Tuesday, April 10, 2018

they might be twins...

Everyone asks all the time who Leo looks like, but nobody seems to agree. I've heard that he looks like me, that he looks like Jon, and that he looks like Charlie. At first, I didn't think he resembled Charlie that much, but these photos might make the case for them actually being twins...just born two years apart. Or maybe it's the similarity of the backdrop? Who knows. I just think babies look like babies. :)

Charlie:



Leo:


Monday, April 9, 2018

leo the lion

Now that baby announcements have been sent, I thought it was high time I shared Leo's newborn photos. You never know how photo shoots with kids will go, but luckily Leo was more than cooperative. He was awake at the beginning for family photos, but after having a good snack, he slept right through all of the pokes, prods, and outfit changes during the rest of the shoot.

I've said this a million times, but if there is one thing I don't ever regret, it's paying for professional photos. I wish I was a better photographer myself, but I know my limits and calling in a pro has paid off every time. We especially love the photog we've worked with since Charlie was 6 months old. I don't know how she does it, but she manages to wrangle toddlers and newborns alike for great photos every time. After breaking a sweat more than once trying to get both boys in a decent photo, I appreciate her work even more!

Enjoy all this newborn sweetness. He already seems so much more grown up than when we had these photos taken just before he hit 2 weeks.












Thursday, April 5, 2018

opening day

Opening day is one of my favorite family traditions. This was our fourth straight opening day, and every year it gets a little bit sweeter.

2015: The look on Jon's face when I handed him a little league baseball announcing that I was pregnant with Charlie.


2016: Charlie's first opening day at just over 3 months.


2017: Charlie's second opening day at just over 1 year old.



2018: Opening day with two boys! Charlie at just over 2 years old and Leo at 5 weeks. The first year Charlie recognizes anything about what is happening on the field. He calls baseball "bat ball" and immediately recognized it from watching on TV/playing with his bat and baseball in the basement.

This was one of the colder opening days, and it didn't help that our seats were in the shade and unsheltered from the wind. Poor Charlie was freezing because we hadn't counted on how much colder it would feel in our seats vs. the sunny concourse. He was also still not a fan of the loud cheering when runs were scored. Those two factors were more than he could overcome, and he lasted about 5 outs in our seats before he went to explore the concourse and sunny playground with dada.

Meanwhile, I wore Leo in his wrap and he slept the entire time - save a trip to the nursing moms room so he could eat lunch. :) We met up with Jon and Charlie after that and sat down for a little snack lunch on the blanket.

All things considered, we managed to take a newborn and toddler (on a cold day and right in the middle of naptime no less) to a baseball game without any meltdowns or tantrums. We didn't get to watch much of the actual game - no loss there since the Nationals didn't play well - but we continued the tradition and got some cute photos!

We'll try again later in the season on a warmer day with less crowds and a more optimal late afternoon start time.

Pre-game snack.


Leo was not so excited.

He loves riding escalators.




Dada, the bat ball is happening behind us! 

Both boys asleep on the way home.





Wednesday, April 4, 2018

happy easter

This was our first foray into trying to get a decent holiday photo of both boys. Taking photos is my new cardio. You'll notice a nice big scratch on Charlie's chin. He had a little run-in with a bulldozer the day before Easter Sunday. Life with boys...

Shi Shi bought the boys matching Easter outfits. I supplied the matching gingham bow ties. Charlie enjoyed digging into his basket, and immediately wanted to play with the bubbles. After nap, we "hid" (in plain sight) eggs in the backyard. At first, he just wanted to find his balls and trucks to play with, but once Dada showed him how to hunt for the eggs and put them in his basket, he was happy to do so. He also really enjoyed discovering the jellybeans inside the eggs.



How most of the photo attempts turned out 












Wednesday, March 28, 2018

leo is one month old


Everyone is still alive. I'd say it was a successful first month.

Leo's one-month check-up was yesterday. He weighed in at 10 lbs 5 oz (60%), 23 in long (97%) and still has a giant head. He's been declared pretty much perfect. He barely fits into newborn clothes anymore, and has mostly graduated to 0-3 month clothes. He is wearing size 1 diapers.

One of the first things Charlie decided to share with Leo was his germs. I knew this would happen, I just didn't plan on it happening so soon! Charlie had a little cold and he passed on a runny nose to Leo. Luckily, some nasal congestion has been Leo's only symptom, but the poor little guy does not like to have his nose suctioned. It's probably caused some additional fussiness - it's hard to know what's the cold vs. typical newborn neediness - especially since he got sick shortly after two weeks of life so there wasn't a lot of time for us to get to know his norms before we added this bump in the road. It has potentially interrupted some sleep, but for the most part, it hasn't made him too miserable. He's still eating great and sleeping fairly well.

