Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Grayson: My Big Boy

At Tybee Island - May 2016

backyard summer fun - June 2016

July 2016

Enjoying his morning smoothie with his friend Mouse! July 2016

Oatland Island Wildlife Center - July 2016

Shopping! August 2016

July 2016

Oatland Island Wildlife Center - July 2016

First day in the 3-year old classroom - a little nervous! - August 1, 2016

Morning selfies - August 2016

August 2016

sweet brother snuggles - August 2016

As with every month and year of Grayson's life, I both rejoice in the progress and will it to slow down! I both miss my baby and cherish my big boy. Time passes by in an instant. I marvel at how little I remember of the minute details of his baby years. After a rough night with Adam, I think back on the many (gosh, there were MANY) rough nights with Grayson and it hardly seems real. Like the blurring, hazy memories of a dream. I'm desperate to slow it all down long enough for me to commit it to memory. But alas, time refuses to submit to my demands! So, I write it here and hope that it helps! :)

Grayson started school in the 3-year old class this month. We were a little sad about this transition because we love the teachers in the 2-year old class. And they love Grayson, too. But as with most milestones in Grayson's life, he handled it like a champ and any worry or anxiety was for naught. Other than a few fussy, tired evenings during the first week, the transition has been seamless!

In many ways, this current stage of life is my favorite thus far. Grayson is smarter than ever and learning new things every day. The things he remembers says amaze and excite me! I love that while watching the scene with the wolves in Beauty and the Beast, Grayson said, "I know about wolves. I saw them at the zoo with Leland and Cody." We continued to have a quick conversation about the wolves and other animals we saw at the zoo that day (about a month or so ago). I love that Grayson knows songs. Like, really knows them. This morning I started singing a song from "Dora the Explorer" (that junk just lives in my head these days!) and Grayson took over and finished the song for me. I love that he can explain things to me. He can tell me that he's crying because he hit his toe on the door or because Daddy picked up a dead bug to throw away (it's not always logical. And it doesn't always happen right away. Sometimes we spend several minutes trying to get him to stop crying long enough to tell us why.). I love that he can actually tell me what he did at school and what his favorite activities are (currently - riding bikes!). I love that he is learning how to recognize emotions and be empathetic (to a degree). He tells me when he thinks Adam is sad. He tells me when one of his friends was sad at school. His teacher told us that he tries to comfort the other kids when they are upset. I love that!

Doing things with Grayson is more fun than ever, too! Simple errands can become a fun adventure. He rarely complains and we can turn mundane tasks into something interesting. On Sunday we went to the jewelry store to have my rings cleaned. While we waited, Grayson and I looked in awe at all the sparkly diamonds, and then searched for Mickey Mouse among the display of bracelet charms. He even helped me shop for clothes, expressing an opinion on what clothes he liked and didn't. When I tried on something he particularly liked, he would say, "Ohhh! Look at Mommy!" like I was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. 

He also enjoys helping with tasks around the house. He is usually great at cleaning up his messes, and he will let you know if you try to put a toy away in the wrong place. (I wonder who he got that from! Hint - it's not me.) He likes to help me prepare Adam's bottles for the next day by sticking the labels on them, helping me carry empty bottles to the sink, and if I'm feeling brave...helping me pour the milk. He likes helping us cook and even though it may slow down the process, we try to let him help however he can.

In addition to being smart and fun and helpful (oh, and hilarious!), he is also super sweet. He still loves to snuggle. Sometimes it's easy to forget that he's still a little guy because he seems so grown up. But he still needs his moments of cuddling to cool down from time to time. 

Speaking of, yes, it's an awesome stage, but it's also tiring and frustrating at times. With all his blossoming language, skills, and independence comes strong opinions, testing boundaries, and asserting himself in ways that are not always welcomed! He not only remembers fun facts and events, but also special treats or changes in routine that were never meant to be regularly repeated. For example, Scott brought him a donut in the car on the way home from school once, and for a week Grayson seemed to think we were just hoarding donuts under the car seats and refusing to share them with him. He would first insist that we did have donuts, even though we told him we didn't. "I think we DO!" Then, when that got him no where, he would cry. 

Tasks and errands are more fun, but they also have the potential to be exhausting. While he was really sweet and well-behaved for most of the time at the mall on Sunday, after a while he ended up crawling in and out of the dressing room under the door, running away from us and weaving in and out of clothing displays, and shouting and laughing very loudly. I was trying to try on shoes, Scott was wearing Adam, and suddenly we had to try to chase down our almost 3-yr old who moments before was being a model child. He can flip that switch so easily! 

