Friday, December 24, 2010

Baking Baby

Christmas baking is literally a treat, most of the time. I like to cook and to bake so I am usually up for a challenge.This year I attempted to make truffles. Sigh. I started trying to make them 4 days ago, just to see how it would go. It did not go well. I had several recipes from my favorite Food Network stars and started out with the simplest. The center part of the truffle called from condensed milk and cocoa. That's it. It was suppose to stiffen up enough in the frig for a couple of hours and it never happened. I tossed it. Then I tried a more traditional center with white chocolate, a bit of vanilla and heavy cream. I put it in the frig to solidify and sure enough after an entire day, nothing. I checked my frig and it was fine. So I put it in the freezer...success! I molded the balls and put them on a cookie sheet back in the freezer. If this seems a bit  of a hassle so far you have no idea because the yummy hard chocolate outside what just as difficult to pull off. I melt chocolate on my gas stove and my centers got melty. I melted chocolate and as I put centers in the bucket they melted too. It was a juggling act. After 4 days of truffle making, I came out with about 20. I appreciate that classic I Love Lucy moment at the candy factory even more.

I also made holiday rice krispie treats, cookies, sugar free banana bread, sugar free brownies, mixed nuts chocolate bark, and a pumpkin cheesecake! It turns out that baking with an infant takes twice as long. A few tips, hide the timer in a drawer because when it goes off it will wake the napping baby. The drawer helps subdue the sound. Be sure to carve out a part of the kitchen even a counter for a baby station because she is going to want to hang out. And as all things baby are concerned, be flexible because as soon as that pie needs to be out of the oven is the very moment your baby has a pooplosion the size of Guatemala!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

No Biggie

Parents are prepared to do just about anything for their babies. Before you even sign up for the parental gig you assume the responsibility of changing diapers and cleaning spit up is part of the job description but the truth of parenthood is that it's much much more. You find yourself in situations that you just didn't think would come up, you could refer to the previous pooplosion entires but I am here to reveal that it does get a bit more convoluted and kinda gross than just the poo.

Last week as I took off Lydia's diaper to put her in the tub, she peed all over me. I didn't even flinch. It was as if I had been peed on millions of times. I couldn't walk away with her in the tub to get cleaned up for obvious reasons, so as she got clean while the pee drip all over me and onto the kitchen floor. Eh. No biggie.

I noticed that she had some excessive ear wax and if you know me well you may know the Floyd story. Poor Floyd was a classmate of mine when I was in elementary school. My 5th grade year I broke my leg in several places and was in a full leg cast for most of the year. Every morning my mom would drop me off with a wheelchair and Floyd would help her get me out of the car and into the chair. Every morning I would see poor Floyd's ear wax overflowing out of his ear. I mean the yellowness was seeping out. 23 years later, I have to clean my ears every day. If you can imagine, I can't allow my child to be Floyd and I can't stick a Q-tip in her little ear so when I see a little yellow coming out, I wipe it away with my finger. Often I have to wipe on whatever is my shirt or pants. Eh. No biggie.

As most babies...actually most humans Lydia produces boogers. That blue thing that sucks things out is rather frightening because you feel like you may suck their little brains right out even though you don't. In truth I can't seem to get it in there far enough to suck on the boogers I see without fear so I use my nails. It's harder than you may think to get a wiggly 3 month old to let you get their boogers so they won't be the kid with boogers. So I pick her nose for her. Eh. No biggie.

Of course there is the spit up down the cleavage. No biggie. I quickly leave aisles at Target because her farts are so awful that no ones believes it would be a cute baby making that stink so I avoid eye contact and take the heat of the stink. The whispers are heard, but no biggie. I have licked her binki when it has fallen in dirt and we didn't any other way to clean it. Little dirt never hurt anyone, no biggie.

At the end of the day, there is nothing that I wouldn't do for her and even the most passive of parents report being capable of tearing someone from limb to limb if necessary to protect or make their child's life better/safer. The smile from Lydia makes everything not that big of a deal.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Family Recap and Update

Lydia turned 3 months two days ago! Every parent in the planet has told me to treasure every second because time really flies.That is absolutely true. Every day is a whole new adventure of wonderful discoveries for our little girl. She laughs spontaneous and keeps attempting to crawl away. She holds her head up strongly and enjoys a good zerbert!

In the last couple of months, I have learned how to nurse just about any where with the help of the hooter hider. Lydia has learned to love the bath tub when it is completely filled and she can kick around her feet. Tights are a little girl's essential during cold months. On Santa's list is an exersaucer and a couple learning toys that make music that she can grow into. There are some socks that are slightly better than others but socks are easier once I realized her feet are bigger than those tiny things. She has successfully transitioned into her crib even if she sneaks into our bed around 5 AM , she falls asleep in her bed and stays there for almost 6-7 hours every night. It's really amazing! (Thank you all for all of your advice!) Lydia is aware of her toys and grabs at them! So we have daily play time.

It's certainly been eventful the last few months. We have visited family. Gone on several little trips all over the state including Leesburg, Gainesville, Ocala, Sarasota and Miami. We have learned to be a family on the go. We have weeded out her infant clothes and many of her 3-6 month ones and put in the 6 month wardrobe. We have learned to make small spaces work.

I have milk stored and ready to be unfrozen. A few weeks from now I will return to work and need to learn how to pump during the school day but more importantly cope with the separation. Luckily my folks will be taking care of her at our house and I have the best job ever. I am hoping the transition is as smooth as can be expected.

We have been asked to be the Holy Family for Christmas Eve service at church, so we are excited to make our theatrical debut as a family. Surely Lydia will meditatively lay in her manger in front of the congregation during communion.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ho! Ho! Toy Discrimination

Playing Santa is certainly a new fun twist to the holidays. Lydia will be about 3 1/2 months by Christmas and has already started her letter to Santa. Kidding of course, but we are trying to be sensible first time parents knowing that we can't buy everything on the planet for a baby that won't be quite able to play with things yet. Nevertheless, we have some things hidden in the closet (which should be a safe place since she can't even roll over yet.) We are looking at some toys that she can grow into, mostly those marked 6 months and up since no one around here is getting any younger, which leads me to discuss the plethora of catalogs that arrive at the house and are a real treat to look through. I have no idea how every toy making company on the planet has been notified of our precious little package arriving but they must have a summit with a pretty powerpoint of sucker new moms and dads. Let the record show that we have not purchased anything via catalog for our baby girl just yet mostly because some of the items are ridiculously expensive and she is a tiny baby and doesn't know how to grab things intentionally yet so it seems a bit premature. As I browsed I saw a culturally sensitive choice of dolls.

