sleep REtraining: night 1

i was talking to my bloggy buddy hillary hull about having a sick baby since her 5 1/2 month old cutie, parker, just got his first cold this week. i happened to mention that when judah got sick back in august he went from sleeping 8 hours a night to waking up every 3 again like a newborn and that it has been that way for a month now.

honestly, we have been doing fine. somehow the waking up at 2 and 5 and then getting up for work at 7 isnt killing us at all. we hear judah start crying in the monitor, jesse gets up and goes and gets him and brings him to me in bed. i feed him for 20-30 minutes (and may or may not fall asleep for a whole hour somewhere in between boobs with the bug laying on me) and then i wake jesse back up and he burps the little guy and puts him back in his crib. all of this is always done with the miracle swaddler on, which jesse must rewrap after every feeding session because little guy hulk-busts his way out of it. judah hasnt ever been able to even NAP without the swaddler, so we just started putting him on his tummy swaddled to try to extend the sleep cycle.
swaddled...on the floor for some reason? with a pimento on the carpet. sure. why not?

we had fallen into a really good program in judah's 3rd week. without really trying or altering his natural patterns, newborn judah was falling into a kind of babywise plan for nighttime sleep and by 9 weeks old he was consistently getting 7-8 hours straight before his first wake to eat session. we never even really had to make him "cry it out" as they say, he just happily fell into this schedule.

well i mentioned our lovely new post-sickness schedule to hillary, and she about flipped that we were living that way. her parker is a solid 9-12 hours a night, so i asked for some key tips. i got a seminar. literally. she tuned me in to moms on call and told me to look over their methods and start TONIGHT. moms on call are these 2 pediatric nurses (with 8 kids between them including a set of twin boys each) who do consultations for about $100 and hour and help you establish nighttime sleep routines for your 3-12 month old. they also give an online seminar, which i watched yesterday. the basic plan:

-babies should and can sleep 9-12 hours through the night with 2-4 naps during the day
-you have to set a consistent sleep routine and be faithful to it
-readjusting your baby from his current routine to this one can take up to 3 full nights.
-it will be VERY hard on your mommy and daddy hearts to survive these 3 nights without giving in but it takes that long to establish a new internal clock for baby

please dont make me go to bed!

so last night we left a bday party early and to come home and start the routine at about 7:45. we started with a nice relaxing bath for the bug followed by his final meal of the night. we even added an extra ounce of formula after he finished breastfeeding to make sure his tummy was extra full for the long night ahead. we took everything out of his crib, including the beloved and much relied-upon swaddler, cranked the white noise machine (well, it makes ocean noises, which youre not supposed to use, but we'll hold off on that investment just now), turned out ALL the lights (we had been rocking a soft glow ikea moon nightlight--mostly to help zombie-jesse find his way in at night and to help judah be able to see his mobile and glow-worm...both no-no's in themselves). we told him we loved him, prayed with him and said we'd see him when the sun came up, and then shut the door...not to be opened again UNTIL MORNING (dun, dun, duuuun).

gotta get every drop while i can!

back in our room, we turned off the monitor, knowing that listening to his inevitable cries wouldn't help us at all and that we wouldn't go in there anyway. we told ourselves that he was safe, loved, and capable of making this change. well, i put in earplugs, or else i wouldn't have stood a chance. i woke up at 2 and 4 and even though i couldn't hear anything, was so worried for him that i couldn't fall back asleep. at 2, he wasn't even crying though, but at 4 he was. jesse also tells me that he cried from 12-1:30 and that it was really very hard to listen to. but we made it somehow and went in and joyfully got him at 6 am (the plan says 7 am, but we have to be up for work earlier than that would allow) and fed him a BIG meal. he wasn't sweaty with rage or malnourished, and he didn't seem resentful over what we had done to him. even though he did cry a lot during the night, he was our exact same happy little binks-man. i consider night 1 a success.

learning the MOC plan taught me that judah isnt waking up in the night because he NEEDS to eat, but because that is what he is used to: stirring a bit out of deep sleep and then us rushing in and waking him fully so he can eat rather than allowing him to naturally transition back into REM, like humans do. and even though he isn't starving, of course he will eat when i give him the boob just because he can; he's being soothed and snacking, not really eating a full meal (b/c he doesn't need one yet!). so even though he's eating every 3 hours in the night, he isnt eating fully, which is telling MY body that he needs less milk to be made. AH-HAH!
i had been freaking out because my milk supply has been dwindling like a mother (a non breastfeeding mother, apparently). at work, i can hardly pump enough to allow him to have 1/2 breast milk and 1/2 formula in his next day's bottle at nursery. that was another reason i wasn't loosing my mind over his old schedule, because i figured if that was my milk supply with him eating around the clock, then it would become nonexistent if he slept through the night. hillary reminded me though that my body needs to be resting efficiently to be able to make milk, but i thought it couldn't be that because i honestly wasn't feeling exhausted. well, damn, was that wrong. as i typed that paragraph up there, i freaking overflowed my containers that i pump into at work (intimate sharing, anyone?). i never even come close to filling them up; halfway is a good pump session for me, and i just freaking overflowed BOTH of them. luckily no one but me is in the office today, therefore i am wearing sweatpants so the milk spillage doesn't offend anyone. i just pumped more in one sitting than i usually do in an entire day! hope the boss doesn't mind me borrowing his tupperware as a storage facility for my surplus!

