Summer Sweetness

I’m sure I’m not saying this because I’m their mother or anything, but these may be the sweetest boys ever!

Well, maybe it IS because I’m their mother, but these are some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken in a long time.

My little guy is not so little anymore. I took these a week ago when he was seven weeks old (today he’s eight weeks). His six-month (and even some of his nine-month) clothes fit him much better than the three-month clothes, but I refuse to pack the three-month stuff away yet. That was hard to do when Tice was a baby, but knowing that Slade will probably be our last makes it even more difficult. Moving up to the next size diapers and clothes is just hard to do! Well, diapers are a little easier since it means more stays contained…

Most of these pictures are un-posed. Partly because continually posing a three-year-old and a baby will end in frustration, and partly because this is a natural position for them to be in. If I lay Slade down on a blanket, Tice will lay next to him. (It’s so sweet. Sometimes he gets a book and “reads” to him, sometimes he talks to him, and sometimes he continues playing with a toy or watching TV and just enjoys being closer to his little brother. I’m soaking up those moments!)

Tice does have a bad habit of putting his hand in his mouth lately, so I did have to remind him a few times to take it out. I promised him a treat if he could remember while I was taking pictures. Never under estimate the power of Dum Dums, y’all…

Isn’t that vintage quilt great? I found it at one of the other booths at Hermann Furniture’s antique mall. As soon as I found it earlier this summer, I knew I would use it for pictures of Slade.

After thanking Tice for cooperating, I got the sucker I promised him. I figured he’d go play, and that would give me a chance to get a few shots of Slade by himself. I moved the quilt to a different part of the yard and laid Slade in the center. Tice and his sucker immediately joined Slade. I started to protest, but it was too cute, so I kept shooting. This is how Tice always lays next to his brother when he gets a chance. When I grabbed one of the Adirondack foot stools to stand on, Tice jumped up, too. Again, I started to protest, but luckily, I captured this shot. It’s one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken, and it was just caught by following the three-year-old’s lead. It will definitely go in a frame!

After that, I was able to get a few of Slade by himself. Sweet baby!

I can hardly handle this cuteness! I could stare at this face all day!

Oh, and I got one of big brother by himself…

I sure love these boys. My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude that God chose me to be their mother!

Love,

Natalie

Posted in Family | 1 Comment

Brothers

Everyone asks how Tice is adjusting to being a big brother. I’m pleased to report that he adores his little brother. He was definitely meant to be an older sibling–always checking on little one and helping me fetch wipes or throw away diapers. He’s become a bit more independent with some of his own activities since I’m often preoccupied with the baby. He’s even attempted to wipe his own bottom a few times. We’re still working on that one. One thing no momma wants to hear is “Mommy, I got poop on my hand!” But at least he’s trying.

We’ve tried to make sure he still gets as much attention as possible to curb jealousy issues. Luckily, baby boy has cooperated by sleeping well during the day so I still have some of one-on-one time with Tice. I know it won’t always be easy, but we’ll be past the adjustment period before we know it. Pretty soon, it will be hard for Tice to even remember what it was like without his little brother.

And I’m definitely not suggesting Tice is perfect–he has a hard time keeping his hands off the baby. Usually it’s hugs and kisses, which is fine, but it’s ALL the TIME, and sometimes not as gentle as it should be. I have to really make an effort to keep it from driving me crazy because then I feel guilty, and I’m afraid he will start to be jealous if it’s all love for the baby and all frustration with him. I have to breathe and remind myself that he’s only three.

We took these pictures when Slade was just over a week old. Tice was having a hard time with the whole umbilical cord/belly button grossing him out. He finally asked me to put a shirt on Slade so he wouldn’t have to see it. I obliged, hoping I would then be able to get the precious brothers photos I had imagined. Unfortunately, the wardrobe change woke up Slade, and, well, this happened…

I gave up and decided to wait a while before attempting that again. Luckily, I’ve had more success since then. I’ll try to get the current pics up soon.

Love,

Natalie

Posted in Family | Leave a comment

Life with a Newborn…Again

So, these pictures are actually from when he was two weeks old. Don’t judge. This little dude eats often and slowly, so I spend much of my time with him attached to me on the couch. I’m not complaining–I know how quickly this stage passes.