Now, I appreciate the concept that little children should have dolls that look like them. It is important for kids to be able to identify and then participate in imaginative play. But, if you notice these dolls are only diverse by name not by look, with the exception of the black baby there is virtually no difference in these baby dolls. Perhaps this catalog was progressive enough to have an agenda in mind thus attempting to claim there are no true differences among us; all people are the same at heart. For some reason, I am willing to guess that they are not that culturally evolved rather ignorant enough to the believe that dolls with the exact features with the slight change in color is enough to represent the richness of cultural identity. The only comforting is the "latino" baby looking at the camera saying, "Really?"

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I had a dream last night that I was driving in a sedan with Bkay, someone I don't remember and Lydia in the car. I was speeding frantically down the street, swerving, completely pulling a speed racer on crack. I went down a narrow road with an endless lane of parked white four door cars. I was going so fast that I hit a side mirror of a parked car. I wanted to keep going but Bkay saw that a state trooper saw me hit the car. So I immediately pulled into the median and the three of us ran towards a cathedral. While in the Gothic religious temple I was running through it as if I was trying to find something but it was designed like a labyrinth, I couldn't find a way out. Suddenly I came to a giant window and saw my car in the median and remembered that Lydia was in there. I sense of panic overwhelmed me and I started to sprint through the church. I was crawling under pews, hoping on the organ pipes and shimming by choir robes. I heard footsteps and was scared so I climbed into the ceiling was slithering on stain glass when I saw a friar that looked like he was from the Byzantine era. He was pacing and muttering something. As I got closer I could begin to hear him and in a far distance I could see the car and I didn't know what to do...the panic was suffocating. I couldn't get to Lydia. I couldn't get passed the friar. I couldn't move. Argh! I woke up.

I might be getting worked up about going back to work.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Florida Mom

A cold front has swept threw our tropical peninsula which means that we have to bundle up. As a natural born Floridian I do things like wear socks with sandals and tank-tops under sweaters. Part of the reason is that most places as soon as the temperature drops under 75 the heat gets kicked on so you never know when you need to wrap that sweater around your butt or slip off the socks to let your feet breathe.

As most hot or mild climate places during the supposed winter there is the art of light layers because most of us don't own massive coats that will provide the majority of the required warmth. My Florida born infant is in a similar situation. My mom who in 90 degree weather says to bundle her up was over yesterday and she suggested that I should put light tight layer close to Lydia's body. I agreed basic layering principle is start with something light but close to the skin, so I put on a light long sleeve onesie. Then I put on her cute long sleeve onesie from Gap that looks like her shirt is untucked but still is a body suit. In between those I put on tights because I didn't want them to slide off, some jeans, shoes and a sweater. My little bundle of joy was bundled up alright, so much that she couldn't really move. Her arms were doing that number like kids in movies from Michigan (insert any other cold state here) where they can't put there arms down. They just run with their arms sticking straight out.

Well, I tried to put Lydia in her carseat but poor thing couldn't bend the right way and started crying. I went through the list ...Hungry? No. Wet? No. Sleepy? No. What could possibly be wrong I wondered!? I picked her up and took her into my room and laid her on the bed. I started peeling off the layers until she was smiling and wiggling around. I might have over done it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Should I wake her?

Lydia has officially slept 6 hours for the first time. Sadly, sleep comes in a trade system, the more she sleeps the less I do. I have checked on her twice in the last half hour. Once she was wiggling; I returned to my room and wondered what to do so I woke up Eliot whose suggestion was to let her sleep. Good idea so I went in one more time and put my hand on her belly; I watched it rise, turned around and went back to my bed where
now I lie pondering the meaning of life aka blogging instead of going back over there. Wait...I think I hear her!

Pre-sleeping soundly with daddy. 
 post script
She did stir up to nurse for about 15 minutes and went back to sleep.  I think she might have woken up for me.
 --Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Crib Cribbinny Cribbinny Crib Crib Crib

We returned from our trip to Miami and felt it was good time to get Lydia to sleep in her crib since we were out of our normal routine. I am proud to report that it has been going beautifully, well for the most part. The first night in the crib she ate then was put down sleepy. She kept losing her binki so we kept going in there to give it back to her. She eventually fell asleep so soundly that I woke up 4 hours later and leaped out of bed because she was so quiet. I peered over the side of the crib and watched her. She was so I did what any other insane parent does at 4am, I poked her. Still nothing. I pushed her a little nothing. Finally, I pulled her arm a bit and she startled. I sighed with relief and as I turned to stealthy leave the room when Lydia screamed bloody murder! I whipped around and picked her up. We were together for the rest of the evening.

The next night we do a similar tango. She goes to bed and the binki loss irritates her but instead of falling asleep soundly she wakes every two hours. So the baby troubleshooting begins. I rocker her in the glider. I nurse her. I activate toys that have gentle sleeping music. Eventually we kick Eliot out of bed a bit early to go to work and take over the bed. Both of us fall asleep quickly.

There are a few scenes that are simultaneously funny and heart breaking. Since she is only 2 1/2 months old she hasn't quite gotten a hold of those opposable thumbs yet. Like when she loses her binki and it falls right on her chest just close enough where she can feel it on her lips but still too far for her to get back in. But it is not without the effort of trying. When we walk in there she looks like one of the plastic fish games that are all opening their mouths trying to get the rod in their mouths. When we give her the binki she takes it back with indignation and veracity.

