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Posts from the ‘Personal’ Category

Two Month Snapshot: Alexandra

How is our baby Alex already two months old!  The time is going by so very quickly.  We are savoring each day and fleeting moment!  Overall, things have been a bit easier this month as compared to our first month together!  The theme for this month summed up in one word is rhythm.  We are finding our rhythm and grove with Alex!  We figured out what paci finally worked for Alex, one that would stay in her mouth, thanks to a recommendation by a friend!  Most importantly, Alex is finally sleeping, as compared to the first month, which is monumental.  She gives us about four to five hour stretches at night, six and seven hours on occasion, which has been so nice!  She is the most animated and interactive in the mornings after waking up and in the evenings right before bed time.  She is interacting with us and we love to see her smile, it melts our hearts!  And, she is taking about one to two long naps a day, on average, which has been great!  The Dock-A-Tot, paci, white noise machine, and velcro swaddles have helped immensely with her sleep!  We have learned what her cries mean, for the most part, we are trying to anticipate her needs, and we are getting a rhythm to our days, all the while she is constantly changing and growing.  Speaking of which, recently, to make more room in Alex’s closet and dresser, I packed away her clothes that no longer fit!  It was bittersweet.  Some clothes, she only wore one time, as she is constantly growing!  Overall, our life feels so much simpler since her arrival, all the while our life is more complicated simultaneously.  Most of all, we enjoy and love our baby Alex immensely!

Doug and I have also found our rhythm together.  We tag team to care for Alex and Victory.  We have become very efficient at getting things accomplished!  The element of time has a whole new meaning for us.  We have managed to even work out a schedule whereby we can both go to the gym multiple times a week, which is a feat with a little one!  I have managed to be able to see and visit with some friends, which has been really nice as well!

Victory is even doing better, too.  Last month, she would, sometimes, retreat to our bedroom when the baby cried and when we had visitors.  Now, she is staying with the baby and I even more.  I think it takes some time for everyone to somewhat acclimate.  We tell Victory each day that she is going to have a little sister that absolutely adores her in the coming months when Alex is able to understand and really discover Victory.  Victory is very gentle and kind with Alex, and we are very fortunate for this.  They are even nap buddies!  We have been able to get out for some outings, dinners and ice cream with Alex and Victory!   You can see below, Victory and Alex pictured at each of their gils’ dinners together this month!

A few highlights from Alex’s first month include:

-she is sleeping!  We are so elated!  We are all feeling a little more rested, but we are both tired!

-she is staying swaddled at night, with her velcro swaddles, which has helped immensely with her sleep and our sleep!

-she is a loud sleeper and she grunts, like a wild boar, which is apparently normal!  As a result, we moved her at seven weeks in her Dock-A-Tot to her crib in her nursery, down the hall, where she is now sleeping at night.

-she found her fingers and hands!  She sucks on her fingers and fists sometimes.  She is still looking for that thumb, possibly!

-she gave us some big smiles!  It was wonderful to witness!  She is starting to interact with us, which is neat!

-she loves her play yard!  She is mesmerized by all of the hanging objects and sounds!

-she loves her swing, and she takes at least one nap in it daily, usually!

-she has had several ‘blow outs’ that necessitated an immediate bath!  Thankfully, Doug handled most of the clean up during these instances and I gave Alex her baths following each ‘blow out!’

-she is tolerating bath time and we have moved to a larger bath tub for her, as she is growing like a weed!

-she and Victory like to be read to in the evenings before bed!

-she is still enjoying taking walks in her Bugaboo and Ergo!  Fortunately, she was born at a nice time of year so we can get outside, despite the rain and hot and humid temperatures, recently!

-she loves to eat and nurse!  She always let’s us know when it is time to eat!

A few highlights I would like to remember:

-enjoyed designing and creating our baby announcement introducing Alex, which we mailed to friends and family during her second month!

-love greeting Alex in her nursery in the mornings!  I think she is seeing more clearly, these days, as she gets older!  I enjoy our morning time, and play time together, a time when baby Alex is very animated and she is generally in a really good mood!

-enjoying nursing Alex, especially in the mornings and evenings, as it is one of my favorite times of day with her!  (We refer to her affectionately as our ‘little cherub!’)

-loving the little noises she makes!

-knowing on the days that I feel totally exhausted, that I will someday really miss these early days, and I need to remind myself, at times of this fact.

-enjoying taking Alex and Victory out to eat a few times and having things going well!

-knowing now that I can reach 10,000 steps without intentionally exercising from running all over our house, room to room, all day long!

