Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Fresh Little Orthodox Christian

Baby Luke was baptized and chrismated (aka "confirmed") into the Orthodox Church last Sunday, the 28th, and he also received his first communion. Our little guy is officially an Orthodox christian and may participate directly in all the appropriate sacraments.

He did pretty well for the first couple of minutes, but then it was that throaty cry for the rest of the time. As you can see from the pictures, his mama had to come over and hold him for a little bit. Fortunately he settled down just before he was given the Eucharist.

For those who aren't familiar with the Orthodox church, the parents are given the responsibility to decide for the children that they be Christian so we don't wait to chrismate. Technically, we choose the godparents--in this case the very worthy Dn. Stephen and Mary Patty Holley--and the godparents speak for the child in the service. Of course when the child becomes older the parents can no longer force Orthodoxy on him, but for now it's our prerogative.

If you notice in the pictures, Luke is wearing a blanket with lace around the edges. The Holley's gave that to him--it was worn in baptism by Dn. Stephen, his mother, and his grandfather.

Baby Luke's Baptism

Monday, December 29, 2008

Jumping Bean

Luke has been passionate about standing up lately. If he gets fussy while I am holding him, I only need to put him on his feet and he is all smiles. Because of this new love and since his head control is very strong now, we decided to put him in this little jumping toy. He has a jumperoo at home that can stand on its own and I can move into the kitchen when I am cooking (Thanks Jen). The one in the video above hangs in a doorway. Thanks for passing it on Bethany Jean.

Christmas at the Jones' House

Luke with Grammy: Baby's first Christmas! It was very hot in the house due to a raging fire in the fireplace. :)
The three amigos: Clara, Luke and Paul. What a difference it is to have three wee ones around. The cousins loved playing with each other and running around the house screaming (Luke screamed, but wasn't running around. :) ).
Clara and Luke on the couch with the enormous cardamom bread. Grammy Jones has been making cardamom bread for Christmas Day breakfast since Nathan was born.

Tired out- When we got home last night, Luke fell asleep on the couch without any help. Sweet little baby.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Quick Update

We have been out of town- thus the lack of posts. Luke and I flew north to see my family for an early Christmas and take a 5 generation photo (which will be posted later). Yes, he has a set of great-great grandparents!

Now we are at the Jones's visiting family and eating great food. :) I will post a bunch of photos when we get home.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gingerbread Biscotti


This year, I have been busy in the kitchen making treats to give away. I made homemade apple butter, chocolate dipped pretzels (dark and white), and gingerbread biscotti. The biscotti turned out the best. I used the recipe below and dipped the finished product in vanilla icing for a more festive look. You can sub raisins for currants if you don't have those on hand.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; In another bowl, combine the egg and egg whites, brown sugar, molasses and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Stir the egg mixture into dry ingredients just until moistened; fold in pecans and currants; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a ball; on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray, roll each ball into a 14-inch x 1 1/2-inch rectangle;Bake at 325 for 24 to 28 minutes or until frim to touch; remove from the oven and reduce heat to 300 degrees.
  4. Cool for 5 minutes, transfer to cutting board; cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 1/2-inch slices; place cut side down on baking sheets coated with nonstick cooking spray; bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned turning once, remove to wire racks to cool, store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Fish out of Water

Luke is really beginning to move. He rolls over regularly and is attempting (though not very successfully)to crawl. Here is a video of his efforts from last night:




Also, our little guy MUST be teething. He wet through two outfits and a bib yesterday afternoon, and was uncharacteristically cranky! He is also in a total spit-up phase. Here is a picture of one of his latest burp-ups:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Advent Thoughts

For Advent, I have been trying to find more time to pray and "make room" in my heart to greet the Saviour at His birth. Each year around the major feast days of the Church year, I pray to see something new, to understand God better this year than the year before. Unfortunately, the Advent season has passed very quickly and I have not spent much time preparing. I have prepared for Christmas by buying gifts, making and sending a Christmas card, decorating and the like. But I have neglected the more important task of preparing to receive Christ.

Usually I try to follow the Church's prescribed fasting rule, add some spiritual reading in, and try to find a place or people to give to. Part of the problem this year is that my circumstances are so different. Obviously, with Luke, my whole life has changed. We have not been to any mid-week liturgies because they are all at night. I cannot lessen my food intake because I need to be well nourished to nourish Luke.

However, even with these limitations, there were several things that I could do to focus more on my spiritual life that I have not done. There is no limitation on giving to those less fortunate, I can always sacrifice eating sweets or luxury foods, I can pray at all hours- even at 2am or 4am since I am up then anyways.

Thinking on my life, as I usually do during the middle of the night when I am up with Luke, I realized the blessing that Advent is not yet over and I can still begin to focus on the upcoming feast. Also, I was humbled by the fact that even with my weak efforts, God has shown me Himself in many things this year. Just being a mother, and welcoming my own child into the world has taught me so many great things (as I am sure God has designed motherhood to do).

A couple of thoughts:

The self-sacrifice in giving up my body through pregnancy, labor, and now nursing to give life to Luke makes Christ's life, death and resurrection more real to me in a way that only experience can show.

Thinking about Luke in the womb and watching him adjust to life in the world helped me to think on our life after death. He spent 9 months in the womb, upside down, hearing strange noises from the outside, occasionally being poked by something. Then he was born into the world that he only had glimpses of and had to re-orient himself to his new way of life. We too will be changed after we die and pass through the womb of this life and into the next. I don't know what it will be like, but I do believe that we will have some similar adjustments to make.


