April 03, 2014

Back to work

This was Elmer on my first day back to work after maternity leave:

This was Arthur this morning, my first day back to work:

You can sure tell they're related!

I've 2 posts to write: Arthur is 12 weeks old, and this year's annual Utah trek, but I'm too tired today to do more than this. So stay tuned!

March 17, 2014

Arthur's 2 months old!

Actually, 9.5 weeks, but I'm a little late with this post as usual. Arthur had his 2 month appointment on March 7. He weighed 11 lbs 6 oz and was 23.3 inches tall. He also weathered his first barrage of vaccinations. He was not a happy camper for the rest of the day, but was back to his normal cheerful self the next day.
Arthur at 8 weeks! 6Mar14
Arthur has grown a lot the last few weeks! He's sleeping so much better at night already. Last night, he only woke up once! He went to bed at 7:00, woke up for a feeding at 2:00, and then woke up at 5:50 AM. I'll take more nights like this, please! He's been sleeping in the crib in Elmer's room (though I guess it's now their room) for a little over 2 weeks, and that has worked pretty well for all of us. Elmer doesn't wake up during our night time feedings, and Chris and I sleep a lot better without having a baby in our room.

Arthur has started conforming his daytime naps to our schedule as well - he takes morning and afternoon naps about the same time Elmer does, but is still working in a short nap in between them. Now we just put both boys down for bed at 7 and that seems to be working out best for all of us.
Practicing the art of Car Seat Zen! 12Mar14
When he's awake, he's a joy! He loves smiling at everyone and likes nothing better than being in the center of all the action. He loves playing on his mat and doing tummy time with Elmer. He likes joining in Elmer's storytime, and especially likes the books with baby faces to look at.

His neck is getting really strong, and he rolled over twice from his belly to back a couple of weeks ago! He hasn't done it since, but he knows he can do it!
Showing, so strong!
He and Elmer still get along really well - Elmer is such a helpful big brother! He helps give Arthur a bath in the evening and hands me dry diapers during changes. He'll run for Arthur's pacifier whenever he cries, or say "Mama hold Arthur" or "Arthur milk." He's working on being quiet when Arthur is sleeping, and he seems to enjoy seeing Arthur in his crib in the morning. We're so blessed to have two sweet boys!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

March 12, 2014

Elmer find it!

Yesterday morning, Elmer and I were reading some books before his morning quiet time. We had just finished Five Little Monkeys With Nothing To Do, and I told Elmer he could pick one more book to read. He took the book with him to his bookcase. "Monkeys up" he said, and carefully wedged it in with his other books. He looked at his books for a minute, considering.

"Be Yourself go?" he asked. I refrained from offering to help, since he started pulling out a few similarly colored books and putting them back.

"Is!" he announced happily, pulling the book off the shelf and bringing it back to me. "Elmer find it!"

February 19, 2014

Arthur's 6 weeks old!

I'd meant to write a one month post, but the last 2 weeks just passed me right by! Arthur is growing so fast, and my maternity leave is already half over!

Arthur has been a great baby from day one - he's pretty happy as long as he's being held, and he's generally a really good sleeper at night. The first couple of weeks were pretty smooth, and they've just been getting better. Sure, we have a rough night now and then, but most of the time he sleeps great. We're working on a 5:00 bed time right now, which means he's waking up between 8-10 PM, then sometime between midnight-2, and then usually between 4-5 AM. I can usually get him back to sleep pretty quickly at the early morning feeding so I can snatch a last little chunk of sleep before getting up at 6. Not bad for 6 weeks old!
Napping with Maggie

Arthur made one of his first public appearances at my brother's wedding when he was 9 days old! He was a real trooper for an afternoon wedding and slept most of the time in my wrap. He came out a bit for the dancing and some snuggle time with Gramma Maughan.
Gramma meeting Arthur

He's sleeping in the bassinet in our room, but we'll be transitioning him to the crib in Elmer's room in the next few weeks as his sleep schedule regulates a bit more. I've been taking him into Elmer's room to nurse at night so Elmer will get used to having me come in and out, so hopefully we'll have a smooth transition.
Afternoon naps are the best!

Elmer is a really great big brother! He is very concerned whenever Arthur gets upset, hates to listen to him cry, and runs for the pacifier to help soothe his brother - even though Arthur doesn't like the pacifier much. Elmer gives him lots of kisses, and likes to coach him during tummy time.
Elmer's teaching Arthur about tummy time. 1Feb14

Arthur currently takes just short naps during the day, but lots of them. In the first few weeks, he and I would take afternoon naps together in the bed, but he hasn't been so interested in that lately. Now his favorite nap is to just fall asleep in my arms in the rocking chair in the living room. Unfortunately, I usually have other things to do than sit in the chair for an hour or two, so he has to make do with the bassinet or the bouncy chair.
Congested, but still a cutie! 11Feb14

He weathered his first cold last week, but luckily was only totally miserable for a few days. Elmer had it first, and was pretty sick for a whole week.

