Sunday, July 27, 2008

Six Years and Counting

Today Matt and I celebrated our six year wedding anniversary. I don't think too many people who read this blog were there to celebrate with us that day, but if you were, thank you for being a part of it!

The first two or three anniversaries we had we made sure to pull out our wedding video and watch it, but we hadn't done that in a couple of years. Last night we pulled it out and watched it with our children. It was really fun to see again, and it was especially fun to watch with Harper who did a pretty good job of recognizing who everyone was. It sounds completely cheesy, but we had a great time getting up and dancing in the living room during the reception portion of the video. I couldn't help but look around and think how far we'd come. It hasn't been all sunshine and roses, but Matt and I have managed to build a pretty good life together.

We had a large-ish, relatively traditional wedding and I loved every minute of it. The weekend we got married was probably one of the most fun weekends of my entire life. We got married where I grew up, in Wisconsin, but I was already living in Ohio. This meant that my mom did the lion's share of the planning and I was probably one of the least stressed brides in history.

Our reception felt like the huge celebration that we meant it to be - no worries, and a crowded dance floor hours into the night. I'm sure there were things about our wedding that weren't everyone's cup of tea, but we had a blast. One of the best decisions? Instead of having people tap their wine glasses for us to kiss, we had people get up and sing a song with the word "love" in it. We have most of the performances on video and they are equal parts hilarious and touching. You have to have a certain type of guest to play along with that sort of thing, and, wonderfully, we had many.

Six years in I'm happy to say that I think our marriage is living up to the wedding that we started with.

P.S. We celebrated today by taking Harper to see WALL-E, which we all really enjoyed. Then Matt and I dropped her off with his parents (who already had Michael) and went out for a completely delicious, decadent dinner courtesy of a very generous gift card we'd been saving.

Friday, July 25, 2008

How Do I Compare?

There are a couple of reasons I haven't posted comparison photos of the kids yet. I don't think they look strikingly similar as babies, I'd probably be more motivated if they did. I spent a long time debating whether I should compare them by their actual ages, or if I should use Michael's adjusted age. I finally decided on adjusted age because at this point, if I use Harper's 4 1/2 month pictures, she's in a totally different phase than where Michael is right now. So I decided to go for adjusted age. When I look at these pictures together I'm not blown away by the similarities, but I'd believe you if you told me they were related - even if I didn't have the scars to prove it.

Harper at 2 months, 14 days:

Michael at 2 months, 20 days (adjusted age):

What do you think?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Preparing the Acceptance Speech for my Songwriting Grammy

Michael has been sleeping in the "bassinet" portion of his pack n' play and our version has a semi-lame mobile attached, with three white-ish animals: a lion, a horse, and an elephant. Michael is in love with the lion. I don't know exactly how to explain it, but the child clearly has a distinct preference for that particular animal and will grin and coo at it incessantly. Today I was changing his diaper and felt very sorry that I didn't have a lion song to sing to him, since, you know, he's so interested in them. So I made one up to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." It went like this:

Lion, lion in a cave
I must ask you to behave
Please don't eat my baby boy
He is not your chewing toy
Lion, lion in a cave
I must ask you to behave

Harper thought this was great fun and thus began a morning of making up songs. While Harper's songs weren't entirely composed of actual words, she gets credit for rhyming and sticking pretty closely to the rhythm of Twinkle, Twinkle. We were all enjoying this immensely until I made up this song:

Rebound, Rebound please don't bark
Or I will take you to the park
And I will not bring you home
And you won't have any bones
Rebound, Rebound please don't bark
Or I will leave you at the park

Up until that point, Harper had been laughing hysterically with each song I finished. (And there were many, but I won't post them all, I want you to be surprised when my album drops.) I sang that song, however, and she looked at me very sternly and said, "Mom, that is not a good song. That is not a funny song at all. I would be very sad if someone took Rebound to the park and he didn't live with us anymore. You make up a new song right now and don't sing that sad song again!"

And now a couple of random pictures because I hear you people like pictures.

(I know, no animals/blankets in the sleeping space!!! Don't call child services, I was right there. And yes, he's trying to nurse from the stuffed dog.)

(I love the lighting in this picture, taken by my friend Cindy, even if Harper is yawning like she's sooo unimpressed with the world.)


Emily, over at Live with David and Katy, won the bookish pay it forward. Hooray! She was legitimately chosen by a random number generator, but I have to admit it is fun to be sending a prize to someone I consider a brick and mortar friend. And the picture book is perfect for her daughter's age -- a happy coincidence.