yeah, hearing the little guy cry himself back to sleep sucks, but jesse and i are on the same team saying that its worth it to get us all on the healthiest schedule for everyone. night one is supposed to be the hardest, but we are reassured by the fact that he is saying "what's going on, i usually get up at this time," when he cries, and not, "i am starving, what did i do wrong, you don't love me, i HATE you, i'm in pain," like we tend to imagine. no matter what the schedule though, waking up to this at ANY hour is always worth it.

so hillary, i raise an overflowing glass of freshly expressed breastmilk to you, my friend. THANK YOU!

wish us luck on night #2!


mr. facey pants

some ridiculously cute moments of judah-bugness that have been going on lately
the 3-ring circus of trying to cut judah's toenails. daddy (floating stubble cheek) entertains while i zero in on the offending talons with my headlamp (not pictured). as you can see judah is having 100% fun.

yes, we have started solids. its hilarious and there is a video. i will say that judah literally shudders at every touch of the spoon, but adores nursing the carrots directly off of his bib. i think he thinks i have started producing a new recipe of milk.

two days after his 4-month bday, just hanging out after church with his popped collar that can barely contain his mighty jowls. little prepster is rocking a ralph lauren polo uni-suit (think a onesie with legs built in) from his g-ma vincent. look at that bullfrog belly.
we discovered a new foolproof way of making judah laugh. jesse tries to get in judah's neck space and give him kisses. the everpresent stubble that jesse grows at alarming rates drives judah nuts. he does a half-grunt/growl half-laugh that says, "dad, you're killing me here, but its kind of fun too."


what a little color can do

these 2 little painting projects took us only a few hours and a few extra bucks on saturday, but i think they made a big impact...what do you think?

our hallway (i was going to call it the bedroom hallway, but we only have one!). we do hang pictures and such on these walls, but they were already down/not back up yet when we took the pictures. every time i go to judahs room now i get such a happy surprise of rich color rather than a reminder that we need to clean our scuffed up walls. jesse did 80% of the work on saturday AND watched judah while i was gone for 3 hours at CPR class. SUCH a great gift to come home to!

the entryway area off the side of our living room, which is the same color. i think we must have been too lazy to paint these walls back when we painted the whole living room in january 2008 (i was on a ladder painting when they broke the news about heath ledger dying...interesting factoid). i got those little paisley ottomans (ottomen?)/storage boxes/seats at target for $13 bucks (in the "decorate your dorm" clearance section i am ashamed to admit). i LOVE them. we think everything about the after picture just looks richer and more put together than the before. besides danielle, the owens' and jake and jesse, of course. the wall around the front door we painted as well, even though it didnt make the after pic.


happy ever after?

i really didnt intend to write another post today, but i've just got this train of thought rattling around my head and its bugging me like having a piece of food in my teeth that i cant quite reach with a toothpick. this particular topic deserves to be picked at by something sharper than my mind, but i'll do my best. this is long and maybe only relevant if you are married or want to be one day and you give a hoot about where we are right now.

can i be honest? i usually dont even bother asking, but this one's kind of gritty. ok, ready? our marriage is kind of sucky right now. i would even say its pretty shitty. before i get into this, let me say that i love jesse more than any person, place, thing, animal, or mineral on earth. marrying him is the best decision i ever made and we will be married until we die. there is no questioning either of these facts. turns out, this doesnt mean its going to be easy or fun or even tolerable until then.

i can remember back when we were dating and engaged EVERYONE saying how hard marriage is, and i really, REALLY, REALLY, took that to heart and believed them 100% and tried to figure out why that might be the case so i could be prepared and ready to fight it. i guess i just couldnt get there in my head. the best thing that i could figure was that maybe it was because marriage is forever and there's no escape once your in so problems that maybe were solved before by saying, "well if it gets bad, i can just break up with him," all of a sudden are problems that you are going to deal with for 70 years. that could be stressful. but, i mean, when we were dating and engaged i knew 100% we'd be together forever and we would get married, so the problems we faced then, i was already looking at with a 70 year perspective...the ball and chain were already locked in, the escape route burned. so it wasnt going to be that way for us.... if that was what people meant.

little did they know...

