all i want for christmas...

...i GOT on christmas morning. layla-boo started social smiling and cooing. our little chunk's voice drives us bonkers with delight and her smile send us over the edge. also, its fairly impressive that her facial muscles can hoist those massive cheeks skyward.

her poor little complexion is finally getting a lot better. but its starting to look like we're gonna have a full blown baldie on our hands as each of her hairs seems to be slowly retreating back into its follicle like a shadowless groundhog (or do i have that backwards?). and now that all the jaundice has left her system it appears that she is going to be pale like mommy.

but hair will grow and there always spray tanning and accutane, but a smile like our girl has is sort of irreplaceable and priceless. so cheese it up lay-lay!


false advertising

"um, i thought you said i was getting a little sister"



from the dukes:
left to right: hottie studface, cheeser mcpointy, suspicious shadykins, and manic rabideyes


from santa

santa here, guest blogging on christmas eve. i am hard at work at the dukes family branch of my workshop. 2 major items on my docket tonight are:

1. deciding the ratio of cookies to eat as dough versus baked. (i went with a half and half breakdown in the end...hell, i'm santa, raw eggs are powerless against me. back off)

2. tricking out a yard-sale acquired power wheel for judah. this consists of a healthy few hours of "de-barbie-ing" this:

it's the gift that keeps on giving: he'll always have a great icebreaker on dates, "yeah, my first big christmas gift was a barbie jammin' jeep"

i'm a little peeved that i got this very-used "bargain" jeep for $15 at a yard sale plus the battery for $56 on ebay and then saw a brand new toy story version at wal-mart tonight for $119 (no arts and crafting required). but luckily i'm santa so i don't have a toddler and newborn to wake me up in the morning, and i can therefore spend worry-free hours putting love and work into customizing judah's jeep and sleep it off tomorrow.

i'll show you my handiwork in an AFTER picture of the jeep later on. merry christmas!

love, santa


caption me

i was thinking: "layla anticipates early on the benefits of sleeping with one eye open"


one month check in

layla is doing awesome. i am sort of kind of getting used to having 2 kids, but there still really just isn't a lot of time for things that were daily occurrences back when i was a mother of one- such as blogging, cooking and dental hygiene. just the other day i found myself feeling proud about wearing my "dressy sweatpants" to the store. yikes.

so the blog is on a kind of maternity leave too. but rest assured that there is lots of material in what is left of my brain after 2 generous cerebral cell donations to my little monsters (seriously, i am getting dumber with every offspring, the IQ points have to be going somewhere).

so here's some fun stats that you may care about and that i KNOW i will want to remember later.

she is sleeping about 5 or 6 straight hours every night. this is right on pace with judah who kept a pace of hours straight per night = weeks old. one thing she's doing that judah didn't is exhibiting the newborn witching hour. apparently this is fairly common and consists of an hour or 2 of inconsolable crying in the evening. usually sometime between 7 and 11 pm. its hard because this is right when judah goes to sleep and we start to try to relax or have alone time or even go to bed. according to the books its just a developmental thing and will fade away by 2 or 3 months. my heart breaks for parents of colic babies.

so the first week or so after we got home i was really nervous (aka hormonal postpartum guilty weeping mess) that she wasn't get enough milk because she would get so so frustrated trying to nurse at night (turned out to be witching hour). i was really worried that she was starving and wouldn't be back up to her birth weight in 2 weeks like pediatricians want babies to be. she was 8.1 when she was born and 7.9 when we left the hospital. her appointment was when she was 10 days old, so i was just hoping she'd be close to her birthweight again even after our feeding issues. um, she was 8.10! so 4 days early she was 9 ounces heavier than the doctors even needed her to be. talk about relief. little porker was trying to sneak extra snacks from the boobs that were giving her just plenty.

fast forward 23 days to her 1 month appointment this week. she now weighs 11.1. she gained 2 and a half pounds in three weeks! apparently my body isn't diluting all the oreo cream that i am eating and it's just going straight to her as-is and chunking her up like none other. but seriously, no skim milk here.

