Tuesday, December 29, 2009

5 months and a Vacation of First Things

Truth be told, Daniel is now just about 6 months, rather than 5, but we left on our 2 week vacation on Daniel's 5 month birthday and when we returned home over a week ago, he seemed like a totally different baby. Highlights of his "firsts" are below, but let me briefly comment on our adventure.

We flew from NJ to San Diego, hopped in a horrible rental car (we have no idea why Ford Fusions are on the top of people's lists. It was awful!) and drove into the desert to visit Matt's dearest friends.. the Burke Family. Visiting the Burkes was part of the very first vacation Matt & I took together and what we say pretty much sealed the deal for our future. Daniel was amazing on the 6 hour flight... everyone commented on how great and cute he was (naturally). We spent a couple of nights at the Burkes and then we all headed north to meet my dearest friends, the Bahats, in a beautiful house that we rented in Morro Bay on the central coast of California. The plan was to hang with friends, cook amazing food, celebrate Chanukah, watch Matt & Mike surf and play with all 4 kids on the beach. Check for the first 3 things but dealing with nonstop rain for 3 days kind of stopped us from doing anything more than hanging in the house (which was beautiful, so we didn't really complain). Turns out that the weather pretty much sucked for our entire 2 week vacation in both California and Mexico - but it really didn't ruin a thing! Also, Roy made some damn good food.

I call this 2009 Vacation, Part 1:

First time in the cockpit of a plane (and riding in first class) for his 5 month birthday. Lucky boy, right?!):

First time celebrating Chanukah:

First time EATING solid food! Rice cereal... he loved it!:

Also just some general cuteness...

Daniel with the "big kids":

On our way to Santa Monica, stopped to watch the sunset:

Finally, Daniel with Lola.. the Burke's dog. She's massive, but a sweetheart:

At this point, the only downer (other than the weather) was the fact that the time change really messed up the little man. He was up about every hour or two the entire time we were in California. I was completely exhausted and was seriously reminded of what it was like when Daniel was a newborn (without the complete hysteria of hormones and general new mommiehoodness) so we slept with him most of the trip and though it was tough at times, at least I got this shot:

Matt and I couldn't wait to get to Mexico. Blue waters, sunny skies, our entire family to babysit and hang out with.... it couldn't have been more exciting. Well, being with our family was absolutely amazing... but there were no blue waters where we stayed, the sky was sunny for 2 days out of 8 (one of those being the day we left) and the hotel we were staying in pretty much sucked unless you were between the ages 2-9. However, we really had a blast and were so relaxed and happy to be with our families that the things that went wrong really didn't matter to us at all. It was also quite hilarious to see our families basically fight over time with Daniel (the obvious winner being our cousin Lizzie who is 11 and Daniel's 2nd favorite person next to his great-grandfather, Poppy).

2009 Vacation, Part 2

First time swimming. We put him in both the pool (we dunked him a couple of times.. he cried but I think secretly loved it) and the ocean:

Really sitting on his own:

First time using passport, which I tried to take a picture of, but couldn't because I would have been arrested... so here's his passport picture (also our holiday card):

General cuteness...

Daniel and Lizzie (can I hire her to be my nanny at age 11?):

The joys of family around to babysit:

Like I said in the beginning, Daniel is like a new baby. He talks so much now, he sits up, he's eating like a champ (separate post to come) and while he was up all night, every night on our vacation, he's now sleeping through the night from 7-7 without being fed and without us going into his room at all. AMEN! I'm told that he is (finally) starting to resemble me a little bit and his personality is getting bigger (and more demanding) by the day.

Happy belated 5 month birthday, my love. You are a rock star.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Returned from our 2 week vacation (one week in California, one week in Mexico) to our beautiful home, our sweet cat and a batch of amazing holiday cards. Get ready for a very big post in the next few days recapping our adventure!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I Don't Want to Jinx Anything, But....

I think the nap strike might be over. If only I could get a picture from the video monitor of him peacefully sleeping (for the 3rd time today) as proof. Hmmm... good business idea.

Fabulous... just in time for a 2 week vacation across 3 time zones where all kinds of sleep will be messed up. Can't wait to go through it all over again when we return from vaca!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Turkey Day 2009

We headed south and visited my family and friends in Atlanta for Thanksgiving this year. It almost goes without saying that spending a week with my family is nothing short of heavenly - although I do feel like I sometimes have to fight for a little bit of time with Daniel.