-Doug is sharing all types of music with Alex when he spends time with her in the evenings after work!  Sometimes, she will even fall asleep!

-most of all, we are cherishing getting to be Alex’s parents!

Doug and I are very grateful for our little girl and little family!  We feel so lucky.  We look forward to seeing Alex’s little personality develop and unfold.  Below are a few images: Alex’s monthly portraits; Alex and Victory’s monthly portraits; followed by photos of Alex throughout this month; and some iphone images, of our precious girl along with some images of Alex and Victory during her second month with us!  You can read our birth story along with viewing images from Alex’s birth here; and you can read Alex’s first month snapshot here.

 

 

 

See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!

 

 

See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!

 

 

Alex working away in her play yard!

 

Alex in her bouncy seat!

 


 

 

Alex in her nursery!

 

Below are some iphone images of our little cherubs!

 

 

 

 

Here are our girls having a ‘Girls’ Dinner Date’ at multiple restaurants, including the Coal Fire; Mission BBQFive Guys; and Wegmans!

The Importance of Memory Keeping

 

Since becoming a Mamma, I have been thinking even more about memory keeping, especially since our baby Alex is growing like a weed and changing daily; and our beloved fur girl, Victory, will not always be with us physically.  (Victory is well and she is doing well and we hope to have many, many more years with her, as we cannot imagine life without her!)  We are throughly enjoying our time with our girls!  Therefore, I want to preserve as many fleeting moments as I am able.  I am a visual person and it brings us joy to have tangible ways to preserve moments.  Below are a few ways that I preserve and plan to preserve our memories.

1. Baby Hand Print and Foot Prints — I purchased this kit prior to going to the hospital.  Soon after coming home, with the help of my Mom, we made Alex’s newborn hand and foot prints!  They are so tiny!  I am really glad that we did this to capture an impression of her hand print and foot print as a newborn.  We also did this in a similar way with our fur girl, Victory — see here and here.

2. Promptly Journal – I love making photo books; however,  I wanted to find a simple way to capture this time in our lives so I purchased a childhood promptly journal, which helps you capture your child’s complete history from your pregnancy until your child is 18 years old.  There are pages for your to document your pregnancy; pages month for the first year of your baby’s life; and then there are pages for each birthday until age 18.  Each section has places to document your child’s favorite things and then it has questions that help prompt you with what to say.  Additionally, there are places to add photographs, and there are even places to write letters to your child.  So far, it has been manageable to keep up with; and I have had fun completing this book and inserting tangible items to capture memories, and it will hopefully be a nice keepsake for Alex enjoys when she is older.

3. Birth Story – I wrote a more detailed and personal birth story for Alex for when she is older augmented by images of her birth sharing the entire experience with her, while it was fresh in my mind.  (I keep a folder on my computer where I save such documents in one place, which helps keep things organized.)

4. Pregnancy Announcement and Baby Announcement – I designed our pregnancy announcement and our baby announcement that we mailed out to friends and family along with using a custom stamp and seal for both announcements.  It is a nice way to memorialize this type of exciting news in a tangible format!

5. Monthly Portraits (first year) – I am going to do my best to take monthly portraits of Alex and Victory and Alex together to capture what Alex looks like each month during the first year.  Then, I will likely move to yearly portraits!  Of course, I will always do impromptu photo shoots!

6. Monthly Blog Posts (first year) – I plan to do monthly blog posts sharing thoughts and highlights from that month as a way to remember each month with Alex during the first year!

7. Photo Books – I have made a photo book from our wedding, honeymoon, and our annual vacations together since 2011!  I love them!  I have also made a baby book for Alex leading up to and through her birth.  I plan to make another photo book capturing her first year and I plan to subsequently make yearly photo books of Alex, including our fur girl, Victory, of course!

8. Annual Calendar  – I have made an annual calendar for us for at least the past five years and we really love them!  They also make great gifts and they are the perfect size for a desk!  I plan to continue this yearly tradition!

9. Photo Magnets – I like to make photo magnets for our refrigerator of our favorite images!  Our refrigerator is covered in images, photo magnets and quotable magnets which can easily be swapped out, etc.  They also make great gifts, too!

10. Prints – I have always made a point to print our images as I edit them, and then frame them around the house.  Since having Alex, I have even more images from my phone and ‘big camera.’  So, in order to keep up on everything, each week, I download the images from my iphone (I usually edit the images from my iphone on my phone as I take them) and from my CF card on my camera and cull and edit the images and save them on my computer in two places as a back up.  Then, each month, I print these images.  (I have to do this process somewhat consistently, or else it become unmanageable to keep up with.)  Further, there are a variety of places to get prints made online.  I try to document our everyday as it unfolds in images, which typically turn out to be the best images that occur spontaneously.