well, apparently that was not what they meant. we got married and things did get hard. like really hard. like nuclear blowouts. i was never meek in dating and we definitely fought before marriage, but nothing like this. people would ask how married life was, and i became one of "them" and would reply, "it's awesome, but its really really hard." and i couldn't really explain to them why it was so hard. problems and issues that we dealt with while we were dating all of a sudden became insurmountable obstacles in marriage. it just didnt make sense. i think it hit me one day what the difference was though; for us at least. there was just something so inexplicable about what was happened. we werent doing anything differently than we did when we were dating (except for that...which made life easier, actually) and yet it was just so much freaking harder and emotionally wearing, and it really didnt seem to be coming from us.

the day after our wedding, on our honeymoon. my shirt says "just married." hahaha there's no such thing as "just" married anymore.

i have never been the type of person to blame "satan" for things. knowing myself, i would just use it as a cop out. i mean, who better to blame than the biggest asshole of all time that even jesus didnt like? but i think i figured out that a marriage for two people who love jesus is way more than a fancy party you go to and promise things and then add in some sex to the exact same life you were living before. marriage is god's. he invented it and wants to protect it. so naturally the devil wants to fuck marriage up (sorry for the language, but it is literally that devious and despicable, what he wants to do to us).

by getting married and entering into a spiritual agreement with each other's souls and the creator of those souls, our relationship pops up on the devil's radar as a threat. i mean two people who love jesus and want to spread love and peace and hope and grace all over the world joining as one inside the creator himself is a pretty big missile being pointed straight at everything the devil loves. our college campus minister, rick, says, "if youre being attacked by the devil, you know youre in the game; when youre not doing anything to interfere with his plans, he leaves you alone. thats when you should be scared." getting married was us buying into the big game. and we were like fat kids on a paintball course and got our asses lit up. luckily we have amazing parents and friends who model loving, graceful and forgiving marriage for us and who pray faithfully for and counsel us.

get ready for the real storm

things got really great for us after about 6-9 months of marriage. we learned how to play as a team and fight fair and how to choose love in the really hard moments. we still got it wrong at least 50% of the time, but man, every time we got it right was like a square inch of our hearts being transformed into jesus's. it feels so freaking amazing to be the one to stop the petty fighting and give up and just say, "you're right, i love you more than anything and i am so sorry for my part in this." without fail the other one always follows right after and the majority of the fight is disintegrated. but in the moment, taking that leap out into space is so scary; letting down that pride and desire to win is the hardest thing in the world, even knowing how wonderful it feels to do so. i think that has the satan's stank-ass fingerprints all over it.

so then we had a baby (did you know?). even though we didnt make any vows about this one in front of our friends and family, we sure as hell have given this child to god in spirit over and over again already. we have marked him as the ransomed property of our king, and that is just a whole 'nother spiritual ball of wax. the bullseye on our backs that the devil aims at got even bigger. i think judah will have to bear this bullseye as our child when he is older, but for now, the best thing that satan can do to mess up our child is to mess with our marriage. and boy is he.

stay the hell out of our garden, devil

i prayed during pregnancy that god would magically make me laid back, to suspend my Type-A certificate. apparently he has another route in mind. since judah, there are a billion things that need to be done around the house and in our lives. from washing a million little bottle pieces to loving and nurturing the babe himself. i am a control freak so i have a very specific way of how and when i think these tasks should be carried out. obviously my way is the most efficient way, my timing the most perfect, my poop the most fragrant. and when jesse doesnt magically guess this intricate tap dance of steps and carry them out to completion, i take it personally. i take it as him trying to slack off, make me a doormat, not listen to me, disrespect me, or a million other crimes i write him up for in my head and make him pay for in infinitely creative and emotionally tortuous methods that make Abu Graihb look like Club Med.

this is slowly but surely sucking the love out of our marriage. you would think it would be just jesse realizing i am a bitch and hating me like he should while i feel great about my domineering self and maintain a firm grip on my kingdom. but its not. i am miserable too. i am making us both a prisoner of my sins. and judah too. thats the heartbreaking thing. this WILL mess him up if i continue. i WILL do these same things to him when he doesnt wipe his butt right or put his fingerpaint in the right place. its almost laughable to imagine that, but the things that are life and death matters to me that i make jesse's life hell over are just as minuscule.

Jennifer McKinnon is a giant in the world of mommy blogging. she is known as mckmama on her blog and writes from the unique perspective of a mom of 4 kids under 5 who loves jesus and is a total hippie. in addition, her youngest child, now 10 month old stellan, "should have" died in the womb or shortly after from a terrible heart affliction. she and her husband were going through a very rough patch in their marriage after finding out about stelln's medical issues when he was in the womb. she wrote about their stuff in a way that NAILED the core of where jesse and i are right now (we arent to the part where things start working out yet, just the part where she realizes the problem). the entire post is here but i really just got blown away by this portion. you can literally replace "prince charming" with "jesse." i added the bold


God has gone from whispering in my ear and tapping me on my shoulder to gently shaking me with both hands and speaking directly in my face: "Don't try to demand your way, my daughter! Stop fabricating rules that your husband must follow before you'll let yourself be happy. Quit seeking happiness in your marriage by trying to find meaning and emotion in every single cotton pickin' thing your husband does or doesn't do. Just relax. Just be. Just serve me with your marriage. Prince Charming can never make you ultimately happy, anyway. Being happy isn't the goal I even created marriage to help my children attain! Find a true joy, my daughter, a sustainable peace in your marriage from letting go of your need to control your husband and meet him in the middle in all decisions, big and small. Give him leeway to lead you, for I have put your Prince Charming in that role for you.