I have a love/hate relationship with nursing. It does seem like the biggest time vacuum, and I feel tethered to the house, which bothered me less before I had a toddler. Since there’s no easy way to stay covered while nursing, we’re often exiled away from the crowd when we do finally get out of the house. Again, though, I know that this is temporary, and it’s already easier now that he’s not feeding every two hours. And the best part–it gives me time to be still and soak up this new love. I look down and see this perfect little miracle, and I’m just in awe that I grew him. Mommas, are you with me? Tell me I’m not the only one that basks in the wonder and amazement that this tiny human was just in my belly–and now he’s here, all perfect and growing into something more. Never mind that it happens every day, and this is how we all get to be on this earth–it’s still nothing short of miraculous when it’s your experience.

I’m reminded of feeling this same sense of awe after Tice was born, and I wondered if I would always feel like that. Would he one day be graduating from kindergarten–or achieving something great–and I suddenly be overwhelmed with the fact that I grew him in my belly? That would be kind of strange. But I can now report that it’s not something I think about anymore with Tice. Pride? Yes. But different from this kind that exists in these first weeks and months. It fades from memory the same way as those little twitches and sighs and grunts–and all those other little baby noises that you think you’ll never forget. But we get busy and absorbed in each new stage, and we do forget…

It’s in the long moments of feeding him that I have time to look down and think about these things. When I finally put down my phone and just look at him. All that sweetness–grown inside my body–and now still being nourished by my body. Oh, our bodies are amazing things! And during these months when I avoid mirrors and like my body the least, I also love it and am more amazed at how capable it is of wonderful things.

Okay, enough rambling and gushing, here are some pictures of all that sweetness.

What a sense of humor–he’s already giving himself bunny ears!

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Psalm 139:13

 

 

Posted in Family | 2 Comments

Slade’s Birth Story

Our sweet son has arrived! He’s four weeks old today, and he’s perfect and precious. We are head over heels in love with the little guy.

It’s nothing witty or creative, but I wanted to document some of the details about Slade’s arrival–I know how quickly time passes and the memories start to fade.

My due date was Friday, June 27, and since Tice was a week late, I was fully prepared for Slade to go past his due date, too. It’s a lot easier to wait when you’re telling yourself it will be later rather than sooner.

However, at my 38 week appointment, I found out I was progressing as if he would be here soon. The limbo began. I knew it could be any day, so I tried to be prepared, but day after day passed with no new signs. At my 39 week appointment, my doctor asked if I wanted to induce on the 24th. I ultimately decided not to since I wanted to at least wait until the due date before considering induction, but I was very tempted, mainly because I wanted my doctor to be there. (We did finally induce with Tice, and everything went very smoothly–and quickly!) By that point, I was back to expecting Slade to arrive late.

On Monday, the 23rd, I was trying to make sure Tice had plenty of outdoor time before his lunch and nap. I knew that he would probably be watching TV that afternoon while I got ready for an evening school board meeting. I really wasn’t looking forward to the meeting. I usually had a lot of contractions in the evenings, and being in front of a room full of people while trying to pretend I wasn’t having contractions didn’t sound like much fun. Anyway, after Tice woke up from his nap, I noticed that my contractions were occurring fairly regularly. I realized that I had been having quite a few all morning, too. But they weren’t really strong, so I figured it was just more Braxton Hicks probably caused by running around with Tice on the trampoline. After a few more contractions, I texted Harper just to let him know that there was a slight possibility that something was happening. I really figured it was a false alarm, though. The next thing I knew, Harper was walking in the back door. I thought he was jumping the gun, but he wanted me to call the doctor (who had jury duty that day). I went ahead and called, and, of course, they told me to wait until the contractions were stronger before heading to the hospital.

I started to get ready for the hospital instead of the board meeting–Harper said there was no way I was going to the meeting. I thought he was probably overreacting, but it wasn’t worth arguing about. I convinced Harper to go back to work, but he took Tice with him, just in case he would need to drop him off at my mom and dad’s. Almost immediately after they left, the contractions got stronger, and that was the first time I thought it might not be a false alarm. I started to feel the same urgency as Harper. We knew the chances were that the baby would come quickly–my labor with Tice was very quick and that was with being induced.

I called Harper and my doctor’s office and told them it was time.

It was a little after 4:30 when we got on the road. I was doing fine, but Harper was pretty nervous. I asked him if he was excited, and he said he just wanted to make it to the hospital. My contractions were still nine or ten minutes apart, so I was confident we would make it in plenty of time. My only worry was that I hadn’t given Tice a real good-bye–which, of course, made me very emotional. Luckily, we had done a good job of preparing him for what would happen, so he was fine. Plus, he was excited to have Bebe and Papa all to himself.

At 5:15 we arrived at the hospital. I asked Harper to take one last pregnant picture of me before we went inside. My contractions had suddenly become much closer together, so Harper really just wanted to get me admitted, but he humored me and took the photo.

