That's definitely at the top of our list this year. Especially since they're willing (and able) to make the drive (often) so that we don't have to brave an overnight trip with Jack just yet. We're blessed, I tell you. But I could go on and on about that.
We had Thanksgiving in two phases: one with my family over the actual holiday and one with Andrew's family over the weekend.
Phase 1 went like this: fried turkey, a cute baby in a turkey onesie, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, coffee in Christmas mugs and walks around the neighborhood. And not much of that is documented in these pictures.
Phase 2 went like this: roasted turkey, a Hallmark Christmas movie, sharing our current house finds in CT and lots of pie. And not much of that is documented in these pictures.
And in the midst of all the Thanksgiving, we were also making plans for Christmas. More family time, more good food, more cute babies in festive outfits. It's going to be one for the ages.
I have to say, I love doing this. It's fun to look back over the week and remember the little things and why I felt inclined to take a picture of them. It reminds me that each day isn't quite as predictable and average as it sometimes feels :)
+ Hoot-Hoot, I'm cute.
+ Date night! My parents were in town and watched Jack while we went to our favorite Italian restaurant. You can't see, but Tony is playing some dinner tunes on the piano behind Andrew.
+ Cheesin' in the car before heading home.
+ And then Jack was still awake when we got home, until we put him on Daddy's magic knees. Works every time.
+ Ready to go to church for the first time! You should know that he came home in only a diaper and a blanket due to a little "incident." Note to self: bring extra, extra clothes in the diaper bag.
+ His and hers hot tea date after hours on Sunday. We looked for houses in CT and listened to some jazz. Things sure have changed around here...
+ Life is just SO hard when you eat, sleep and get cuddled all day.
+ Christmas has come to Starbucks!
+ He zonked out while we were running errands. If only both of us could sleep like that.
+ Just like Daddy. Confession: I bought that outfit almost two years ago when Andrew was at OCS and just stored it away. It's a good thing I did that, because it sure is cute.
+ I picked up this little sweater for our upcoming photo shoot. Adorable, right?
+ Daddy's first mate!
+ He kind of has hair like an old man: nothing in front/on top, but a whole lot in the back.
+ Laundry feels more fun with this little buddy.
+ He fell asleep mid-stretch.
+ New bouncy seat! He's a big fan.
+ Consider this a PSA if you have a dog that sheds. This magic "brush" gets more hair off than any other brush we've used and Rudy loves it because he thinks he's getting his back scratched. It's called a Kong Zoom Groom. You're welcome.
+ It was a beautiful day, so we decided to sit in the back yard for a little vitamin D.
+ My house is (was) clean! I felt like I needed to document it before we got to messing it up again.
+ Open windows in November. We're really going to miss that.
+ Love his crazy expressions.
+ He stared out the window for about half an hour, just watching the trees blow around in the wind.
+ First smile! He was listening to Andrew call his name and broke out into a huge grin.
+ Lazy day by the fire.
+ Teddy bear suit! He couldn't move his arms, but he sure was warm :)
+ He's the perfect companion for date night. Just zip him up in his car seat so he's nice and warm and let him sleep!
And that was our week!
I'm linking up with Amy, since it was her awesome idea to document your week in camera pics...join in on the fun!
How did I become the mom of a one month old? To be honest, I thought I'd be trapped in that first week forever. But here we are, 33 days after Baby Jack graced us with us presence, and we're pretty much smitten with the fellow.
Also, his weight? That was determined by the ol' hop on the scale with the baby, hop on the scale without the baby and do some math trick. So it's not totally accurate. Hence the asterisk.
Also also, there's another blogger who has a cute, squishy little baby and I loved the way she documented his stats month by month, so I decided to do the same. I don't want to take all the credit for the awesomeness. But I will take credit for my cute, squishy little baby :)
He can still wear some newborn pajamas and pants because his little legs are so skinny, but everything else has been packed away. He started busting out of those newborn onesies last week, so we're officially in the 0-3 months category.
Just this week, we've started to get into a (loose) routine. He wakes up between 6-7am and then goes down for a nap around 10am. He usually sleeps for 2-3 hours, which is great because I can actually get stuff done. Or nap. The rest of the afternoon is a combination of eating, playing and cat naps. We start the bedtime routine around 6pm - sometimes a bath, a little baby massage, nurse. He's usually asleep by 7 or 7:30pm and wakes up twice to eat. Rinse and repeat.