The last few nights have been better.  Two nights ago she sleep a very solid 5 hours. Last night She slept a solid 4 hours, nursed and went back to sleep in her crib for another 3. She still takes a bit to fall asleep unlike her father whose head simply touches the pillow and he is out. I pace from room to room occasionally concerned that I will create a permanent pathway in the hardwood that will require us to refinish them before we are ready. When the monitor is silent for a bit, I still can't just drift off to sleep, I need to go and see her to be sure that she is asleep and not trapped under something heavy. I peel myself off the bed and tiptoe into her room ignoring the creaking sounds from the wood, secretly hoping that she too is ignoring them and peer over the side of the crib and watch intently for several seconds. Sometimes I still poke her, other times I don't and yet there are moments where I seriously consider getting a mirror to put by her nose to see if there is a fog mark.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gaurkee Dinner Treats

Eliot and I were in a cooking mood tonight. We recently bought a grill so we have been adventurous plus Publix had a sale on steak and there you have it. I put together a Mediterranean rub which was super tasty along with Eliot's skillful cooking skills turn out well. He also tossed the asparagus on the grill. We had a light spinach and tomato salad. My tasty homemade mac and cheese on the side.

For a later dessert I chopped up Graham cracker in my magic bullet and made pumpkin spice pudding. A simple layering created a tasty treat! A warm cappuccino finishes off the meal.

Where was Lydia during this cooking extravaganza? Napping! Though she woke up crying as if we had abandoned her in a foreign country. She snapped out of it quickly upon her rescue and giggled after her own dinner.

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my iPhone

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Funny Shaped

I was very intentional about not gaining a lot of weight during pregnancy because of my family history of diabetes and still I danced that gestational diabetes line the entire third trimester. Lucky, I maintained my weight gain and things went well. I was also blessed enough to lose all my baby weight except a pound or two by my postpartum follow up. The thing is that even though I am the same weight I was previously or perhaps even less, I haven't checked, my regular clothes don't fit well. My maternity clothes are way too big and my everyday clothes are just weird. Per the usual life of a woman some items regardless of size fit fine, thus medium by certain makers are not a problem where extra larges by another won't shimmy over my money maker.

The Lord bestowed upon me the gift of an ample bosom since puberty set in some where in the eighties, but the milkers are now just a tad larger due to their new responsibilities of keeping my daughter well feed. Oddly they are just a size up from what they were before but somehow that slight change means my tops are just a little too tight. My belly hasn't quite tucked in to show my once noticeable waistline, but no worries my ankles seem to be the same size they have always been. Thank goodness.

The idea that your body will never be the same again is definitely true, but I wasn't really ready to be funny shaped. To boot the hormone influx has caused me more acne than normal which really started showing up in my thirties because in high school I had a pretty good complexion. Today instead of feeling like a mature well educated professional that choose to wait to be "ready" to have kids, I feel like a pubescent teen whose body has made seemingly radical changes overnight that needs to invest in Proactiv. Heck if it's good enough for Brooke Sheilds...

Monday, November 15, 2010

To Crib or not to Crib

Lydia turns 2 months tomorrow! All those mothers out there that have been telling me how fast time goes you aren't kidding and in hopes of avoiding an existential breakdown I will get to the topic at hand. The pediatrician informed us that she is very healthy on Friday. She weighs 10 pounds and 11 ounces, she is 23 inches long and 15 inches is the circumference of her darling little head. She is developmentally right on with smiles, oohs and aahs and the 90 degree angle she can hold her head. The doctor then asked us if she was sleeping in her crib yet to which we had to admit that she was not. Lydia still sleeps in her bassinet next to our bed (which I told the doctor) for a chunk of the night and the rest in our bed cuddled up next to me (which I did not tell the doctor) after her tiny middle of the night feeding. She recommended we begin crib sleeping.

That day we came home, had dinner, watched a little TV and rationally discussed Lydia sleeping in her bedroom. Then my eye balls started squirting out water as if I was trying to water the rose bushes outside. I was barely able to utter out the words "I'm not ready." Eliot just smiled at me and said okay. Then I put away some laundry and did some other slightly time consuming things as I gathered my sensibilities. I put Lydia in her crib and thought to myself that if she falls asleep in there we would give it a try. Her heavy looking eyes closed gently and five minutes later she cried out. By cried out I mean she made a soft "eh" noise and when I rushed to her side I saw that her eyes were open. I immediately grabbed her from her crib stomped towards Eliot and told him with tears in my eyes again, "See she isn't ready either!" He looked at me again and smiled.

Later I explained to him that I have been sleeping with her for about a year now.It was going to be quite a change for me. She would be so far away in her room and by far way I mean 5 feet (and we do own a baby monitor.) We brainstormed various sleeping options for us in her room to facilitate the transition. We have yet to gather those twigs to put together the nest for this mama and papa birds, but in the meantime, Lydia stays with us. Hooray!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bathtime Bummer

It is decided Lydia does not like bath time. Initially we would mover her bath tub to the kitchen counter because we don't have the space in the bathroom to have her at a reachable comfortable adult waist level.We would move the toaster oven every time and be hyper cautious of the cabinets and her head. She wasn't happy. Perhaps it was colder in the kitchen so we moved into the bathroom. It was uncomfortable for us but we were willing to take the hit if she was happier. Nope. The drip drip drip of the washcloths and the scoops of water weren't enough to maintain a suitable level of contentment.

She is a really happy baby. She has been spontaneously laughing on her own for weeks which at first I figured it was my hilariousness that was entertaining her so, but then I realized it was the animals on her swing or the birds hanging over her changing table. She loves those darn birds. Regardless, the switch to the bathroom did not provide an different result, thus we returned to the kitchen to discover that her bathtub fits into our sink. This means an easier set up for us and she gets constant water flow, which she does like. It's like her personal shower. But overall, she still isn't too thrilled with bathtime which leads only to the unthinkable.

Yes, it is beyond anyone's dreams particularly if you know us and you know our talents do not lie in this area but parents will do just about anything for their children. Sigh. We start the singing and dancing around while we double team the cleaning process because we don't want to prolong her angst. We have busted out the ducky pig and it received inadequate reviews. Eliot and I are doing no justice to music or theater or musical theater but she will surely develop an appreciation for slapstick comedy.

Lydia just isn't really content again until she is warmly wrapped in a hoody towel and returned to her room to be dressed. As you see in the photo, she clearly is reflecting on the importance of this human ritual. And fearful that we will continue to sing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend: Camp, Grandpa, God

On Saturday, we went to Camp. Camp is not only the place where I learned how to be a leader but it was the place that connected me to God in a way that no other place has ever matched. It was the place that lead me down the road to become a religion teacher. It was so wonderful to share this place with Eliot and Lydia. I hope that someday she will grow up and go to camp. And maybe just maybe become a summer camp counselor someday (which I think is the secret hope of most ex-camp counselors.) Shortly upon arrival, Lydia poop all over herself, though I assume this is not an indication of her feelings towards camp. November is a perfect weekend for Leesburg. The sun was out but the air was crisp, perfect for a detailed campus tour. It was a short visit but no matter how short camp always seems to restore the soul.