"Okay, God. If You say so."

And, to be honest, at first, when God struck me with these principles (I was struck with them through reading the Bible, reading books on marriage, talking things through with my sister and mother, seeing a marriage counselor and developing beautiful relationships with a small handful of more mature mentor wives who have befriended me), I was a bit dethroned. I was willing, but I dragged my heels. "Okay, okay," it was as if I told God. "I will stop requiring my husband to make me happy, stop sulking when he doesn't use exactly the right tone I wanted him to use, stop reminding him of all the big and small ways he is not succeeding in making me happy. I will. But then, that will really stink. I'll just be unhappy all the time, while I honor You. I mean, honoring You is great, but what about me!? I'll be like a doormat, letting my husband do and say whatever he wants, while I have to overlook it just to obey you."

And I was prepared to do just that, because God was asking me to follow Him without any promises of how I would feel or what I would get in return.

But lo and behold, friends, when I gave up my claim to require Prince Charming to serve me before I would love him back...when I gave up my so-called right to be made happy by my husband in all things...then I began to find something ever so much better than fleeting happiness. I have begun to find an unspeakable peace, an enduring joy and a lasting satisfaction within my marriage.

In surrendering my need to be fulfilled by another human being, I thought I'd be left with a bit of a hollow feeling. But the opposite has been true! In fact, I was just telling Prince Charming yesterday that I feel a weightless freedom that I have never known before. To not require him to meet my happiness needs doesn't leave me feeling unhappy; I feel happier and freer than ever! I simply choose to stay in my marriage now. I am choosing to not force Prince Charming to try to fulfill me or meet my happiness needs. I have been finding so much lasting joy in loving Prince Charming because I decide to, and not always waiting for my feelings to lead me to love him. The feelings come, though, my friends. Oh, boy, do the feelings come.

Forsake myself and my desires, follow God by putting Prince Charming first, choose to seek to make him happy instead of myself, and it all flows back down. His desires are becoming mine and we are enjoying life as a team now. My husband can hardly wait to meet my needs, now that I am not demanding that he do so! He sees my side of things ever so much more than he ever has. I respect him, he loves me, God is honored all around, and truly, everyone wins! And man alive am I as hot for my charming husband as I have ever been since the day we married each other.

um, yes please. i'll have what she's having. as in a marriage where i am not putting effort into making everyone, including myself, miserable. as in, the ability to let go and honor my husband for the incredible man he is and be loved in return. as in the power to be free and honor god by our marriage rather than myself by having my idiotic whims fulfilled.

now when i hear kids who have been dating a few months say "i love you" to each other, i kind of just smile, because you really have no idea what that word even means until you are married and have fought gritty, dirty battle to keep your marriage out of the hands of history's biggest fuckface (again, sorry, but its true.) i'm sure i will look back at this point years from now and think the same thing again, that i still had no idea what love really meant, but thats great too because that just means we have all these years to learn how to love each other better and better until we get to the place where its done as it was originally intended for all eternity.

our first dance at our wedding was to ben harper's "happy ever after in your eyes" and its exactly what i hope we get out of this; not happy always, but a dream in our hearts to wake up to every day and happy ever after at the end of it all. its a really cool picture of our little 3-man team with jesse and me and god and what he has promised us in this life and the next as well as what jesse and i promised each other when we got married. i promise i am going to work really hard to do my part of backing off and letting god work out his glory in my life, marriage, and family.

every star in the night
promises the dawn
i will be there if you fall
to ever so heavily rest upon

all that I can give you
is forever yours to keep
wake up everyday with a dream
and happy ever after in your eyes
happy ever after is in your eyes

judah warms the house

on saturday we went to a housewarming party for two of our bff's, lena and elliot hunt. they got married on august 22, and jesse and i were thrilled to both get to be in and at their beautiful wedding. the night before the wedding was the first night we ever spent away from the bug, since we had wedding duties (aka partying in the penthouse) that wouldnt be conducive to the babelet being there. i will probably do a post just for the wedding at a later date. maybe some time before their first anniversary, but no promises.

picking up the little guy after the wedding. he didnt get the formalwear memo.

we made the 50 mile journey from east bumbly to west paces to hang out with them at their adorable new apartment. we took judah with us since i recently realized that when he is a little older, it wont be kosher to take him to these grownup parties. i mean, a sleeping baby in a carseat doesnt put the kibosh on a party for twentysomethings quite the way an 18-month old toddling around everyones ankles might. plus, at his age, if too much debauchery goes down, judah's too young to be scarred by it. so we are enjoying taxing our hosts' hospitality for the time being in anticipation of the dreaded day that we have to get a babysitter every time we want to have a beer and a conversation outside of fayette county.