Well, that is all for now. 9 days until Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Bumbo

I have been agonizing of whether or not to buy Luke a Bumbo or hope to run across one at a yard sale. Today I broke down and bought one (with a tray). Luke had been wanting me to prop him up on the couch so that he can see what is going on. He is growing up!

Just Some Cute Photos



Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Singing to Sleep

Here is the video as promised. He is such a little sweetie. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

He is on a Roll!

This afternoon, during tummy time, Luke rolled over for the first time! He took a while because once he had made it onto his side, his head was soooo big that he got stuck. :) Hooray!

We have had a big day. I printed out our photo Christmas cards and have been slowly addressing them. I bought Nathan two shirts for free from JCPenney's (there was a coupon for $10 off $10 or more and the shirts were on sale). I made my power granola bars, dinner for some friends, and 3 loads of laundry.

Luke and I also took a trip to the DMV to get a new drivers license. My license had expired and the new license was sent to our old address (shame on me for not updating them with our new address). DMV should really hire mommies and babies to come and entertain the crowd of people while they wait in line. Luke was a little charmer, smiling at all the ladies and cooing and laughing while I bounced him. Several folks were just tickled to see him smile back at them, and the otherwise irritated, impatient mood in the room brightened. I also got MUCH better service! I even got to get in the line for camera 2 (the shorter line for disabled people who needed to get in and out) to take my new license picture. Such a treat!

I am actually curious how my picture turned out since Luke was sitting in the Baby Bjorn in front of me. I will post my picture when I get it if his little head made it on camera. :)

Here is our Christmas photo and later I will post a video of Luke singing himself to sleep. He has been doing this regularly now. Boy does he like to hear himself talk!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A New Look

Finally, I started Luke on cloth diapers. Isn't a cute new look? We are using pre-folds and bummi's diaper covers mainly, and a few BumGenius 3.0 all-in-ones for travel. (The BumGenius are amazing diapers. They are even on sale at CottonBabies.com, where I buy my diapers, for about $12) I am loving it! It has been much easier than I had anticipated and it is nice not to worry about having to go and buy more and more diapers. I have already done one load of dirties and the stains came out beautifully with a little OxiClean. Also, he has not had a blow-out since he has been wearing them.

Nathan thinks that they look funny since they make his butt bigger than it already is. It is true that I have had to put him in at least 6 months pants now. Baby clothes are made for the sleek Huggies wearing babies. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Playtime

Luke spending time playing in his aquarium gym.

Luke has become bored with watching me do things (even when I dance around and try to act really exciting :) ). He can now reach for toys and play around on his own, so I have been trying him with different toys. It is challenging to figure out which toys are right at his stage in life. I tried to have him play with this gym a month ago, and he just liked kicking the ball, but would cry after a minute or so. I am enjoying watching him grow up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Late Autumn Stew

This is a super-healthy, super-tasty soup that I made for dinner today. Great vegetarian dish and great for the cold weather. I served it with homemade 50% wheat bread. Makes six-eight servings.

Directions

  1. Mix lentils and 5 cups water in a 3-quart or larger (slow-cooker) crock pot.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together remaining ingredients EXCEPT olive oil; Place mixed ingredients on top of lentils in crock pot.
  3. Cook on LOW 8 to 10 hours until vegetables and lentils are tender; Stir in olive oil, Serve in soup plates or bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese

Failed Experiment

Well, Luke woke up 4 times last night. Maybe he is not quite ready for the crib. I will try him again on Friday night so that Nathan can watch him Saturday if I need more rest.

Monday, December 1, 2008

My Baby Has a BIG Head!


We went in for 2 vaccinations today (poor baby!- he has been miserable ever since). Luke has a 17 inch head, is 16.5lbs and 24.5 inches long. He is a BIG boy! He is in the 75% for height, 100% for weight and 95% for head size.

Developmentally, he is also growing. He says several different sounds (at different volumes), laughs, and can roughly mimic sounds that we make. He also reaches for toys very well now and rolls onto his side.

We are going to take a big leap tonight and try Luke again in his crib. When we have tried before, he has not slept well. He does not sleeping on his back and I have not put him on his stomach during the night. He has been sleeping in his little baby chair so that he can curl up, but eventually he will outgrow that. Tonight will be a good night to try since his leg will be sore and he will need more room.

Since the Dr's visit, he has been in the carrier that you see above quite a bit. It is his instant-calm apparatus.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our Trip Home, Thoughts on Houston, and a Must-See Movie

Our trip home:

Luke, Grammy and I returned home form our visit to Houston last Thursday afternoon. We had an interesting trip back including an eventful layover in Albequerque. First the plane needed a tire change as the ground crew discovered a "gouge" in one tire. Next, while we were taxiing out, a hail/ice storm moved in and iced over the wings (and gave us all a little fright!). Then, ground crews were dispatched with anti-freeze to de-ice the plane. Finally, after the storm blew over, we took off and had a lovely flight into San Diego. I will not complain about our delays- safety is most important. I am grateful that we were not in the air when the ice storm hit also. God was watching out for us this Thanksgiving! Luke was an angel too. He is such a happy traveler!

On Houston:

The obvious downsides to living in Houston are the weather and the distance from family and friends. While we were there, the weather was absolutely perfect, but I do not imagine the same can be said for the steamy summer months.