Daniel had a blast in Atlanta. He sat up by himself during his first visit with his new cousin, Bella Aria (my brother-in-law's sister's new baby girl). We Were hanging out on the floor and I realized that for about 5 seconds he really didn't need me to help him sit. Since then it's become second nature for him to sit up unassisted. In fact, he's now trying to sit up from reclined positions... specifically when I'm nursing him. This is both adorable and annoying.

He also used one of those old school bouncy things that hang from a doorway. It was hilarious. For those of you who don't know him, Daniel is a 4.5 month old ball of energy. His legs never stop moving (future soccer player) so we thought this would be a great new activity. Check him out:

His other new trick is his love of his own feet. This was a few weeks in the making, but the kid is obsessed with his feet now. He puts them in his mouth and moves them from side to side (hopefully leading to a roll over any time now).

For his last trick, Daniel graced us with a family picture in which he is actually looking at the camera. This only took about 50 takes - but well worth it!

It was and is literally impossible for me to officially give thanks for everything wonderful in my life - there is just too much to be thankful for and, in a way, a little too overwhelming to list. I am in love with my life and my boys give me that joy every single day. I am so very thankful and appreciate any and all reasons to publicly say it!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanks to the Bahats (and sitting up)

Ok, fans. I know I have a lot of posting to do and I'll get right on it when Daniel decides to start napping again. But during his napping strike, he started sitting up without too much help. So we pulled out one of his early gifts from the Bahats. Here's the thank you note:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Passport Photo, Take 2

So the Hudson County Passport Services office took a picture of Daniel (see previous post) which was rejected by the government (lovely news seeing as though we're leaving for Mexico in a few weeks) so we went to our local photo place for new photos.

OMG. Can these be any f-ing cuter??? I think he looks like a British punk rocker but Matt thinks he looks more like an Irish Mobster, so I used the sepia tone finish on the photo below to really bring out the mobster in him.

This kid is going places, I tell you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Couple of Cute Videos

Even though Daniel isn't napping, he's still one happy baby. These videos from today are just too good! I love that he is finally letting us capture his smiles on camera. Now if he would just laugh while the camera is on or rolling!!

Napping Strike

Dear Daniel,

You've decided to go on an in-home napping strike. This means that you no longer nap for more than 30 minutes in your crib and getting you to sleep requires way too much crying on your part. The only way you sleep for more than 30 minutes is in the stroller (lucky for you we're having some amazingly warm weather for mid-November).

As your loving mother, I BEG you to stop striking and start sleeping. Sleeping makes you a much happier baby and makes us much happier parents.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

4 Months Old, Laughing and Rolling Over!

My, oh, my! 4 months, already!?

We celebrated Daniel's 4 months birthday while in Hanover, Mass visiting some of Matt's oldest and dearest friends. Think of a quaint and lovely 4 bedroom home in which all rooms are normally occupied by family members.. and then imagine 12 people (6 adults, 6 kids/babies) there for a weekend. Yes, that's how we celebrated (and it was incredible! Thank you again to the Dannison family)!

Ross Dannison was born about 3 weeks after Daniel and we've been counting down the days until the 2 meet. It was probably the cutest meeting ever. There was a lot of babbling and rolling on top of each other all weekend long. They were a little like old men in the night when they would wake each other up and then complain about it.

While we were there, Daniel started laughing. Real, legit laughing (unlike the previous post when he laughed once and my mother had to convince me that it was, in fact, a laugh). It's the most beautiful sound in the whole world!

He also rolled over from his belly to his back during his normal, everyday protest to tummy time. The great thing is that I was taking pictures for his 4 month birthday pics while this turning over was happening (I obviously stopped taking pictures once I realized he was going to roll over):

He had his 4 month check up today and he is rockin'. He weighs about 14 1/2 pounds and is 25 1/2" tall. He is definitely the cutest baby the pediatrician has ever seen and he had a blast with the protective paper on the exam table (long video but damn cute).

All I can say is how amazing it is to fall deeper and deeper in love every day. I didn't know I could possibly love this much!

Happy (belated) birthday, my baby!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Got My Husband Back

The past 14 hours have been heavenly. While it's unfortunate that Jon Corzine lost the gubernatorial election that Matt has been working on for the last 2-3 months, the fact that I am no longer a temporary single mom is the best thing in the world. You see, Matt has been working from 9-10am until about 10pm every single day (including weekends) for the last month. Not fun for either of us. In fact, my appreciation for real single mothers has skyrocketed.

