Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Newborn Pictures

After Sheppard was born I contemplated having some professional newborn pictures taken. However, my mom convinced me that I could probably take some myself. So, when Little Man was a couple weeks old we had a little white trash style photo shoot on Mom and Dad's bed. My impromptu studio may not have the perfect lighting, beautiful blankets, hats, and picturesque backdrops all flat and blurry behind baby that a professional studio has, but I was able to take as long as I needed to get pictures of him awake and asleep and in a good mood.

I have been editing a few pictures here and there over the last few weeks, exploring with Photoshop (levels, curves, retouching, actions, filters, etc.). Now that he is two months old, I'm finally finished. Here are the final results! Originals on the left and edited ones on the right. Next task, editing the next batch that I took and then working on his one and two month posts. Now that I'm escaping the newborn blur, I'm determined to document his life!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sheppard: Two Months

Still four and a half weeks late, but that's better than last month!

After our first month, the dust began to settle and the reality of our wonderful new life sank in a bit more. We were so excited to get to know our Little Man better. Being Sheppard's mom was like living a really great dream. I loved being a mom and felt so lucky to be able to stay home with him during the day. It was such a blessing.
It was a big job being Shep's mom. I had so much love for my perfect little human. Becoming a mom made me so much more weepy. Sometimes when I would rock him at night, I would cry reminiscing about my perfect childhood and wanting so badly to recreate that for him. I felt such an intense responsibility that God had given me to be his mother. Some nights, after reading about sad stories on the news about children dying or going missing, I held him feeling so incredibly grateful to have him here, safe, healthy, and 100% mine. I was so lucky.

Still, despite my best efforts, I made my share of mistakes. At five weeks, I set Sheppy, who still couldn't roll yet, on his Boppy on the couch. I made the mistake of having the opening face the outside of the couch. I walked over to the computer and I heard a boom. Despite not being able to roll, I realized that Sheppy could tip. He had fallen off the couch onto our rug! Sheppy was quickly consoled, but Mom cried. A couple weeks later, we spent the night at Cory's parents house. That night, we had brought the cradle mattress and had Sheppy sleeping on it next to our bed. I moved him a couple steps away so I wouldn't step on him if I got out of bed. However, that night, I woke up in the middle of the night on the floor because I had fallen out of the bed. What grown person falls out of their bed? In my sleepy stupor, I realized that I was only an inch or so away from landing on Sheppy. It may seem a silly thing, but I realized that we were being looked out for, even in the small things. Luckily, we learned from our mistakes.

Some days, Sheppy went on errands with Mom, like the grocery store, the post office, or a lunch date at Dad's school. Other days, we were lucky if we went to the mailbox. Mom made a goal to go on more walks/runs, have earlier mornings, and have earlier nights. We also wanted to make sure we amped up our family scripture study, family prayer, and Family Home Evening.

Sheppard was still really mellow. One night, mom set off the smoke detector and Sheppard didn't even scream. We knew his hearing was just fine, but it was amazing that he could be so chill. We looked forward to getting to know his personality, because he had a dramatic streak and let us know his opinion when he needed to.

Sheppy's perfect little body made us so happy. He started getting chunky little legs and he loved standing up on his chicken legs. This was the last month he would do his sweet rabbit leg tremor. The soles of his feet were so soft and it was funny that he wasn't ticklish yet. I wondered when that trait set in. However, we loved watching his perfect face. On October 8, a few days shy of six weeks, Sheppard gave us his first for sure smile. Throughout the month,  he started to shell smiles out more and more and we ate them up. On October 24, he smiled back at me for the first time. I loved having more give and take. We had the biggest crush on him, and it was fun to watch him start to interact and fall in love with us as well.

We continued to take showers with Sheppy and he loved relaxing in the shower. He showered pretty much every time Mom showered. We were surprised that he never went to the bathroom in the shower. However, everything was definitely working. We kept track of all of his diapers and eating on an app on our phones called BabyConnect (and by we I mean 95% Mom). In September we had changed 268 diapers. That number went down a little in Month Two to 255 diapers. He was wearing size one diapers, and some combo size 1/2 diapers since we had a huge box.