After camp, we went to eat dinner with Eliot's grandpa and his lady friend, Evelyn. They are absolutely adorable. My nervousness of having to breastfeed in public vanished with the encouraging words of Evelyn mother of five with the youngest being 44 years old. When we arrived I tried to wake Lydia up from a sound sleep to nurse her before we went to dinner. There was no waking her. I shared with Evelyn that I was a little nervous about having to nurse in public. She was immediately encouraging saying that people would just have to understand that I was a mother feeding her baby and that was perfectly normal. We arrived at the tiny cramped but delicious Italian restaurant and minutes after the salad Lydia stirred. The quarters were so cramped I opted to feed her in the car which went fine. Perhaps ending up in the jeep seems as if I didn't quite conquer my fear, I did! The words of an 81 year old woman were so accepting and profound that it made everything better. I feel like I could breastfeed in the street; I suppose I did! (We have pictures of them with Lydia which are super cute, but I have to download them from my camera.)

Eliot and I seem to manage going to church about once a month. He works two weekends a month and I am still in the process of figuring out how to get out the door with a baby in a timely manner. As I sat in church yesterday I wondered, why do we pray with our eyes  closed? I imagine it has to do with reverence. We are humbled by the divine therefore we physically bow our heads and close our eyes but doesn't the type of relationship we hope to have with God call us to keep our eyes open?  Isn't it the type of relationship in which we faithfully and truthfully connect as we would with a good friend? With a good friend you look her in the eye and are truthful about the skirt that looks bad or the stupid decision they just made, you don't avoid eye contact. "Keeping your eyes open" means keeping yourself aware, ready, prepared, in this case, for God. I want Lydia to keep her eyes open. To know God. This clearly is a long term goal since she peacefully slept the entire service.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


This past week Lydia went two days without going um..., well poop. I looked in my trusty baby rearing books and it turns out that particularly breastfeed babies will go several days some even a week without going number two. Breast milk is the ultimate superfood so every single drop of pure goodness is used for growing and no waste is produced. After reading I still said to Eliot, I think I will call the doctor in the morning just to touch base anyway. Early the next morning the monstrous roaring of intestines vibrated the room. Noises came from our precious little package signaling the arrival of a foul package. I transported Lydia quickly to her changing table and I began to peel away the layers like an onion, just less tasty. Blanket poop. Pajama poop. Sock poop. Oh and the unveiling of the diaper: another poopspectaular!

My mom keeps asking me if this is normal for such a large amount of poop to come from such a tiny baby and I keep telling her yes, but I am starting to wonder myself. There was so much poop on her, it was easier to just stick her in the bathroom sink and unstinky her. All the while she is screaming bloody murder and I am patiently wiping as much as I can before we head to the sink. As I moved her she evidently wasn't quite finished. A spearlike quirt of the yellow seedy mess sensation projected across the room. I tell you, it could've poked my eye out, luckily I was closer to her head.

She really did not want me to call the doctor.

Monday, November 1, 2010

2 Blogs in 1

Post Partum Check...Check!
Went to the midwife on Friday (Oct. 29) for my postpartum 6 week appointment and all is good. My midwife is amazing and I had actually missed seeing her. We chatted for a bit and caught up. I am almost completely back to my pre-pregnancy weight which is great. Now if I could just go back to my pre-thirties weight or pre-graduate school weight or pre-college weight...ahh aging. My parents and I have been consistently going to the park to walk which has been lovely. I think I need to pick up the pace or at least add another lap to make it worth my wild. It would be nice to make it to yoga but not sure how and as I consider what life will be like when I return to work, I am not sure how folks juggle work, marriage, home and baby. I have an increased respect for single moms.

At this point Eliot and I do everything together including bathing Lydia. It may be the novelty of it as well. I am sure at some point she will need a bath without one of us being there. I digress, I plan in my head how I will wake up early to get ready for work so I can nurse, pump, get dressed, breakfast, dress Lydia and drive her to my mom's. Some days Eliot will be home so that will be nice. Some days Eliot goes in at 9 so he will drop her off. Some days Eliot will will be gone by 6am and I will have to pull all this early morning stuff alone. I may need a check list. I may need a dress rehearsal.

It is a whole other perspective Halloweening with your little one. It is a testament to humanity this holiday as far as I am concerned. One night a year, we allow our children to knock on the doors of strangers and ask for food. We trust that the strangers will be welcoming and that the food will be healthy. There are always urban rumors about razor blades in candy but not one of those rumors have been true. In those few hallo's hours we trust our community to care for one another. Heart warming. Though my little one slept the entire time it was so fun to push that stroller from house to house with a posse of other stroller pushing parental types. Only Eli, Bella and Eva were able to make it to the door for candy. Frankly, they were the only ones able to eat candy since they have teeth and all. Eva was a cowgirl. Holland was a cheerleader. Cecila was a caterpillar. Lydia was a pumpkin. Bella was a batgirl. Eli was a grime reaper type.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm Traumatized

I'm Traumatized. Last night after Eliot and I bathed Lydia I noticed that her tiny nails were getting long and needed to get clipped. They were just long enough that they had a tiny bit of dirt underneath her tiny nails. I am not sure how she got dirt under there, but that is neither here nor there. My mom has been the official nail cutter thus far but I thought to myself, confidently, that Lydia is now about 6 weeks old and that I could manage this task.

Lydia was comfortably still in my arms and we were both hanging out on my bed, things seemed like the perfect environment for the first nail cutting attempt calm, relaxed, with bright lights. Some folks have recommended biting her nails but I have big teeth and quite frankly I don't even bite my own nails. I find it gross and most of the time I know why I have dirt under my finger nails. So the baby clippers were certainly the better option.