Only when he's hungry, gassy, sleepy or just wants to be cuddled a little. Typical baby. But he rarely cries and can't be consoled. I think that's only happened once or twice. And I love him for that.
Eating. The little chub gained 2x what's normal during the first 10 days.
The ceiling fan.
The swing, bouncy seat or car seat. Whatever is around at the time that allows him to look around.
Anything with bright colors.
Being read to.
Being in a car that's not moving.
Dropping the pacifier.
Falling asleep. Once he's asleep, he's out, but he fights it hard.
Getting a bath. Although, I think he's getting used to it.
Also, I've been taking pictures of him each week. Here's what our little guy looked like this month:
As your dad and I started getting things together to head to the hospital, I was so excited and so scared that I couldn't stop shaking. We said our goodbyes to Rudy and your dad stopped to kiss me on the way out the door. We knew we’d be coming home with you and we were so, so happy.
We got to the hospital around midnight and despite the contractions I’d been having and the fact that when my water broke, it really broke, I wasn’t as far along as I’d hoped. The doctor agreed to let me wait a few hours before starting any Pitocin to speed things up (which I wanted to avoid) but they wanted to hook me up to the fetal monitoring since you didn’t have all that nice amniotic fluid to keep you comfortable anymore. Also, your heart rate had been doing funky things, so we all decided that keeping an eye on you was the best plan. I have to admit, I loved the lull of your heartbeat. Your dad pulled up the chair next to my bed and we were able to sleep a little bit. So far, so good.
I should also tell you about the nurses. Cindy was our nurse when we checked in and while she was good at what she did, she wasn’t very friendly. She was pretty cold and matter-of-fact about things and when you’re having a baby, you want to be coddled. You don't want someone to treat you like a fool for asking silly questions. I was feeling scared and uncomfortable and I wanted someone to say, “you’re doing so great!” But Cindy wouldn’t play that part.
About 2am, she came in and said that because I wasn’t progressing, they wanted to start me on Pitocin. And that’s when the party started. The contractions picked up pretty quickly and were getting stronger. I hadn’t wanted an epidural, but because they wanted to keep you on the fetal monitor, I was hooked up to all sorts of stuff and was pretty confined to the bed. I felt like I couldn’t do anything to work through the contractions except breathe and that wasn’t enough. By 6am, I was ready for the epidural. The contractions were awful – one would start before the other stopped – and I was miserable. By the time the anesthesiologist made it to my room, it was 7:30am.
I was sitting on the edge of the bed, leaning over while the epidural was being administered and I could hear Cindy debriefing my new nurse, Erin, who had just started her shift. Sitting there, I prayed that Erin would be nice.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed your dad sitting to my left and I remember thinking that he looked concerned. He told me later that watching all of that was so hard for him because he couldn’t do anything for me. Your dad is a good man, Jack, and I pray that you’re just like him.
When Erin came over and introduced herself to me, she stood in front of me and put her hands on my knees and told me that I was doing a good job. I remember that her hands were cold and that felt good. And then I started crying. Crying because she was so nice, crying because I knew there was relief on the way, crying because you were close. And within minutes, the contractions were weaker and weaker until I wasn’t feeling them at all. I looked at your dad and said, “I’m so happy” and then slept for two hours.
Before that day, I wondered if I’d somehow feel like a failure if I ended up getting an epidural. But I have to tell you that I don’t regret it at all, because it allowed me to enjoy the moments leading up to meeting you. And for that I’m so grateful.
Several hours later, after not feeling much at all, I started noticing that I was feeling contractions on the left side only. A hot spot, they called it. It was painful – nothing like before – but definitely painful. Before the anesthesiologist could get back in the room to check things out, I realized that it was time to push. Feeling the contractions actually made that part easier and pushing gave relief. I think that was my favorite part of the whole experience because I felt like I was actually doing something.
That was about 1:30pm on Sunday. Here’s what I remember about the next 45 minutes:
After the first push, Erin started laughing and said, “That’s how to have a baby!” Apparently you were closer than we thought! She ran into the hallway to tell Dr. Dacus that she’d be needed soon. When she came back in and told me that it wouldn’t be long, I was so excited. You were coming, Jack, you were coming! She started bustling around, getting everything ready for you. We had the TV on for a time when things were more relaxed and had never turned it off. I realized that the Panthers game was on and mid-push, asked your dad to turn it off. That’s not exactly what I wanted on in the background as you made your way into the world.