Every now and then we hit a 1-2 day stretch with increased fussiness - wanting to nurse all the time + waking up more at night. I've mostly chalked these up to little growth spurts, but the cold could also be to blame. These little episodes aside, he usually nurses every 2 hours during the day, and then every 3-4 hours at night. Sometimes he goes back to sleep easily, but the last few nights it's taken a little more effort because he's eating so much that he's basically drowning in milk when I try to put him back down. He usually spits up and then needs to burp a lot before he can go back to sleep. All said and done, this process can take about 2 hours. We moved the rocking chair into our room to help with the nighttime soothing. So far, it has worked. Last night, it only took 1 hour for him to eat, burp, and then rock back to sleep. He sleeps in the bassinet next to me, and luckily, is a pretty quiet sleeper so he doesn't bother us...although I'm tired enough these days that I'd probably sleep through anything!

The last 10-14 days or so, Leo has wanted to be held all. the. time. We haven't quite mastered how to be awake and content so he's either eating, sleeping, or awake and demanding attention, which means being held - preferably while walking, swaying or rocking. He loves the rocking chair because it combines his two favorite things - being held and motion. But sometimes only nursing will soothe him (especially in the evenings when he is the master of cluster feeding). Once asleep, he'll happily transition to his rock n play or mamaroo. I've tried really hard to get him to take a pacifier, but no dice (so I get to be his human pacifier....yay!). Every blue moon, he might accept it, but it's pretty rare.

The magic bullet is the soft baby wrap. Whenever he is fussy, I can put him in his wrap and he'll settle down and fall asleep. If he doesn't settle down in the wrap then I know it's just because he's just wants to nurse. I like wearing him because I can have my hands free (and because it calms him down almost instantly), but my back isn't such a fan of baby-wearing. We might be in real trouble as little man gains weight. I definitely enjoy all the snuggles, but it can be a challenge to have a baby who wants to be a held all the time and a toddler who wants to get into trouble at least half of the time.

Leo often cries when first being put in the car seat, but once he's moving, he'll usually fall asleep. Best of all, once he has fallen asleep in the car seat, he'll stay asleep even once he's out of the car and no longer moving.

He likes bath time except when it's time to get out. He loves being warm and cozy, and can't be wrapped in enough layers. He seems to enjoy his swaddle even though it means he can't access his hands, which he has already discovered are fun for chewing. I have a feeling he'll eventually be a self-soothing thumb/finger sucker, but for now, he'll just gnaw on his hand for a bit before mama lets him eat.

Now that all the grandparents have left, we are starting to figure out life as family of four. Jon is still working from home most days, but we try to think of them as trial runs for being back at work. We pretend he's not here and leave the office door closed for him to work as much as possible, but he usually pops out to eat lunch with us, and I know he's available if I need to call an SOS. He'll generally rejoin us after Charlie's nap around 4:00 p.m. and then go back to work after dinner and Charlie's bedtime. He has gone into the office a few times in the afternoon, and once for the whole day this week. It was a long day, but we made it. I don't know what we would have done these last four weeks without helpful grandparents and dada being home.

Being alone with both boys is manageable as long as we all just stay home in our pajamas! But I still have no idea how I'm supposed to get myself and both boys ready and out the door - especially for a morning activity. It takes me a while before I'm really awake in the mornings...and it all depends on the unpredictable nature of Leo's sleep. I know I'll figure out things eventually. For now, I'm anxiously awaiting nicer spring weather so we can play outside in the backyard or go for walks. Anything that doesn't involve getting the kids in the car and anywhere on time. :)

Around the two-week mark Leo decided he wanted to stop pooping multiple times a day and become more of an every 48-hours (or longer) pooper. I don't mind not having all those dirty diapers to change, but it's an odd elimination schedule for a one-month old. Luckily, he's perfectly content with this arrangement, and it's probably part of the reason he's gained over 2 lbs this month.

The rejection of the pacifier was only a glimpse of things to come. We tried a bottle of pumped breastmilk last night for the first time. As much as I love Leo, I would like to eventually leave him for more than 2ish hours at a time. However, the bottle was met with fast rejection as well. I went to the store and bought about 10 different types of bottles to try. Fingers crossed that we can eventually find one he'll accept.

