Friday, May 27, 2011

Cape Cod- May 2011

Last week, we took James on his first trip to the Cape! It was technically his second trip out of state, since he went to New Jersey for Mothers' Day, but it was his longest trip yet, so we were a little nervous about the dynamics of a five hour plus road trip with a fussy fussy baby. In our favor is James's love of car rides, but to our disadvantage is my uneasiness to bring the baby into a public restroom. He did pretty well, sleeping for three hours, and then screaming when he wanted food and a changing, and then sleeping the rest of the ride.  We changed him in the car which was a little tricky, but he's still small enough that it's doable.

The three of us had an extremely full long weekend. On Thursday, we took him to see his 93-year-old great grandfather and 87-year-old great grandmother Rogers. They were so excited they practically ran out to the yard. Analyze that last sentence against the prior one. Wow.  He also met his Great Aunt Denise.  I'm not sure why it's called "Great Aunt" when it's the Grandmother's sister. Seems like she should be the Grand Aunt Denise, but sadly, I'm not in charge of the English language.

Cape Cod- May 2011
With Great Grandpa George and Great Grandma Ruth (Kevin's mom's parents)

Cape Cod- May 2011
With his Great Aunt Denise

Grandma Kathy had to work Thursday and Friday, but was more than eager to help when she was home. She's deeply in love with her new buddy. Kevin was even able to take in a Red Sox game in Boston on Thursday night for Jon's birthday. If by "able" you mean I almost went insane from taking the baby's fussy hour for 3 hours by myself, and he almost died of exhaustion from taking a baby shift that evening when he returned from the game.

This was also the first time we've had the baby share a room with us because he never liked that the cradle we put in our room rocked, and he never disliked his crib.  He slept in the bassinet-size crib his grandmother Kathy slept in as a baby! I definitely prefer James being in his own room at night, especially since the room is close enough that we clearly hear his cries, but we don't hear all his evening chatter. But it was necessary to keep him in our room to protect him from Nomar the cat, who I don't trust at all. Not at all.

Cape Cod- May 2011
Grandma Kathy was so happy to have James visit. Nomar, less so

Then Friday, we journeyed farther up-Cape to visit his Great Grandmother Shute. She was happy to finally meet the little guy, and pleased that he's named after her son. She was also extremely impressed at Kevin's interaction with the baby- bouncing, holding, feeding, and diaper-changing while we were there, while I chatted unencumbered.

Cape Cod- May 2011
James met his Great Grandma Catherine on Friday (my Dad's mother)

Dolores threw him a brunch party on Sunday so people on the Cape could meet him.  James's first party!  We had mimosas, delicious brunch food, a cute decorated cake, and even opened presents. Everyone was so kind and everyone got in some baby snuggle time. Kevin cautiously made sure everyone washed their hands or used hand sanitizer, which was both important and cute. Kevin is such a wonderful doting father. James also met his Great Aunt Mary, the Searles family, and my friend Allison. Thanks to everyone, we had a wonderful trip to the Cape!

Cape Cod Baby Welcome Party 2011
Ellen, her grandma Dolores, and James

Cape Cod Baby Welcome Party 2011
Cutting his party cake (James's first cake!)

Cape Cod Baby Welcome Party 2011
Opening some presents with Ellen's help

Cape Cod Baby Welcome Party 2011
With his Great Aunt Mary

Cape Cod Baby Welcome Party 2011
James with the "Searles girls," Fran, Jenny, and Megan

Cape Cod Baby Welcome Party 2011
My friend Allison got to meet him

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

James is 1 Month Old 2011

Cape Cod- May 2011
1-Month Photo

Everyone complained when I made Kevin walk out in socks, and I asked his mom to take 500 shots just to get one where they baby *still* looks angry, but now we all see it was well worth it, right?

Milestones: The baby had three big firsts this week. He had his first trip to the Cape, definitively started smiling at us (not just smiling from gas), and had his first tub bath this week.  He's also awake and aware more often now, he looks around during his daily outside walks instead of just sleeping through them, and he started showing some interest in his activity mat. Oh, and most importantly, first smiling photo!

His neck is growing stronger, and he focuses on people's faces more. He smiles more often with gas, but doesn't smile out of happiness yet.  He occasionally lets us change his diaper without screaming. His bellybutton is finally completely healed. Generally though, he has no new tricks. He hasn't even figured out his hands are under his control yet.


James at 26 Days 2011

With my baby boy!, 3 weeks + 5 Days

Cape Cod- May 2011
Check out his awesome sweater from his Great-Great Aunt Barbara

Cape Cod- May 2011
James is feeling a little dubious about the swing (from Casey and Victoria- thanks!)