The pros of Houston life include affordable housing, lots of industry with less traffic and smog than Southern CA, closeness to some family, general character of the locals, and the benefits of living in a conservative state. Housing is very affordable and you can choose where to live for the most part. Houston also has a very strong economy with many jobs right now. They have not suffered as much from the economic slow down as evidenced by a slight 3% decrease in home prices and a strong job market. Houston is home to Nathan's sister Bethany and her family, who we have always wanted to live near. People in Houston were much more family-friendly in general than the average Southern Californian and hold values more closely in line with our own.

Middlemarch:
Over the holiday weekend, we watched a great BBC mini-series based on the novel Middlemarch by George Eliot. It is entertaining and has great thoughts on marriage. I am putting it on my Christmas list!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Smile Baby

Okay, so I've been holding back. Awhile ago I got an iPhone and it's just so darn easy to snap a few photos of the cute little guy when he's on the changing table, in the Baby Bjorn, etc. But I haven't posted any of these (although I think Katie's posted a couple). So now I'm posting them. Click on the image below to view them all.

By the way, one of the cool things about the iPhone is that it tags the pictures you take with your current location. You'll see the album also shows where the pictures were taken on a map. Pretty cool.

Baby Pictures Catch-up

Monday, November 24, 2008

Luke, is that you?







No, it is cousin Clara at about the same age. They are obviously related!

Baby Lukey in Texas






Luke was a trooper on the plane ride to Texas- he did not cry once! The young men sitting behind us eyed us skeptically as we boarded the plane, but as we were getting off, they remarked that he was the best baby they had ever flown with. Much of Luke's happy trip was due to the fact that the plane was only half full and he was able to lay out between Grammy and I.





When we arrived in Houston, we were greeted by Uncle Evan, Aunt Bethany, and Clara Lee. Luke has really enjoyed Clara. He is especially fond of watching her dance around and play. Clara also loves talking to Luke and there have been several conversations between them. They mostly go something like this:






Clara: "Hi Baby Lukey!"



Luke: "Agoo!!!" or a loud Squeal



Clara: "Agoo!!!" or a loud Squeal (to show that she could speak his language)






Also, Clara is teaching Luke how to be a big boy. If he is fussy, she will tell him, "There's no need to cry Baby Lukey, there is nothing to be sad about." She teaches him politeness too, directing him to say please and thank you. Luke has not quite caught onto these new words yet, but I suppose it is never too early to start.






(Just a note: Clara is the only person allowed to call Luke, Lukey. Baby Luke is acceptable, as well as other cute nicknames.)






I have included some pictures of the traveling baby and his new friends. Also, see a video and more pictures at Bethany's blog www.bevany.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Away We Go!


This morning Luke and I said goodbye to Daddy as he headed off to work knowing that we will not see him again for a week. This afternoon, accompanied by Grammy, we will be flying to Texas to see the Getz family.

We had such a lovely morning today. Baby woke up at 6am, which is now about his usual, and joined Nathan and I in our bed for some cuddles. He really likes waking up to Mommy and Daddy staring at him from both sides. Mommy and Daddy like it because he is so very cute and at his freshest in the morning. He kicks and squeals and smiles at us, and we wish him good morning and smile at him in return. These are the most perfect moments of the day.

So, Daddy- we will miss you bunches! Bethany, Evan and Clara- we are so excited to see you tonight!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Persimmons- Yum!


Here is a lovely fall recipe for persimmon cookies. I have "healthified" it a bit from a recipe from allrecipes.com.

  • 3 ripe persimmons, pureed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
Mix the wet ingredients and sugar first, then add the dry.

Bake 12-15 minutes at 375of

Laughing Video

Here is the promised laughing video. It is not the best example, but Luke seems to know when I am trying to get something on video. He thinks, "Mommy, this laugh is only for you. No publicizing!" :)


Monday, November 17, 2008

First Laugh

Today Luke laughed for the first time. After dinner, Nathan and I were playing with Luke in our bedroom. Nathan was shaking a little caterpillar toy around and smiling at him, when a huge laugh burst forth. I tried to capture him laughing on video, and will post that later. :)

He is definitely developing his verbal skills faster than his motor skills. I have been trying to help him roll around a bit, but there are no indications that he will be rolling over soon. Though, thats not to say that he won' surprise us. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

FOCA

You may notice the new ad on the right side of my blog. The "Freedom of Choice Act," (FOCA) is a piece of pro-abortion legislation which Senator Obama has promised Planned Parenthood would be the first thing he would sign as President. This would eradicate state and federal laws that the majority of Americans support, such as:
  • Bans on Partial Birth Abortion
  • Requirements that women be given information about the risks of getting an abortion
  • Only licensed physicians can perform abortions
  • Parents must be informed and give consent to their minor daughter's abortion
FOCA would erase these laws and prevent states from enacting similar protective measures in the future.

If you click on the ad you can read more about it, see a tape of Obama making the promise at a campaign rally, and sign the petition if you choose.

Thanks to Kelly who made me aware of the petition.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Snoring

One of Luke's habits is to take a short nap after dinner. Here he is:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Prayer

Luke and I pray this as part of our morning prayer routine. It is so calming that I thought I would post it. It was composed by St. Philaret of Moscow.

"O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace, help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. In every hour of the day reveal your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by you. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering or embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray. And you, yourself, pray in me. Amen."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

With the Thumb and a "B"

Luke is discovering his hands and now likes to hold onto something- hence the "B" (blanket)

Aetna paid up

I got the check for Luke's birth today. There are only a few more charges in dispute, but the bulk of our insurance payment came through. Yay!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Frugal Friday Find- Azure Farms

I thought it might be fun to write about some of the deals that I have found.

