Monday, February 27, 2012

Family, Friends

So for the past few weeks, we've been showered with family and friends, and it's been awesome.  Nolan has been meeting and spending time with people who love him and melting hearts left and right.  

Mom came back for a visit and Nolan was all smiles!

Mom and 'Aunt' Marianne (best friends since age 4) doted on him and explored the city together.

So cozy on her lap!

After they left, we discovered this Mom knit hat hiding on Raggedy Ann's head in the guest room.  Sneaky!

Theresa (Grandma TT) and Nolan are enchanted with each other. 

Aunt Peggy gets some smiles, and Grandma Barb (Great Grandma to Nolan)  is sitting across the table.  Note the Hawkeye bag, we got black and gold bibs! Perfect, because Nolan is a drooling machine these days. 

So much attention for this boy!

Having a serious conversation. 

And listening to a story!  Cousin Avanlee is a great reader and Nolan was actually really interested. 

Keep reading!

Daddy makes the funniest faces, he's so entertaining! 

And then Nolan met Uncle Mike, who was in town with his band Papadosio.  He wasn't sure about that huge beard (and neither am I)... 

Once Mike got the baby talk going, they got along just fine!

Keep it up Mike. 

Don't stop!

Love Uncle Mike!  He called Nolan his "neph" which was hilarious. 

Having a heart to heart. 

And now the Mike I know arrives and shows off his belly!

Kick that belly Nolan.

Show your baby belly Mike!

Sunday morning we had a few minutes of quiet, and Nolan tried out his swing again, and this time was interested in the gadgets.  He could pretty much stay vertical, and only veered slightly when he got tired.  

We found ourselves with an abundance of oranges, and made the most amazing morning drink.

The effort was worth the return. 

We should do this every day. 

Nolan is sporting his new Kicky Pants hoodie. 

He's pretty much the cutest thing ever. 
And now we have my sister Julia visiting for a few days.  It's so good to have a sister around. I'll be posting pictures of her with Nolan soon!

temporary doesn't mean less painful

Friday, February 24

I am so imperfect.  Today on the way to the pediatrician for Nolan's official 2 month checkup (he's now almost 10 weeks!) big clusters from the heavy snow we got last night fell from the trees right into his car seat, on his face, in the creases of fabric, all over really.  And he cried, oh how he cried.  And I climbed in next to him and got the chunks off, and tried to soothe him.  I let him suck on my pinky finger for a few minutes until he stopped, but the tears on his little face, the sadness in his eyes, I wanted to fix it so badly.  And I couldn't.  I had to start the car, put it in gear, and make our way through the side streets to the highway.  It took about 5 minutes for him to stop crying.  Such a reminder of this too shall pass.  All too quickly we found ourselves in a very similar situation.  Nolan had to have his first ever shot today (not one, but three)... I held his hands and let him suck on my pinky again.  His eyes got so big when the nurse gave him that first one.  I felt like I was betraying him, telling him with my gaze that everything was ok, and that I loved him, and then letting the nurse give him those awful shots at the same time.  Poor guy.  The crying did not abate until I pulled him out of his car seat and nursed him in the back seat of our car.

And now, a few hours later we've just endured another crying storm.  I've never not been able to soothe him with bouncing or nursing, today was the first.  Angry, fists in the air, rigid body, red faced, wheezy crying fit: finally after swaddling and copious bouncing he is nursing/sleeping with only occasional starts.  I pray this is a reaction to the vaccines and not a new thing.  It hurts me physically to hear those screams, there's a part of me that shakes inside when he's hurting.

I guess this is the mothering instinct, wanting to shield my baby from hurt.  I am grateful when I can, the lesson though is that I can't all the time.