Your dad was great, holding me up as I put every bit of strength I never knew I had into pushing. Erin would count, loudly, to ten each time and then tell me how good I was doing when I laid back down to rest. Your dad never let go of me, the whole time. I pushed some more. Erin told me when she saw your head and told me that you had hair. She told me that we were almost done.
Jack, let me tell you something. I have never been as proud of myself as I was in those moments. In those intense minutes, I didn’t ever think that I couldn’t do it. When both Andrew and Erin thought that I needed to rest, I’d push some more because I knew I could and because I wanted my boy. Even now, your dad says that he can’t believe how strong I was and honestly, I can’t believe it either. But I want you to know that I’m so thankful that it was you, sweet son, who allowed me to recognize that strength in myself. It was the perfect start to motherhood.
After 45 minutes, Dr. Dacus came in to deliver you. I pushed one last time, with everything in me, and then I heard Dr. Dacus and Erin shouting, “Page, look! Look!”
If there had been music playing, this would have been the crescendo. We all felt it in the room. I opened my eyes and there you were. My sweet, precious son. I recognized you immediately, like we’d known each other forever. And in a way, I guess we have.
They wrapped you up, placed you on my stomach and your dad and I both cried. Because you were here, because you were healthy, because you were beautiful.
Two hours later, after we had stared at you and said “I can’t believe he’s here” about a hundred times, it was time to go tell the family waiting for you outside. Apparently, Papa Johnson couldn’t handle the anticipation and had already found out from the nurse’s station that you’d arrived. Your dad greeted everyone in an outside patio area of the hospital – Papa and Nana, Grandpa and Nonni, Aunt Laura and Aunt Rita were all there for you. Just for you, Jack.
They tell me it was a beautiful day, the day you were born. That it was a perfectly warm and sunny Charleston day. I like that.
And now here we are, a month later, and I can’t believe how easily I remember everything. On Sundays, I glance at the clock throughout the day and think about what was happening at that time on your birth day. It was all so perfect and even though I was exhausted by the end of the day, I had you. You with your big eyes and beautiful mouth and dimple on your left cheek.
The week leading up to your birth day was the hardest of my entire pregnancy. I was so ready to meet you and so full of anticipation. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for most of the week, so when I went in for my check-up on your due date, I was praying that the doctor would tell me that you were coming soon. Instead, she told me that I hadn’t progressed at all and because your dad had to go to back to work in just a few days, she scheduled us for an induction on Monday. I was discouraged, but thankful for a weekend together with your dad.
The rest of the day at home was pretty quiet. That evening, we went for a walk with Rudy. We walked and walked and walked – I was determined to get you out! Someone stopped to ask me when I was due and said she couldn’t believe how great I looked when I told her. And that made your mama feel good.
I took a bath while your dad went to the store for milk and Frosted Flakes, since that’s all I wanted for dinner. I prayed that you’d come soon and cried when I thought about all of the similar, tender moments between God and his other daughters when they reached that point in their pregnancy where all they wanted was to meet their child. I know He must have been so excited to know how soon you were coming to see me.
I didn’t sleep well that night and even had some contractions that made me wonder if I should wake up your dad, but I eventually drifted off. When I woke up the next morning, I was a little sad that I hadn’t gone into labor overnight.
On Saturday morning, we ate breakfast and decided to go for another walk. It was a beautiful, warm day and everyone was out and about in the neighborhood. I remember thinking how odd it seemed that people were doing such mundane things like mowing the grass and walking their dogs when I was so close to this grand moment of bringing my son into the world. I felt like they should be lining the sidewalk instead, cheering me on.
The rest of the day was long. I couldn’t get comfortable, but I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. I went back and forth from the couch to the exercise ball to the bed. Your dad picked up Chinese food for lunch and I joked that maybe the General Tso’s chicken would kick you out. We took another walk before it got dark, watched some TV and got in bed around 11pm. I wondered out loud if you'd come overnight and your dad joked that it would be nice if you waited until the morning so we could at least get a good night’s sleep.
And before he could finish that sentence, my water broke.
My mother-in-law was here this week to help us out for a few days and snuggle on Jack. In her wake she left about six dinners in our freezer, plus some breakfast dishes and a pear cake. Blessings are just raining down all over our family these days, my friends. We're so loved.
While she was here, we were looking through some photo albums that she brought with her. When I saw this picture of Andrew as a baby, I could NOT believe how much it looked like Jack:
Everyone says that he looks like his dad and I completely agree, but this is crazy! Let's do a little side by side, shall we?
I always wanted a son who looked like his daddy and I guess I got my wish.