Today's find is Azure Farms. They are an Oregon based company that sells all sorts of grocery items (fresh, frozen, non-perishable) grown on their own farm and items from natural food companies. They carry Pacific Foods, Garden of Eatin', Amy's, Barbara's, and other organic food companies for very reasonable prices.There is a catalog online, or you can request a free one in print. You order the items online or by mail, and then they are shipped down (for free) to a local designated drop point. I drove to Irvine to pick up my order. Their web address is www.azurestandard.com. To see the pricing, you have to give them an email address and sign in.

Some examples of deals I got this month:
Jonagold Apples- $.50 a lb
Organic onions- $.50 a lb
Blackberries 10lbs for $14
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup (32oz) for $2.25
Garden of Eatin' Organic Whole Wheat Tortilla's $1.10 for 10

Really, there are some amazing deals on high quality food. Right now, I am smelling a whole wheat bread loaf in the bread machine with the mix from their website.

Thanks to Bethany Jean and Kathy for alerting me to this great company.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Talking with Daddy

There were just too many fun videos today. I had to post this one too. Luke is getting such a vocabulary!

Volume

This video demonstrates Luke's incredible volume. He has begun making little squeals and shrieks while watching the mobile to show his delight.

A Mixed Bag (political comments- feel free to skip)

So, in my opinion, the elections were a mixed bag. On the National scene, I will say little. In my opinion, that we voted for a man who voted to stop a ban on partial birth abortion, and voted to let an infant born alive after an abortion die, is sad.

California in particular gave me some hope last night and brought some disappointments. First, the hope: in this great liberal state of ours, we passed a law protecting marriage. I didn't think it would pass honestly, but the polls are in. This was most important to me as I am first and foremost a social conservative and believe that the moral decline in our country is directly linked to the breakdown of the family unit. When the individual American family fails, the country fails. My hope is that if California can pass a law like this, maybe we can pass a law to prevent infanticide as well.

The disappointment came from the passage economic propositions. We passed nearly all bond measures that will dramatically increase spending. Don't get me wrong, I would love a high speed rail system, but not in a time when our state's credit is in jeopardy and we are already spending into deficit. I would be bankrupt if I spent money the way this state does. But, whatever, we need more services! We need more projects! Where will the money come from?- who knows.

Monday, November 3, 2008

10 weeks!







Looking back, I can hardly believe that we have already had Luke for 10 weeks! On one hand it seems that we have always had him now, and on the other, it seems that he just arrived and turned our world upside down (in a good way).

This week has been the week of gab. Luke can say several different sounds and if you talk to him, he will try to talk at the same pitch. He also makes noise for each activity that he does. When waking up, he makes stretching noises, and when he is tired, he makes loud sighing noises. He also seems to talk with his body- with movement and big smiles. It is so precious!

Speaking of precious, here are some of our latest pictures. There is one talking to mommy and one talking to Grammy (who we visited this past weekend). Some were taken with Nathan's phone and are a little blurry.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Power Granola Bars


Since having Luke, I have needed quick, on the go snacks and breakfasts. As you can tell from the pictures, he is growing bigger all the time, and I have to keep eating to feed him.

I like granola bars, but they rarely have enough protein to last very long, and are usually over-sweetened. I have bought some balance bars to get the protein content up, but they are expensive and also too sweet.

So, in an effort to save money and keep the sugar level down, I went on a quest to find a homemade nutrition bar recipe that met my needs. I searched Recipezaar (my favorite site), All Recipes, and the Food Network. I even googled nutrition/balance/power bar recipes. The best I could come up with was a recipe for granola bars from Alton Brown of the Food Network. His recipe had all the wholesome ingredients I was looking for. I modified it, adding some soy protein powder, and changing the amounts of some ingredients, etc... and came up with this:

8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, about 2 cups
1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, about 1/2 cup
3 ounces sliced almonds, about 1 cup
1/2 cup whole what pastry flour
1/2 cup soy protein powder
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2T unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins

Butter a 9-nch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, molasses, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the soy protein powder, flour and the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

It does end up being a but crumbly, so it is best to turn the bars out of the pan before they have completely cooled, wait for them to cool, and then cut. If it is still crumbly, it makes a nice granola snack.

Sideways

Luke seems to like the view from his side these days. I usually put him in his crib to watch his mobile, but lately he has not been as interested. When I put him down, he pulls his arms to his mouth and turns onto his side. He seems to prefer his right side, maybe because he can see the zebra on his crib bumper that way. :) Sometimes he gets stuck and needs me to flip him back onto his back.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

At the Pumpkin Patch




Today we visited the Pumpkin Patch at Tanaka Farms in Irvine with the playgroup. There was a petting zoo, wagon ride, corn maze, and pumpkin patch. The farm also grows strawberries, watermelons and other fun fruits and vegetables. We went on the wagon ride, but no petting zoo yet for him. Luke mostly hung out in the little carrier that I brought along.

Here are some pictures of us and of the farm's fall harvest. I love fall foods and especially fall produce. Lately I have been baking cranberry bread and lots of sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are now one of my favorite foods. I just bake them in the toaster oven and add a little butter and salt. I used to put a little brown sugar on them, but then decided that the natural carmel flavor is sweet enough and so enjoyable that I didn't want the sugar.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Insurance Battle

Please pray for us. I am battling with the insurance still (2 months so far) to get reimbursed for part of the charges relating to Luke's birth.