His independence is helpful and exciting, but it also means that he wants to do everything by himself. And if you try to help him when he doesn't want your help? The good Lord be with you because he will scream bloody murder! And if he's REALLY worked up, he might try to hit you or kick you or just jump on you. And if you happen to also be holding Adam? Yeah, it can go downhill fast! 

But at the end of the day, he's still the best almost-3-yr-old I know. The age has its challenges, as it does with every child, but for the most part he is handling it all very well. He has big emotions, and I realize it can be tough to learn to regulate them. Even though he tries our patience and drives us nuts sometimes, Scott and I are both so in love with him! We have both ended up in tears recently at the thought of how quickly Grayson is growing up. It's crazy to look back on memories that don't seem that long ago, like our beach vacation last summer, last Halloween, and our trip to Disney last December, and realize how much bigger and more advanced Grayson is now. How has so much changed in such a short amount of time?! How is it that just 8 months ago he was being rocked to sleep before going down in a toddler bed with a pacifier and now he sleeps on his own in a full bed?? How is it that just 7-8 months ago he was still in diapers and now he's potty trained?! Or that just a year ago we were counting the number of words in his sentences and getting excited about 7 or 8, and now he can carry on full conversations with us? 

It's all hard to believe, and it's all bitter sweet. But despite the many challenges, the joys outnumber them by far! And I think I'll be okay, until the day he outgrows the snuggling! ;)

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Trouble with Self-Reliance

Self-reliance is a sneaky sin. It doesn't even sound like a sin. What's wrong with being able to take care of yourself? Isn't that a good thing? Well, yeah, to an extent. But for me, it's a slippery slope.


One recent Saturday, Scott was helping someone in town move and I was home with the boys. I figured we would just hang out and watch movies until Daddy got home and then we would commence our usual Saturday activities -- grocery shopping and usually some fun outing like the library or park. But as we wrapped up our second episode of Wild Kratts, I determined that I was perfectly capable of accomplishing things on my own with the boys. Why wait for Scott?

I got all three of us ready and loaded into the car. We stopped at the recycling center. We went to the library to return our books and pick out some new ones. Then, I did the bravest of all acts. I pulled into Wal-Mart, plunked Grayson in a cart, strapped Adam to my chest and tackled grocery shopping!

Not taken that day, but it looked pretty similar!

We moved swiftly and efficiently through the store. We stopped by the bakery for a free cookie. Adam was content and Grayson excitedly talked my ear off as we discussed the items on the list and our plans to use them. We checked out without incident. The cashier called me "super mom." I was feeling pretty cocky at this point. I couldn't wait for Scott to get home so I could surprise him with all I accomplished. (side-note: I recognize that stay at home moms do this all the time and it's no big thing. My proverbial hat goes off to you, ladies!)

I pulled back into our garage, thinking through what I would make for Grayson's lunch and how I would soon be getting both boys down for a nap. I got out of the car, pulled the key out of the ignition, and suddenly realized... there are no house keys on my key ring. 

It turns out, my keys had fallen off the key ring at some point and I hadn't noticed. And there I was, in the 95 degree heat, two hungry and sleepy little boys, a trunk full of groceries, and no way to get into the house. Wasn't feeling too cocky anymore.


Of course, trying to tackle grocery shopping without Scott was not sinful. But it reminded me how easily our best efforts can be shattered by the unforeseeable circumstances of life. And the trouble with a self-reliant mindset is that it easily bleeds over into our views of God.

When things are going well, I feel in control. I take all the steps necessary for a healthy, happy life. Even the "Christian" things are within my control. Reading the Bible, serving, tithing, going to church? Check, check, check, check! It's all too easy to start to think I can do life without God. Not only life, but after life! If I can just keep doing all the right things, I'll earn my way to Heaven.

I may not ever voice this belief, but it's there, simmering just beneath the surface of my subconscious. But it's a lie. People are imperfect. I sure as heck am! I can't even ensure that I can get into my own house, much less Heaven!! But seriously, I could never be "good enough" to get into Heaven on my own efforts. No one could because we all fall short of the standard of perfection that is required. That's why Jesus's work on the cross is so important and worthy of praise.