getting weighed down by the jowls while jesse and lukas learn the moby-wrap like amazing life partners.

she has a really bad case of baby acne. judah had a bit as a newborn, but she has it like a tween. its totally normal too. poor thing has been swimming in my hormones for 9 months and it could take up to 3 months for them to evacuate the dance floor through her adorable face.

exactly one month old. just lacking some braces to go with her middle school problem skin. i just think of them as red freckles.

as we saw above she finally met her other set of god parents who made it in from the mission field in chile. i think she was comfortable with them:

even though she looks pretty bald, her hair is hanging in there and has grown noticeably since birth. its really thick but so so short. like the worlds softest buzz cut. its way longer in the back so she has the super chic baby-mullet. naturally i have a baby girl with male pattern baldness and a boy whose golden locks put pantene commercials to shame.

her party-in-the-back. it matches daddy's arm hair exactly

regular posts, funny captions, deep thoughts and interesting adjectives returning early 2011.


we surrender

ugh. we reached our haircut breaking point when jesse went to pick up judah one day at school and the teachers had put a barrette in his hair to keep it out of his face. aaaaand, cue zany cuts this afternoon.

of course he immediately picked the thomas the tank for his barber chair.

life's good on the island of sodor

here's a little BEFORE action. a last gasp of him as a hippie trail guide in training

and then did you notice above who decided barbie's convertible was more to his liking for the long haul?

maybe the blonde hair was starting to sink in deeper than the follicle and affect his transportation preferences

shockingly he was amazingly calm and still during the whole thing. a lolly, some cartoon network and a malibu cruiser made him a perfect little angel. he did have a massive freak out when they tried to put the smock on him. naturally. see, he's mr. flip-his-shit-on-the-molehill-and-completely-ignore-the-mountain. at the doctor he's stone-faced during 4 shots but then loses his mind when they shine a light in his ears. i can't believe this chick had it so easy when i have sustained black eyes and fat lips just trying to swoop down and trim his bangs.

so here's the after. he looks like a 6 year old. i do miss my sweet little flower child, but hey, it's hair and will grow out again, and it's actually really cute and way more sustainable as far as, you know, vision goes.


riding in cars with m'boy

like some cruel game of tetris, because of the size of our car, layla's big carseat and base HAS to go in the middle of the backseat unless the front seat passenger wants his gut stowed in the glove compartment. that means judah is sitting within arms reach of his little sister.

we've tried to tell him not to touch her while we're in the car since his favorite activity is pointing our her "eeeeeeyes" by sticking his finger straight into her pupil. poor little thing's slow newborn reflexes never see it coming and just keep her eye wide open as he parks his dirty toddler fingertip right on in there. he is also obsessed with taking her hats off while manically saying "hat, hat, hat, hat," stealing her blanket and flipping her canopy up and down up and down.

when i am alone with both of them in the car, i am helpless to stop him. luckily his arms are too short to do anything really bad, his fingertip barely reaches her face, and mostly he just wants to stick is hand inside the carseat in her lap or try to hold her hand. i would rather him accidentally hurt her a few times but feel like we encourage his love for his sister than to have him never make her cry but also have him be afraid to touch her. she'll be tough. the better for digging 50 mph volleyballs later in life.

hereare two classic shots of car behavior that i snapped this morning on my phone:

yeah judah, we've pretty much let you coast these first 18 months, but it's time to pull your own weight around here and contribute, buddy. feed the baby!

ha! not. we all had to leave the house super early today to go pick up the other car and so i had to give her a pumped bottle on the road cause there was no time to breastfeed at home. um, judah would NOT let me hold it by myself and had to support the back end of the bottle with his freakishly strong grip. when i let go to grab my phone, he actually held it just right for almost a minute all by himself before deciding to tip it completely vertically which jerked it right out of her mouth with a satisfying "POP" that he then tried to recreate. she was not amused since my boobs don't usually exhibit this behavior.