Within a few minutes, one of the nurses checked me and assured us that this was not a false alarm. They quickly took us to a labor and delivery room and ordered the epidural. Again, I thought they were moving really fast–I was still handling the contractions pretty well, but I went with it. I’m glad I did because it took the anesthesiologist a while to get the epidural adjusted for my right side.

Everything happened really quickly–even more quickly than it had with Tice. It wasn’t long before I started feeling the pressure during contractions, which I knew meant my body was ready to push. Our poor nurse, who had only been a L & D nurse for a few months, knew I was ready. She kept going to see if the doctor was almost finished with one of the other patients (There were three of us ready to deliver at the same time and only one doctor). We joked that she was going to have to deliver the baby, but she seemed a little nervous. About 30 minutes later, the doctor came in and immediately let me start pushing. It only took a couple of minutes to give birth to my sweet boy.

When the doctor asked Harper if he was ready to cut the cord, I reminded him that I wanted to wait until it stopped pulsating. The doctor said it had already stopped, and he held up the cord to show us a perfect knot. He didn’t make a big deal about it, but he said the baby was very lucky. It wasn’t until later that I really let it sink in how lucky and blessed we were that the knot had not pulled tight. I know that there are thousands of births every day, but I still think that each healthy baby is a little miracle. Slade is our little miracle.

Unlike the hospital where Tice was born, no one whisked Slade away after the birth. The doctor immediately handed him to me, and the nurses wiped him off while he was in my arms. I’ve heard a lot of moms say that it was love at first sight when they saw their babies. I won’t disagree, but I have to admit, my first thought (just like with Tice) was more like, “Whose little purple sumo wrestler is that?” But I knew I loved him no matter how much he resembled a Japanese fighter. As I held him, that fierce maternal love took hold. He was worth every moment of pregnancy and waiting. Pink replaced the purple as our skin kept each other warm in the cold hospital room. He nursed and I noticed how much he looked like Tice. I couldn’t believe I was finally holding him and seeing him!

I held him and soaked up every inch of him for over an hour, but it felt like minutes. Harper was so patient. I finally gave him to the nurse, and she took all his measurements and bathed him while Harper helped. I tried not to freak out that they were using J&J soap on my sweet tiny baby’s skin. Why hadn’t I thought to bring our organic soap? Silly, right?


We all guessed about his weight after he was born. The nurses guessed between seven and a half pounds to eight and a half. Harper and I both said nine pounds and marveled at the length of his little body. He was nine pounds, three ounces, 22.5 inches–no wonder it hurt when he would stretch out in my belly!

Watching Harper hold him was almost as good as me getting to hold him. Slade will surely spend a lot of time in his Daddy’s strong arms, just as his brother has.

The next morning, my parents brought Tice to the hospital. Just as we had promised, he was the first one to meet his little brother. Now, that was love at first sight. Tice was smitten and has been ever since.

We had special gift for Tice to open at the hospital. It was almost as good as a new brother.

Of course, he wanted to share his new car with his brother!

My sister and niece and nephew soon joined the welcoming party.

And I caught my dad reading depositions. Someone tell him to stop working so much!

We came home on Wednesday afternoon and started life as a family of four. I wouldn’t say it’s been easy, but it has been easier than I thought it would be. It’s certainly been a smoother transition than having the first one.

I’ll be back soon with more pictures and probably fewer words! ;)

–Natalie

Posted in Family | 4 Comments

Hello, Summer

As the final weeks of this pregnancy are winding down, we are trying to savor the time as a family of three.

The little guy got the flu or some other bad virus the last week of school, and then Harper got it even worse. I ended up with a much milder version that only lasted a couple of days rather than a couple of weeks like Harper (thank God!). It really slowed us down and interrupted my nesting. There are so many things I would like to get done before the baby arrives, but I’m trying to rest or at least sit down when my body tells me to, which is often. All the stuff on my to-do list will eventually get done. Hopefully.

T is so excited about having a brother. Of course, he has no idea how much things are going to change. I’m not too worried, though. He is so sweet and thoughtful, and I know he will adjust to being a big brother instead of an only child. He will still get plenty of attention and love. We will all be adjusting for a while.

Everyone says that you suddenly realize how big your toddler is when the next baby is born, but I’m already there. He is getting so big, and just like all the cliches, it has happened so fast. I’m so glad that we haven’t taken any of the stages for granted. He isn’t perfect, but he is so easy to love. I know his brother will be, too.

I hope your summer is filled with some warm evenings and cool water!

–Natalie

Posted in Family | 1 Comment