*background info* lena and elliot were the first non-relatives to visit us in the hospital just 3 hours after birth (or should i say, placenta?). they were present for our first diaper change (by jesse) and they brought us the evil confection of chocolate chip cookie sandwiches held together by chocolate frosting filling surrounded by chocolate sprinkles and topped with icing with judahs name and bday on it. these little wonders helped me immediately gain back all the pregnancy weight that pushing out the baby had made me lose (there you go, elliot). they are both hilarious and wonderful whenever they interact with judah and seem to just adore him. he likes them too; he told me.

the future-hunts visiting judah back on the day of his great escape


the happy couple with the past and future culprits of my fatassedness


NOTHING grosses elliot out. not even meconium pampers (p.s. sick face, keight, please put on makeup)
so back to last weekend. we had a fantastic time at their place hanging out with tons of friends, showing off judah and trying to ignore the ticking time bomb counting down to the next feeding, knowing that while an infant may not kill a party of mostly young singles, breastfeeding sure will. luckily the hunts gave up their barely broken-in marriage bed for judah to take a nap on. i was a little nervous because their entire bed is white, but we put him down with all at-risk orifices covered (although we could have easily done laundry right there in their master closet where the W&D are kept for some reason).
since we didnt bring the baby monitor (another party-slayer) we set up our ghetto version. we call each other on our cell phones and then set one phone right beside judah and then go back to the party with the other phone on speaker and the microphone on mute. we didnt think of the mute part until i dropped some major cussage during a raucous storytelling moment and realized that i was, in essence, on the phone with my tiny son's sleeping cerebrum and didnt need any of my sailor-isms infiltrating his innocent dreams and lodging in his subconscious waiting to be hurled back at me during puberty.
the little bed bug: a visual reminder of what marriage beds make.

almost everyone left after we'd been there an hour or two, but when we make this kind of journey, we get our money's worth by refusing to leave at the polite time. so we stayed and played my favorite party game of taboo. i am awesome at this game as it is, and even better after a few beers. this is not sarcasm. unfortunately, the point of the game is to guess the secret word from clues your teammates are giving, and when i get really into it (or beer gets really into me) i tend to blurt out answers for the opposing team as well as my own. rats.

displaying pieces of the game in true danielle fashion

judah slept amazingly well and woke up mid-game to eat. he was kind of fussy eating directly from me (maybe because alcohol can make breastmilk taste weird to babies...relax people, i had like 2 beers in 3 hours) so we tried to give him a bottle of our emergency formula to get a full meal. before jesse even cradled judah to give him the bottle, elliot was like "oooh, i wanna do it, let me do it, can i do it?" elliot was a natural, even if he did try to burp judah by tapping him with his fingertips in the cat-scratch position. luckily lena is a professional childcare provider and gently corrected him.

judah's face says, "i'll eat, but who the hell is this joker?" (but look at their intertwined fingers!)

he still wasnt loving straight-up formula, since he literally has never had it outside of mixed in a majority of breastmilk. so while the game continued, i laid down behind a chair with the little guy and finished his meal (he decided he likes hefeweizen after all). back here is where i accomplished most of my own-goals, yelling out answers to the boys' team's clues. even though i scored points for the other team, i was impressed with my guessing skills. jacob just said, "they're served..." and i immediately yelled "hors d'oeuvres!" so right and yet so wrong.


biting the hand that hits you

in early august, judah discovered his hands (finally) and has been using them to flail at and beat nearby items of interest ever since. one of his favorite things to do his pick up the blanket, burp cloth, etc thats on him and put it in his mouth. he has gone off paci's 100%, we cannot get him to take one at all, and he's not interested in his thumb either; he prefers to put his hands in the folded praying position and suck on the back of this double-fisted configuration.

since he's always been great at standing, judah has really been LOVING his baby einstein "office" (my cousin lindsey, who has twin 3 year old boys, gave us that name for it because when they get in it and start spinning around from toy to toy they look like little workers in their desk chairs spinning from computer to phone, etc. too bad judah doesnt have the torque power to spin yet). its great because he can stand and bounce within reach of tons of stimulating objects and activities. we are loving it too (re: 30 minutes of free time for us...which we usually just spend watching, filming and cheering him).

he is really good at making this froggie spin, but i was concerned that he was wailing on this hard plastic amphibian and would eventually hurt his hand. well, his hand struck first, at both the frog and at judah. the first time he just barely hits himself on the backswing, and while he is recovering from that, he pops himself even harder in the face. we are so proud of his predominately left-handed dexterity and coordination to consistently make the frog spin in a true volleyball arm-swing fashion, but we'll be extra impressed when he shows enough control to not punch himself out.