I started to snip. One little finger done. Another one completed. The next one good. Tiny finger number four was on deck...suddenly I snipped and I got skin. Lydia was bleeding! She started crying. I was crying. Eliot came running and saw what happened. He quickly brought a wash cloth and I tried to put pressure on the cut but it just kept bleeding and bleeding and bleeding. In that moment a million thoughts ran through my head. I wondered if she was possibly a hemophiliac or that we may need take her to the ER for stitches and they would have to call 1-800-ABUSE or that I was causing permanent psychological damage. I continued to cry, Lydia, on the other hand, eventually fell asleep.

Eliot got out a tiny band-aid which we put on our tiny baby's finger and the bleeding finally stopped. Needless to say Lydia's fingernails are mostly still just a tiny bit too long. I'm Traumatized.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Travel Report

Turns out I used almost nothing of what I had on my list. Lydia was a laid back travel and other than her pretty dress, footie pjs and an outfit home, she used no other clothing that was packed. She also used a very small amount of diapers and luckily a small amount of wipes (I realized there that I only had taken the travel wipes that contain only 16 wipes total!) but all was good.

Our groove was great. We woke up on Saturday morning, got ready, packed the car, nursed her and off we went. Within minutes she was sleeping. We arrived to Gainesville, checked into our room. I nursed her and we were off to have our own lunch. We returned to the hotel with just a little over an hour to get ready which surely was more than enough time since all we had to do was get dressed and nurse her. We returned to our room, unbuckled Lydia from her car seat and pooplosion! She had poop all over herself and the car seat. We quickly moved on the situation.

Undressed her. Bath her. Re-diaper. Done.
Rinse clothes.Hang wet clothes. Done.
Take apart car seat. Wipe. Wash by hand insert. Dry with hair-dryer. Reattach. Done.

Madness averted. Just goes to show that no matter how prepared you may be, something unpredictable can occur at any moment. The beauty of parenthood.

The rest of getting ready occurred speedily and we were off to the wedding which was lovely. It is always wonderful to hang out with old good friends and see two people deeply in love be married. It was a lovely evening.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baby Travel

Tomorrow we head out to our first overnight trip with Lydia. We are going to Gainesville for an old friend's wedding. We are planning on driving up Saturday morning, enjoying a leisurely afternoon and heading to the celebration of love in the evening. We will stay in Gainesville and return home Sunday morning, so Eliot can play soccer later in the day. Here is my checklist for packing for Lydia:

1. Pretty little dress for the wedding
2. Tights
3. Little pink shoes
4. diapers (all the supplies with this)
5. wash clothes (you never know)
6. 2 short sleeve onesies
7. 2 long sleeve onesies
8. Jeans
9. 2 footie pajamas (cotton and flannel)
10. socks (that will fall off but I can't help it)
11. bibs (that I seem to forget to use)
12. 3 blankets (receiving and warmer)
13. Stroller
14. pump and pump bottles
15. gas drops
16. breast pads

As I sit here and list, the new mom in me wonders if I am forgetting anything. I hope it's enough. The once completely low key and rational person that is some where in my head, is sighing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Battle: Burping and Bottle

Lydia suffers from hurty gas not all the time, but sometimes. It seems to be less when she is just breastfeeding, though there must be something I am eating that isn't helping things. I haven't eaten any beans which in my world is a feat. I have now eliminated onions and peppers which I love to see if that helps. The only two items that I love that I eat enough of to make a difference are tomatoes and chocolate. It could be dairy, but this is my primary source of protein since breastfeeding causes me to be starving all the time, I pile up on yogurt, milk, and cheese. The detailed food evaluation spins through my mind every time I am patting my daughter on the back and nothing comes out and nothing seems to come of it.

Since I have been pumping preparing for my return to work in January and helping her transition to other people giving her food, she has been taking a bottle. She is a professional bottle sucker. They say that babies that are breastfeed are such amazing suckers that bottles tend to be an easy task. Though there are some babies that never like the bottle at all and there are others that like it so much that they don't want to go back. Lydia is ambidextrous. She can do both (gifted I tell you, gifted!) The thing is that she is so efficient that she sucks it down in a fraction of the time it would take her to get feed otherwise. This particular talent does not help the battle to get her to burp. Matter of fact, it makes things worse.

Baby acrobatics occur after meal time because we sit her up, then down, then up, We place on her on our shoulders. We place her across our laps. We sit and pat her little back and the occasional monstrous belch is on leached a tremendous feeling of relief overwhelms us. I must admit that selfishly there are times that I spend less time doing the burping ritual than likely necessary because there are so few hours in the day.

We made sure that we were using slow flow newborn nipples. We have tried to force her to slow down by stopping after every single ounce. We have tried to change up the bottles. We tried the breastfeeding bottle by First Year and that just makes it worse because the milk gets suck in various levels. It is a gas making nightmare. We have tried the Avent bottles and gassy pain still comes. We have tried the Dr. Brown's less colic advertising bottle and it has not proven to be any more helpful. The gas drops have not been helpful as I would have liked them to be, though we have used them sparingly. Sigh.

In our less successful moments, she pleasantly flops over and sleeps.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Top 8 Things We Learned

These are the Top 8 Things we learned in the first month of Lydia's life. If anyone has any to add please let me know. I hope this saves some of my friends that are about to have babies a little bit of time.

1. Footie Pajamas: Understand that I am a Florida girl, I can barely wear socks most of the time without feeling a little suffocated. I can't stand having my feet tucked in under the covers and whenever possible I am in flipflops or barefoot. When I was a kid, I got some footie pajamas had such a fit that my parents cut the feet right off of them, I remember this clearly at about the age of 4 or 5. Therefore, the idea of putting anyone in footie pjs particularly my own child seemed insane, but these things are genius! A sockless way of keeping tiny feet warm!

2. Diaper Changing Pad Covers: We had one. Then Tracy gave us another one. So we had two. You need more. Babies poop. Babies poop a lot. Sometimes diapers don't hold everything in, please refer to item # 3: Diapers.One needs at least 3 of these covers. One in the laundry, the one that is now pooped on, and the last one to put on the cold plastic changing table pad. Didn't even consider it until we were elbow deep.

3. Diapers: After several pooptastic poopostions you begin to wonder how such a tiny little person makes so much waste and why diapers just don't hold in what they are designed to hold. Newborn diapers only work for a little bit. There is a weight limit on diapers, so once your baby is 8lbs move up to the size 1. Our preference in diaper is Pampers because other brands still leave us scrubbing poo out of footie pjs (see #1) and washing the Swing cover (see #6.)