James at 5 Weeks 2011
First tub bath! SMILING! And look how Austin Powers this photo is!

Even though I mostly gave him the bath, there are no photos with me- it's the downside to being the family photographer.

Best Moment: Kevin was burping James and he accidentally made a noise that sounded like a word. It sounded like "boobies," though Kevin wouldn't agree. Both of Kevin and I immediately reacted with wide eyes and started laughing. It makes me excited for when he really does start talking.

James at 25 Days 2011
Tummy-down Back-pat

Weekly Wisdom: James's fussiness is increasing. In fact, Wednesday, his 4-week birthday, was his worst day ever to date. He screamed for hours with no solution. But we have incorporated everyone's advice into our routine to quiet him so I will list it for other parents and potential parents. Once we know he is fed, changed, burped, and entertained we then try the following (in no particular order):
  1. walking while bouncing him (usually effective for the duration of the walk-and-bounce, but he's really heavy and my body has not recovered yet so this can be excruciating for me)
  2. tummy time (usually a fail but good for him anyway)
  3. patting him tummy-down on our lap (works for 5 seconds)
  4. putting him back down on our lap and bicycling his legs (5 seconds)
  5. taking him out in his stroller (effective for most of the duration of the walk unless he gets hungry or gets gas)
  6. taking him for a car ride (we're too lazy to do this unless we actually need to go somewhere, but it's always effective and sometimes beyond the length of the car ride UNLESS we get stuck in traffic then it's traffic hell with a screaming baby)
  7. bouncing him like mad in his bouncy chair (results vary)
  8. letting him breastfeed, not because he's hungry but to soothe him (usually a fail)
  9. handing him off to anyone else (works for me, but not so well for them)
  10. we do not yet have a baby swing, but by God we're getting one
  11. ANY OTHER IDEAS WELCOME!
James at 24 Days 2011
James, 3 weeks + 3 days, pretending to be reasonable

I also like the Moby Wrap his great-auntie Mary gave him. It's good for when he's dozing off but won't let me put him down.  I can put him in it, he sleeps, and I still have use of my hands and legs.  Sadly, I can't use it when he's fussy, because then I'm just closely strapped to a screaming baby and that's worse than not being strapped to one.

James at 25 Days 2011
Moby-wrapped

Visitors: James had an active week of meeting friends.  On Friday, Ash and Michele came to see him for the first time.  He promptly greeted Ash by simultaneously throwing up and pooping (through his onesie) on her. Yay, Ash!  He was kinder to Michele.

Then on Monday, Rachel and Eleanor came over to meet James.  It was his first play-date! Except he doesn't play yet, and Eleanor is too advanced to be very interested in him.

James at 23 Days 2011
Ash, happy before James attacked her

James at 23 Days 2011
James, checking out Michele

James at 26 Days 2011
I'm holding Eleanor and Rachel is holding James
Who would have guessed it when Rachel and I met in Spain in 2000?

James is now 5 weeks old!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Marking Time- Six Months Later 2011

Saturday was 6 months since losing Dad. I think of him every day, and not just because the baby is named after him.  Sometimes I'm at the sink washing something in hot water and I think about him telling me to wash dishes in the hottest water I can bear. Or sometimes I'm feeding the baby at night, and because there's nothing to do but let my mind wander, I cry.  I think about what it means to be a father, and how wonderfully Kevin lives up to be the kind of father I want for our son. I think about how often I thought about Dad when he was alive, and what it means that he's ever more present in my thoughts now. Does it make sense to be sad for myself if he's more present to me now? Or am I sad for him and what he'll miss? I think about the other people who love him and miss him, and the people who aren't lucky enough to miss him. I wonder how I'll be able to give our son even a little piece of who his grandfather was.  And I'm sorry if this is bad news for those with a recent loss, but time doesn't seem to make it "better." Time just makes it different. 

Cape Cod 1991
Dad playing with his nephew Graham, 1991

Thanksgiving 2003
Dad playing with his nephew Griffin, 2003

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Megan and Jen Graduate 2011

Wow! We've had a lot of graduations this year! Megan graduated from college with a degree in Education and her older sister Jen obtained her masters in Special Education! What a rock star family! Congratulations to both of you!

2011 05 Megan Searles College Graduation 01
Megan's college graduation!