There will be three more Pay it Forward Contests here in the coming months. I'm still trying to decide what my next one will be. I've also decided, if this blog still exists when my children are older, I could do contests to give away 90% of the children's books we have, which would still leave me plenty to share with grandchildren someday. Am I getting ahead of myself?

(Old School Harper, reading my library book (Something Borrowed, I think), in July of 2006)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Awww. . .

Harper says to me, "I'm glad you don't go to school anymore. Now you're home all the days and all the nights!"

I say, "Do you like it when I'm home all the time?"

Harper says, "Yes, then I get lots of love!"


Driving in the car a couple of weeks ago, Harper looks over at Michael in his seat and says to me, "Mom, I can't wait to hear what Michael's voice sounds like."


Michael wrapped his hand around a toy the other day and Harper reported, "Michael picked that toy up with his mighty fistes!" (She acts so proud whenever he does anything.)


When my mom was here she was walking through the living room with Michael. His eyes locked on an 8 x 10 photo of Matt, Harper and I and he grinned at the picture.


You still have a couple of hours to enter Pay it Forward: Book Edition. The random number generator will choose a winner this afternoon. I'll get the package out by Monday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

One Satisfied Baby

This isn't the most clear or the most beautiful photo, but it is what Michael looks like on my lap when he is totally satisfied after nursing. He is a tiny bald man, passed out after a long night at the corner pub.

(Don't forget to enter the next Pay it Forward Contest!)

Breast Feeding Update (Short and Sweet Version)

After so many people left such wonderfully supportive comments on this post, I really should have given a status update long ago. Sorry!

The short story is that, yes, I have been able to breast feed Michael. He needs to take two bottles a day, which contain expressed breast milk with some turbo charged preemie formula mixed in, because our pediatrician still wants him to have some extra calories. I only pump after one of the bottle feedings, which means we'll eventually have to supplement with the super formula mixed with water instead of breast milk. I do not think this is the end of the world. Our nursing sessions are far from perfect, mostly because Michael will not nurse unless I use a nipple shield, but we are in a much better place than we were in two months ago. Will he ever learn to nurse without the nipple shield? The pediatrician thinks no, but I am still trying to decide how hard I'm willing to work to make it happen.

(Is Blogger having photo issues for anyone else? I was going to include a rather hilarious picture of what Michael looks like after he nurses and is all satisfied but Blogger isn't cooperating. You'll have to use your imaginations.)

Don't forget to enter the next Pay it Forward Contest this week!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pay it Forward: Book Edition

Last week I went to Half-Price Books and found copies of three of my favorite novels, written by three authors I really adore. I also found a charming picture book, again by a favorite author, which is in excellent (giftable!) condition. And the good news is that they can all be yours!

Here's how it works:

1. You enter by leaving a comment on this post. Please make sure there is an email address or blog link with your comment so I know how to contact you.

2. You have until Friday, July 18th, at noon (Eastern time), to enter.

3. I use a random number generator to chose a winner from the comments.

4. The winner enjoys the book package and pays it forward by hosting her own contest. (Although you can enter even without a blog, I can help you pay it forward if necessary!)

The grown-up books are perfect, in my humble opinion, for summer reading (i.e. not too intense). The picture book is very simple and sweet, ideal for a younger child, and would make an excellent baby gift.

Need something to say? Tell me whether you use your public library and how often.

Edited to add: If you want to know the titles of the books to decide whether you'll enter, just email me. I'm happy to share them, but don't want to list them here, just in case the winner prefers to be surprised.

All Manner of Updates

Pay it Forward Update:

I got my first Pay it Forward package in the mail at the end of last week. It came from LeAnna and contained a little album for birthday photos, sheet of wintry stickers, a tote bag with slots to contain pictures of Michael and Harper (which will be the new favorite library bag, I'm sure), and a gorgeous handmade scarf. All fun things, but the scarf! is! so! soft! Its my favorite. I almost, almost, want it to be winter right now so I can wear it.

So it is time for my new Pay it Forward contest, which I will put in its own post.

Flying Solo Update:

Matt's team won their first two games! I want them to do well a) because it is a nice experience and b) because it makes it easier to swallow Matt being gone for so long. He called yesterday and told Harper he'd seen Mickey Mouse and she asked Matt if she could talk to Mickey on the phone. Unfortunately he wasn't available.

I have awesome family and friends and have had some great help with the kids. The most difficult thing is finding time to get on the computer, but the world will go on if that is the worst that happens this week. My mom arrived tonight and it will be a nice three days with her capable hands nearby!