and then the cutest thing i have ever seen occurred:

100% unprompted. swearsies. this is what i catch him at most of the time when he's being "bad" and messing with her. love explosion.


mind: blown

we are on a roll today with both parents at home and both kids napping for uncharacteristically long periods. so i am gonna blog my heart out until exhaustion claims me.

pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and the early days with a new baby constantly blow my mind. its like you're this walking museum of the miraculous. i mean, i think we all know where babies come from, but the fact that just doing that once at just the right time results in a chain reaction of about a billion miracles that results in a perfect tiny human life is fairly incredible.

i am a great lover of science, and evolution in particular. i also happen to believe the bible's creation account pretty literally too. this may make me seem flaky and not to faithful to either since most people vehemently hold to one or another. but i get by with this because god is was smarter than me and invented science as well as the bible. if i'm down with the notion that he created, um, everything, then i think i can mentally give him the power to create it all in 7 literal days while leaving 5 billion years of natural science behind...even if i don't really understand how. hopefully i haven't offended the science community OR the jesus community with these beliefs (tea party folks, i'm cool with offending). anyway, all that is to say that the combination of the scientifically explicable and the logic-defying miraculous that makes up bringing a baby in to the world is something i could just sit around and ponder for years.

here is a list of some of the most recent truth-bombs that have been exploding in my hormone-ravaged brain that send me into awe-fests of double-rainbow proportions.

1. when i was pregnant with judah, my decidedly female body somehow had the instructions, materials and know-how to make a penis from scratch. what the what?!?!

2. in the natural childbirth books they talk about how nature/god was kind in the design of labor in that the pain is bad but it isn't constant. you always get a break in between contractions: a few minutes (or seconds if you're under the influence of pitocin) that are completely pain-free. i used to think, "yeah, big whoop, it still hurts like hell after the breaks," but i was thinking about this the other day and the fact is: you are moving a fully formed human being from inside your body, where it started as 2 cells, to the outside world where it will live independently. or just think of the idea of moving an 8 lb mass from inside of you to outside of you. um, that should hurt NONSTOP. while childbirth is no picnic and, according to genesis, is actually a consequence of the fall, god is merciful even in that because even in labor we get a few pain free minutes for every minute of agony. cool, right?

3. i have to run because another miracle just presented itself in my chesticle region and i need to unload. and speaking of amazing creation: hello, breastmilk? i could drink nothing but blue kool aid all day long and my body would still know how to turn it into awesome-packed milk (and it wouldn't even be blue!). this stuff is a perfect genetic match for my one specific baby and it delivers nutrition, antibodies and comfort all in one suckle. AMAZING!

do you have any favorite biological mind-blowers of your own? do share. thinking about all of this stuff and how improbable and ordained it all is really makes me love my little creations and my awesome creator even more.

dear jesus,

thank you so much

for letting me borrow these little nuglets of yours. they are sincerely awesome. love, keight


so who does she look like?

the subject:

layla..first bath 15 days old after cord stump FINALLY fell off

the lookalike contestants:

big bro at the same age

mom as baby

daddy as baby

in my mind there is only one acceptable answer because, to me, she looks IDENTICAL to one of these people. let's see if yall agree.


my two

we came across a pair of pj's that one of my mom's sweet friends gave judah a few days after he was born. they were size 6-12 months so back then we stashed them away because having a 6-12 month old seemed like eons in the future. well, we found them right around his 18 month birthday last week (whoopso) and just HAD to squeeze his chunky cuteness into them. and of course, here's layla finally filling up some of the things i made for her when she was just a twinkle in my eye and a bump under my shirt.

if you don't have a mouth full of turkey to put you into a post-thanksgiving stupor...

a turkey-milk coma will always suffice (that's turkey-flavored milk, not milk of a turkey)

can you understand why i spend my most of my time gazing at these two instead of blogging? holy zowies i love them. and the little girl? blowing my mind.