2011 05 Jennifer Searles Education Masters Graduation 01
Damian, Jen, Fran, and George at Jen's Masters graduation!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Mother's Day 2011

It's hard to predict what days will be the hardest with dealing with the loss of my dad. I find that some holidays that aren't related to him are sometimes harder than the days I would expect. I did better on my birthday and my parents' anniversary than I did on New Years and Mothers' Day, even though I never spent those days with dad. Mothers' Day this year was colored not just by the loss of my dad, but by the loss of some of my friends' mothers to cancer as well. Because of that, it was really important for me to spend Mothers' Day this year with my mother. Besides, she deserved to spend the day with her new favorite buddy baby James. Love you, mom!

As for my first Mothers' Day as a mother, James was extremely well-behaved. The car ride to my mother's and back made him nearly comatose with sleep, so he napped the day away. It was his first trip to New Jersey and his first trip out of state. Kevin gave me a sweet card from the two of them, and I got a lovely "push present" this week too- pearl earrings! Okay, technically, I didn't push, but my 75-minute epidural insertion was so unpleasant that my doctor himself told Kevin to get me a push present.  Besides, I was pregnant with a nearly 10-pound baby. That's got to count for something right?

Mothers' Day 2011
My awesome family

Mothers' Day 2011
I love my mommy

Mothers' Day 2011
James is cashed out from car travel

Mothers' Day 1979
The other first Mothers' Day with mom, 1979

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

James is 3 Weeks Old 2011

Milestones: For baby's first Cinco de Mayo he lost his belly button. It's still healing up a bit though so we haven't given him a tub bath yet. The baby has also been working on holding his own bottle which would free up about 6 hours a day for me. Keep practicing, James!

James at 17 Days 2011
Working on hand coordination

Weekly Wisdom: I've given up on doing anything for myself during the day, and this makes it psychologically easier. I just feed, burp, change, bounce, and entertain him to keep screaming to a minimum all day. Napping together is my favorite part. If Kevin is home then I get to do things for myself like shower, eat meals at reasonable times, and answer emails. Luckily Kevin is home 4 days a week because of his teaching schedule at the university. So lucky.

James has a minimum of two fussy periods a day, where he cries for no reason. Driving the baby around puts him a sleep coma, but we pay for it in the evening hours. Pushing him around in a stroller has the temporary effect of letting him nap for as long as you're pushing him around. Bouncing him around is the hardest option but also the most commonly used, especially at night.

James at Three Weeks 2011
Fussy time face

Best  moment/s: Spending my first Mothers' Day with my beautiful mother, new baby, and awesome husband.

Monday, I finally got to eat RAW sushi again. Happiness.

Also, the baby and I had a fairly easy day alone today for the first time. So I'm either getting the hang of this or there will just be hell to pay tonight.

Visitors: Sarah and Lukas met James for the first time, and Jon and Briggs were the first second-time visitors (besides the grandmas)

James at 17 Days 2011
Sarah T enjoys some baby-love

James at 17 Days 2011
James being deceptively good to fool people into having babies

James at 19 Days 2011
19 Days, May 9th

Monday, May 9, 2011

Andrew Masters of Education Graduation 2011

While we're on the subject of academic success, Andrew just graduated from his Masters of Education program this past Thursday. When he started the program, Kevin and I had planned to go for his graduation, but as the big day approached, we realized that we'd have a baby on our hands. On the bright side it's been a fun couple weeks for Kevin and Andrew's mom who was able to come spend a week with us after the baby was born, and was able to go to Florida for Andrew's graduation. She was even able to spend Mothers' Day with Andrew. And now that he's done with school, Uncle Andrew will be visiting and meeting James for the first time!

Congratulations Andrew! And good luck with your teaching career!

Andrew's Masters Graduation 2011
Andrew and Kathy at his graduation

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Shout-out 2011

Happy first Mother's Day as grandmothers, mom and ma! And happy Mother's Day to all of James's great-grandmothers, Ruth, Daisy, and Catherine. My grandmother Mima is very missed today.

Baby James Born! 2011
James and Nana (my mom)

Baby James Born! 2011 
Grandma and James (Kevin's mom)

Easter 2011
With uncle David, Great-grandma Daisy, and auntie Melanie

Happy first Mother's Day to me! And Happy Mother's Day to all our other friends who are veteran mothers: Meghan, Anna (first as a mom of 3!), Cate L, Becky G (first as a mom of 2), Victoria (first as a mom of 2), Rachel (first as a mom of 2), Chrissy, and Cathy S.

Baby James Born! 2011
Meeting James in April

Dennis Family 2010
Tim and Rachel become parents again in August 2010

2010 08 Oliver born 01
Victoria with her second baby Oliver in August 2010

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

James is 2 Weeks Old 2011

James at 10 Days 2011
1 week + 3 days, be still my heart

Milestones: First time taking the baby outside for a walk last Thursday, and first vaccine yesterday. His eyes seem to be turning from gray to brown now.