Also, he was not showing as having been added to my insurance and the window expired a month ago. I added him online, but it looks like it did not go through or something. I was careful about it, but who knows what happened.

Ugh!

Oh, and he is feeling much better! Hopefully he will resume a nice sleeping pattern tonight.

Sad Baby

Luke woke up every 2 to 3 hours last night and his leg is swollen from the shot. He is pretty miserable. We are having an easy day today. Is there anything you can do to help with the pain? We did give him a little tylenol for babies which seemed to help.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Big Day

Today was a big day for our little guy.

It began with a trip to KPMG (my work) to see everyone. He got the royal treatment incldung an office tour and cuddling from many of my co-workers. They commented on his size and how cute he was. :) It was really fun and I wish that we could have stayed longer. Luke loved looking at all of the lights and then fell asleep when he got tired.

Next we went to a Doctor's appointment. It was our 2 month well-baby check-up. He measured 23 and 1/2 inches and 13lbs, 8oz. That puts him in the 70% category for height, and 90% for weight. He checked out well and the doctor commented that he was looking good.

Next came the awful part. Luke got 2 vaccinations today, one being a large shot. He was not happy about this, but really did not cry for long. As the nurse was giving the injection, his face went red and his mouth widened and we all waited for him to erupt. It was so sad! Poor baby! I put him in cozy jammies and we took a nap together on the couch this afternoon. I was going to put him in his crib, but he was holding on tightly to me as I was rocking him to sleep. Such a sweetie. Tonight he is doing ok, but his leg is swollen and he has wanted a bit more cuddling.

The question of whether or not to vaccinate, or how to do it was something that Nathan and I researched before Luke was born. There are advocates on both sides of the issue that make strong arguments. In the end, we decided to give him most vaccinations on an alternative schedule to reduce the side effects. The book that we found most helpful was Dr. Sears' Vaccination Book. In general, we like the Dr. Sears suite of baby books and agree with his approach. The Vaccination book was particularly helpful because it broke down each of the vaccinations, their purpose, side effects, and information about the disease they were protecting against. This choice seemed to be a good middle-of-the-road alternative.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happiness is...

Happiness is waking up at 4am with the cutest little boy in the world and snuggling next to his soft cheek and smelling his milky aroma.

Happiness is watching your husband play with his little boy after a long day at work.

Happiness is having good friends over and just enjoying one another's company.

Happiness is finally getting things done that you have been needing to do for a long time and resting easier at night.

Happiness is homemade dinners and the smell that permeates the house. (Try this one- it is economical too!)

Happiness is watching you wee one grow each day- smile at you, roll onto his side, play with his mobile, coo while eating, and talk to you when he wakes up in the morning.

I realized this morning how happy I am right now.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

In The Morning



Luke wakes up on his changing table. He is so sweet in the morning.

Friday, October 24, 2008

2 Months Old! and Snippets

So much has been happening this past week that I am overwhelmed with how to put it all in a blog entry. Here are some snippets:

1. Luke is now 2 months old. He is such a fun age- cuddly in the morning, sleeping better, talking more and more, able to go out and enjoy being out (though the car seat still presents a challenge). He is now about 24 inches long and 13lbs. 10 ounces. I think he is slowing his weight gain largely due to the amount of time he spends watching his mobile. He loves it! He kicks and smiles and flails his arms nearly the whole time. :)

2. On Wednesday, we went to a mommy's group that our friend Jen invited us to join. Everyone was so wonderful and welcoming. There is a 1,2,3,4, and 5 month old there in addition to several toddlers. I loved seeing the different ages and stages- one almost sitting up, one mostly sleeping (the 1 month old). It was so fun!

3. I am reading the best book right now called Let the Baby Drive. It is a bunch of stories about one mom's experience of motherhood. The great thing about it is how I can relate to so much of what she says and how she is opening my eyes to some important mommy lessons. I plan on posting more on that soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Enough About Me

Luke playing with his tongue and a video showcasing some of his current conversation.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mama Projects

Now that Luke is a bit more comfortable living in the outside world, I have decided to take on a couple of projects.

First of all, along with my Two Tunics project, I have been going through our massive piles of books and DVD's. I have been selling them on Amazon.com, and surprise! They are actually selling. So far, I have made enough money to cover almost all of our Christmas presents this year.

Speaking of Christmas, that is my second project. Luke and I spent yesterday afternoon writing down all the presents that we have, and planning what we still need to buy and/or make.

Sometime soon I want to take up studying for the CPA again, but I just can't quite stomach it yet. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Mama Treat

My back has been hurting a bit lately due to a not-so-good baby carrier and my ambitious walking habits. On Friday, Luke and I walked in the nature preserve, and then to Trader Joe's and back with our friend Laurel. That was six miles in total! Anyways, when Luke was taking a nap that afternoon, I was lamenting the state of my back and remembered that I had not used the massage gift certificate that I got from Nathan for my birthday.

Today I went and enjoyed a one-hour swedish message. It was lovely. They had tea and chocolates out for us in a waiting area too. The only problem was that when I came home, I fed Luke right away and for the rest of the night, he smelled powerfully of Eucalyptus. I scrubbed him a bit more than usual during his night time bath.

Also, Luke is becoming quite the afternoon-evening baby. Today he was awake from 1:30-8:30 with only two 30 minute naps in between. Hopefully he will sleep well again tonight!