11. Albums – After I print the images each month, I put them in a photo album.  I know that this may be outdated, but I really like having our images in chronological order and organized in tangible form.  I have been doing this since Doug and I met and it is nice to have some semblance of our images.  Plus, it is always nice, sometimes, to go through images from the past and reminisce.  I also have started a photo album for Alex, which contain images specific to her.

12. Frame Prints – I make fine art prints of the images that I frame to put around our house.  It brings us joy to have our images around the house to actually look at versus having hundreds of images on a phone or computer!  I try to update prints in our frames throughout the year, on multiple occasions, with the images that we especially love and want to see each day!  I use simple frames for the wall and I also use simple frames for around the house for those frames that are not hung on the wall.

I hope that this helps give some ideas for preserving the fleeting moments that go by much too quickly!

 

One Month Snapshot: Alexandra

Our little girl, Alexandra, whom we refer to as “Alex” is six weeks old already!  The time is flying.  I thought I would share some thoughts on our first month as a family of four.  (This post is a little late getting posted as we are still catching up on everything, as best we can, since having our baby.)  The theme of the first month summed up in one word is adjustment.  We waited a long time for our little girl to arrive and, as first time parents, we really did not know what to expect once she was here, with us, even though we took classes and read books to try to prepare.  Her birth is the biggest change of our lives, a very positive change!  However, one cannot really know what it feels like to welcome a child until it really happens.

Our Moms came and helped us during the first month, which was really helpful.  Doug was also home, during this time, which was also extremely helpful.  My recovery was a little longer than typical due to some complications.  Overall, during the first month, we were trying to figure out Alex’s needs such as sleeping and feedings.  We also had to remember that everything was and is still new to Alex and she is figuring out her new world as well.  Each day was different during the first month.  As a result, Doug and I were pretty sleep deprived during this time and we were beginning our adjustment during this monumental transition.  My brain, most days, feels a little scattered, evidenced by this article stating that a woman’s brain changes permanently after having a child.

Victory is very good with Alex she licks her feet, legs, ears, and face!  However, there are times where we can tell that she likely misses the way things were prior to Alex’s arrival, which is only natural.  Doug and I made and continue to make an extra effort to give Victory extra love and hugs along with getting her out for some outings, which was quite challenging to implement the first month, which felt quite chaotic overall.  Everyone is adjusting.  We look forward to outings this fall when it is cooler and Alex is a little older!  However, with time, we are finding our rhythm with Alex, a day at a time, along with helping Victory feel included as she is accustomed to as well.

A few highlights from Alex’s first month include:

-fighting going to sleep quite often — she would stay awake for stretches up to eight hours at a time!  She is very alert and it feels like she looks right into your soul with her little almond eyes.

-sleeping, most of the time, only if someone held her!  She would wake up as soon as one put her down for sleep — she would open her little eyes right away!

-enjoying taking walks in her Bugaboo and Ergo!  She fell asleep during most walks.

-escaping her swaddles, routinely, so we moved to the velcro swaddle, which has worked really well and they have prevented her hands and feet from moving all around, disrupting her sleep!

-refusing to sleep in her bassinet so we got the Dock-A-Tot, which she really likes and everyone started to get some sleep, as a result!

-crying during her entire first bath at home — but she smelled so nice once we were done!  Fortunately, she has done a little better during subsequent baths!

-lifting her head up, even though she does not have control of her head — she looks like a little turtle when she does this!

-enjoying nursing and eating!

-falling asleep often on our chests!

-seeing a couple first smiles!

-enjoying sitting out on the deck getting some fresh air!

-dancing with Doug to music to help calm Alex during her ‘fussy periods!’

-enjoying being read to before bedtime!

A few highlights I would like to remember:

-loving her smell — there is nothing like that wonderful smell and soft, velvety skin of a newborn!

-loving her little almond eyes, which are the darkest blue eyes I have ever seen!  I know we are biased, but we think she is just beautiful!

-enjoying being able to nurse our little girl!  I cherish this time, knowing it will not last forever, as the days are passing by too quickly and it seems she is physically changing daily!

-getting to see Doug be a dad (in addition to a fur dad) — he is great with Alex and he helps me a lot!

-celebrating my ‘big birthday’ with our little family on Alex’s one month anniversary!

-most of all, getting to be Alex’s mamma!