she's crafty

you may remember that part of our new magic life was going to include making things rather than buying them and being generally more creative. you also may remember that we got a badass sewing machine for free and i completed my first ever project with limited success.

well since then i have busted out ole sewie (which i still dont have the manual for and have mostly learned by trial and error...heavy on the error) 2 more times and these have been my results (in chronological order so you can see my improvement).
this was my attempt at avoiding the folded overlap of the new material onto the back of the burp cloth. a little bit of white edge was intended, but it should be way more uniform around the edges. i added the line of gray ribbon too for extra snazz just like the original gift that i was copying. this one was immediately after the first one i made so i was getting the hang of things a little better and it only took about 45 minutes (sad, i know). its still a hot mess because i hemmed the green panel first by itself and then sewed it on the cloth rather than pinning it to the cloth and doing it all in one run, so there are two sets of stitches going around the whole thing. from afar though, its serviceable. it also looks like the north carolina avenue monopoly card.

this one started out with me intending to put the blue fabric all the way down the middle panel and then frame in the green ribbon. well, i jacked up the blue stuff so bad that i decided to just do 3 little patches of fabric instead. the ribbon inst really that wavy in reality, although its far from perfectly straight, the cloth just bunches when you wash it. sadly this took probably and hour and a half and was my first effort after the initial night of bringing home and setting up the machine. i think i was cold and rusty and without any residual beginners luck.

this is by far my favorite yet. i NAILED it. i got the panel of yellow just right on size and alignment and didnt have to sew any edges twice like i did before. it only took maybe 20-30 minutes. glad i saved the cool tech-colored pattern for this one!

beware if you are currently inseminated and invite me to a baby shower, you may be receiving one of these! i mean, judah doesnt have so much fluid that needs to be wiped up that necessitates us having 24 of these. he does however have this little cleanup gem:
sunday morning i was home from church to meet my parents so they could watch judah. well, i wanted to take a bath so i brilliantly thought of hanging judah's johnny jumper in the bathroom doorway so i could watch him, occupy him, and get clean all at the same time. he bounced away happily and adorably while i washed up and i emerged so proud of myself for my ingenious idea and at how sparkly clean and relaxed i was without even having to rush. well i went to grab a towel and i look down at his legs (previously obstructed by the side of the tub) and this is what i see (WARNING: GRAPHIC POOPIE CONTENT)

it was horrific. my first instinctive thought was "good lord, he's started his period." i recovered from that lunacy and realized what it really was, gagged a few times thinking about the cleanup and how clean and happy i had been 2 seconds ago. i have read the stories about toddlers when they learn to open their diapers and the subsequent fecal smearing (yeah i said it) that can occur, but i thought i was safe from having poop mashed into any of my surfaces for a year or so at least. so i left the little guy there, swung him aside and scooted delicately through the doorway to get my camera to record this magic moment. when i got back, he had this look on his face that indicated that he was possibly as yucked out by this as i was. i finally realized that it clearly had happened a while before i noticed because of the little poopie bounce-prints left all over the tile.
so i grabbed one of my beautiful blank burp cloths that had been destined to be a canvas for my future sewing exploits, the one in the picture to be exact; it had be there to catch all the drool that is raining down from judah's mouth these days and protect the delicate surface of the jumper. i figured poop was what the cloth diapers were intended for anyway. i was dying laughing at this point. i extracted the little turd from the seat (which had barely ANY poo on it) and took him to decontamination. i was shocked to see that the diaper had hardly any poop in it either. once again we were victims of the poop that just wants OUT. this poop managed to elude the absorbent pamper AND the jumper seat and make it all the way to my bathroom.
in case that picture grossed you out so much that you fell out of love with him or forgot how cute he is when he's clean. here's a reminder.

knuckling down on tummy time

i placed him here, walked away, took the picture, and stood there and waited for the inevitable fall or potential face-smashing. it never happened. he looks so freakishly old when he does this!


eating in

in an effort to live a more fulfilling and well-rounded life, and to save money so we can pay off our car so we can save up to build our house at dukes' farm, we have been cooking for ourselves a lot more lately. before judah we at out a LOT and rarely cooked. not that we werent able to; jesse and i both have always been able to cook a very passable plate of food. it was just easier and more fun to go out to eat than to have to plan ahead, buy the groceries, cook, clean, etc.

well our new strategy has worked well, and i think we might be saving money. i know for sure that i have way more yummy lunches to take to work thanks to leftovers so i am not having to get fast food or just snack all day to stay full. unfortunately we have a separate budget for out to eat and groceries, so with our leftover out to eat money we just go to fancier restaurants a few times instead of cheaper ones 4 times a week. alas.