Arthur at 1 month. 7Feb14

At one month, Arthur weighed 9 lbs 2 oz and was 22 inches tall! He likes to wiggle on his jungle mat, sit on my lap, and make faces at Father, Mama and Elmer. I finally caught a picture of his smile yesterday! He's such a cutie!
Finally managed to catch a smile! 19Feb14

February 06, 2014

4 weeks later

Not-pregnant is a wonderful state of being:

  • I can touch my toes, or pick things up off the ground
  • I can clean the kitchen without needing to sit down to rest afterwards
  • I can pick up my 2 year old - easily
  • No more heartburn
  • Beer!
  • No coffee restrictions!
  • I have more energy than I've had in months!
  • There are comfortable positions to sleep again!
  • I can get up from the couch without a lever, or a helping hand
  • I can wear (almost) all the clothes!
  • I can run around and be silly with my son!
It's so nice to be myself again!

I've been doing the 7 minute workout  (iOS app) for the last 2 weeks, and it feels so nice to be able to move and exercise without a big belly in the way. Also, I love that I can squeeze in this workout between newborn needs and toddler time - I'm hoping to work up to 2 or 3 repetitions of the circuit in the next few months. I'm looking forward to getting back to my pre-pregnancy, times two, level of fitness!

January 27, 2014

Elmer go?

We have a variation on peekaboo where Elmer hides his face behind something, and I ask "Where did Elmer go? I can't see him!" When he shows his face, I say "There he is!"

Now Elmer is starting play that himself- he'll hide behind something or hide his face and say "Elmer go?" and then pop out and say "is!"

January 22, 2014

Elmer's 2 years old!

Yesterday, we celebrated Elmer's second birthday! He had a fun day - he went to the library for story time and the bike shop with Grampa Perry, had a nice nap after lunch, played outside while being serenaded by the Tempe Guitar Trio (who were rehearsing in the back yard), and had a dinner of his favorite food: sushi! We sang Happy Birthday and had a cupcake. Daphne and Jenna, two of his favorite people, came by for Jenna's piano lesson, and he received lots of phone calls from family wishing him a happy birthday. It was a great day!
Blowing out the candles!

We gave him a wagon for his birthday present.
Figuring out how to drive

2 years is a fun age - Elmer understood that it was a special day, and was saying "happy birthday"-  which sounds like "appy firffay". We were also practicing answering the question "How old are you?" with "I'm 2."
Elmer at 23 months! 20Dec13

Over the past couple of months, Elmer's vocabulary has really grown. He's getting much better at pronunciation ("water" actually sounds like water now, instead of "wawa"), and at stringing words together for short sentences. He has a great memory when reading some of our favorite books; for example, he knows all the sounds in "Mr. Brown Can Moo - Can You?" He's also getting good at counting to 10, learning his alphabet, and the names of various body parts.
Merry Christmas!

Grammie and Grampa Perry gave him a jungle gym for Christmas. We call it the Perrydome. He really enjoys playing on that in the backyard. He's becoming quite adept at climbing and hanging from the bars.
Gotta be tight!

It's hard to believe that it was 2 years ago today that we brought him home from the hospital.

And one year ago, he still couldn't walk.

And now, he's such a big boy, and learning to be a great big brother! He's already so good with Arthur. He gives him kisses, likes to check in on him when he's sleeping, and gets very concerned when Arthur cries. He will tell me to give Arthur milk or to give him a pacifier to calm him down. Elmer's truly a sweet boy - we love our big, 2-year old son!
Big Brother Elmer!

January 20, 2014

Welcome Arthur Henry Perry!

It's been 12 days since Arthur was born, so I figure it's time to write up the story of his birth. We're all getting pretty settled in at home - it's a lot easier the second time around!

I should start by saying that I was very anxious to have Arthur - I was so uncomfortable the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I felt like a big hive queen with a swollen, pulsating abdomen. I know there was just one baby in there, but I was tired, awkward, and uncomfortable. It didn't help that I had a few bouts of false labor - one a couple of weeks before Arthur was born, and one a couple of days early. So when I did finally go into labor the night of January 7, I was afraid to get my hopes up. We called Chris's mom anyway to ask her to spend the night with us in case we needed to go to the hospital during the night. My contractions pretty much stopped once I went to bed, but started up again about 3 in the morning. Like with Elmer, they were pretty strong and steady, but very far apart all morning on Wednesday, January 8. I was constantly afraid they would stop altogether - I was SO ready to have this baby!