And thinking we can do it without him is a real slap in the face to the sacrifice He made for us. I have to be mindful of these feelings so that I can surrender them and recognize my need for a savior. No matter how accomplished I may be in life, I never want to lose sight of God's grace. Relying on just myself will never be enough. I'm so thankful I have someone greater to rely on!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

When God's Plans Don't Match Our Own

Adam is a wiggler when he sleeps. Actually, he's like a little break dancer. He kicks and squirms and nearly rolls over, until he ultimately does a 180 in his crib. I lay him down with his head on one end of the bed, and next time I check on him it is on the opposite end!

Now, in the middle of the night, in the dark, when I've just been jarred from sleep by little grunts and cries, this can be very disorienting! I look into the crib and see...what is that? What am I looking at? His head looks weird! This isn't right. It takes my brain several seconds to catch up and realize that it looks strange because it's not a head at all, it's his feet!

In any other occasion, if I were to look at Adam's feet, I would immediately recognize them as feet. I know what feet look like! But when I'm looking at them, fully expecting them to be a head, they suddenly become some strange, unrecognizable objects. It's confusing and I struggle to make sense of it.

Of course, it doesn't take too long before my brain kicks in and I realize what has happened. But this disorienting illusion can happen to us in other areas of life, and sometimes it is a lot harder to see the sense in it.

We make plans in life. We expect our plans to play out in the ways we've imagined. I always thought I would be a high school English teacher. I love literature and writing. I love helping people. I'm a strong public speaker. I'm also empathetic. All the career assessments in high school, college, and even graduate school indicated teaching as an ideal career for me. So, naturally, I expected to become a teacher and love it. I had taken all the steps to prepare for it. It was logical that things should go according to my plans.

But when I found myself withdrawing from the Masters in Teaching program, scrambling to find a job to help pay the bills, and with no clue what to do next, I was confused. What was this life? This wasn't my life. Not the life I had expected to see. It was unrecognizable. The stress, the feelings of failure, the desperation of not knowing... I didn't know what that was, but it wasn't my life. It wasn't my plans.

It wasn't until I stopped trying to see my life through the lens of my own plans that I began to see it for what it was. I couldn't see the new opportunities ahead of me, until I gave up on the identity I had clung to for so many years. God's plans for me were different. When I accepted that, I finally felt less confused. Things came into focus.

I can't recognize Adam's feet as feet until I give up on the idea that it should be his head. Once I realize, okay, this is not his head, I immediately can see what it really is.

Maybe once we give up on our own insistence of how things should look, how situations should play out, how God should handle certain people and certain circumstances -- then maybe we can begin to see them as they really are. Until we can do that, we'll always be seeing a distorted image of what we want to see. We'll always be seeing a really freaky looking head!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Adam is 3 Months Old and Other Vital News!

Adam Updates:

Yes, I realize Adam is 3 months old and this is the first time I've attempted to document his life with a monthly update. It's much more difficult to blog on maternity leave than you would imagine. Sure, there is ample free time for watching TV and eating poptarts, but that's because you're mostly limited to activities that can be done one-handed. Poptarts, yes. Typing, not so much.

I can't believe my littlest is already 3 months old!! He is growing up way too fast! I know all parents say that, but that's just because it's true.

He's incredibly strong and has great head control! He can lift his head and shoulders doing tummy time, and wobbles much less when held upright. He will be rolling over any day now, I'm sure. He can easily roll onto his side, and he kicks and squirms and grunts with effort as he tries to propel his body around. He's thisclose! In his efforts to turn and roll, he manages to end up completely sideways in his crib at night. Once I even found him with his head on the opposite end of the bed! He did a complete 180 during the night!

Speaking of cribs, he is sleeping 90% of the time in his crib now. Honestly, I'm shocked. I had been bedsharing since he was born, and was expecting the transition to his own sleep space to be difficult. But he's so easy going, and he likes to actually fall asleep laying down, rather than being held. I still put him in bed with me usually around 3:30-4:30 whenever he wakes up just because I love the snuggles! :) They are only little once, and sleeping with a baby is totally different than sleeping with a 2 yr old. I want to cherish it while it's still nice! ha!