Doug and I are very grateful for our little girl and little family!  We feel so lucky.  We look forward to seeing Alex’s little personality develop and unfold.  Below are a few images of our precious girl along with some images of Alex and Victory during her first month with us!  You can read our birth story along with viewing images from Alex’s birth here.  (I aim to take images as life spontaneously unfolds.  However, I plan to take one portrait of Alex each month, during the first year, to see the progressive change throughout the year, also shown immediately below!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Birth Story — Introducing Alexandra Rose

I am happy to share our birth story of our precious, Alexandra Rose!  I am writing this story in the thick of it!  I was finally able to finish writing this thanks to many nursing sessions and a few naps.  We also finally just finished designing and preparing our baby announcements as well!  Everything takes a bit longer to get done these days!  We are still in newborn survival mode.  We understand that the first three months is analogous to the fourth trimester.  Our days have radically changed, for the better; however we are all still adjusting, including our fur girl, Victory!  For any other new mamas out there who feel like they are the only ones who have experienced days where you get nothing else done — even the simplest things — it is ok.  My main job is to keep our baby girl fed, dry, and loved.  And, after all, we will never get these early precious days back with our baby Alex!  We try to be fully present in order to soak everything in.  Doug has been really great with Alex and we work as a team and help each other in order to make everything work as smoothly as possible!

Victory is doing well.  We know it has been a big change for her, but she seems to have adopted Alex into her pack!  Victory is always close by me and she follows me everywhere.  She loves to lick Alex’s legs and feet when I nurse her.  We all take naps together, keeping things as normal as possible for our fur girl, Victory!  We look forward to the fall for more outings together, with the four of us, along with cooler temperatures.  We have managed to take Victory and Alex out for a few dinners near the house and all has gone well, thankfully!  Victory always loves her outings!  I am also working on Victory’s birthday theme and Halloween costumes for our girls!

Overall, we are all adjusting to this new little person who is totally dependent upon us; and Alex is also adjusting to her new world, too.  Thus, we are taking it a day at a time.  But everyday, I wake up, I am so grateful for our miracle baby!  I love her newborn smell and her extra soft skin.  It was an exceptional journey, and we are so grateful to have a healthy, beautiful baby.  Somedays it feels surreal that she is really here!  Baby Alex is very sweet, extremely alert, loves to nurse, is physically strong, likes tummy time, likes to be talked to, and always loves to be held.  The Dock-A-Tot and these swaddles have helped us get some sleep at night!  Each week she is sleeping a little more, which is great!  We are all learning as we go, as it is a huge life transition for everyone, and it will take some more time, but we can never imagine life without our precious little Alex.  We are so blessed; and Alex is truly a gift.  Our little family will never be the same and our hearts have grown immensely since her arrival!

 

 

On to our birth.  On July 13 around 10:00 p.m., the doctor came in and told me that I was 10 cm dilated and 100% effaced and it was finally time to push!  Finally – after a really long labor!  Doug and my Mom stayed with me in the room along with the doctor and nurses for the delivery.  Doug stayed up by my head and cheered me on during the pushing.  After about 25 minutes of pushing, at 10:30 p.m., our baby girl made her way into the world.  It all felt so surreal.  Doug cut the cord and the cord tissue and the cord blood was saved and sent to be cryopreserved with the Cord Blood Registry, CBR.  I will never forget Doug’s face — he looked in so much disbelief that she was actually here, with us!  She weighed 6 pounds, 15.8 ounces and was 20 inches in length.  The doctors quickly dried the baby off and put a hat on her and then immediately put her on my chest, skin to skin.  I heard her first cry as they placed her immediately on my chest – warm and perfect.  I looked at her and looked at Doug and was in compete awe at this little beautiful living being that we created.  We were a family, she was all ours, and I felt so overjoyed.  Then, we shared her name, Alexandra Rose!  Doug picked her name, a name he has always liked for some time, and her middle name is in honor of Doug’s beloved Grandma Rose.

 

 

Fortunately, our baby did not have any latching on problems, and she was willing to nurse, something I really wanted to do for her.  The nurses then took her to do some physical checks and foot prints, etc.  I will never forget meeting her for the first time.  Coincidently, she was even born on my Mom’s birthday as well, and she arrived, full term, five days early from her due date, July 18!  We were then transferred a few hours later to the postpartum unit of the hospital where we all stayed for two nights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following day, our fur girl, Victory, came to the hospital and met the baby and I got to hug and hold our fur girl, who I missed dearly.  (The hospital was kind enough to permit Victory to come after requesting her presence in advance).  It was a treat to have our whole little family together!  Friends also came to visit that evening to meet our baby girl!