Thankfully, these faces only last a short time. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

puppy and baby walks

February 16

It is rare to have moments like this: Nolan is sleeping, I’ve had my coffee, and the internet is out.  It’s going to be a long day ahead with no world wide web at my fingertips to pass the time during nap and nurse, but maybe it’s an opportunity to process the next few weeks and to think about the weekend (Mom and her best friend, ‘Aunt’ Marianne) are coming for a visit.  Maybe today it will be meditate and nurse for me.  My brain is all over the place right now; so much anxiety about the future while simultaneously being required to live and love in the present because I have a little person I am responsible for.  That little person is dominating this blog I realize.  Arnie is jealous in more ways than I can count.  He probably remembers when he was big news in this house.  This morning while I was bouncing Nolan on the physio ball (magic way to help him fall asleep), Arnie peeked in the room and showed me that he was carrying Nolan’s extremely full (overnight) diaper in his mouth.  He taunted me with it.  Of course Nolan had just fallen asleep.  Visions of diaper goo all over our furniture and rugs were darting through my brain, and Nolan jolted awake when I jumped up off the ball.  Thank goodness he’s a flexible baby.  A few dog treats and stern “drop it right now dog” later and I had the diaper back in the trash (now the trash is on the dresser instead of the floor), and Nolan bounced back to sleep.  He’s swaddled and sleeping still.
Jealous is an understatement, Arnie thinks he is a child and should have at least half or more of our attention.  It just doesn’t work like that these days.  Arnie gets a walk from Nick in the morning before he leaves for work.  Then in the middle of the day, definitely before 2:45 when the 2 schools on our block release their munchkins, Nolan and I take him for a quick 2 block walk.  We have to do it before the swarm of kids because it’s just too much for Arnie to be surprised by running children at every turn.  He turns into a barking, protective, aggressive machine and I can’t handle his energy.  Then either Nick or I give him a walk after dinner, and he gets another one before bed at around 10.  Mind you, these are quick walks for the most part.  We are still doing our click treat training with him during the walks and it is effective, but this bundle of muscle dog needs more. He tells us that he needs more by the diaper incident, and by strategically dropping his toys in Nolan’s space: in the moses basket, in the clean laundry, on the sofa when we are sitting there, in the bathroom when we’re giving baby a bath... when the weather picks up a little bit, Nolan and I will do longer walks, which will take the edge off for our pooch.  

Here is a look at our getup for dog walks.  Nolan gets popped in the moby, sometimes he falls asleep right away, other times it takes coercing: bouncing, singing, brisk walking around the apartment...

And then the layering happens: little hat, fleece blanket, button sweater.  He's toasty.

I love carrying him this way, the squatting to pick up dog poo is precarious, but mostly it feels great.

And our other needy baby gets some relief. Win-win situation. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

soaking up the love

I am relishing these quiet mornings.  I know his cries now, this one’s a tired cry, needing a little nursing right before morning napping.  This time is my favorite.  It’s peaceful and half asleep, he makes quiet murmurs and closes his eyes effortlessly.  Such sweetness in my arms. 
It’s Valentine's Day, and I am so grateful for love.  I am trying to breathe it in all the time with Nolan, and Nick and everyone around me.  We are blessed. 

My loves are lounging together after a long days work.
My mind these days is full with trying to figure out how I am going to go back to work.  I feel such purpose and need right here at home, I am fulfilled and I just want to care for Nolan and reflect on our lives, and make plans for the future, but work?  I want to be with my baby and husband and working is the last thing on the list.  I love working with my students, and there is so much teaching to be done in this world, it just feels like this is such a fleeting, sacred time with my baby, how can I knowingly leave it to someone else?  It will have to happen because I have committed to finishing out the school year, and I will, but it won’t be without tears I am certain.  
The uncertain part is when: I am applying for a 3 week extension because I only took 9 of the 12 alloted school weeks, as per the Family Leave Act, and on this side of my pregnancy, I want all the time I can get.  I couldn’t have predicted how much I want to be home, or that Nolan was going to be 2 weeks extra cooked before making his appearance, and now it feels just too soon to be leaving him.   I may not get the extension though, it all depends on CPS and how generous they are feeling.  If I am not allowed the 3 more weeks, I go back to work February 28.  Which, is basically tomorrow.  I don’t know how it’s going to work.   We have some finagling to do with figuring out who’s going to care for him in the interim before the end of March, and hopefully we can come up with a contingency plan in the case that I don’t get the extension.  But for today, I am enjoying how his head smells and the soft sounds he makes when he’s content. 
Today I dumped out the laundry on the bed, set Nolan on the changing table, twirled the new to us mobile Nick put up yesterday, and took out some of my old jeans that had been sitting, folded nicely in the bottom drawer of my dresser.  I felt like wearing real clothes today, I’ve been living in dance pants and t-shirts for 8 weeks now, and today, I felt like jeans.  I have to report that I squeezed into my corduroy pants that I love, but really they are only doable if I don’t sit down.  Sitting down and getting comfortable is out of the question.  I am able to, with ease, button up one pair of jeans (admittedly which were a little big before baby), and I am wearing them now and it feels amazing.  All of my fitted jeans are still pretty roll inducing, so they’re back in the bottom drawer, and it’s weird, but I am more comfortable in my own skin now than ever.  Most of the weight disappeared really quickly, but my body has changed a lot, and I’m grateful that I really love it now.  I am softer in lots of places, comfy for snoozes on, and I have a little treasure to show for it.  It’s so worth it.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Besides having extreme anxiety about the real likelihood that I'll be returning to work in 2 weeks, which I'll get to in a separate post, this was a week of changes, (aren't they all?), but especially for my dear husband.  Beard be gone for one, but also he decided to do some drama to his looks. 