we have always been in love with publix apron's simple meals. they have these cooking demonstrations at about 5 pm at the stores. right when you walk in you see nice lady cooking delicious and tiny plates of food for you to try. all the ingredients are right there for you to grab from a cooler or shelves and the recipe card to take home. no matter if someone is cooking a demonstration or not, there are always about 10 cards available to take (we even bought the special binder with dividers to store our treasured recipes). every time i have ever tasted one of their sample meals, or made one of my own, it has been delicious. they are designed to be made in less than 1 hour, cost just a few bucks per serving and be pretty healthy. their tagline is "Time is short. But you and your family can still sit down to a homemade meal together, thanks to Apron’s Simple Meals. These recipes are easy and delicious, and many take as little as 15 minutes to prepare." we plan to be a "family that eats together stays together" type of family so we figured we'd better get used to cooking when we get home so we'll be ready when its judah plus siblings coming home from school as well as just us coming back from work.

the deal is, on mondays i have dinner ready for jesse and on thursdays he cooks for me while i have my late day at work. wednesdays i have leftovers or a frozen meal while jesse is at church and tuesdays we try to go out with friends or have a date. here are two favorites that we both got to come home to last week:

jesse made Barbecue Baby Back Ribs and Fresh Corn Risotto. we added a fresh caesar salad with our home made dressing.

i clearly hated them

then on monday, i made on one of the first apron's meals we ever had. Salmon Satay With Orange-Jasmine Rice and Chopstick Salad

holy moly this meal is AMAZING. i dont really enjoy cooked salmon at all usually, but the sesame peanut sauce they pair with it is off the hook...unless you have nut allergies (Entschuldigung, Herr Justin). plus the rice and salad are so uniquely tasty. dont worry, the small portion of salmon was just for food styling purposes, i doubled up after the pic. Omega-3's people!

pardon me while i go browse the publix site for tonight's culinary orgasmo.


judah cracks up

jesse and sweet erin at the church preschool make judah crack up until he gets the hiccups

shameless self promotion

we added a poll about who judah resembles now that he is less newborn-looking. its right under our pic in the right sidebar. let us know what you think now! the first poll at about 1 month was a tie between jesse (37%) and both (37%).

i was going to do a post where i lied and said i was going to make the blog private and only official followers could see it from now on (hillary, i do NOT think you were doing this). this would serve to draw out all the secret readers and force their hand. of course i would never do that though since i enjoy random folks in brazil and norway stumbling upon our little family.
so i caved and added the followers gadget. i was a little embarrassed because we've been going since december and only have 13 people that follow. my BF marisa JUST started a blog for her great european move with her hubs and they already has like 30 followers; putting us to shame (granted, its awesome!) anyway, please feel free to click the "follow" button. its pretty much like clicking an "i care about the dukes and think judah is cute and want to boost k8's self-esteem" button. i'm sure there's something in it for you too; like letting you know when we update the blog.
so there's that. straight up panhandling for some love. (this is assuming of course, that there are people that read this who dont already follow...maybe not though!)


adventures in nursing

i took my magic boobs on the road last weekend for family adventures in atlanta. until recently i would have only fed "directly" while in the car. even with my trusty beloved hooter hider i wasnt super excited about breastfeeding out amongst the general populace. what is a swift breeze kicked up and quite literally blew my cover? i just picture writhing masses of vomiting citizens at the sight of me feeding judah. despite being the way we have surviving as a human race, breastfeeding really freaks/grosses lots of people out. did you know that in georgia you are allowed to whip them out to feed a baby in ANY public place? no hider required. i thought that was pretty cool, even if i choose not to partake in the au naturel movement. i'll just stick with my cover thankyouverymuch.

lil' man and big man looking spiffy for date night

saturday night at 6:30 i abruptly said, let's go on a date to atlanta. so we went to figo for some deliciousness. i got the caramelized vidalia onion and marscapone ravioli and jesse got the sausage and apple ravioli in funghi (aka mushroom, but its SO fun to say funghi) sauce. figo is not only an AMAZING pasta place, but also a purveyor of kenny's famous pies. key lime pie is the only citrus dessert i will eat and it has to be GOOD. publix has a great version, but nothing beats kenny. they are based in smyrna but ship to restaurants all over who are smart enough to know they cant cook a match for what they can just import. we were thrilled to discover it at our hole-in-the-wall raw bar in cape san blas, florida on vacation this year. if we had known about kennys before 2006, i guarantee we would have had that as our groom's dessert at our wedding

judah showing funghi envy
then we headed over to atlantic station for a stroll and some late night browsing. well, judah was due to eat at about 9, so after ambling around in the lovely late summer night, we decided we'd rather keep enjoying the sights in the PARK itself than in the PARKing deck. so i got out old grey and we hopped on a bench that was back to back with another and i preceded to feed the little guy. well, about 5 minutes into the meal, a group of 4 smokers came and sat down RIGHT behind us. so, with judah still latched, we walked about 20 paces to another empty bench that was back to back with another couple. my head was literally back to back with a stranger's while breastfeeding judah.