This week he has started falling asleep earlier. The past couple nights he's gone down between 6:45-7:30. Since he's going to bed so much earlier than we are, it only made since to put him in his crib. The crib is still in our bedroom. We'll probably move him to our room in a month or two. Right now I still like having him so close. Putting him to bed is relatively simple. He starts getting fussy and it's obvious he's tired. I take him back to the bedroom, change him into jammies, feed him, burp him, then lay him down in his crib. I stand by the bed, sometimes holding his hand, sometimes just watching, and wait until it's obvious he's going to sleep. This typically takes around 5 minutes. Yes, 5 minutes! How awesome is this kid?!

I'm sure I'm jinxing it like crazy, but not only does he go to sleep easily, but he sleeps great! His longest stretch so far as been 9 hours! Most nights he only wakes up once, though a few nights ago he woke up three times. But once seems to be his normal right now. He wakes up, eats, and goes right back to sleep. So simple!

This week is his third full week in daycare. He seems to be doing well. They tell us he's calm and happy and talkative most of the time. This week they say he's been a little more fussy. We think he might be on the verge of his first cold. He has had a little cough in the mornings and some congestion, but it doesn't seem to be getting worse so maybe it won't develop into a full illness.

He coos and laughs and smiles. He just has the best little personality! I love him so much I can't even stand it!! :)

Mommy Updates:
on our date for Scott's 30th birthday

I've been back at work since July 1. It's good to be back. Yes, I sometimes miss the slow pace of maternity leave, but I also like the routine and challenge of work life. Plus adult interaction is always nice. It was hard to leave Adam at daycare. I definitely cried a lot the night before and morning of. But after that initial drop off, I've been fine. I miss him, just like I miss Grayson, but we love our daycare and I enjoy working, so I don't regret it.

I don't think I posted before, but if you recall, I was selected to represent GA Southern as the nominee for the Outstanding Advisor award through our national association (NACADA). Well, I found out a week into maternity leave that I won the award! Yes, that's a national award. And yes, I'm thrilled!! I will be recognized at the national conference this year in Atlanta. The opening banquet is at the GA Aquarium. I think it'll be super fun! It would be cool if it were someplace I hadn't been before, but it'll be convenient to be in Atlanta because I can be close to the boys (assuming they stay with my inlaws).

Other than working again and finding that home/life balance, I'm sort of trying to lose the rest of my baby weight. I say sort of because I've been intentional about eating more vegetables (I've challenged myself to have veggies with every meal!) and I'm doing a 30 Day ab challenge. But I still eat nightly ice cream and haven't done any real cardio yet. Baby steps! haha!

Grayson Updates:

Grayson has been slightly more challenging since we had Adam. Mostly it's just normal 2/3 yr old stuff. Blossoming independence, testing boundaries, and walking that line between toddler and big boy. He is SO smart! He always has been, so this is no surprise. He speaks extremely well and has a large vocabulary. He can count to 20 (though sometimes will jump from 15 to 18...). His memory is outstanding and he's always surprising me with the details he remembers from things we did or things he's learned from books or school or movies/TV shows. He is like a little sponge...always eager to learn. 

He sleeps through the night almost always, but some nights it's harder to get him to bed at a reasonable time. It's usually around 8:30, but sometimes later, before he falls asleep. And lately he's been waking up as early as 5:30 am! It makes for a very grumpy boy and a more challenging morning for all! 

He is one of the most loving kids I've ever known. He loves to snuggle and he's so considerate. He shares really well, for a 2 yr old. But he does still have his moments where he plays too rough, gets mad and yells at us or hits us, he's even acted out toward Adam a couple times. We're working on discipline. It's all part of the fun of parenting! But despite all that, I realize he's still an amazing kid. We were talking to one of his teachers and I said I used to feel like he was perfect but lately he's been more challenging and she said, "Y'ALL. He is still perfect! Look at any other kid his age. He's perfect. I promise." haha! I mean, I guess she would know. ;)

He loves Adam and is typically very sweet toward him. He's an excellent helper most of the time. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing Grayson love on Adam...until I have to tell him not to squish him! :)

Grayson spent his first full week away recently as he spent a week at Scott's parents' house. We were sad when he left. We both cried at the door after they walked out. But then we quickly moved on to enjoying the ease of parenting an infant and no one else. We watched a lot of TV that didn't involve Elmo. It was kind of glorious! But we were ready for him to come back home! 

Grayson will be moving up to the 3-yr old classroom on August 1st...just a couple weeks away. We absolutely love his current teachers, so it'll be sad change for all of us. I know he's developmentally ready to be with the 3s, but I think he'll be sad to leave his current teacher and classroom too. I'm hoping it's a smooth and quick transition, though. 3 yrs old...I can't believe that's just around the corner! What happened to my baby?!

