Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Little cutie

No profound words this morning, but here are some photos of our little cutie.

So in love.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Driving Miss Charlotte

Today is Charlotte's three week birthday! Three weeks ago at this time we had just met our little worm and were already falling deeply in love. I was sore as heck, though, so I'm happy to be three weeks postpartum now. :)

In these last three weeks Joel and I have really started to figure out our kid. We have learned some ways to soothe her and what makes her tick. We know what she loves. And what she hates.

One of the funniest things is that she sometimes screams in the car (which isn't funny!) but if you crank up the instrumental lullaby cd, OR a blank radio station that only plays static, super duper loud, she settles down and usually falls asleep. So when you are driving Miss Charlotte, it's a good idea to tune to the static station!

Anyway, a list, for your Friday afternoon reading...

Charlotte hates:
Being put in her car seat. Like, she hates it. Screams bloody murder.
Waking up too fast. Girl is like her dad and enjoys taking her time to greet the day.
Waiting to eat. You know the word "hangry"? (Hungry/angry)... Well, when Charlotte wakes up that is what she is.
Being cold.
When Mom and Dad can't figure out what she wants. Immediately. Ha.
Getting her diaper changed before she is fed.
Tummy time.

Charlotte likes:
Her hands. This little one finds so much comfort from having her hands all tucked up next to her face.
White noise. Instrumental lullabies. Fans. Static on the car radio cranked full blast. Etc.
Eating. Either directly from the source, or from a bottle, which she has mastered in the last week since we first introduced some pumped milk so dad could feed her, too. As of this past Monday, Charlotte weighed about 8 pounds 5 ounces. We are so proud!
Snuggling with dad.
Bouncing, walking, generally being on the move.
Looking around, mostly to the left but we are getting her to turn to the right sometimes, too.
Listening to music on the iPad.
Sleeping 3.5 to 4 hours at night. Praise The Lord!
Her Halo sleep sack and the Miracle Blanket- both definitely contribute to sleeping well!
Being outside- even when it's super cold, if she is bundled up she is happy for the fresh air.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What I did all day

Yesterday I picked Joel up from work to go to the eye doctor and was attempting to tell him about my day...

"Um, Charlotte ate around 8:15."
" I took a nap, but just a short one because she woke up hungry"
"Melissa came over for lunch and we chatted."
"I fed Charlotte."
"She peed all over the changing pad. I gave her half a sponge bath; keeping her legs covered while I scrubbed the milk out of her neck crevices..."
"Oh! We hung out in her room. Charlotte looked at her play gym while I folded laundry."
"I gave Charlotte a bottle. She made a mess, but is getting the hang of it."

"Well, actually, I don't really know what I did all day..."

Basically, my days involve feeding Charlotte a lot. And resting when I can. Doing a couple small chores. Maybe running one errand. Maybe playing around online. And feeding Charlotte, changing her, hanging out with her. Just gazing at Charlotte, thinking how beautiful she is and how freaking blessed I am right now.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

our village

You know that cliche saying... the one about it taking a village to raise a child..?

Well, I no longer consider it cliche. It's the straight truth and boy, am I glad for our village.

Our village is my parents, who drove here less than 12 hours after Charlotte's birth and tirelessly cooked, washed dishes, did laundry, scrubbed our salty cars, held a sleeping babe, listened, encouraged, talked, prayed, supported, did more laundry, vacuumed, made more meals, and did more dishes.

Our village is Joel's parents and his brother who sent cards/gifts/flowers to our babe and who call regularly to check in and make sure we're all doing okay. Who admire Charlotte and tell us she's beautiful. 

Our village is friends who got up in the middle of the night to come pick us up in the freezing rain when our power was out and our cars were blocked in by a fallen tree.
Our village is colleagues who invited us into their home, let us crash in their bed and use their towels. Who had a bassinet for baby Charlotte to sleep peacefully and didn't complain when she wailed for food in the middle of the night.

Our village is the countless loved ones who have brought meals, sent texts, written emails, responded to Facebook rants, and complimented photos of our sweet little babe.

Our village is a church family who claps when I stand up holding a nine-day-old Charlotte in the Ergo carrier and stops by our seats after service to see how we're holding up.
Raising this child is so much harder and more wonderful than I ever imagined. The sleep deprivation, the tears, the confusion, the fear, the doubt.... all fade in comparison to the support we've been given in Charlotte's first two weeks of life.

I never want to do life alone, without our village. Praise God I don't have to.

Friday, February 14, 2014

(un)happy Valentines day

I am having a really hard time mustering up a positive attitude to write a Happy Valentines Day post.

The last 48 hours with Charlotte have been somewhat miserable. We had a disastrous dinner out at on Wednesday night; she was completely inconsolable and screamed the entire way home in her car seat. I cried, too.
Then yesterday Joel was home from school due to snowy weather and we had a leisurely morning and afternoon, but then around 4:30pm Charlotte began a four-hour stretch of off-and-on crying, mixed with some hysterical screaming. She could not settle down and nothing we did made her happy. Heart-breaking.