note my new friend's head right behind mine.
the best part was at 9:15 when the park was closing and the guards started kicking everyone out of the grassy square and off the benches. they didnt say a word to us! they wouldnt even let anyone else try to walk through, much less sit, but they let us, or judah, rather, keep on chugging. at one point, this group of men trying to come though right in front of us were told that the park was closed and they would need to go around. the guy sees what we were doing and says jokingly, "hey, no fair, she gets to stay?" so i graciously yelled back "if you can do this, you can stay." *rimshot!* consider yourself zinged by my rapier wit!

fat and happy after his meal while browsing in H & M

hahaha, FAIL. we took the stroller on the escalator and got busted by a manager...so on the way down we took the elevator...

...wherein we discovered the ark of the covenant and gathered around to bask in its glory! (please note the sick view of jesse's underchin the bottom left. its a little disorienting and makes me feel uncomfortable with its stubbly goodness)
part 2 of the adventures came after church on sunday. we had AMAZING falcons tickets to the home & season opener that were given to us by one of our favorite church families whose company has season tickets. we didnt plan ahead very well and realized we would be taking judah along. so, dressed in his finest falcons colors of white and red (finding baby stuff in black and/or red is not so easy, especially if you arent a bulldawg) with a black striped nike hat to keep out the noise, the little bug was ready for his first major sporting event (the night before my water broke, he was technically at the braves game, though that doesnt count).

8 rows up from the field on the 35 yard line!!!! our baby bjorn is red and black so it was PERFECT...for catching litres of slobber
the game was really fun. judah was in the middle of nap time when we got there and was NOT happy with all the noise. the constant loudness didnt bother him, but the abrupt shouts from neighbors, announcements over the P.A. and bursts of cheering when an unexpected play happened were not welcomed by judah-bug. please note the various drool-catching implements we have enlisted into service since the oozing began (bjorn, burp cloth, bib, me)

not until we saw another baby on the big screen did we realize, duh, wax earplugs! we are horrible parents.

finally fell asleep and was super cuddly. at this point not even the super loud popping fireworks when we scored bothered him...he had probably already gone deaf at that point. *shame*

looking a bit bedraggled after trying to nurse an infant who is constantly being startled and flinching his head away from me...ouch. (and ALL the hair down to my neck is ROOTS...YIKES, 10 months)

success! a win for the falcons and for milkwomen everywhere. amazingly we have box seats tickets in december that were given to my parents (for michael vick's atlanta return game!!!). this is even more wonderful because A: we will be in a box that has a back area with couches for nursing, and B: my parents will be there...so free labor! and C: open bar! judah loves zinfandel milk

yoda butt

as you may or may not know, i am a HUGE Star Wars nerd (the movies, not the strategic defense initiative). but its not just the movies, but all the books that were written based on the characters. think like, over 100 novels i own and have read multiple times. these include novels meant for grownups and kids. one of my favorite scenes of all time is when luke, on the advice of a vision from ben kenobi, arrives on dagobah searching for the mighty jedi master yoda and doesnt realize its yoda he has encountered. instead, he just thinks he's a mischievous little imp trying to steal his ration bars. here is the hilarious meeting scene.

well i have always thought yoda's little butt is so cute while he is raiding luke's ration stash, so naturally when i discovered that judah has a bit of yoda butt himself i just had to share.

the original puppet-bum on dagobah

the padawan booty in training on planet earth

the fact that judah's name sounds a bit like both "jedi" and "yoda" is just a happy coincidence, i assure you. bootini!


labor day eve

we decided a fun part of our new magic life would be starting random family traditions and celebrating holidays in unconventional ways. i give you our first installment: labor day eve camping.

since we have a 3 month old we decided to give ourselves a break and not really rough it. we "camped" in the grass of the traffic circle of the grandukes house

yay! the house that jesse built. the really cool thing is that those trees off to my left hold two lots of land that the dukes have given our and jesse's brother, jake's, family to one day build our dream house (or for jakes family of lovely ladies: "fairy cottage") on. hopefully we will be spending many magical nights on this land in the not so distant future

"where are we and whats going on? you guys dont usually sleep with me!"

heading off to sleepytown in the lovedome. ew, not like that. judah was between us, hello?

babies gotta burp in the wild too

mommy and daddy and one unhappy camper right before his first tented meal. yikes, looks like his meal was over cooked!

time to wake up! we DONT go anywhere without the miracle swaddler. looks like his night sleep was pretty good.

just so pleased with himself waking up and playing on our sleeping bag mattress.

look at that face!

the numbers

2: feeding sessions performed outdoors in our tent

3: the number of pages of my nerdbook, "wheel of time volume 10: crossroads of twilight," i read via headlamp before passing out

6: the number of times i woke up and looked over with blazing envy at the boys sleeping so soundly

infinity: the number of times i will do this again as long as its only...

1: time per year!