Enter handsome teacher, just home from a long day.  Isn't his hair great? Who wouldn't want this guy to teach their kids? 

Out comes the clippers and the crazy eyes, away go the luscious locks. 

He has the same smile, and how he and Nolan are matchy!  
While we could probably attribute this shift in appearance to a lot of things, Nick shaved his head to the skin (and re-did it yesterday) as an act of solidarity for his father, who is going through chemotherapy.   When his grandmother lost her hair in chemo, he did the same thing.  I think he's feeling like a physical change might help him understand it a all little more.  When someone you love is sick, and far away there are really just a few things that you can do to feel like you're carrying some of it for them, not that you ever really can, but the little things are comforting.

I offered to do the same and he told me to keep my hair for now.  

And here we have a lesson in perspective. 

Little baby, quietly occupying the corner of the couch, listening to some tunes on the laptop. 

Big boy, chilling, scoping out the scene. 

Man in charge, gangsta, watch out. :)

Sure daddy, you can hold up my head for me anytime.  

I'll just take a little snooze as long as you don't move a muscle. 

You moved, I'm awake now.  Oh well. You can still hold up my head. 

Love my family. 

This week Nick texted me from work about the Iowa v. Northwestern basketball game.  The text alerted me to the game, but also that it was expected that his family would be in Hawkeye gear for the event.  I took him seriously and Nolan was ready to go when he got home, I am indulging him in this only because I don't have any alliances to sports teams (other than maybe Xavier basketball), but also because Nick breathes Iowa (I am sure this is not new information for anyone reading).  And Nolan looks cute in anything we put on him, so it wasn't too hard.

Getting ready to watch some basketball with Daddy!  Our awesome midwife Casey gave us this baby sweatshirt that her kids had outgrown, it seriously made Nick's week when he saw this little guy dressed in black and gold (thanks Casey!!!)

It suits him pretty well, and thankfully, he has plenty of room to grow into it. 

This is a daily look for us, hanging out, walking around the apartment, looking outside at the freezing cold, but sunny day. 

Here is my boy, hanging in his new sling.  He's not sure if he loves it yet, but we are getting acquainted.  It's awesome to be able to slip him in, and be hands free without all the wrapping of the Moby.  Though, the Moby wrap distributes the weight really well and the sling puts most of it over one shoulder.  I'm still pleased with the purchase. 

Last night we had a family outing for delicious dinner with friends Paul, Kristina, and Gus.  It makes me feel like a person again to be doing some small social outings, and Nolan is getting increasingly less angry about being in the carseat, I foresee good things with this change.

The boys are grinning at each other, BFF (or rather, Nolan is grinning at Kristina, and Gus is checking out Nick- same difference right?)

More grinning. 

A blurry, but adorably happy Gus with mom and dad and bunny ears. It was a really fun night! 

And here we are in our current state, (yes, I am wearing my 6th grade t-shirt, with all of my co- 12 year olds signatures).
Awake, alert, cute, cozy, hands are delicious and amazing. 

Out, and still sleeping right now.