Charlie continues to be the best big brother. He tries to help as much as possible - shoving pacifiers in Leo's mouth, covering him with blankets, offering kisses when he cries, and pushing the buttons on his mamaroo. He has learned how to help burp the baby, and he's even tried to pick him up a few times before we intervened, of course. He always wants to know where the baby is, and says goodbye to him if he leaves the room. He also likes to laugh at his brother for no apparent reason. It's been adorable to watch him assume the role of big brother. It melts my mama heart.

Have I mentioned how excited I am to no longer be pregnant? I like having Leo on this side of things so much better. Sometimes when I pick him up I can't believe that just one month ago, he was still an inside baby. I mean, how did he even fit in there? But he's the perfect addition to our family, and we can't imagine life without him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

leo's first two weeks

We spent two nights in the hospital. Because Leo was a big baby like his big brother, we had to go through the blood sugar protocol again. Luckily, this time, they had a glucose gel available that we used in the first several hours of his life. It was great because it allowed us to keep his blood sugar levels up without interfering with breastfeeding. Even better, he passed all his tests with flying colors. I was so relieved because I knew it was probably the one thing that could potentially complicate our hospital stay. It was also way less stressful this time around since we’d been through the drill before.

We noticed a pretty big difference in the hospital care this time. We had the same wonderful labor and delivery experience, but the postpartum care was far superior this time. It’s clear they had upped their game over the last two years. We splurged for the “VIP” room, which really meant we paid extra to have a bigger room with more windows. It was so worth it, though – if for nothing else than it had a better couch/bed for Jon to sleep on. We had a great troop of nurses who cared for us and interrupted us as little as possible. It was just an overall better experience. I couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital with Charlie, but it was almost, dare I say it, a little relaxing this time stay.

Papa & Shi Shi came to the hospital on Sunday night to meet Leo, but big brother Charlie had to stay home. Because of this terrible flu season, the maternity ward was closed to visitors under age 12. I was a little disappointed Charlie couldn’t come to the hospital to meet his little brother, but it was probably for the best to avoid both germs and potential meltdowns when it was time to leave mom and dad.

We got to go home on Tuesday. We spent that entire morning bugging everyone who came into our hospital room until all the ducks were in a row for discharge. We made it home just before Charlie’s nap time. It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm February day. It was so sweet to pull up to the house to see Charlie waiting for us at the door. He started to jump up and down when he saw us coming, which melted my heart. I missed him while we were in the hospital. Leo kindly brought him a small gift to open – a construction truck puzzle that immediately grabbed his attention. He acknowledged the baby, but was much more interested in his puzzle, which he took out of the box immediately and started working right there in the entry way.

Once he played with his puzzle for a bit, we tried to get him a little more interested in Leo. He was more fascinated by Leo’s car seat straps, which he wanted to help buckle and unbuckle. He did, however, immediately know that this was the baby Leo who had been in mama’s tummy, and who he had been talking about for a couple of months. In fact, I think Charlie gets credit for naming Leo. As we were mulling our top choices, we asked Charlie one day if he could say “Baby Leo,” which he immediately repeated as “Baby Wee-ooo” like a fire truck sound. It was such a cute moment that I think Jon and I both knew right then that we had to name the baby Leo. It also doesn’t hurt that both boys are now featured in one of our favorite TV shows, the West Wing. We didn’t do that on purpose, but it’s kind of funny it worked out that way.  

Just as we were getting settled back into life at home, we had this crazy windstorm Thursday night/early Friday morning. In my sleep-deprived state, I kind of blocked out how bad the wind was raging outside, but by Friday morning, we woke up without power. Thousands of people across the state were without power, and we were among the lucky ones.

We went to the pediatrician that Friday morning for a weight and color check. Just like his big brother, Leo had some jaundice so we had a follow-up appointment that morning to check his progress. As we left the house, we saw a truck from the power company on our block so we assumed our power would be back on soon. We waited all afternoon, but our electricity didn’t come back so we made the decision to move to a hotel before we were going to lose daylight. This was a hard day for me. The last thing I wanted to do was move to a hotel with a toddler and a newborn.

Luckily, we had barely unpacked from the hospital so I still had my toiletries ready to go. I haphazardly threw the rest of our things in a bag and we took the boys out to eat before checking into the hotel. Not how I imagined Leo’s first restaurant meal or hotel stay! But once we were finally settled into the hotel, it really wasn’t so bad. Charlie was an absolute champ about the whole ordeal and remained completely unfazed in spite of all the changes he’d experience in such a short time. It helped that Shi Shi and Papa were here to offer lots of distraction and attention.