Friday, October 17, 2008

8 hours

Yep, he slept 8 hours straight last night. 8:30-5:30. Hurray!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Peek-a-boo

I have been trying to play peek-a-boo with Luke the past few days to see what he will do. He doesn't do a whole lot, except try to lick the blanket, but after we play for a little while, I get a big smile out of him. I imagine that in a few months he would be saying, "Do it again, mommy, again!" It is a very cute video I must say.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Undecided"

Nathan here. After watching the last presidential debate tonight, I'd like to share a thought I had after seeing (on Fox News) a so-called focus group interviewed immediately following the debate. Everyone declared themselves undecided, and only five of the people "decided" tonight--all Obama. They gave paltry reasons, having to do with how well each candidate performed or specific issues relating to how they thought a candidate (Obama) was going to solve their personal financial issues.

But in this election, when the candidates are so categorically different, how can anyone be undecided? That's why so many people pick a party and vote the party line for most of their lives; each represent the opposite position in so many categories. When you vote for Obama, you vote for more abortions. When you vote for McCain, you vote for the possibility to one day repeal Roe vs. Wade (which is objectively a lousy judgement). Obama: loose constructionist; McCain: strict constructionist. Obama: more taxes for more government programs telling you what you must do and "spreading the wealth" for "the people behind you"; McCain: take a hatchet to government waste and reduce taxes on you and the people that pay your salary.

Bottom line: do you want more government or more personal responsibility? Do you want new "rights" so people can do whatever evil and immoral thing they want, or do you want the rights the Consitution actually confers so that the Judeo Christian values that made this country great will thrive? The sides really are really different! And it's easy to see which is which... either way you choose, I don't think there's any excuse for remaining undecided.

A Little Coordination

Luke has been spending time laying under his baby gym. In the past few days he has tried toreach out for and hold his toys. Here he is holding caterpillar rattle.

A New Toy



Luke enjoys looking at himself in his mirror.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Two Tunics

The recent economic woes have troubled me (and really, I think most people). The production department at Nathan's work laid off a dozen or so people last week.

Anyways, I posted the alloted scripture reading from last Sunday. The readings are always so timely and so ageless. Jesus was talking to his disciples about greed and making your life about the things that you have. It seems that in a time like this, the Church can really stand out. We can be calm and trust God, and even still generous with our possessions if we have the means to do so. It seems a time when people want to hoard everything they have. We can remove ourselves from the frantic worry of our nation and give.

Commentary by the Church Fathers about this passage is that the tunic that hangs in your closet is the tunic that belongs to the poor man. That is powerful. I have way too many tunics and way too many pairs of shoes. I went through my closet this week and paired it down (probably still not enough). If anyone needs medium maternity clothes or size 6-8 regular clothes, let me know. Also, I have two brand new pair of dress pants from Ann Taylor that are size 10. Otherwise, off to Salvation Army.

Luke also already has some clothes that he will not wear any more. Most charities around here want only new clothes, but I know that there is a pregnancy care house in Africa that accepts used clothing for babies and pregnant mothers. (I can give contact info to anyone who might want to help too).

The Fathers also commented that the arms of the poor that you help in this life will greet you in heaven. Now I am not sure how literal to take that, but what a beautiful picture!

Here is the parable:

15Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

16And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'

18"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '

20"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'

21"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This Week in Numbers






On Wednesday, we had a follow up visit with the Midwifery. Luke weighed in at 13lbs. Pretty big for 6 and 1/2 weeks.

Wednesday afternoon, Luke and I traveled down to visit Grammy and Papa by train. It was very fun to see the California coastline and Luke slept the whole way. (Whew! Some people were looking at me with eyes that said, "Oh, no. We are riding with a baby. Hope he doesn't cry the whole time.") The midwifery and train ride was a lot for the little guy and so he slept 7 hours that night. We didn't sleep that much because we couldn't believe that he was still asleep.

Luke slept on his tummy for the first time this week. Until this point, in order to get him to sleep at naptime and during the night, he was swaddled, rocked and put into his swing or bouncy chair. This was quite a production. Once I realized that he just wanted to be on his tummy, naptimes have been much easier. A little bouncing and then put him down. Sometimes he was not even all the way asleep before he went down. (Note: Doctors don't recommend putting babies on their tummy, but Luke is very strong and we don't put any soft blankets around him or under him that might make it difficult for him to breathe. Also, we are testing this with naptimes only right now, so that I can check on him and hear him if he is in any distress.) He has had about 8 naps this way and is doing well.

Also, here are 5 cute pictures, just because.

Monday, October 6, 2008

6 Weeks

A short post (nap time is over). This week, Luke has continued to grow in size and ability. I will update his measurements when we visit the doctor this Wednesday, but I am sure he is well over 12 lbs. He is adding a lot of chubbiness to his arms and legs and is fitting perfectly into 3 month clothes. He has begun to reach out for toys on occasion.

Yesterday he went to church for the first time. It was fun to see everyone and many people commented on how healthy he looks. :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

One Month Pictures





Here are some of the pictures that we took on Luke's one month birthday as promised.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Birthday Outing

My dad came down for a few days this week to see Luke and to help out as a birthday present. Today Nathan and I got to go out for lunch and a bit of shopping. We had a great lunch at our favorite Seal Beach restaurant, O'Malley's, and I got a nice pair of jeans and some fresh fruits and veggies (oh, and ice cream bars as a birthday treat). :) We were gone for 3+ hours, the most that I have been away from the little one since he was born.