4. Newborn Clothes: Everyone always buys bigger sizes for babies because the idea is that they grow so fast you want to be sure to get a couple of uses out of them. Great idea! And super thankful, but Lydia is a month old and she just fits into some of her 0-3. We had few items that were newborn and belly button friendly be sure to get a couple of things for those first couple of weeks. Dressing them is one of the small entertaining things for your as the mom, since most newborns don't do many tricks.

5. Book Reading: As a new parent you do a lot of things with one hand including feeding the little bundle of joy. When you settle in to read a book to the baby while you are feeding her, books that have little flaps to lift or those that just have a couple of pictures with a word are not as handy (no pun intended). The baby can focus on the picture and you can't open flaps with one hand. Books with stories are better for you and frankly, for the baby too.

6. Swing: Lydia loves her swing. She loves the movement of it and often sleeps the night in there while one of us ends up on the couch with her. She loves the fun animals and the many song settings. She not only sleeps in there but sometimes she is so comfortable she poops there too! She is safe and sound and entertained. The Swing wins our vote for the best baby gear item.

7. Fans: Lydia loves fans. In every room she looks up and stares. I think it's the dark and light shadows in the ceiling that mesmerize her so. I wonder if shadow puppets would be as amusing. I have some philosopher finger puppets, I should give it a shot.

8. Soap: Turns out baby soaps are NOT the most gentle soaps for babies. Seriously. Sigh. When we took Lydia into to her 1 month pediatrician visit she saw her baby acne which was already on the mend but she gave us samples of Dove Sensitive and Cetaphil both more gentle and less drying than baby soaps. Don't believe the hype on Johnson and Johnson! Oh and lavender is even more irritating for babies skin not soothing!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pump! Pump the Jam! Pump it up!

Eventually Lydia will need to get nutrition without me therefore, the transition to pumping has begun. I tried to pump the very first few days that she was born but once the goods came in the focus was on her getting the juice rather then the latter. Once again I found myself in unfamiliar territory, I placed the plastic funnel looking thing on my breast and turned on the machine. This is of course is after a tube connects to the pump to the funnel and the funnel connects to the bottle with something that filters the milk called a membrane. Everything is in its place and we are off. After 20 minutes of pumping, a small bit less than two ounces was retrieved from both breasts. Frustrating. Is this normal?

I began my search for information. I sent out a text APB to all my mommy friends: tell me about this pumping thing. The consensus was that pumping is like everything else, takes practice.  Most folks confirmed that early on little would come out and after a while more would come. There were variances in format whether manual or electric but that seems to be more of a preference issue. It's better to pump in the morning because you have more of the goods. It's good to be relaxed and any connection you can have with your little one helps so looking at pictures or having a blankey around that she used would be helpful. All this amazing advice does help mostly to ensure that I am relaxed and know that it's a process. It is nice to realize that you aren't broken. I pump. I get milk. And I dream of the dairy I will open in a few weeks. It turns out...I am perfectly normal.

On another baby reporting note, Lydia has baby acne. This too is normal, sigh. Although, I knew about this one, it doesn't completely alleviate the bit of stress of seeing your baby with tiny zits all over her forehead and some on her cheeks. There is nothing really to do but wash her face and wait for it to clear up. It's much more bothersome to me than it is to her, oh and her Abuela is suffering even more.

Lydia has always been very good at noticing things. She loves the fan and when the fan is off she looks at it and she will look at us as if to ask, "What's wrong with the spinning thing?" She is really getting more into the bouncy seat and swing. She loves staring at the animals that hang in front of her and the other day, she hit the hanging toy in front of her on her bouncy seat. She is less than a month old--my child is truly gifted!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ode to Husband

When I was a little girl I wasn't really the type that played bride. I was the type that played courthouse or college lecture hall (seriously) and occasionally I played emergency room tramuma surgeon. And though, I do remember playing house, since I was an only child, I don't have many memories of playing wife. My parents have been married this year, 45 years and my grandparents have been married 63 years, so I suppose I assume that I wanted a husband in the picture. As I got older and I evaluated the concept of marriage intellectually; I knew that I wanted to get married someday but never in my wildest most amazing dreams did I ever imagine that I would be blessed with Eliot Michael Gaurkee.

As I went to meet him on our first date, I knew I was going to marry him. There just was something about him. He made me laugh, he was wickedly sarcastic (since he gave me a freaking Cranberries CD on that first meeting--yuck!) and somehow we both loved world religions and soccer. There is actually something about him that makes me feel tingly inside, still after three years--it's like that first kiss every time. It turns out that our worlds are so intertwined that it isn't even shocking any more, from him working with a long time family friend to him going to high school with friends of mine from summer camp. He played soccer for years with a coworkers son and he babysat students of mine. Endless coincidences of how small the world really is but ultimately, God and the universe wanted us together. And after the last year of life, I understand why.

There was no doubt that he was going to be an amazing father, since children near and far just adore him, but to simultaneously be an amazing husband is a harder task. For nine months, he cared for me emotionally and physically. For awhile the only thing that I wanted to eat was pasta and would happily make it for me for what seemed like weeks on end, and he shared in every bite. He packed my lunch and made my snacks for work. When the nesting hit high gear, he bought me the label maker. When I needed him to hold my hand he did and when I would get worried and ask him if she thought she was okay in there, he would always say yes! When I became obsessed with outdoor living, he built a patio. When we needed more space he laid wood in the attic and in the top of the garage for our things to be stored. He went to almost every single midwife appointment. He entertained me for hours during sugar tests. When my water broke he rushed home and went with me to the midwives to confirm it. He let me almost break his hand during contractions. He fetched nurses when needed and he was right there cheering me on during the pushing.