 

 

 

On the early evening of July 15, Doug and I went home with our baby.  Truthfully, we were both scared of being on our own with her.  We appreciated all of the nurses’ help along with the lactation consultants’ help as well.  I was fortunate to have an excellent doctor and very kind nurses during my labor and delivery stay at the hospital.  Upon arriving home, it was also very helpful to have our Moms here to help us for several weeks as well.

 

 

 

Doug and I are currently finding our rhythm with Alex.  Each week gets a little easier.  We enjoy our evening walks together with Alex and Victory; and Alex loves her Bugaboo Fox and her Ergo with the infant insert!  Presently, each day is different and we are cherishing our time with her and Victory; the days are moving at lightening speed.  It is hard to believe she is already five weeks old!  She is growing like a weed and we are trying to savor and capture these days with her, which I try to document visually and in her Promptly Journal, which I love, as an alternative to a traditional baby book.  Most of all, we love getting to be Alex’s parents.  Somedays, I cannot believe I get to be Alex’s mama!  We are so very grateful for our little family!  Thank you so much for reading our birth story and I hope to share more soon about our first month as a family of four!

 

Gone Fishing …

 

We are going to meet our baby girl very soon and, as a result, I am taking a maternity leave from the blog.  As this is our first child, and this is a whole new experience for us, I am not sure exactly when I will return to the blog, but I will at some point, when it feels like the right time to return.  We will be spending time with our little family and relishing this special time together.  During this time, however, I do hope to share updates, periodically, so feel free to check back here every so often, if you wish.  I also wanted to thank you so much, as always, for being here, whether you just stopped by or are a regular reader.

Meanwhile, if you are in a blog-reading mood, you are warmly invited to visit the archives shown below.

Dog Related posts

Dog Rescue posts

‘Dog-Centric’ Artists Interviews

For Artists posts

Photography posts

Personal posts

Victory Related posts

Tips for planning and vacationing with your furry family member

Happy Summer!  I hope that you are having a relaxing summer!

Preparing Victory for her Little Sister

 

Now that we are literally in the home stretch of our pregnancy, with a few weeks to go, we have been doing our best to prepare our beloved little Victory for her little sister’s arrival along with the great, positive change that will impact all of us.

If you are expecting, and want to create and foster a happy and healthy environment for your new baby, your family, and your furry family member, here are some thoughts and ideas, outlined below.

 

MAINTAIN DAILY WALKS AND OUTINGS WITH YOUR DOG

The number one thing you can do to keep your dog happy, healthy, and calm during the arrival of your new baby are maintaining daily walks.

-It is a good idea to vary the times of walks together because a baby’s schedule is unpredictable to help prevent your dog from expecting walks at certain times of the day.

-If possible, vary who walks your dog so when you are occupied someone else can step in and help with dog walks, when necessary.  (Victory is not always amenable to this!)

-Most importantly, when you are able to go for walks with the baby, be sure to include your dog on these walks in order to help make him/her feel included, too.

-Victory is accustomed to going on outings with us.  It is our sincere plan to continue this practice, after the baby arrives, so she remains included.  It will, however, take a little more creative planning on our part!

 

PREPARE YOUR DOG FOR THE BABY’S ARRIVAL

With a new baby, your dog is going to be bombarded with many new smells, sounds, and experiences.  By introducing these to your dog in a gradual way, you can help prevent an invasion on his/her senses when the baby first comes home.

-Let your dog get accustomed to the sounds a new baby will make.  This will be new for everyone to get accustomed to, including your dog.

-Let your dog sniff some of the baby’s items first.  When you are in the hospital, it is a good idea to send a blanket home with the baby’s scent on it.  This allows your dog to get used to the new smell.  In our case, we plan to do this along with bringing Victory to the hospital, post delivery, which we received special permission from the hospital, to meet her little sister to help her prepare and to ensure Victory is included as part of this special experience.

-Let your dog get accustomed to the new baby gear on his/her terms.  We have actually put Victory in the baby’s crib and buggy, pictured above.  (Victory has also sniffed out the baby’s infant car seat as well, but she is a little too big to fit into the  infant car seat in order to get a photo of her!)  We believe she knows change is upon us.  I am sure she can feel my growing belly when I pick her up and hold her along with the physical changes that have occurred in our home.  We have also tried to bring her into the baby’s nursery to get her accustomed to things.  Recently, she has gone into the nursery on her own, to check things out, which has been great!  We have decided to let Victory decide when she wants to come into the nursery.  We know, in time, that she will get curious and want to come into the nursery on her own more frequently.  This is what happened when we first brought her home after rescuing her; she was very cautious of exploring the house and eventually came to exploring and feeling comfortable in our home in her own time.

