and super busy). M and her husband are due with their first kiddo, AKA Thomas' best friend, in early June, so it was nice to have the boys "meet" and see them check out their very near future. Thomas also met our former homeowner, and now friend, Paul. After we bought the house in August of 2014, we've stayed connected with Paul, seeing him every few months. This was the first time we've been able to get Thomas and Paul connected because of the weird weather and cold and flu season! We were hoping for a happy boy, but alas, Thomas had other plans and grumped and slept through most of their first interaction. The good news is that Paul is a a part of our life and they'll have many more interactions coming up.

First rides. Like many runners, we bought the BOB stroller for when Thomas is a bit older. They don't recommend you use it without the carseat (a total pain) until 8 weeks, so this week was the first time we got him in it. We went on a couple of strolls (no running until he can hold his head up a little bit better), and Thomas gave us his seal of approval by falling asleep both times. I'll take it!

Thomas, the bear, and Dad out for a stroll.

Thomas, the bear, and Dad out for a stroll.

First fake emergency doctor's appointment. The little guy has some eye crusties thanks to a clogged tear duct (pretty normal for newborns), but his eye got a bit red last night (a flag for us to call, per our doctor). That, combined with some GI issues (nothing big) had us seeing the doctor this morning. The good news? He's totally fine. The better news? Still growing. Thomas weighed in at 13 lbs, 5.6 oz. Quite the guy!

First ... sleep through the night? Ish? This may have had something to do with him not feeling super great, but he's been a napping king the past couple of days. We were thankful since he hasn't had a good nights sleep (for him) in probably a week and a half beforehand. Yesterday, we put him down at 7p and fed him a dream feed (feeding without waking up) at 9p. Doctor's (and doula's) orders, we don't feed him more than every four hours overnight, so when he woke up at 12:30a, we stuck the pacifier in his mouth and he fell back asleep. He'd stir a tiny bit every hour or so, but with the paci he passed back out. So we didn't feed him again until 5:30a! Then we put him back down and he slept until we woke him up at 7a. Here's hoping this is the start to a lot more sleeping (and a lot less waking up for mom and dad). I fully expect that we'll be up every half an hour tonight as a result.

Anyway, expect more posts of at least pictures. Also, for those of you who are in other parts of the country, some upcoming travel plans:

  • April 29-May 2: Charleston and Myrtle Beach. We're planning to see Jake's grandparents and mom, but might work in a quick hello to Terry and Butch and anyone else who wants to see us!
  • May 2-6: Michigan and Indiana to see my family and friends in that area.
  • June 22-25: Salt Lake City. I'm running my first half marathon postpartum with my wonderful cousin, and we'll see Chuck and Wendy as well!
  • End of August: Still figuring out dates, but Gayden and Matt are getting married and we intend to be in DC for it. Also introducing Thomas to his new best friend, Ishan, who was born about a month before him to two of our closest couple friends.

We look forward to seeing you on our tour, or anytime you want to come to Portland!

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Two month appointment

I feel somewhat like a record repeating, but holy cow. I cannot believe that today, at 3:38p PT, my kiddo is nine weeks old.

They say that your fastest (physical) growth occurs in the first year of life, and Thomas is illustrating that and much more! Every morning when we wake up, it feels like he's changed in some way. Today, it's that his face looks a bit longer than what I am used to. He's starting to look more like his dad in the nose. I notice my cheek dimples. I still cannot believe he's ours, and he's here to stay!

This week saw Thomas' two-month appointment, and also our first big round of vaccinations. The "little guy" is weighing in at 12 lbs, 15.4 oz and 23.5 inches in length. Needless to say, he's leading the charge on being big! He took his vaccinations like a champ. At least partially because of the amazing advice I've received from my own mom and some other mothers I've surrounded myself with as well. I covered my eyes while Jake held him for the shots, and then we breastfed right afterward. He woke up an extra time or two overnight, but was generally a happy guy! Thanks to everyone who accepted my nervousness and helped me through it!

Thank you to Archer for reading to Thomas!

Thank you to Archer for reading to Thomas!

Today was also our first day away from Thomas. Before we delivered, I registered Jake and I for a conference in Portland. Aunt Melissa came and took care of Thomas for today, and her guy and his son came along for the ride. It was easier being away from Thomas than I anticipated. Yes, I missed him, but after nine weeks of no work conversation it was nice to flex that muscle in my brain a little bit. I knew I was coming back to him, so that helped too! I'm not quite ready to go back to work (I still have four weeks off), but that time is drawing near. I'm working through those emotions as they come. Thankfully, they're easier to dismiss in weeks like this week where we're waking up more often overnight because of a growth spurt. I'll miss you more when you let me sleep, buddy!