It was nice to spend time just with Nathan and clear my head a bit. It is amazing how much you can see in a situation when you are not smack in the middle of it. I realized through our lunch that I have been a little too obsessive about keeping Luke on a schedule. Sometimes I fail to take his cues about when he is tired or not tired in order to keep to a schedule. This makes both of us frustrated. I can't get him to sleep and he cries when he is overtired. I have also been driving Nathan a bit mad trying to keep him to the schedule and by being more stressed than I need to by the time Nathan comes home.

So, I still believe in the schedule, but I need to relax it a bit. I waste too much energy fighting his natural schedule and need to shape it more to the times that he gets tired.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mothering and Sleep

I have had two good conversations about babies and sleeping through the night. First, a dear relative of mine who has done plenty of mothering wrote to me, relating her experience:

"Looking back, I think I was measuring my success as a new mother on how much he (her little boy) slept while it was dark. It was very stressful and I felt like I was failing because he was not a good sleeper and my friends all had sleeping babies."

This made me think. I have been placing a lot of weight on how much Luke will sleep at night. If he wakes up earlier than usual, I wonder, did I swaddle him tight enough? Did he have enough awake time before bed? Did he get too much stimulation during the day, or not enough? Were his naps too long? etc..... Lots of seconds guessing.

The truth is that he will do what he will do. We try to set him up for a good night sleep, but sometimes that doesn't happen. Sometimes he has a poo that is bothering him, sometimes its gas, sometimes something startles him (like our neighborhood two-year-old crying, or the barking dog next door). I cannot control all of the variables, so why put so much into it. We will just keep trying for good nights. I won't use his sleeping pattern as a measure of mothering success. Maybe I should measure it by is ever-increasing chub. :)

Also, talking with Grammy helped me have more compassion for him during his nightwakings. If he wakes up, he needs something. Maybe he is struggling with a poo and wans some comfort. Maybe his tummy is empty and is hurting him. Maybe he just needs a cuddle from mama. I can't get upset at that. :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fun with Grandpa

My dad came down to visit this week. Here he is playing with Luke before bedtime. Thanks for helping us keep him awake Dad!

Hot

It is hot today. It was hot yesterday. Usually living in Huntington Beach, you do not experience much hot. Therefore homes are built without air conditioning. Poor little baby has heat rash on his cheeks. Luke has napped with the fan on him today, but it was still 83 degrees inside. I also put a cool wet washcloth on his head. Tomorrow promises to be better.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Evening Family Time


Nathan and I are trying to create a ritual of family time in the evenings. Here is baby doing tummy time while we listen to lullabies and sing together. Also, another picture of tummy time from this weekend. He is building strong neck muscles!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mama is Calm

Thanks to those who recommended the Mama Calm for treating anxiety. I had my first taste of it yesterday. It was very lovely to drink it in a hot tea form..... and I slept much better even after a rather harrowing evening (baby didn't get a proper afternoon nap and was pretty hysterical).

For anyone else interested, I bought my six week supply on Amazon for $15 including shipping.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

5 weeks


Luke has shown the most growth this week. He has become much more interactive. He now will spend up to 20 minutes looking at his mobile. He kicks and moves his arms about showing how much he enjoys it. He also coos at it and talks to it. We heard "agoo" from him. I remember that sound as the same sound from when I saw his cousin Clara her first Christmas. I posted a video below.

We spent a bit of the week at Grammy and Papa's house. He slept in a little papasan bouncy chair, showing that he does not need to swing anymore in order to sleep well. We do still swaddle him though because he will wake himself up if his arms are free.

I looked through Nathan and Bethany's baby books and noticed that they slept through the night (7:30pm-6:00am) at 5 weeks. So far Luke has not made it close to that long. I think that he could sleep longer because he does not usually wake up too hungry, but wakes up if he is uncomfortable or if he has broken out of his swaddle. I am trying to eat more mild foods to see if I can relieve some of his digestive pains. They may just be something that he has to grow out of.

Luke also loves bathtime and spends awhile in the water now. He likes when I wash his face because he can lick the water if it gets into his mouth.

This morning after mobile time, Luke looked at Daddy and smiled. So cute!

His stats: 11lbs 13oz, 22 and 1/2 inches long (a modest 5oz increase from last week)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

One Month and Pictures

Yesterday, Luke was one month old. We went to JC Penney's to get his picture taken with his cousin Paul. Our photographer was Stacey, who was also the photographer for our wedding. She is very talented and did a great job getting pictures of our little guy. Luke was somewhat cooperative. We took the strategy of getting him positioned while his pacifier was in his mouth (which kept him happy), and then pulling the pacifier right when she took the picture. He was so cute!

I will post a link to the pictures when I get it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cousins (both outside the womb this time)

Check out Bethany Jean's blog for pictures of Luke with his cousin Paul. Paul is about 13 months old. The last time they had pictures together, Luke was still in mommy's tummy.

Dental Bliss

Just a quick note:

I went to the dentist last night and was told that I have no cavities and that all my previous work still looks good. Hurray! That was unexpected.

Also, (unrelated) I think I am drinking about 2 gallons of water each day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

4 weeks

Luke turned 4 weeks old yesterday and celebrated the day with a 5 hour stretch of sleep. Amazing! Mommy is still working through her nighttime anxiety, but managed a total of six hours of sleep. Hurray!

Luke is doing so well. This week brought a lot of firsts.