Daddy Updates:

Florida Aquarium

Florida Aquarium

Sunday Family Movie Time
Scott is working hard at being an amazing dad and husband. I feel like he never stops working from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed at night. I can't imagine those poor moms who have husbands who don't help out. Scott is the best and I thank God for him daily. Literally!! 

He recently turned 30 and we were blessed with a date night! We went out to eat and went cosmic bowling! Super fun!! The two of us also recently celebrated our 7 year anniversary. :)

I don't that much else is new with him. He's gearing up to teach his second section of FYE 1220 in the fall, and he's eager to start leading worship with the kids again soon since they took the summer off. He's been working out in the evenings just doing weights and pushups and crunches, etc... He misses running but it's dangerously hot and waking up any earlier is insane (see: Grayson waking up at 5:30). 

I love my family and this wonderful stage of life. It's not always easy. Sometimes my nerves are shot and I long for a nap. I look forward to the days in the future when we can drop the kids off with grandparents and take a vacation just the two of us. But those days are still a long ways off. Until then, I'm just enjoying the fun things and making the most of the hard things. We've survived Family of Four for 3 months so far! I'm confident we can keep it up! :)

Monday, June 6, 2016

My Favorite Messes

I don't actually like messes, nor do I enjoy cleaning them, but there are certain messes that still manage to make me smile. They remind me of cherished moments and people I love. I think it baffles poor Scott to imagine having a favorite mess, since he is such a fan of things being clean, but these are the messes that sort of make my life feel complete.

~ The messy kitchen on Saturday mornings. I don't particularly enjoy cleaning the kitchen or doing dishes, though it's one of my more favorable chores, but there is something about the mess that is left behind after a big family breakfast on Saturday mornings that makes it all seem worth it. We don't get to have a big breakfast any other day of the week because we're too busy getting ready for work or church. Saturdays are the only time we can get a slow start to the day, lazily sip on coffee, and enjoy food that requires multiple bowls, pans, plates, and utensils. Pancakes, french toast, muffins, waffles, eggs, bacon, biscuits...those kinds of things. We can usually get Grayson to eat our healthy version of pancakes and maybe a bite or two of eggs, so that feels like a win. :) The mess of batter, dirty dishes, opened containers of butter and honey, and Grayson's sticky placemat are the evidence of some of my favorite moments as a family.

taken a couple years ago, when Grayson was younger...it gets even messier now!
~ Coffee rings on my nightstand. While it's not as rare as the Saturday morning breakfast, I cherish the weekday morning rituals too. This is the time that I sit in bed, drink coffee, and read the Bible with Scott and Grayson (and soon - Adam!). Unfortunately we haven't been regularly sharing this time while I'm on maternity leave because I've been trying to get as much sleep as possible before going back to work, but it's one of the things I'm eager to get back to soon. Those stubborn coffee stains might be unsightly, but they are a happy reminder of my time with my family and Jesus...my favorite way to start the day.

his first time experiencing early morning Bible study!

~ Scattered books and stuffed animals, aka - Grayson's "friends." We call Grayson's toys his friends...which I guess is weird and might cause some sort of complex for him later in life, but oh well! These messes are easy to tidy up, which is one nice thing about them, but I mainly love it because it proves our house has a family living in it. A family with small children. And I happen to really love those small children! :) So while I don't generally leave those messes lying around for too long, I adore seeing our house being so lived in. We bought this house with dreams of filling it with a little family of our own, and those scattered "friends" are, in a way, a dream come true!

surprisingly, I don't have many pictures that capture this type of mess. I guess that's probably on purpose! ha!

~ Sidewalk chalk. I guess this is more art than mess (theoretically! ha!), but I suppose that depends on who you ask! I just love that it stays for days and days as a colorful little artifact of all the fun we had that day.

when we announced our pregnancy with Adam

I'm sure there are others, and there are plenty of messes that don't give me the warm fuzzies (scrubbing the shower being my very least favorite!)! But these are just a few of my life's happy little messes right now!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dear Self: Maternity Leave is Not About Getting Stuff Done!