I finally nursed her (again!) around 8pm and she slept until midnight, then nursed and slept until 3:30am. Then nursed and slept till 7am. We all got a good night's rest, but this morning she needed to nap and nothing we tried really helped her sleep either, until Joel swaddled her in our miracle blanket and I held her on my chest (as opposed to cradling her in my arms).

Joel and I are so drained from being unable to soothe her. It's frustrating and maddening and so so sad to hear your exhausted baby crying from exhaustion, but to see her failing to settle into sleep which is what she needs most.

As I snuggled and fed Charlotte this morning, I was whispering in her tiny ear the only truth I have: my God is strong in my weakness and he is sovereign and good in this terribly hard season. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Charlotte snoozing

Oh my goodness, I have so much to write!

My heart is constantly exploding with love for this baby girl and for my amazing husband.

I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude, blown away by God's goodness to me. I don't deserve this life. Big sigh.

I'm working on Charlotte's birth story, a post about our favorite baby things after just two weeks, my little heavyweight champion and what it was like learning to feed her, and how our "village" helped us raise our child in her first week of life. All those will wait, though, because right now my daughter is snoozing and I just want to gaze at her perfect little body.

Oh, and clean up the poop stains all over the bath mat because she had an explosion the last time I changed her diaper and didn't get the new one on quickly enough...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Little baby refugee

On Monday we got about 8 inches of snow. Tuesday was gorgeous, but then it rained all night long and turned to freezing rain the wee morning hours. Everything was covered in icy snow!

Charlotte and I were awake for a feeding at 3 on Wednesday and got back to bed a little before 4am. Not long after that our power went out and Joel and I started seeing all sorts of fire engine lights and the like outside on our street. 30 minutes later a huge branch on a tree out our front window fell into the road and was quickly cleared by township workers. 30 minutes after that another HUGE branch fell, this time catching on the wire going over our driveway, which prevented the branch from hitting Joel's car.

We got really nervous because that tree is close to the window where Charlotte was snoozing peacefully, and thankfully, our friends came to rescue us at 6am. We hunkered down with them, took naps, ate, and hung out in the warmth. Last night some other friends had us over for dinner and gave us a bed to sleep in and a bassinet for baby Charlotte, a refugee in her first week of life :)

I don't think any of us anticipated Charlotte having her first sleepover at five days old, but we sure are grateful for sweet friends who take us in and love us well.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Baby favorites: two weeks in

1. Halo sleep sack. My friend Ashley gave me this as a baby gift and we are totally hooked! I had it in my head that our upstairs would be too hot for Charlotte to wear this to sleep, but our girl loves to be cozy. She sleeps really soundly in her sleep sack and it's easy to unswaddle her for nighttime feedings. The Velcro is super secure and the sleeping bag-ish sack allows her hips to be free to move while keeping her arms still so she doesn't startle herself awake. Love this thing!
2. Nipple shields. These are somewhat controversial in the breastfeeding community, I guess because sometimes they are associated with nipple confusion. Ask me if I care, though. I think they are the best invention since sliced bread and they absolutely work. This little thing saved our breastfeeding butts the first few days home and even though we don't need it now, I am a huge huge fan.

3. Coconut oil. This isn't a baby product, but it swear by it after being a mom for all of 13 days. Just before Charlotte was born, I read that putting coconut oil on a baby's bum makes the first newborn poop (meconium) not quite so sticky. It totally worked! Changing Charlotte's first few diapers was fairly easy because the coconut oil acted as a barrier and kept her smooth. We are using it at most diaper changes now, simply to prevent diaper rash. Seems to be working.

4. Baby hats. See number 1. Our little lady sleeps every night with a hat on her head. Like her daddio, baby likes to be warm.

5. Trail mix. This isn't a baby product either, but I've taken to keeping a handful of trail mix on my dresser so I can snack in the middle of the night. I feed, change, and swaddle Charlotte, put her in the bassinet, grab a handful or two of trail mix, guzzle some water, and fall asleep till she wakes up for the next feeding.

Charlotte's first few days

I don't ever want to forget how beautiful my brand new daughter looked right when we brought her home. She is so precious and I love just staring at her little face. Her eyes are bright and she is quite expressive (and loud!!).

For better or worse, we've been snowed in with little to do besides rest, hang out, and learn to take care of Charlotte. She has had some special visitors and we love introducing her to family and friends! Grandmom and Granddad Nelson have been here helping us out since Saturday afternoon and we are beyond grateful for their presence.

Charlotte's birth was one of the most amazing times of my short life so far. It was exactly what I hoped and dreamed. Can't wait to share the story.

Now excuse me, I need to go snuggle.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

She is here!!

Our little worm has arrived and she is amazing!

Charlotte Adeline Alberts, 7 pounds 8 ounces, arrived at 10:20 on the morning of Friday, January 31st. She is 20 inches long and looks perfect!

She came five days "late" but moved through the process quickly. Of course she is worth every second of waiting and every push and every breath and every pain it took to bring her into the world.

We are exhausted but blown away by God's precious gift of this sweet little daughter. <3