1. Luke now talks to mommy and daddy on occasion, and his little voice is so sweet.
2. First trip away from home. We took him down to Grammy and Papa's this weekend. He enjoyed himself and had fun meeting Aunt Bethany Jean, Uncle Ben, and Paul.
3. We had tummy time and Luke showed off his ability to hold up his head.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Comfy Sleep on Daddy


He is so cute when he is sleeping. :)

Day 2 on the new plan

The schedule is still working. If Nathan and I were not such insomniacs now, we would have gotten a full nights rest. :) Oh well, at least baby was happier and slept better. Once he learns how to poo when he needs to, we will be in business. He loved the bath and bedtime routine in particular. We'll see how the rest of the day goes, but so far I have a much happier boy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Baby Expert Comes

I was talking with Nathan's mom a couple of days ago and she had suggested that we ask Kate, Nathan's cousin's wife to come and help his learn how to care for Luke. She has been a nanny and has taken care of infants before. She came last night and took a look at what we were doing and found ways for us to better help Luke get through the day and the night. It turns out that a lot of what we were missing was structure. I kept him on semi-regular feedings throughout the day, but I had not paid much attention to how much awake and sleep time he had. When we learned how to soothe him from the Happiest Baby on the Block, we learned how to quiet him and get him to sleep. We were missing how to keep him awake more during the day and interact properly with him.

Today we went to Baby's R Us to pick up a floor mat with hanging toys for him to look at and a couple of toys to hang from his stroller. He is an alert baby and I just needed to play with him more. He is not a new-newborn anymore who needs to sleep all day.

Kate also introduced the use of the exercise ball. Luke loves to bounce up and down. It also helps him get out more of his gas, which makes everyone happy.

I am used to structure and am realizing that much of my anxiety comes from not having that anymore. (Also thank you all for the natural suggestions for anxiety. I am taking magnesium and omega 3's for starters and am trying to take a few minutes to relax in the evening while Nahtan plays with Luke) Kate's introduction of a schedule is just what I need. It is not a rigorous, strict schedule, but we do set benchmarks for how much nap time and awake time happens during the day. I have to write everything down so that I can see how things go day to day. I love this part of it. I love seeing what is happening and where we need to change things to make the day better. In the schedule we are also going to attempt a bedtime routine- a bath, nursing, and soothing to sleep.

I am definitely feeling more positive about everything and was so grateful for the help. Thank you Kate!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Relaxation help?

Any ideas on how to help with anxiety that don't involve drugs? I am having trouble calming down and especially taking naps. I spend a lot of Luke's nap time trying to relax, but not actually doing it, or getting any sleep. Just lloking for some advice from the experienced mothers. Thanks!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

3 weeks

Today marks three weeks of life for our little guy. I am amazed at how much he has grown and changed in that time. The first week was the sleepy week. He was just waking up from being born. This made us erroneously think that we had a quiet, easy-going baby. The second week was a difficult week because he began to be more alert and cry more and sleep less and I was home alone with him for four days. He was showing us that he has a more passionate personality.

During this past week, we had my mom here which was wonderful. I finally feel recovered from labor and do not get weak in the mornings. We took walks and got out of the house a bit more. We also ran errands and got his birth certificate (you have to do this on your own if the baby is not born in a hospital). We also finally watched the Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp and have learned new ways to soothe Luke when he cries. (All new parents must see this movie. He really understands babies.) These techniques are supposed to work for helping him to sleep better too, but so far they have only helped him be more calm during the day. Last night we were up between 11:30 and 1:30 and then again between 4am and 6am. The soothing helped him not cry, but he was wide awake.

Luke is constantly changing and it is hard to keep up. :) He is a very healthy boy and is gaining weight steadily. His skin is also becoming very soft and his hair is growing. His eyes are becoming more blue and his hair is still white-blonde. He now has chubby cheeks (such a good little sucker! :) ) and his arms and legs are really filling out. He only takes 15-20 minutes to nurse. I wish I had a scale to see how much he is growing. Our next Dr. visit is the six week check-up. He should be between 11 and 12 lbs.

For the nighttime routine, it still works best for me to begin sleeping at about 7pm, wake up to nurse, and then sleep more. He wakes up between 11 and 1, and then I feed him in bed and he co-sleeps for about an hour. Then I swaddle him and put him in his bouncy chair in his room. We have experimented with other plans, but these have only made us frustrated and lose sleep (i.e. last night). Depending on a lot of factors, we can usually get 6-7 hours over little chunks of time this way. Not bad for three weeks old.

I am still struggling with anxiety and some depression, but slowly the symptoms are lessening. I had some really good days this week since my mom was here and I felt more secure. Walking also helped and I will do that everyday this week. Being alone again with Luke this week will be challenging. Luckily we have such a network of family and friends that I am sure we will make it! We live in such a beautiful area and are very blessed with the cool beach air and beautiful trails right down the street. There are also some wooden wind chimes hanging out on our neighbor's patio that make a peaceful sound throughout the day.

One thing that I did not count on was how much I missed having time alone with Nathan. I understand that we will get more time together someday, but for now I do miss our evenings together. We are venturing together on a new path though, and there is no one I would rather walk down this road with.

Not Enough Hands


Baby Luke gets to ride in the laundry basket because mom ran out of hands.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Walking in the Wetlands




Today my mom and I took Luke for a walk in the Bolsa Chica Wetlands ( trail begins just down the street) using his fancy jogger stroller. He began the morning as Mr. Crankypants, but we were not going to have that. I put an insert in and had him in the laying down position because he is so little. He had a great time and really enjoyed the fresh air. Here are some pictures. Also, I am wearing pre-pregnancy clothes in the picture. :)

Tomorrow morning we send my mom on a plane home. We have had a great time and are all sad.