-Keep in mind that no dog is the same.  Talk to others, to gain insight, who have had experience with bringing their baby home to their dog.  Our pediatrician shared with us recently that Victory will likely soon view the baby as part of her pack and she will view the baby as something to protect, similar to a puppy of her own.  The pediatrician also said that dogs are very good about understanding family dynamics and structure.  We shall see!

 

CREATE A TRANQUIL SPACE AT HOME

By promoting a safe and calm space within the home, you will ensure not only your dog remains happy and healthy, but the whole family does as well.

-Provide a safe, warm space for your dog to curl up in away from the baby.  Victory has several spaces in the house that are exclusively hers, including her ‘hut!’

-Be calm with your dog, even under stress.  Having a new baby is a big change and stress inducing, at times.  Dogs, especially our little Victory, are highly attuned to our actions, demeanor, and voice.  If we get stressed, Victory feels the stress ten fold.  She is extremely aware of her environment.

 

CREATE A PLAN FOR YOUR DOG DURING THE BIRTH

The birth of one’s baby is unpredictable, in most cases, baring a scheduled cesarean or induction.  However, the last thing you want to do is rush off to the hospital/birthing center without a plan for your dog.

-Prior to your birth/due date, decide who will care for our dog while you are in the hospital.  It is important for this person to know how to care for your dog, as each dog is different.  Make sure you include instructions and emergency contact numbers, including the number for your vet and emergency vet.  We have a few friends lined up to help us take care of Victory during this time to ensure that we have someone to care for her during the labor and delivery time.

-There will be a lot going on during this time and it is not the time to have a stranger help you with your dog.  Make sure the person who is caring for your dog is someone the dog knows and is familiar with.  Make sure your dog is comfortable on walks and feedings with this particular care provider.

-When returning home, make sure you have focus on your dog as well.  This will be a big change and your dog needs to be and feel reassured and included.  (Our Bradley teacher informed us that our dog is very similar an older human sibling, and to be mindful about how this change will impact her [Victory], similar to an older human sibling.)

 

PLAN FOR ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH YOUR DOG

For many dogs, they came first.  Many were on the scene long before any children came along.

-While your time is now more limited with a new baby, it is vitally important to carve out alone time with your dog on a regular basis to keep the bond strong.

-Spend quality one-on-one time with your dog every day.  This is not only for their benefit, but yours too.  Time spent together will recharge you both, promoting a happy healthy family for everyone.

-Importantly, if you have special rituals with your dog, keep those in place.  For us, Victory loves ‘night-night!’  She loves to jump into bed and play with us and have her belly and head massaged by us.  It is also a soothing and a fun routine for us, too!  We plan to keep Victory’s routine the same as it is now as much as we can.  We believe, at some point, we will fall into a grove, even our little Victory will as well!

-Most of all, be present and continue to love your furry family member, like always!  Victory has been a great part of our journey into parenthood and I (we) am not sure what I would do without her!  She has been along my (our) side every step of the way, and she will continue to be there with us during this new chapter in our lives!

Around Here: June

Happy June!  The official start of summer is right around the corner, which is difficult to believe!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in June, another month that is flying by much too quickly!

-after many months of consistent and steady work, I finally finished the final revisions for my long-term photography project, which I have been working on in total for over five years now.  Going into this project I never realized how much work it really was actually going to be; however, it is immensely gratifying conceptualizing an idea and bringing it to fruition.  I am now moving onto completing the next steps in this project.

-we have had a little bit of a breather this month as our calendar has not been as hectic, as in previous months, so we have had time to catch up with friends and go to our pool, which has been really nice!  We are trying to get as much rest as we can during this time.

-we celebrated Doug’s first Father’s Day together!

-we saw U2 this past weekend and it was a really good concert!

-we are finishing up our parent, baby, and birth classes this weekend!

-I am now feeling quite big, as we have only approximately four weeks or so remaining until we get to meet our baby girl!  It seems surreal some days!

-we are pretty much ready, as ready as one can be, for our baby to arrive!  Her tiny little clothes that we will need over the next several months, blankets, and bath time related items have all been washed; her car seat and seat bases are installed, thanks to Doug; we ordered the last remaining items that we need; and we started to pack our hospital bags.

-this month I shared images from our Babymoon!  We all had a great time together with many wonderful memories with our fur girl, Victory!

-began working on our Promptly Journal for our baby, which beings from pregnancy through eighteen years!

-I finished the first drafts of our two photos books via Artifact Uprising: one celebrating and memorializing our journey to parenthood and the other commemorating our Babymoon!