The proud new daddy has lovingly encouraged me in every way. He took a million wonderful pictures of the entire experience. He went with the baby to the nursery so I could stay in bed. He has changed countless diapers and provided endless words of love and support during the hardest moments thus far. The love he has for his daughter and his wife literally glows out of him and there is no way to really appreciate him for everything that he does or has done. He is everything that I have hoped for in a husband, life partner and best friend. I can't be thankful enough. So today's blog is an ode to baby daddy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sleepcation and Belly Buttons

Sleepcation [sleep-kay-shun] -noun
1. a period of time in which a person chooses only to sleep2. a trip or vacation that's sole purpose is to sleep3. sleep for extended times away from home Eliot and I were discussing the fact that I need a sleepcation. We had one once in Amsterdam. We ate and slept and explored the entire week we were there. We also realized that we would never have another sleepcation like that trip and it is unlikely to have a sleepcation at all again in our lives. At least not until we retire. Surely we will attempt to have one once Lydia is in high school, thinking she is ready to spend the weekend alone but we get home on Sunday we will discover that she and her hooligan friends, Eva and Holland, threw a party and Eli bought them beer. A drunk guy broke a window and cut one of their noses...sigh. Right. No more sleepcations for us. 
Lydia's belly button still has not fallen off. It's been almost 3 weeks. Most all of my resources say that babies will lose their belly buttons between 2-3 weeks. Last time we were in the pediatrician's office, the doctor said that the belly button was too clean and that we needed to let it be a little dirtier. There is a fine line between it being too clean and not infected and it being dirty enough for the body to reject it. We have backed off the uberclean belly but now I keep having moments where I think it's going to be on there forever. I have already advised Lydia that she should avoid the temptation of getting it pierced just because I get more conservative in my old age. But other than that, I got nothing. I imagine apologizing to her when she is 15 as she is heading to the beach about that the yucky black cord being still there and assuring her that her real friends won't care.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Extreme Parenting Paranoia

This was not taken during the even described below but it went well with the story
Last night Eliot and I took Lydia to her first Indigo Girls concert which was downtown St. Pete in honor of the Folk Festival. It was an open venue and free. We met the Rohrs down there and happily ran into Jeni and the Klinkenburgs. It was lovely. We found an easy parking spot, attached our car seat to the stroller and strolled over. We have one of those that if you open the coverings to both the car seat and the stroller it completely keeps the baby covered. Our pediatrician in the hospital was very clear in telling us to avoid people congested areas for at least two months because people like to touch babies. Wide open spaces like parks and such were of course okay and visits to close friends also a-okay but it is flu season and Lydia is very tiny. She won't get her first immunizations until she is two months old. There is also apparently a Whooping Cough epidemic out there at the moment. Of course, Eliot and I got the flu shot and the booster for whooping cough/tetanus and something else. Through my breast milk I will pass some of that to Lydia, plus the great colostrum she received she will have some great defenses against infections but we are still being cautious. Since the concert was not crowded and open air, we figured what the heck. Mind you we had the baby in stroller lock down and even our closest friends didn't hold her last night. We had a great time. It was great to be out for a couple of hours and Lydia sleep the full two and half hours we were out.

At about 3AM, Lydia made a sharp noise that woke me up immediately. I went to pick her up because it was about the right time to feed her. Her mouth had white bubbly foamlike stuff on it! I panicked. Eliot and I leaped out of bed. Lydia was not hot to the touch. She was breathing fine. She was just too deep into sleep we couldn't wake her. The panic got worse. I was sure that the hippies at the Indigo Girls concert had infected my baby with some sort of foaming at the mouth super sleep disease.

We changed her diaper in hopes that it would wake her. We danced and wiggled. We took turns trying to wake her as the other looked through books. Nothing in What to Expect in the First Year or in the American Association of Pediatrics book about spit foam. I googled spit bubbles and sure enough. This was yet another normal baby behavior! Spit bubbles... of course! What kid doesn't like spit bubbles!

Even though we had found a rational reason for the "foam". We still wanted the peace of mind of seeing her eyes wide open. Finally, at 4AM we were bathing her. She was wake! Success. She was fine and clean. Back to bed.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Baby Feeding Adventures

It's difficult to think of anything other than baby stuff at the moment and in the wild two weeks that Lydia has been on the planet she really hasn't done too much to report, other than of course eat, burp and poop. In light of such things, my repertoire of blogging topics is a bit limited. Hence the subsequent post on yet more breastfeeding adventures.
I log all of the feeding times on my phone and I can see that Lydia goes through phases in which she will feed every hour. Of course, I assumed that my milk was more like Chinese food, you eat it and an hour later you are starved. Today the doctor told me that this is actually called cluster feeding. The baby is gearing up for her long sleep stretch which is 4 glorious hours, except I didn't know this so I have been staying up waiting for the next hour and missing my one daily opportunity for real REM sleep.

The other thing that I have been working on is breastfeeding with the appropriate tasteful blanket cover. These sorts of things aren't natural and are a little difficult to maneuver since I don't have a lot of practice in such things. So I have been prepping for future outings, it's been going fairly well. Sometimes the cover up falls on Lydia's face or covers her completely which bothers me. I still need to get to the smooth groove stage.

There are so many little things like this that you just assume you would know how to do, but not so much. All in all we are doing great!

Monday, September 27, 2010

There are no magic socks

The great sock issue of 2010. No baby socks will stay on little Lydia's feet. I have newborn socks but they fall off. My mom found some little socks that seem to work but they also fell off. My mommy friends have told me about the socks at Baby Gap which apparently have two soft elastic bands to ensure the placement of said sock on said tiny feet. Saturday, I feed the baby, and diligently went to the mall to get these magic socks. Eliot stayed with Lydia at home to make the jaunt even quicker. I arrived at the mall which was complete sensory overload for me since I have been home for so many days without external interaction. I weaved through the massive crowds of mall shoppers and arrived to the Baby Gap. I zeroed in on the magic socks. There are only 3 colors: white, blue and pink. I grabbed pink and white not because I feel little girls shouldn't wear blue but because she doesn't really have any blue clothing at the moment and these magic socks were zero to 3 months. I purchased them. I drove home. My mom washed the magic socks. They were dried. They were ready. I put them on her adorable little feet. A moment later, they fell off.

Today's mommy mantra:
There are no magic socks. 
There are no magic socks.
There are no magic socks.

Footy pajamas are the only way to ensure warm feet at night. Good thing we are in Florida, what do the Eskimos do? Sorry..What do Inuits do?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Breastfeeding is hard work!

There are a few things people normally don't really talk about, sorta like Fight Club. There are certain things that happen immediately after birth that aren't mentioned in any books and most girlfriends don't really fill you in on, though I was lucky enough to have a little bit of a clue because my girls had mentioned the unmentionables, but it's still a wild experience. There is also the great mystery of breastfeeding. No one really discussed how difficult the process really is.