So, our first official day as a reunited family unit was wonderful. We spent the morning at the VW dealership (finding out that we were seriously taken advantage of by the VW dealership in Alpharetta, GA) and then played all day. Matt bathed with Daniel tonight and put him to bed after I nursed him. We just ordered Chinese food and we're going to watch Dexter. I may just stay up past 10pm.

I love that my best friend is back and so does Daniel!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bizarre Dreams, Part 2

From last night...

I decide to go into Manhattan to do stuff for myself (I don't remember exactly what I was doing). I'm walking around the streets and suddenly realize that I left Daniel at home alone while he was sleeping (suddenly it turned into nighttime). I make a crazy mad dash for the subway and I'm freaking out (this may be the most intense anxiety dream I've ever had).

Weird stuff was happening on the subway. Trains were splitting in half and going opposite directions and it was really stressful so somehow I ended back on the street and negotiated with a cabbie to get me to Jersey City.

I run home in a panic and as I enter Daniel's room, I see a bunch of people just staring at him. He's kind of sitting up and smiling in his crib.

The crowd consists of my family and all the members of Bon Jovi.


Monday, November 2, 2009

A Year Ago Today

November 2nd is not only my dad's birthday (Happy Birthday, Daddy) but it was on November 2nd, 2008 that I found out that I was pregnant. Thinking about how my life has changed in one very short year is mind–blowing!

I knew I was pregnant before I even took the test... but I woke up super early and sat in the bathroom trying to do anything but stare at that stick (I wanted it to be a surprise... like I would just turn around and POOF it would say "pregnant" rather than staring at the stick for however many minutes it took). I climbed back into bed and woke Matt up by smiling as big as I could and telling him the news. I think he knew already, as well... but that didn't take away the excitement.

It was not only my dad's birthday, but it was also Marathon Sunday. My most favorite day in Manhattan. Matt and I drove into the city and had breakfast at Pastis (one of my favorites). I drank decaf coffee for the first time and said that I better get used to it. We ate in a state of shock and joy, careful not to get too excited as we knew the heartbreak of losing a pregnancy already.

Watching the marathon was magical. I always get choked up by people's spirit in Manhattan on Marathon Sunday. Everyone is happy and rooting for each other. But Matt and I had a secret and we were able to celebrate our friends (Joy and Lauren) running 26.2 miles on the outside, but we were really celebrating the life we were creating among the all the cheering crowds.

I was told that no one could ever prepare me for the journey of pregnancy and motherhood and all of those people were right. I could never know how beautiful I would feel throughout my pregnancy, how Matt would adore me pregnant more than he ever had before or how spiritual I would feel while a baby grew inside of me. But no one could ever and will ever be able to fully explain the true wonder of becoming a mother. I feel a sense of wholeness and completeness that I didn't even know I was missing and the joy and love that I feel when I look at Daniel is something that was totally incomprehensible 4 months ago.

So, I'm celebrating November 2nd today and every year for the rest of my life!

Oh - and the picture is one we took as a birthday present for my dad. We gave it to him on Thanksgiving as a "belated" present (these are 2 of the 12 tests I probably took, just to "make sure" that I was really pregnant!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

May the Force Be With You!

At today's playgroup, all the babies wore their Halloween costumes. Photo pandemonium ensued:

Honestly, these are the cutest babies and the cutest fucking costumes ever. Loyal readers get ready for an entire Halloween post next week!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Daniel & Government (& Politics)

It was a big week for Daniel in all things Government. He made a trip to the Hudson County building that houses Passport services (or something like that) and attended his first political rally!

Let's just say that it took my mother about 29 years to leave the country. Daniel is 3.5 months old and got his passport (we're going to Mexico in December with the fam. That should be one hell of a blog post). Here he is with his application. Note: On the application, it asks for applicant's occupation. We were instructed to write down "baby" for his occupation. I find that hilarious.
Interesting fact: Daniel was not allowed to be crying during the picture. They had to put a white sheet over me so that they could put him in my lap to stop him from crying. So his passport picture has 2 odd looking white things on either side of him.

A few days later Matt got tickets to see Barack Obama at a rally to re-elect Governor John Corzine. We were hoping that Daniel would be the token baby that Obama holds and ends up in the news about being the cutest baby and the future of America. Instead, Daniel simply fell asleep. But it was one hell of a rally. I can't believe how inspiring Barack Obama is. I wanted to walk out of that auditorium and start volunteering. But then I got in the car and remembered that I'm an exhausted new mom. Volunteering ain't gonna happen. And while I'd love to comment on the specifics of the inspiration, I am too tired (let's just say that I ended up having a bit of a shopping spree at Target, rather than simply buying diapers and, because of said spree, Daniel had a massive meltdown). So here are a few pics of the rally. Go Corzine!