For me, it was almost like being at the hospital, but without the interruptions of nurses and doctors. I just stayed in the room almost the entire time nursing the baby, cuddling with him and resting as much as I could. It also helped that Leo had his best night of sleep thus far that first night in the hotel. We ended up staying two nights and two full days until our power was restored Sunday evening. It felt so good to be back home, but it also felt like we were starting over on getting settled into being home as a family of four.

Charlie has been such a good big brother. He’s very sweet with Leo. It makes my mama heart so happy to watch him assume this new role with total ease. He has started to include Leo when he does his family roll call of naming everyone at the dinner table. He also gets very concerned when Leo cries, and can’t get over to him fast enough to try to soothe him with kisses. He’s only tried to share contraband with him once (sprinkles from a cake pop), but will go give him a blanket or try to restore his pacifier. But most of the time, he kind of just lets him be because he’s too busy playing. So far, he hasn’t shown any jealousy or annoyance at the attention Leo is getting. However, he does laugh hysterically when Leo gets really worked up and is crying hard. This happened in the car the other day and Charlie couldn’t stop laughing at Leo’s high-pitched wails.

As for Leo, he’s been a pretty chill baby so far. His first few days were especially sleepy, and I had a lot of trouble getting him to wake up to nurse. He’s gradually become more wakeful during the day, and we seem to be making progress on figuring out his days/nights. I think it’s about the same amount of work as the newborn phase was with Charlie, but it feels so much easier this time since everything is just more familiar. I’m thankful breastfeeding has been an easier learning curve this time. He’s a great eater – usually eating every 2 hours during the day and every 3-4 hours at night. He does like to cluster feed in the evenings, and he also likes to be held during this period. We survived our first growth spurt that he hit right at two weeks where all he wanted to do was eat and eat and eat some more.

Unlike his brother, he can be soothed in other ways besides nursing. He often refuses the pacifier, but he likes motion and so far will often fall asleep in his mamaroo, car seat or rock n play. He can also be cuddled and rocked to sleep fairly easily. I love all the snuggles I’m getting these days!

He usually goes to sleep for his first longer stretch between 10:30-12. He will sleep anywhere from 3-4 hours, wake up to nurse, and then sleep another 3 hrs or so, nurse again, and then maybe sleep a little bit more before we both get up for the day. The first several nights were rough because he wouldn’t always go back to sleep or stay asleep long after nursing, but now, he generally goes right back to sleep after nursing. He usually sleeps in his bassinet next to me, but sometimes if he’s being fussier than normal, I let him sleep in his rock n play. Once he gets into a good sleep, he really will sleep hard, which is very helpful considering big brother is always running around making noise.

He likes to be nice and snuggly – either swaddled or wrapped in a warm blanket or both! So far, he has enjoyed bath time until it’s time to get out and he gets cold. He’s starting to become more alert each day – having more wakeful periods during the day where he just kind of looks around or stares at us with his big blue eyes. I often wonder how strange this all must be for a little baby who spent so many months inside my belly!

He had newborn photos at 10 days, and was much more cooperative than his brother Charlie was for his. He slept through most of the shoot and let us manipulate him at will. He also lost his cord stump right in the middle of the photo shoot. Ewww. I think we traumatized our poor photographer (who is a mom herself) but hates the whole newborn bellybutton/cord situation. Photo day was kind of a turning point for me. It was the first day I showered, did my hair, put on makeup and wore real clothes. It felt pretty great to put myself together again for the first time in several days.


I’m so grateful that the transition to two kiddos has been smooth so far. Of course, all of this is made possible by many helping hands. My parents were here for two weeks keeping us fed and Charlie entertained. They left my freezer full of meals, and I barely lifted a finger to do anything other than tend to the baby in those early days. Jon’s parents visited next and were equally helpful. It’s also a huge luxury that Jon has been able to work from home every day since Leo’s birth. The real test will be when the help is gone and Jon starts going into the office more often. But every day gets a little bit easier and seems more manageable.



Eating his cake pop that mama and dada brought him from the hospital
(it was actually a gift from the starbucks workers who identified dada as a new  - for the 2nd time - father). 


Reading about how to be a good big brother

Hotel stay!


Hotel nap with mama




Lots of kisses from big brother