You see people breastfeeding either in real life or TV and it all seems so pleasant and effortless, but in truth it is a partnership between you and your infant: an infant that just arrived to the world and your body that now does things that it hasn't before. Moments after Lydia was born she was placed on my chest. Nature is incredible because after a few minutes she began rooting and searching for my breast with her mouth wide open. It was an amazing site but it completely gave me the false sense of security that breastfeeding would be easy. It's not. It's worth it, in so many ways that I could list, but it's hard work.

The success, initially, of breastfeeding lies in Lydia latching on properly and my milk arriving in a timely manner. It is completely normal for it to take a couple of days for the milk to come in (though there should be  a tracking number attached to it for peace of mind) and completely normal for your baby to lose weight the first week. That being clearly stated, logic didn't matter. My baby was fussy and she had lost weight both equal a nightmare for a new mom, particular a new Cuban mom (a baby without food is simply madness, have you met my mother?)

Lydia waking up at 3am to eat.
Peacefully sleeping Lydia
Immediately, I responded in the only obsessive pseudo-type A way I could, I found a IPhone app, Total Baby, which logs your breastfeeding sessions per left and right breast, logs wet and poop diapers, also logs sleep, baths and other. It creates a spread sheet that I can email myself, so I can evaluate major trends and create graphs if needed. I diligently woke her up from a sound sleep based on what her doctor and the lactation consultant at the hospital recommended. It takes a bit to wake her fully, then we can begin the latching dance. Now, I didn't create the graphs, but it did provide a false sense of control. I had never really considered that you can't be sure how much milk your baby is getting. It would be handy to add a measuring valve to your breast or perhaps some sort of keg like tap so you can tap and pour, rather than trusting the unseen, ironically coming from a religion teacher.

Today Lydia turned one week old. We just got in a groove. She latches well. I can tell when she is hungry and I feed her about every 3 hours, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more. My milk has arrived. My nipples are sore which means she is doing her part. There are diapers that also provide reassurance. We've conquered our first mountain top. Tomorrow we return to the pediatrician to see if she has regain her weight. She did lose more than your average newborn weight loss, but I think, I hope, we will both be okay.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Birth Story

When last I blogged my water had broken about noon on September 15th. There are time lines and such   involved when your water breaks at the beginning of labor rather than later on, actually only 3% of women have their water break first. It turns out that I come from a long time of water breaking women, my mom, my aunts, my grandmother, so no real surprise that mine broke too except of course to me. Anywho, we stayed home for about 8 hours before heading to the hospital because I had to be admitted before the 12 hour mark to get antibiotics to avoid infection. We arrived at Bayfront BayPlace and we escorted to the Labor and Delivery room 4 where my nurse checked me and I was about 3-4cm. Everything looked good. I walked around for awhile and rested. We watched Friends on TV, everything was relatively nonchalant. Until of course, at midnight the nurse checked again and I was only 4cm. Then again at 4am still 4cm. So it was time to get the pitocin. I had to deliver by noon the next day to avoid infection to the baby.

As all the literature says the pitocin intensifies the contractions. Having your water break also intensifies your contractions. One plus the other created a great deal of pain. This may be putting it a little lightly, the bruises on Eliot's hand and the complete and utter sense of panic in my mother's eyes were perhaps a better indicator. I was cursing in  multiple languages and beginning to want to eat people's faces off. So I decided that in order to take the edge off I would use a narcotic called Staydol, still in hopes of avoiding the epidural and doing this naturally. The Staydol is an opiate and many folks have immediate reactions to it, normally it is vomiting. For me it was full on hallucinations. Everyone had an afro and was wearing Welcome Back Carter era shorts, my midwife was a bouncing bunny rabbit. At one point, I actually had visions of my contractions as massive blobs that were dancing towards me and latching on to my back. The Staydol, for me, did not serve it's ultimate purpose and at times was creating a greater sense of panic. At one point, I could still feel the pain, and I looked over at Eliot who had taken a nap on the loveseat provided in the room, and screamed "Your sleeping is pissing me off!!" He immediately jumped up and returned to my side.

My next decision was whether or not to get the epidural. The pain was intense and though, it is hard now to put into words, I remember grabbing on the side of the bed, the bed rail, and shaking it to hard that it made a cracking noise. I asked the nurse to return to see how far along we had gotten, and figured I would make my decision then. Statistically the further along you are in your dilation the less complications there are with the epidural. I just kept thinking that if I wanted to have a c-section, I would have preferred to schedule it and have the benefits of it, I certainly had no intentions of having to go through both. Before the nurse even was able to check me, I asked her to put in the order for the epidural. It turned out I was 6cm dilated which was my mental bench mark. It took about an hour for the epidural guy to get there, which solidified those 6cm.

The process of getting the epidural is no picnic either. There is some one sticking a hole in your spine, not my idea of fun though desperately begging for it. The thing was that just as he started to get the area ready for it I had another contraction which caused me to jump, so we had to wait it out. After that it went swimmingly. The pain subsided from then on I could watch the monitor and see colossal sized contractions and smile happily knowing that I could not feel a thing. At 10am I was only 7cm, I still had to be ready in 2 hours to give birth, no pressure on my cervix.

You may imagine that because you can not feel the pain that it may be difficult to determine when it's time to push but that is not the case at all. When it was time, I knew it. I looked at Eliot and said it was time to push. He went to get my swarming day nurse who came in and said, well we really aren't suppose to check you until your midwife returns. I insisted it was time and that I was going to push regardless of who was there and who was on board. She checked me and sure enough (surprise) it was time!

The pushing portion of the experience was certainly the most animalistic. I just needed her out. I could zone out everything else and just push. Everyone left the room except the nurses, Eliot and my midwife. Eliot was an amazing coach! Encouraging and supportive. Within 45 minutes, Lydia Violet Gaurkee came into the world. It was the most miraculous blessing! My eyes were crying with joy to the point that they were almost squirting out the tears.

After Lydia was checked they immediately placed her on my chest, such an amazing gift. Eliot went to get the grandmas first! I have never experienced a prouder moment. My mom came in and she saw her and she saw us and it was the pure joy. Lydia Violet Gaurkee had instantly captured the hearts of all of us. We are so thankful for all the support, prayers and love, it's hard to express how much. We are so blessed!