We have yet to take our "official" two month photos (which include us putting Thomas on a chair in some sort of outfit), but here are a few to tide you over in the meantime!

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8 weeks and counting!

We hit yet another milestone yesterday, 8 weeks for Thomas!  Hard to believe that even as the words appear.  Looking at some of the photos from the hospital it's hard to believe that he was ever so small, and even harder to accept that our little baby is becoming a little boy.

This past week Thomas has begun to realize that his hands are an extension of his body.  We can see the wonder as his eyes connect with touch as he wildly slaps at anything near him. He's beginning to grasp things better and likes to pull on both our hair ... watch out Kiwi!

All this wondrous new development means - shorter nap times for fear of missing out on so many things. But not too much less.  Thomas continues to smile at mom and dad, kick his legs like a crazy man, continues to develop his head control, and new this week - sticking out his tongue.  It's hard to imagine what it must be like to discover the things your body can do for the first time, but believe us, Thomas thinks it is amazing!

We haven't had an official weigh in but he's certainly continuing to grow, and we both noticed a little neck sprouting off those shoulders this week!  Next up is the two month exam which includes the dreaded shots and of course another official weigh-in.

 

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Bonus Update!

A funny story I wanted to recount from this afternoon. As I said in the previous post, Thomas is doing a nice little sleep regression, mostly coming out of his fear of missing out (LOOK AT MY EYES THEY CAN SEE THINGS HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING SO BEAUTIFUL I LOVE IT!). As of about 4:30p, in fact, he'd only slept about 10 minutes over five hours. So, needless to say, we were hoping he'd get some snoozing in.

Jake put him down, and he fell asleep for all of about three minutes before he woke himself up again. After he started scream crying (we try to let him self-soothe), I walked in to throw his pacifier in his mouth and try to get him to get some shut eye.

The first thing I noticed is that he was looking into my eyes. This isn't totally strange ... if you're about 12 inches from his face. I, however, was about four feet from his face. As I moved my head from left to right, he kept staring intently and tracking. Oooook. So our eyes work!

He had stopped crying at this point, so I leaned down and put the pacifier in his mouth to try to get him to go back to sleep. He kept looking me dead in the eye, spit it out, and broke into a wide grin. I started laughing and had to walk away before I got him too riled up ... what a guy!

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Smiles!

Hard to believe it, but we're past the six week mark here with our boy. What does that mean? A few things:

  1. Thomas is getting bigger. Much bigger. In fact, last week he weighed in at 12.5 lbs. My arms are getting nicely sculpted.
  2. He's much more alert and active. Kicks, coos, and new passions we didn't know he had. Did you know that black and white contrast is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING IN THE WORLD? He can't take his eyes off of it. This also means, however ...
  3. The kiddo has serious FOMO (fear of missing out). Sleeping is getting increasingly difficult because he is super distracted by every light and shadow. It's incredible to watch him explore his world. I do wish, however, he'd do so less at night! Our doula told us that this will slow down in the next week or two once he gets his bearings a little bit more.
  4. Smiles. Oh my goodness the smiles. The kiddo has started social smiling (smile at him and he smiles back!) and his personality is shining through. For all the anxiety I had during pregnancy, he doesn't show that as super ingrained in his personality (thank goodness). Glad that trait didn't transfer ... yet!

I can't believe that, as of today, I'm halfway done with my maternity leave. It's been such a joy to stay home with the little guy. While I'll be happy to get back to work (don't worry, if you're my boss and you're reading this, I am coming back!), it's going to be a difficult transition.

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Returning to the road

In the winter of 2011, I was going through a difficult time in my life. That year, I decided to treat myself and travel from DC, where I'd recently moved, to Oregon, for Christmas.

I was lucky enough to go to graduate school in Oregon, and it had always felt like home more than any other place I'd lived. December of 2011 was no different, and when the plane landed, I was reminded of why I was drawn to the state. Temperate climate (much better than back in DC, where the temperatures were frigid!), un-ending greenery, the ever-present misty rain, and the smell of pine drew me in, and helped begin my healing process. Running the trails near my best friend's house helped to rebuild my confidence in myself, while introducing me to my favorite running weather of all time: 55F and misty.

It was fitting, then, that after a months-long break during my pregnancy, I returned to the road today for a mile-long run. It's a day I've literally dreamed about; thankfully my active pregnancy mind allowed me to experience athleticism in my sleep! That being said, I wasn't sure how it would go, as I am, somewhat, pushing the limits of my body. At five weeks, five days postpartum, my OB would probably prefer I wait a little bit longer to "push myself," as she stated. But when I woke up, today felt right, and I decide to see how it would feel to hit the pavement.