Friday, October 16, 2009

And Then He Laughed

So people told me that Daniel would smile for the first time after a really bad day or night. That didn't happen and his smile happened after a wonderful weekend at the beach while garbage men were picking up the garbage. Turns out he had been smiling a bunch, but I didn't know it was a real smile until one of the garbage men told me so.

But he laughed today for the first time. And, after the night we had last night (read previous post), that laugh pretty much brought me to tears.

Thankfully my mom is here and agreed that it was, in fact, a true laugh (I didn't need to rely on a sanitation worker this time).

What Happened to my Sleeping Beauty?

Daniel has been a rockstar sleeper for a while now (he started sleeping 6-7 hour stretches around 9 weeks old) and, as stated in an earlier post, he's been pretty much sleeping through the night since we were in Hotlanta.

Other than some swaddling issues, things have been pretty good...until...

He had a pretty complainy day yesterday (i prefer my made up word, "complainy" to "bad") and then last night he was up at 2:30am and then again at 5:30am and was screaming on both occasions to the point that the only thing I could do was nurse him. This is not normal for him and, needless to say, sucked for me & Matt. We could blame it on a "growth spurt" but I don't think that's it.

Daniel - I pray that it was a one night gig and that today will bring peace and, tonight, a long sleep! We're exhausted!

Monday, October 12, 2009

It Takes a Village

In the early days of Mommyhood, when I was a total wreck and often found crying on my baby (the term "baby blues" is way too sweet to describe what really happens post partum), I was often told/reminded that it takes a village to raise a child. I don't think there is more truthful cliche.

Enter the mommy group... wherever it may be and whoever may be a part of it, it is a golden and precious universe filled with security and comfort. My mommy group literally saved my sanity in those early weeks and now that I have this mommy thing somewhat down, I'd like to pay my respects to the Hoboken Hospital Breastfeeding Support Group. This group meets weekly and is led by a lactation consultant angel named Robin who literally saved my breastfeeding relationship with Daniel.

See, breastfeeding is one of the hardest and most emotional things in the world and NO ONE tells you this when you have a baby. Don't get me wrong, as soon as it's not hard anymore it's the easiest and most wonderful thing on earth (which is why so many of us struggle through the beginning in order to make it to the good part), but it's so damn hard at first that most of us freak out and need help of some sort. Most women seem to figure out how to breastfeed in a couple of weeks. It took me and Daniel SIX full weeks. The longest six weeks of my life (let's not forget I was figuring out how to be a mom, as well)! But now it's delightful and beautiful and I will always be thankful for Robin's help (especially the weekend phone calls). Here she is with her star student:

Aside from breastfeeding, this group allowed me to cry, question, vent and listen and I will be forever grateful. From this group I have met great girls and the most adorable babies and have learned secrets about sleeping, bathing, feeding and anything else (weight, sex, going back to work... everything).

From the outset, mommy groups seem almost laughable.. I mean, look at this room full of strollers and mommies:

And lunch with my new friends after the group!! I can't believe the owners of the restaurant didn't kick us out for our gross display of strollers and rearranged restaurant furniture!

But the truth is that I have found extreme comfort in being around other women in the same place as I am in and they have helped me figure out how to make my baby boy as happy and healthy as possible. For this, I am in debt to the village.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy 3 month birthday

We've officially graduated from telling people how old Daniel is in weeks (as in "He'll be 10 weeks old tomorrow"), to simply saying "He's 3 months old"! I don't know whether to cry over it or be thrilled!

My little man is now 3 months old. He's smiling all the time and actually made a semi-laugh sound the other day. He knows when I enter or leave a room and watches what I do when I'm running around the house. He still hates tummy time, but he doesn't start crying immediately anymore (in fact, he does make it about 5 minutes on his tummy time surfboard before crying... which is amazing). He's starting to try to lift his head up while reclined (apparently a good sign, according to the books) and he's pretty much sleeping through the night. Oh, and he's sucking on his hands and every once in a while sticks his thumb in his mouth. Too cute!

While I know that I'm extra lucky to have such a long maternity leave, I'm shocked that most people are already back to work at this point. I'm just starting to know what I'm doing and having a blast doing it!