We all went to our church's Wednesday morning healing service, which helped get my mind off my contractions. I asked for a healing blessing in preparation for a smooth delivery, and that helped relieve me of my anxiety. I gave up control of the situation and just left it to God and nature - Arthur would come when he was ready.

On our way back home from church, my contractions got a lot closer together, so we decided to head to the hospital. By the time we arrived, about 1:30 PM, my contractions were about 3 minutes apart and pretty strong. For this pregnancy, I was seeing the midwives team at Valley Women for Women, and they had recommended that I deliver at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, since they have worked with the birth teams there pretty closely and encourage them to be supportive of more natural birth plans. I'm really happy I made this change - I had seen all the midwives at least once throughout my pregnancy, so I saw a familiar face in Laura when we got to the hospital. She was in the process of delivering another baby while I was in triage, but came in to check on my status shortly after we got there. I was 90% effaced, but dilated only 3 centimeters. Luckily, my blood pressure was normal. They didn't want to admit me until I was further along, so they let me and Chris go walk around for an hour to see what would happen. I was happy to do a little walking, and Chris and I enjoyed some laps around the maternity waiting room atrium. At the end of the hour, my contractions were a lot stronger and closer together. When Laura checked me again in triage, I was at 5 centimeters, so they went ahead and checked us in and moved us to a delivery room. By this time, it was about 4:00 PM.

I labored in there almost 2 hours before starting to feel ready to push. I had requested only intermittent fetal monitoring, so Laura used a doppler to check in on Arthur's heart rate every 30 minutes or so - everything was going great. I got to move around, try out different positions, and just focus on getting ready to have a baby. Laura and the nurse were very unobtrusive, checking in every now and then but generally just letting me labor away. Laura sat and watched me for quite a while - she had a very calming presence and offered some suggestions about different positions when I asked for advice. It was very peaceful to me.

I started feeling ready to push a little before 6, and unlike with Elmer, Laura just encouraged me to listen to my body and push when I wanted. She suggested that I kneel on the bed and hold on to the back of the bed (it was inclined up) for support when I wanted to push, and that was a birthing position that really worked for me. I could relax forward onto the bed in between contractions, and I felt like I could really push when I needed to. Chris stayed close, offering his encouragement and support, and near the end, he held my arms to give me a little more leverage for pushing. Finally, Arthur was born at 6:33 PM!
Welcome, Arthur!

They immediately helped me turn around and lie down and placed Arthur on my chest. He was all white and wrinkled and looked like a little troll! I just held him for quite a while, as they cleaned me up and the nurses got all the baby things ready to weigh, measure, and bathe him. As with Elmer, we had a short list of names to choose from - again, all family names. Chris wanted me to make the naming decision this time, so I decided on Arthur Henry. Arthur was the name of Chris's paternal grandfather, and Henry was my maternal grandfather. Arthur just seemed to fit him best.
Checking out Father

Chris cut the umbilical cord, and they took Arthur to measure his statistics while I went to the restroom. He was 7 pounds 3 ounces, and 20 inches tall, almost a pound and a half heavier than Elmer was! After I ate a quick meal, they moved us to our recovery room and we were left alone. Chris went home to sleep after 9:00 PM, and Arthur and I did our best to sleep in the hospital, which is not easy in my experience.
Hanging out at the hospital

I didn't need stitches, and Laura didn't recommend post-birth pitocin, so this time I didn't need an IV or any special care. We had let all the nurses know that we wanted to be released from the hospital as soon as possible, so most of Arthur's screenings, circumcision, and evaluations were done before noon. Chris, Elmer, Miriam and Wayne came to visit us in the morning, and then went home for lunch and naps.
First family picture

 Chris came back in the afternoon to wait for us to be released. The last thing to do was the newborn blood test, which they want to do 24 hours after birth, so we were waiting until 6:30...and then still waiting, and still waiting, until 8:00 we requested that someone please come and finally do this test. A nurse from the nursery finally came, and we were set free to go home at last!

Aside from the delay in being released, this was absolutely the best possible birth experience I could imagine. Everything went smoothly, the midwife and birth team were fantastic and supportive, and Arthur was as healthy as can be. I'm so thankful to have another wonderful son in our family!
Arthur's first morning!

November 18, 2013

My pregnancy FAQ's, round 2

Last time I was pregnant, I posted the most common questions I was asked. Having just attended a local conference with lots of people I know and being asked a lot of questions, I thought it'd be fun to do a new version for this go-round.

When are you due?
January 11, 2014. Give or take, of course.

I'm at 32 of 40 weeks right now, so looking pretty big. Some people seem surprised that I still have 8 weeks to go!