Michael Update:

We had Michael's four month appointment on Thursday. Here are the stats:

Head Circumference - 39 cm. - 3rd percentile
Weight - 10 lbs., 14 oz - almost on the chart
Height - 23 in. - 3rd percentile

Those numbers compare him to other four-month-olds, so he still seems so tiny, but he's growing great considering how he got started. Our pediatrician said that everything looked good, except for one little area. Michael has a distinct preference for turning his head to the right so he is getting a little flat-headed, and I think she is concerned that he isn't developing his neck muscles evenly. She is going to refer us to a physical therapist to further evaluate things, and, I think, offer some suggestions for how we help him even up. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I also asked about his pooping, or lack thereof. The child poops about once a week, but he doesn't show any signs of being constipated and it's loose when he does go. When she saw him it had been six days since he last had anything other than a wet diaper and she didn't notice anything problematic. We are able to give him a glycerin suppository if he goes a week without going. So I'm officially finished worrying about that.

Michael got four vaccinations and ran a fever for the next 24 hours. We had a pretty miserable day and a half and really goofed up his sleeping for a couple of days, but we seem to be back on track now. Or as on track as a four-month-old can be. Overall he is doing well.

Harper, incidentally, was a charming angel at the doctor's office. She was polite and patient and friendly and didn't misbehave even the tiniest bit until just as we were getting ready to leave, she was a little disappointed that she didn't get a sticker but she managed to survive the disappointment.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Flying Solo

As I type, Matt is in a car headed for Orlando, Florida. The AAU basketball team he coaches qualified for the national tournament. Last year we were spoiled because nationals for the age group he coached were only forty-five minutes away from our house. Orlando is a little further.

During basketball season, Matt is gone fairly often, but rarely overnight. And, while I can manage things on my own, he is my partner and it just doesn't feel right when he's not here. His team is talented and they have the potential to do really we in Florida. Unfortunately for me, this means he might be gone until a week from Sunday. That's ten days, not that I'm counting. Matt will be gone at least a week. This will be easier than the last time he was out of town for nationals, during my first set of grad school finals, but more difficult because we have two children now.

As much as I'm nervous about this time, I really shouldn't complain too much. Matt's parents are always a tremendous help, a great friend from college will be with us most of the day Saturday and Sunday, and my mom is coming from Sunday night until Wednesday night. There's a good chance that we'll all come out the other end alive.

But still. . . Ten. Days.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Four Months and Pay it Forward News

Michael is four months old today and I finally managed to take his picture on the actual day!

Here he is, hot off the presses:

Here's last month's photo:

I don't think he looks that much bigger, but I definitely think he looks older.

Pay it Forward News:

Okay, I actually won four pay it forward contests. Apparently random number generators, and/or hats, love me. I was going to do one pay it forward a month, and I still am, but now that I need to do four, I am not going to wait for next month to begin. I'm thinking more like next week. So stay tuned!!!

Also, Kate over at The Mommy Files is having her own contest, not because she won one, just because she was inspired by the pay it forward talk over here (look at them ripples!). She is giving away the winner's choice from a selection of great prizes and you have until Friday to enter. So go there now!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Celebration

On Sunday we had Michael baptized.

Of course I don't remember my own baptism. I don't remember my sister's. I do remember my brother's, mostly because I tumbled down the stairs that morning and the heel on my patten leather dress shoe gave me a bruise in an unfortunate place when I fell. I remember I was wearing a stripped knit dress and purple tights. (I was nine and it was the 80's.)

As an adult, I think baptism became especially meaningful to me when I was asked to be a godmother to my cousin Natalie. I remember being moved nearly to tears at her baptism, as I looked around at all the people who'd come together to celebrate. I found it so beautiful that people would gather for a formal ceremony to welcome a new being into the church community. A public celebration to show how happy we were to have a new little one in our midst.

I have been equally moved by each of my children's baptisms. Here are a few pictures of the special day:

The whole family.

Michael with his godparents, Aunt Meaghan and Uncle Jamie.

A closer look at Michael's baptismal gown, the same one Harper wore over three years ago.

Fun fact: My grandmother made that gown and the embroidered portion is made from a wrap that came with my wedding dress.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sunday, July 06, 2008

We Have a Winner!

. . . and she is Jenny from Stickyfeathers! I will be putting a package together for her and mailing it out in the next week (I hope!).

IF you didn't win, don't worry! It looks like I won three other Pay it Forward contests! Which means I have to pay it forward three times. I think I'm going to space the payment out and have one contest a month for the next three months. I don't think Swistle is going to link to all future pay it forward contests, which means I'll probably have fewer entrants and you'll be more likely to win! (Many people stopped by to enter who I don't believe to be regular readers of this blog.)

I will also be getting back to posting about the kiddos - which is what you really come here for. Things are just a little crazy with Harper and Michael and computer time doesn't come easily!