Without even needing to share, the dog knew today was the day. There was an energy about her as soon as I woke up. And when I pulled out my running shoes for the first time since last year? I thought her chocolate lab head would explode. I decided to "run lucky," and pulled on my favorite outfit to accompany me. Leaving Thomas in the capable hands of our doula, Kiwi and I hit the road.

It wasn't my fastest run certainly, but wow. It reminded me of the runs I did in December of 2011. The temperature was perfect, hovering in the mid 50s, and a light misty rain accompanied us for our mile. The dog spared me any bathroom stops, and I got to enjoy almost 12 minutes of bliss. This time, the perfect run accompanied a different kind of healing.

The birth of Thomas forty days ago was the best day of my life. I welcomed into the world a beautiful son, whom I hope to raise to understand passion, curiosity, and self-worth. Part of raising a child in this way requires setting a good example, and today I am proud of the memory I made which I hope to someday share with him.

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Thomas learns about red tape

We had our first hiccup today.

Well, that's not true. Kid gets hiccups all the time. Let me rephrase.

We experienced our first fun time with government offices today!

Let me rewind.

When Thomas was born, we filled out all our paperwork as was required by the hospital. This guaranteed us two things:

  1. A birth certificate
  2. A social security number and card

Those of you who know me know that I LOOOOOOVE tax season (for real). We filed that paperwork immediately and I've been waiting on pins and needles to file taxes for weeks now. On Friday, when I'd waited more than the required 28 days without any envelope in my mailbox containing my child's social security number OR his birth certificate, I got a bit more antsy and finally decided to call the hospital.

Several calls later, which had me meandering the phone trees of the hospital, the vital records office, and the Social Security Administration, I had my answer. The hospital had incorrectly entered our address, and sent Thomas' social security card to an address which, thankfully, does not exist. That being said, the only way to get said social security card was to go to the aforementioned government offices, wait in line, and get all required documentation. Not only that, but the only person who can file the paperwork is the birth mother (whee!), so Thomas and I got to sit in all of said offices during cold and flu season. EXCELLENT.

After 30 minutes at vital records (phew) and almost two hours at social security (not so fun), we finally made it out with number in hand. For all the people who thought I'd essentially live my maternity leave like a vacation, this is what fills my days.

Luckily, we had this guy to keep us entertained. This was a picture I took this morning after he wriggled his hands free from his baby jail. He was pretty entertained with himself. His father and I, less so, because we just wanted the kid to take a nap. He's given us that in spades, however, having slept most of the afternoon and evening at this point.

Thankfully, our weekend was quiet leading up to today.

On Saturday, we talked to our friends whose son was born almost a month before Thomas. It was fun to catch up with them and talk about what's coming our way. They were excited because their son was 11 lbs. Good ol' T was weighing in at 12 yesterday. Needless to say, we will not allow him near their child in case he decides to eat him.

Yesterday, Thomas and I went to a baby shower for our deer friend (misspelling intentional), saw our cousin, Sarah, and then got to spend some quality time with our favorite people, the Halas. Jake got to experience the joy of another Patriots Super Bowl win, and proclaimed T his lucky charm. I didn't take the time to remind him that they'd beat the Seahawks in an equally ridiculous finish two years ago.

Some pictures from the last few days ...

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Let there be light!

Five weeks old today (or "five weeks ugly," as my father would say). It's hard to believe we've had this much time already with our little guy.

The past week, it's like he's really coming out in terms of his personality. He's way more alert, and OBSESSED with lights. Jake keeps calling him a little moth. He can be fussing and mad, and you put him in front of a lamp, and he gets so excited! It's really cute to watch.

He's also become way more chatty as of late. He has a lot to say ... just not in a language we understand! That will come soon enough I suppose.

We took our first long walk, just the two of us, today. The last time it was just the two of us walking that route, I was having contractions! It's crazy how far we've come and how quickly it's gone. He, like he did in the womb, passed out about 30 seconds into the walk and didn't move a muscle (minus his tiny snores, which entertained his aunt Danelle while we chatted on the phone on said walk). Unlike in the womb, however, he wasn't protected from the rain, so he was a little bit of a damp baby when we returned! Thankfully only a few drops on his little baby face. 

We sure do love this guy! 

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One month

I am sitting in the dark and typing this one-handed as I hold my sleeping son with my left hand. Listening to his little tiny snores as he snoozes away.

After the scariest evening of my life one month ago today, I am so happy we are here now. Happy one month to the person who makes me braver, stronger, prouder, and more inspired than I ever thought I could be. I love you, kid.  

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