-we have been giving Victory lots of snuggles and love!  We have been enjoying evening walks together in her Hound About!  She even went into the nursery on her own last week!

-Victory is recovered from her recent UTI, thankfully, as we were at the vet recently for a recheck!

-Victory got her paws trimmed and a bath this past weekend and she looks, feels, and smells great!

-still using the 1 Second Everyday App to document a second each day — it will be interesting to see the finished video at the end of the year!

-continuing to work on getting fine art prints made, framed, and hung in our home, an ongoing endeavor!

-continuing to watch the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale, a really good series.

-started Sweetbitter, a good series.

-finished reading Sophie Tales, a good read, given to me by a fellow blog reader!

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially, at the gym and on walks!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list!

Happy Monday!

 

 

 

Our Baby Shower

In May, over Mother’s Day weekend, my good friends from law school, Taehee and Hilma, offered to host and give Doug and I a lovely baby shower!  My friends were very gracious for giving us a baby shower and they took care of every little detail!  The decorations, cake, food, and favors were all splendid!  They also coordinated some fun games and prizes that we played during the shower as well!  A good time was had by all!

Even our little Victory came to the shower and my friends were so thoughtful — they know how much Victory means to us, she is part of our little family, and her initial, “T,” for “Tory,” her nickname, was also included on our beautiful shower cake!   Most of all, we were really grateful to be surrounded by good friends and family to celebrate this really special time in our lives, celebrating our little miracle!  In addition to the many wonderful and thoughtful shower gifts, we have also received many lovely gifts from colleagues, friends, and family that have been added to our baby’s nursery!  We are very grateful.  A few images from our shower are shown below!

Additionally, Doug was so thoughtful and gave me the sweetest Mother’s Day card and necklace for my first Mother’s Day!

Further, I have not shared too many details about our pregnancy here, so I have highlighted a few thoughts below.

-Our pregnancy has been smooth overall, and I cannot complain, as we are elated to have a healthy baby.  I did not experience any nausea or morning sickness, thankfully.  However, during the later part of the second trimester into the third trimester, I have experienced a lot of heartburn resulting in vomiting, which has been uncomfortable, at times.  The doctor prescribed some medicine, which helps.  My ankles and feet have also been really swollen since the later part of the second trimester into the third trimester.  (My Crocs are the only shoes that fit comfortably right now as my feet are so swollen.)  I also get more out of breath while exercising than what I am normally accustomed to; and my bladder feels full really quickly, which are all typical.  Things have moved at a little slower pace lately due to the baby really growing during this period.  Otherwise, I feel pretty good.

-I have been sleeping pretty well, most nights, with the help of extra pillows for support.  I have had some vivid and surreal dreams while pregnant.  Victory is still sleeping with us (above our heads against the headboard, where she likes it) and I think she knows change is coming from feeling my expanding belly when I hold her.  We plan to change a little as possible with regards to Victory when the baby arrives.  Victory actually explored the nursery on her own this week, so hopefully this is a good sign that she is curious!

-I have read some baby books, but I have not gone overboard.  We have taken many classes to help us prepare, with one more class remaining this month; however, I do not think one really knows until they are experiencing it, in the thick of it.  I am sure we will have lots of learning ahead of us!

-It is a truly a wonderful and incredible feeling to feel our baby moving.  She is pretty active these days and, fortunately, she does not keep me up at night, which is an added bonus!

-Doug has been really great; he has been really supportive; we attend all of the parent, baby, and birth classes together along with Doug going with me to all of our ultrasound appointments.  Doug also helped me with pediatrician, nanny, and school interviews as well.  We have had quite a few ultrasounds in which we have had the opportunity to see our baby quite a bit, even in 4D, with several more ultrasounds to go!  (We have seen a glimpse of our baby’s face and little body — the ultrasound technology is pretty amazing!)  Doug has also helped me prepare everything for the baby.  I could not have done it without him!

-Most of all, we are excited and grateful to meet our little girl and we hope for a smooth and uneventful delivery and recovery!  (We are very thankful to have wonderful doctors and care during this time.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographs: Charleston, South Carolina, Folly Beach Babymoon

We went to Charleston recently for our Babymoon, and I finally had time to finish culling and editing the images from our Babymoon, our fifth vacation with our sweet fur girl, Victory!  (The time goes by much too quickly!)  You can view a snapshot of our vacation here.  (You can also view our vacation last year with Victory to Charleston here; you can view our vacation two years to Lake Michigan here; you can view our vacation from three years ago with Victory to Quebec City here; and you can view our vacation four years ago with Victory to Montreal, Quebec here.)