Dear Self,

Maternity leave is not about getting stuff done! I know it feels like you've had that sweet and precious baby for a long time now, but you really just pushed him out of your body a short 5 weeks ago. So don't feel bad if you don't accomplish anything in a day other than a load of laundry and making the bed. Maternity leave is not designed for you to run errands or do chores or really do anything at all other than hold your baby and change diapers. Oh! And there is this crazy idea about sleeping when the baby sleeps.

And listen -- you are a rock star just because you shower every day. I mean, every single day! That's impressive! Don't feel guilty that you haven't worked out yet other than the occasional walk up and down the street, or when you decide it's just too dang hot to leave the house. It's okay that you can only fit into your bigger pre-pregnancy pants or that you're currently wearing a maternity shirt. 5 weeks. FIVE WEEKS! You have plenty of time to shed those last 10 pounds and tighten up the midsection. Now is not that time. Now is the time for sleeping in and taking naps and binge watching Gilmore Girls while you care for your tiny, squishy newborn. And if you need to eat every couple hours, do it without shame! Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories!

Also, I know you miss your mornings with Scott and Grayson, and I know you feel guilty that Scott does the whole morning routine with Grayson, including setting up your coffee and making your smoothie, but in just a few weeks that will fly by way too quickly, you'll have those mornings back whether you want them or not! You'll be helping Grayson go potty as he throws a tantrum about it, and chugging coffee like your life depends on it because some days it will feel that way. Let Scott be the outstanding daddy that he is and take full advantage of any extra sleep you can get right now. You won't get these days back. Soon you'll be taking personal days just to sleep past 5:45 am and watch something that isn't animated.

And consider this--you really won't have a chance to watch Gilmore Girls once you go back to work. So you kind of owe it to yourself and the Gilmore clan to watch as many episodes as you can now. And sure, you've seen them all before...twice...but it's a really good show!

So, self, cherish every moment of your last days of leave. They really are fleeting! Your to-do list will be there when you go back to work, but resting and undivided snuggle time with your littlest will not. Just remember, this is what maternity leave is for!


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Luvs Got it Right

You know those first kid vs second kid commercials for Luvs? I've always thought they were funny in that it's funny because it's so true kind of way, but now that I have a second kid I feel that way even more! It's truly amazing how much easier things have been with Adam. And I always thought Grayson was pretty easy.

1 week old - before a family walk

I think the difference can be attributed to several factors. In some ways, Adam is probably just an easier baby. He isn't as fussy as Grayson was, and doesn't struggle quite as much with gas, reflux, and spitting up, for example. But I think the biggest factor is my experience and confidence from already having successfully done this once before. I know so much more than I knew then. I know how to handle certain situations and I know better than to repeat things that didn't work so well last time.

Even starting at the hospital, things were easier and less stressful this time. Grayson was born around 10:30 PM. As soon as I was decent, which was pretty shortly after delivery, I had a roomful of visitors. Family paraded in and out to see the new baby. I totally get it, and I did not want to rob anyone the chance to see their new grandbaby (for Scott's family...their first grandbaby!). And by the time they all left and we were settled into our new room, it was around 3 AM! I barely slept from the excitement and anxiety of how my life just completely changed and I was suddenly responsible for this tiny human. The entire next day I had guests coming and going. I don't think there was more than maybe 20 minutes at a time where we didn't have visitors. Family and friends came to see us and Grayson, and to bring us food and gifts. We were so thankful and happy to see everyone, but it was exhausting! Then that night, I barely slept again because Grayson cried almost all night. I kept trying to get him to sleep in the little bassinet. Every time I put him down he would wake up and cry. I would try to nurse him, but I was struggling with that as well. Of course my immediate assumption was he was starving and not getting enough milk from me. Thankfully I did not give him formula as the nurse suggested and I just slugged it out. Unfortunately, this meant I was running on little to no sleep and was beyond stressed!

When we went home from the hospital, we had family in town that whole weekend. Both my sets of parents, Scott's parents, his sister, and my brother were all at our house! Everyone was trying to help in their own ways...cooking, cleaning, decorating, and of course...wanting to hold the baby! It was all so overwhelming!

I knew this time I wanted things to be different, and therefore, it was all so much better! The only family in town when we had Adam was my mom, and her main purpose was staying with Grayson while we were at the hospital. We had Adam around 7 PM and we had NO visitors at all that night! My mom was home with Grayson, trying to keep him on his normal schedule, so it was just the three of us for the evening. We did have some friends bring us food, but they didn't even come in...just gave it to Scott in the parking lot. Everything was peaceful. Scott and I just soaked in the presence of our new little boy. Breastfeeding came easily and I wasn't scared of all the "what-ifs" this time. And I decided I would do what I wanted, and I slept with Adam in my bed the whole time we were at the hospital. He only went in that bassinet for diaper changes. All three of us slept great both nights in the hospital (well, except for Scott being on the pull-out chair/bed, and nurses coming and going to check on me and Adam).