What are you having?
A baby! (I can't resist - it cracks me up how often I hear this exact question).

Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?
It's a surprise! (This is usually followed by stories and/or predictions about the gender based on how I'm carrying it/phase of the moon/dowsing with a stone/ or some other wive's tale about ways to tell gender other than an ultrasound).

Long answer - yes, we know. We're not sharing - it's a surprise for everyone but us. We had fun with that last time and it hasn't gotten old yet.

When will you start your maternity leave?
Since I'm due so soon after New Year's, I'm not going to push myself too hard after the holidays. I don't have a firm date, but I doubt I'll be going in to work much after January 3. My blood pressure spiked the week before Elmer was born and I learned my lesson - take it easy when you're at 38-39 weeks!

How are you feeling?
What I want to say: I feel big and tired - my back hurts, my hips hurt, my feet hurts. I'm not comfortable for more than 10 minutes in any position, and that includes trying to sleep. I have heartburn almost constantly, and I'm hungry every 2 hours at least. Sometimes I'm hungry AND have heartburn. Peanut kicks and squirms and stretches a lot - often at 5 AM when I want to sleep for just 30 more minutes. I get tired cleaning the kitchen. My belly gets in the way of just about any thing I try to do. I already miss riding my bike. I look forward to weekends when I can take a nap. I have a hard time asking for help when I need it because I hate having such strict limitations on what I can do, but I try to force myself to not only ask, but accept help when it's offered.

What I actually say: I feel great!

Which is the truth, because all of the above are perfectly normal signs of a perfectly healthy pregnancy, and I am so blessed and thankful that I do have such great health, and that Peanut is active and growing the way a baby should. All signs indicate a healthy baby! I can't complain about how I feel about being pregnant because I have it so good and I only have 8 more weeks. So suck it up, buttercup!

November 11, 2013

Elmer: 21.5 months old!

I've been meaning to write an Elmer update for the last 6 weeks at least, so I'm finally sitting down to do it! Elmer will be 22 months old later this month, and it's hard to believe that he'll have a little brother or sister before his 2nd birthday! So soon!

The last few months have been very eventful, both in our family and in Elmer's growth. He's rapidly developing his vocabulary and is getting so much better at communication. Of course, while he's getting good at repeating words, his pronunciation needs improvement, so it really helps if you know the context. It's fun to try to puzzle out what he means - he might say "wawa" while driving in the car, and it'll take a minute for me to understand that he is pointing out a fountain rather than talking about the contents of his sippy cup.

He's also starting to learn his colors and the names of animals and what some of them say. He does a great job barking and meowing (he sounds suspiciously like Charlie when he meows), and loves it when we cluck like a chicken.

The awesome train set at the AZ State Fair!

Elmer has developed an interest in cars, trucks, trains, airplanes and helicopters. He likes to read about trucks, he gets excited when he hears the ice cream trucks in our neighborhood, and he points out planes in the sky when he hears them. Chris took him to the Hall of Flame, a fire history museum, last month and he was in hog heaven! He loved climbing on the fire engines and getting close to so many big trucks!

Chris & Elmer visited the Hall of Flame today!

Fire trucks!

Elmer's favorite thing to do is read. He will happily sit with you for over an hour reading different books. He asks to read often, and we read a little when we get up in the morning, before naps, and before bed. He'll often take a book with him to bed for naps, and he'll lay on his pillow and look at his book until he falls asleep (if he falls asleep). He doesn't always take his morning nap, but he always feels better after a little quiet time in his room with a book even if he doesn't sleep.

Speaking of sleeping, in September we upgraded Elmer to a bunk bed. He had no problems transitioning from his crib to a big boy bed! We bought a toddler rail but decided to see if he needed it before putting it on, since the bed isn't very high. He fell out twice during the first week, but hasn't fallen out since, so no toddler rail! He loves that he can get in and out by himself and arrange all his animals, pillows and blankets the way he wants. He's also very helpful whenever we change the sheets.

Elmer's new bed! 14Sept13

For Halloween, Elmer dressed as a pirate! We went to a party at a friend's house the weekend before Halloween, and Elmer had a great time running around with the other kids and playing on the pinball machines.
Sparks' Spooktacular!
On Halloween, he and Chris came to visit me at work for a hot dog lunch. That night, we went trick or treating for the first time (to 3 houses) and spent the rest of the evening handing out candy. Elmer enjoyed wearing his costume (but often wanted to wear my witch's hat), and loved looking at all the other kids.
Elmer at the Halloween Hot Dog lunch!

I could write pages more about what he's doing now, but I'll keep this brief and try to post more often. Every day is a new discovery, and Elmer is growing into such a little boy!