We rented a house in Charleston, close to Folly Beach while still being not too far from downtown Charleston; we actually rented the same house that we rented last year.  We were really fortunate in that we had nice weather while we were in Charleston and the temperatures were not too hot as well, an added bonus!  We all loved the beach.  We spent a lot of time resting and relaxing there.  We went to downtown Charleston a few times and again enjoyed the quaint shops along with Jeni’s ice cream!  We also went to the  Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, which was beautiful!  We greatly enjoyed slow and relaxing days compared to our norm.  We took nice long walks in the morning and spent the days at the beach reading and relaxing, followed by nice dinners with our fur girl at local restaurants, (Firery Ron’s/Home Team BBQ being one of our favorite restaurants, which also welcomes furry family members) and then we took long walks on the beach watched the sun set in the evenings with our fur girl, Victory!  (Victory got much needed rest after her dinner and beach excursions, as evidenced below!)  Victory loved the beach.  She loves walking on the beach and dipping her little white paws and legs in the water!

Most of all, we are grateful for our time away together.  We enjoyed spending time together; getting away; having a change of scenery; and having days where we had no plans and were able to take each day as it came.  Even after a really long drive home, due to horrific traffic, Victory, of course, spotted her exit to her house, and she loved coming home, like always!  We are really grateful and thankful for this special time in our lives.

Below are a few images from our recent Babymoon; and here is a short iPhone video of Doug and Victory!

Happy Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around Here: May

Happy May!  The weather has warmed up here and it has been nice to get outside and enjoy the sunshine!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in May, another month that has flown by much too quickly!

-continuing to work on the next steps concerning my long-term photography project; I am making good progress with the revisions in this home stretch, and hopefully all remaining revisions will be made by the end of next month, fingers crossed.  I have been working so hard to finish these tedious revisions before our baby arrives.

-earlier this month, my good friends from law school gave Doug and I a baby shower, which was really lovely commemorating this special time in our lives!  A good time was had by all!

-we took our last trip to Pups in the Park with our fur girl, Victory, as a ‘party of three!’  We had a great time together, as always!

-we were happy to go to our pool for the first time this year, which opened over Memorial Day weekend!

-we also enjoyed seeing friends over Memorial Day weekend!

-continuing this month with our parent, baby, and birth classes that go through next month — we have only a few more classes to go!  And, if all goes as planned, the hospital is permitting our fur girl, Victory, to come to the hospital, post delivery, to meet her little sister!  We are so happy to include our precious Victory, our fur girl, in order to have our entire family together during this time!

-I am now feeling quite big, as we have only approximately seven weeks remaining until we get to meet our baby girl!

-we have a few last items to get for our baby that we will take care of in short order; otherwise, we think that we are in pretty good shape to start!

-I am almost done editing our images from our Babymoon!  We all had a great time together with many wonderful memories!

-I am now working on finishing two photos books via Artifact Uprising: one celebrating and memorializing our journey to parenthood and the other commemorating our Babymoon!

-around the house, we completed our gardening and mulching!

-we also got our decks cleaned and our deck furniture set out, which we have been using!

-we got our rugs cleaned; and our house windows get cleaned next month!

-we have been giving Victory lots of snuggles and love!  We are doing our best to get her ‘ready’ for her little sister’s arrival.

-Victory, unfortunately, had a recent UTI diagnosed last week and she is now on the mend with antibiotics, thankfully.  (She has a history of these pesky infections, unfortunately.)

-Victory tried out her soon-to-be little sister’s Bugaboo Fox buggy/stroller, pictured below!  (Victory also tried out her little sister’s crib when we were first getting her nursery together!)  Doug picked out the color scheme for our Bugaboo Fox and we got the last one in stock; and once our baby is old enough, the bassinet will be swapped out for a traditional type stroller seat in the blue mélange color that also attaches to the Bugaboo Runner!

-since the weather has been nice, we have enjoyed taking Victory for rides in her Hound About!  She loves getting fresh air and going for long rides, while I walk, albeit a little slower these days!  We are also keeping up with going to the gym together.

-still using the 1 Second Everyday App to document a second each day — it will be interesting to see the finished video at the end of the year!

-continuing to work on getting fine art prints made, framed, and hung in our home, an ongoing endeavor!

-continuing to watch the final season of The Americans, a really good series — the last episode of the series airs this week, which is difficult to believe.

-continuing to watch the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale, a really good series.

-started the second season of the The Path, a good series.

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially, at the gym and on walks!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list!

Happy Tuesday!