Little Man was an eating machine. Around week five or six he went through a growth spurt and ate like a mad man. He could be quite the snorter while he was nursing. He made me laugh when he would start to panic when he thought the boob was gone. He also made me laugh because he was a gassy fellow. Oh man.
In our second month, both Mom and Sheppard got more efficient at nursing. Sheppy was a great nurser. Mom loved nursing for several reasons: 1) breast milk is so good for babies 2) it is basically free 3) Shep and Mom got to hang out 4) it helped her lose all but six pounds of baby weight without even trying. In September, the Shepster and I nursed for 65 hours, 18 minutes. In October (Month Two), that number went down to 48 hours, 7 minutes. Still a good chunk of change.

At the beginning of the month, I was still contemplating cutting out dairy since Sheppy was still deciding on a nighttime personality. At four and five weeks, he oscillated between an absolute sweetheart and an adorable monster. He could easily go 4-5 hours, but sometimes he didn't choose prime sleeping time (i.e. between 12 am and 4 am) for those stretches.

At five weeks, we slept at Grandma and Granddad's house for General Conference weekend and Sheppy didn't sleep well either night. Typically, Dad got to skip out on nighttime partying so he wouldn't pass out at work. However, on the weekends, he was on the schedule. After that weekend, he made a joke about how he was often jealous of me for getting to hang out with Sheppy all the time. While I got to snuggle with our sweet baby boy, he went to work and taught the Redeem Team (at the time, Cory taught remedial math to some very difficult students). He thought there was no way watching Sheppy could be as hard as teaching his repeaters. However, after dealing with that particular nighttime version of our sweet Shepmeister, he admitted that it was a lot closer than he thought (after staying up at night, you are so tired!). We still used the non-medicated BabyRub and gas drops, but as his body matured he started sleeping like a pro at six weeks.

He slept through the night for the first time (at six weeks) on Tuesday, October 16, eating at 10:45 pm and then not eating again until 7:25 am (that is 8 hours and 40 minutes!). Although he didn't always go this long, Mom appreciated the longer stretches. I needed to break my bad habit of staying up too late, because my shut eye did not always coincide with Sheppard's sleep schedule. Sometimes he would still wake up but we could often get him to fall back asleep by rubbing his hair or reinserting his Nuk pacifier. He seemed like he sometimes had baby nightmares because he would sometimes squawk in his sleep, and make a sad little face. We joked that he was having dreams about the milk being gone

He mostly slept in his cradle, or his swing, with a morning nap in Mom and Dad's bed. He loved snoozing in his baby sling or on Mom's chest. He loved to sleep in the crook of my left arm and would snuggle in until he found the perfect spot. He started to really like burying his face or at least have something touching his face. The white noise machine worked like magic to help Sheppy snooze away. We had a separate white noise machine that we used at home, but we frequently whipped out the white noise apps on our phones when we were out and about. I sometimes felt like a walking vacuum cleaner when I was in stores. We continued to swaddle him, which worked wonders, but he still had Houdini skills at times.

Despite an unimpressive singing voice, Mom started singing lots of songs to Shep, including "our" song, A Bushel and a Peck. We included Primary songs and the Pandora classical and lullaby stations in our repertoire as well.

Since Dad didn't get as much face time with our sweet Sheppy, he loved cuddling with him at night before bed. He worked a lot, and we wished we saw him more. So, we soaked him up when we had him home.

When we were out, Sheppard continued to be a major celebrity with his flowing locks that were getting longer every week. His eyelashes rivaled that of a mascara commercial and he started getting perfectly straight and thin eyebrows. He started chunking up with rolls, but continued to be long and lean. The baby noises increased in intensity and his happy coos and annoyed squawks were some of our favorites. We loved watching him grow.