impulse purchases ahead

Publix, where shopping is used to be a pleasure:

remember when taking pictures of borrowed produce and my burgeoning stomach was the most adventurous thing I did at the store?


cancel the APB

we are all four here and alive.

turns out layla is way more attached to mommy than i remember judah being and girl cant drain a mammary nearly as fast as i remember him being able to. but maybe i just cant remember the way early days with him. (is it normal for a newborn to take like an hour per feeding?)

i have been pretty overwhelmed by how many emails, calls, blog posts and facebook messages that i owe folks, so i kind of went ultra-hermit on the internet in general this past week and didn't get on at all. but tapping on these keys is actually feeling pretty good, so hopefully we'll be back with some sort of regularity soon.

p.s. she's awesome. 2 weeks old today.


in case you were wondering...

...yep, this is hard

i had always figured a post that started like this would come soon after having two kids. but i thought it would be a bit later. like after jesse's week of paternity leave is over. after every meal we eat stops being prepared by someone else. after the offers to help with judah stopped rolling in and being accepted. you know, when it actually became real life.

not before. didn't see that coming. but here we are. it's hard in ways i never expected.

but the good news is that for everyone who told me how hard it would be, there were two who told me how my heart and love for my family would grow by much more than a factor of 2. they were right too. so i'll keep at it.

i miss the hospital. it was like camp.

the moment we landed at home. now what do we do with these things?

yeah buddy, i know how you feel.

learning to share. he's doing so well at it.

yeah kiddo, we're in this together.

ok so maybe some people aren't struggling as bad as others. gee willy, that's adorable

any tips on life with plural kids would be much appreciated.


newborn session

falling hard for this little girlie bean over at the dukes' house. getting up and ready for a photoshoot this morning after our first night home wasn't easy, but man these really make it worth it.


judah lasted about 5 minutes at the session before melting down. this was the only evidence we'll have that he was there. poor kid. he's so sweet with her but wasn't ready for the solo hold

that's her going home from the hospital headband i made. judah loved it and kept trying to take her "hat" from her

not an effective form of birth control

intimate moments, much? love this. ahhhhhhh! simulated nakie fam. check out her skintone putting ours to shame

blogging one handed while breastfeeding is fun and all, but this is where i leave you.


in the meantime

Jesse here. We're about to head home, but I wanted to give you guys some pictures from the last two days at the hospital. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and for all the wonderful gifts we received. We love you all even though we forgot to get pictures of almost everyone who came!

mad props to adrienne for helping bring 2 dukes into the world, we heart you big

special thanks to lena for documenting everything (no detags here!)

hope you're not too scarred to have kids of your own one day after all that you witnessed:)

judah was keeping his distance at first, but then warmed up

grandvincents looking quite proud

not sure why judah and I didn't make this one, maybe the creepy pacifier face is our stand in

he eventually warmed up and was having a blast

all the current residents of ebenhearth (dukes homestead), with layla-boo

nothing like getting two more cousins in a weekend (our sister in law jackie's sister had a baby girl on friday so sophie and bella tripled their cousin allotment this weekend!)

it's laughable to imagine getting everyone to look in one picture (even the 'cloud' couldn't save this one)

judah trying to get a new perspective on this malarkey

no matter how many more we'll have, there will always be time for this

the hunts continued to score major points when elliot brought WH for dinner. an allstar for the allstar

elliot getting frisky with the camera angles

her very own brasfield tee; she'll be on the job site in no time


naptime snuggles with mom

it was dreary all day monday, but it made for a cool picture

24 hour birthday!

we had to check kara's bag when she left to make sure she wasn't
trying the ol' layla boo switcheroo


oh hi!

all this sleeping and pooping is wearing me out

why am i so freakin' cute? i don't know!

my. heart. is. melting.

chica has some BIG feet . g-ma genia said, "she'll be able to play front row!"

she's already got me doing whatever she wants!

you want a turn?

...you'll have to pry her away from mom