I do, I do! When I was trying to pass the time before Jack was born, I designed several Christmas cards for the shop. And I just listed two of them!
Hopefully (read: if a certain sweet brown-eyed boy allows it) I'll be able to list a few more in the coming weeks. In the meantime, in the spirit of crossing some things off your Christmas list, use the code MARVELOUSCHRISTMAS for 15% off your order! Maybe you need some Christmas cards or maybe you need stocking stuffers for some friends on your list. Either way, I bet you can find something pretty.
We got orders, folks. We're moving to Connecticut!
(For those of your trying to remember where that fell on the pros/cons list, click here.)
Groton was our second choice, but after having Jack, I think it was starting to feel more like our first choice. It will be so much easier to get back to NC to see family than it would if we were living on the west coast. And that's a big deal, especially since Andrew will be gone a lot. This way, I can pass some of that time by hanging out with the people we love so much.
I think we're both feeling more and more excited as we've had time to process it. It will be offensively cold when we move there in January, but we'll just brave it for a few more months and then enjoy the awesome spring and summer. I can't wait. Who wants to come visit?
Some more random thoughts/answers to questions you might have:
Assuming nothing changes with the specifics in Andrew's orders, we'll start the trek up north around the first of the year.
We're thinking about maybe trying to buy a house (eeks!) so that's fun. The logistics feel a little nightmarish, but if it's meant to be, we'll figure it out. More on that later...
The closest Trader Joe's is approximately 45 minutes away. Not terrible, if I plan it right.
And whaddya know, there's an IKEA near that Trader Joe's! I don't know whether to be excited or concerned. I bet I know Andrew's answer...
I'm already daydreaming about taking Jack to NYC in the spring. Andrew and I have only ever been in the winter, so that will be a first for all of us!
I just bought this in preparation for the cold weather. Adorable, right?
After learning a little about the boat's schedule, it looks like Andrew maybe won't be deployed for a while. Hooray!
If you are reading this and you live in a place that has warm autumns and tolerable winters, you are allowed ONE remark per season about how you're still wearing flipflops in December. If you choose not to comply, consider this fair warning that our friendship will be terminated.
Related: The hottest month in Groton is July, when the average high is 81 degrees.
My dad has agreed to ship the following items to me on a semi-regular basis: bbq, honey from his hives and collard greens. Pending investigation, I may be adding Duke's mayo to that list.
There are no Chick-Fil-As, Bojangles or Cracker Barrels in Groton. I feel very sad about that.
I need to find the perfect clam chowder recipe. Stat.
I took an unplanned bloggy break last week and I have to say, it was quite nice. Andrew had a few days off so we were able to enjoy some quality time together as a family of four. (Yes, four. Rudy will cut me in my sleep if I leave him out.)
There's much to catch you all up on, but in the meantime, here's a look (in photos) at the last week. I'm thinking of doing this each week so you can get your Jack fix. Besides, I take an obnoxious amount of pictures with my phone - I might as well do something productive with them all.
+ Two weeks old, in the outfit he wore home from the hospital. He's turning into quite the chunky monkey!
+ Fall has come to Charleston.
+ Rudy feels a little neglected these days. I think he'll come around when Jack starts to pay attention to him.
+ Baby Tar Heel!
+ Morning snuggles.
+ Andrew's home! And barely awake...Rudy wants to know why he doesn't feel like wrestling.
+ Happy Halloween!
+ The candy/sign we put on the front porch. If you were to read between the lines, you'd see Please keep your germy children and their costumes away from my baby. K, thanks :)
+ Tummy time!
+ Rudy's a good motivator.
+ Just hanging out.
+ My companion when I nurse Jack 547 times a day.
+ And then I died of cuteness overload.
+ Sweet baby feet.
+ Keeping the sun out of his eyes.
+ "Hmmm, I think I'll have the milk."
+ Checking himself out in the mirror on his play mat.
+ There are so many beautiful spots in this neighborhood. We're really going to miss it!
+ Rudy wants to know where all the ducks are.
+ Be free, Rudy!
+ Lunch date at Panera!
+ And Jack snoozed through the whole thing.
+ Lazy afternoon on the couch.
+ Mama's first glass of wine in over nine months! With the baby monitor in the background. How things have changed :)
+ Napping in the car...
+ ...which means lunch in the car.
+ We heart Chick-fil-a
+ Rudy says, "Come on, Jack. Can't you at least look at me?
And that was our week!
I'm linking up with Amy, since it was her awesome idea to document your week in camera pics...join in on the fun!