Just before leaving the hospital

Family movie time!

My mom came to see us the next morning in the hospital and she visited a few other times before leaving that Friday. Scott's dad came down next. Then my dad and step-mom. Then Scott's mom. My brother visited for a few hours one day (he lives down here now so that was easier). Scott's sister came down the following weekend. We never once had more than 3 people visiting us at a time, and even that was just a brief overlap. Everyone sort of came in shifts and it was awesome! We never felt overwhelmed by the company, and everyone got to have more individual time with the boys.

The weeks following delivery were hard with Grayson. Not only was it a stressful beginning, but I had the baby blues and was an emotional wreck! Thankfully, my hormones didn't do that to me this time. And since I didn't have the added anxiety of that what the heck am I doing? feeling, I think everything has just felt easier. And Grayson helps a lot. He's like my wonderful little reminder that I can do this...I've done it before! :) And while striving to keep life as normal as possible for him, I've gotten back to reality a lot sooner, which I think has helped too. We've already had several outings as a family, including a day trip to Tybee Island!

Tybee Island

Up early doing family Bible study

Hanging out while we watch The Voice :)

I think Grayson was fussier than Adam, but I also think I know how to handle it better now. With Grayson, I always feared something was wrong. I tried all kinds of things to help him--gas drops, Gripe Water, two different medications, etc... Some of that might have been necessary, but I now wonder how much of that could have been avoided with just a few adjustments on my end. With Adam, I now recognize when he starts fussing at the breast that he probably needs to burp or pass gas. I know how and when to help him with this. With Grayson I had no clue! I often didn't even burp him b/c I read somewhere that breastfed babies didn't need to burp as often as bottle-fed. But, um, they still DO need to be burped! I also now know that babies have a hard time digesting the casein protein in cow milk. This is really the only thing that passes into my milk. Gassy foods like broccoli and beans, spicy foods, onions and garlic...none of that usually affects babies. With Grayson I didn't know that so I eliminated nearly everything from my diet! I was constantly hungry and shaky and scared to eat anything for fear that it would make my baby sick. It took me months to learn from a new pediatrician that I just needed to cut back on dairy, and it made a huge difference. With Adam, I did that from the start.

It also took me months to learn with Grayson that I had an overactive letdown which was drowning him in milk...I always laughed that he was a little piglet b/c he gulped his milk. Turns out he gulped because he had no choice! This can lead to more gas and tummy troubles for baby. Plus, I had oversupply which meant he wasn't always getting to my hindmilk. Too much foremilk can be another cause of upset tummy. I was able to recognize these things immediately this time and know some handy tricks to deal with it. Instead of pushing Adam onto my boobs when they are gushing milk all over creation like I did with Grayson, I pull him off and spray all of that into a burp cloth or bottle. It makes him angry, but it's better than choking him with it! I also know that pumping only makes it worse in the long run. So I've been waiting until at least 6 weeks to pump, so that my milk has a chance to regulate to Adam's actual demands. Not his demands plus the demands of the pump. So, hopefully my oversupply won't last a full year like it did with Grayson (although, I was able to donate spare milk that whole year, so it ended up being a blessing for someone else!).

After his 2-week checkup

tummy time made him sleepy!

Hanging out with Mommy!

sleepy smiles

I can't guarantee that everything will be easier with Adam, (though I am hoping for a better eater and sleeper!) but so far Luvs is spot on! With the second kid, I'm just more laid back. I'm not afraid to take him out of the house because I know Grayson is a walking cesspool of toddler germs anyway, and I'm not scared to breastfeed in public. I'm not calling or visiting the doctor once a week for confirmation that I'm not poisoning my child with my breastmilk or that he doesn't have any number of maladies Google has to offer. Sure, you can hold my kid while I drink a glass of wine. And maternity leave is a welcomed break from the chaos of life, rather than a prison of tears, cracked nipples, and blowout diapers.

I'm sure I've probably jinxed myself and now things are about to get real! But so far...so good! :)

After his 4-week checkup

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