First Outside Walk 2011
Before our walk

Weekly Wisdom: If you have a boy, it would behoove you to learn to change a diaper at lightening speed.  Covering him only works sometimes. Also, wait until you're pretty sure a baby has finished pooping before changing him.

When the baby naps always eat if you're hungry or will be soon.  Showering, cleaning, everything else is secondary.

Baby will always behave better for his father to make the mother look bad.

People are not exaggerating when they comment on how hard babies are. But also, some babies are harder than others. I realize mine isn't even that hard relatively speaking, so I can't imagine what people with preemies, colicky babies, or (goodness help you) twins go through. This is what makes it hard: the SCREAMING. If you are not holding them, feeding them, changing them, burping them, gazing lovingly into their eyes, while entertaining them, SIMULTANEOUSLY they will scream.  Also, if you hold them, feed them, change them, burp them, gaze lovingly into their eyes, or entertain them in a way they somehow find inadequate they will scream. You can't win. You can only dance like a puppet for them and hope for the best.

I ate organic everything during my pregnancy, but since I've had the baby I've had to be on numerous supplements and drugs which is depressing. The doctors insist none of it affects the baby, so let's hope they're right. And despite my best intention to do all breastfeeding, the discovery that babies sleep better with a tummy full of formula has made me a formula-at-night disciple.  I still feed the baby breast milk during the day because it's healthier, but I'm pretty sure this is a big part why days are so hard with the baby.

James at 13 Days 2011
Who, me?

Best moment/s: Both grandmothers took turns staying with us last week and this week. God bless grandmothers.

Kevin and I had a "final" date on Thursday before his mom left. Even though we correctly predicted we would mainly talk about the baby, you know what, we LIKE mainly talking about the baby. We made him and he's awesome, and he's our new mutual favorite interest.

After James's last feeding on Monday, I had my drink: Baileys, Kahlua and milk.  It was a tiny on the rocks glass but since it was my first drink since July 11, 2010, I was totally silly from it. That was pretty great.

Worst moment/s: The last day of grandmother help this Sunday. I'm really screwed on the days Kevin is at work now. Monday was bad and today was worse. Kevin is holding him right now so I don't have to check into an insane asylum. I am multitasking by eating while I type this.

Visitors: Kevin's mom, my mom, Roger. We introduced him to our next door neighbors

Roger Meets James 2011
Roger and James meet

Baby-size: 9 lbs 11 ounces, as of yesterday, so probably back to his birth weight today. At 22" he's grown an inch as well!
Weight: -21 out of  42, 21 to go. I swear I haven't done a thing to try to lose weight because I'm afraid of not making enough milk if I do.

By the way, you might be wondering how I had time to write this.  I've been writing the post in 5 minute increments throughout the week because this is the best way to find time, but also so I don't forget what happened.

James at 13 Days 2011
1 week + 6 Days

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Winning! 2011

Kevin just got back from Nick's bachelor party in Atlantic City, and he's up a whole $30 after playing for 8 hours. That's almost $4 an hour! Although, it's a lot better if you count all the free drinks he got.  On the other hand, he's a new dad. All the free drinks he got are sort of a detriment today, and maybe will be tomorrow as well.

Kevin's escapades remind me that we still haven't announced the winner of the Baby Bets game.  Let's do a little break down first. There were 23 guesses total.  Of those, only 9 of you guessed that the baby would be a boy: Kevin's mom, my mom, Chrissy, Cory, Roger, Brady, Christina, Brian, Teresa, and Jon. Everyone guessed low on the weight, I mean, who would have been mean enough to guess that I'd have an almost 10 pound baby? However, Jon, Briggs, and Brady were the closest on the weight, in that order. Melanie, Meghan, my mother, and Jon all guessed the correct length. Brady, Meghan, Christina, and Briggs guessed the correct date, but of those, Brady was the closest in hours. He guessed the baby's birthday within 3 hours and 8 minutes.

Easter 2011

The winner was the person with the lowest points, with points assigned as following: Wrong gender: 400 points; Birth date: 1 points / hour; Weight: 5 points / ounce; Length: 5 points / inch. (Perhaps more points should have been assigned to inches?) The winner was Brady with 118.13 points. Runners up were Christina with 138.23 points, and Teresa with 164.30. To see the rest, click the link below. Since we said the prize would be winner-based we're thinking of going to get Peter Lugars burgers with Brady if we can find a babysitter for a lunchtime date.That might take a while though.


i love gambling
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