Friday, December 31, 2010

So long, 2010...

Remember when we used to sing that we'd party like it's 1999? As if something amazing and pivotal would happen at the END of 1999, so we may as well party like rock stars? Or at least like the Artist Formerly Known as Prince??? (hahahahahaha)

And man, NOW 1999 is SO....1999. Like shelved along with all of Molly Ringwald's movies. It really feels like it was that long ago.

Well that was a random thought that just flew off my fingers.

A year ago, Matt and I celebrated with dinner at the Piper. The Christmas season was hard, filled with many nights when I cried myself to sleep during a ridiculously drawn-out miscarriage. But it was good. Christmas was bittersweet - bitter for the obvious reason, sweet because my dear Savior came to experience suffering on a level I will never have to know, to truly bring comfort and joy - not just in a "it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you" way. My comfort is in Him; His joy is my strength. We looked forward to a new year, somewhat biting our lips wondering if this loss was just a precursor for more. But at least we had hope. And each other.

It felt like my friends were having babies left and right. Not really, but a small handful of my nearest and dearest were due soon. I admit that I felt bitter and angry at times. And I only had one loss...what do people do when they have multiple losses??? I can only imagine.

On the day that one of my besties had her baby, I got two pink lines. I was scared to death, yet deep down I knew it would be okay. Matt emailed me from work and asked how I was doing after having visited my friend and her newborn in the hospital. I wrote back that, as a matter of fact, I was doing quite fine - and attached a picture of the positive test. It took him a few looks to figure out what the picture was and what I meant.

Well, here I am, probably should be in bed - Matt turned in earlier than is probably legal on NYE, the dog is snoring and smacking her lips, the baby is conked, and the diaper load in the wash needs its second cycle. But I just want to savor this. I want to sit here and think about every little moment from this past year. Finding out we were expecting again. Our entire church congregation praying for us on Sunday morning. Telling Martine at work and having her nearly leap over a baby's isolette on me. Praying through c-sections that I would not ralph in my surgical mask. The love that my family, friends, church family, and coworkers poured on me while I grieved and while I rejoiced. Seeing Levi for the first time - a little speck of rice on a seven-week ultrasound with a bright flick-flick-flick for a heartbeat. Grilling the poor ultrasound tech at the 20-week appointment about every possible anomaly. Peeing every 45 minutes for months. My dear husband cheering me on during labor like he'd done it a million times before. My OB flipping the baby up for us to be the first to see what "it" was and both of us calling out in unison, "It's a....boy?!?!?" Our guts totally said he was a girl.

My little bird finally came...and really, the thought of calling him a "little bird" now - at 13 1/2 pounds and in 6-month clothes - is kind of laughable.

I'm just so grateful. I was so afraid of so many things,and God carried us through. He kept my sweet baby safe in the hidden place and brought him safely to our family.

So 2011 looks to be a little more low-key and I'm okay with that. I'll go back to work part-time and my dear neighbor will watch Levi - another evidence of God's grace to us. Again, so grateful.

Resolutions? I guess I have a few bouncing in my mind, of course. But I really want to go deeper this year, into the heart and marrow of my spirit and sever some sin issues at the root. That's going to take some humility and will require some work - but I look forward to experiencing the fruit of the freedom that will result.

Well, I better get to bed. Lord knows I'll be up again soon!!! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Levi's Betrothed

This is Bezoar. (Well, she does have a name - a prettier one than Bezoar - and it's Kristin.) She's my bestie.

Know what? Something really cool happened on the day that Levi was born...

...she gave birth to a little girl named Madeline. (!!!!)

Do ya THINK we have designs on the betrothal of these two???

So here was one of their first dates...

...okay, so the violins aren't striking up in the background yet, but just you wait. And oh what a joyous day that'll be!! We just know they'll be sold on the whole arranged marriage thing.

(I know Kristin would want me to point out that Maddie had a really bad case of baby acne, not a rash - and I would equally like to point out that said acne did nothing to cover up how darling she is!!)

Here's something else that's beyond cool -

This was this past Saturday night. Among the four of us, in the past couple of years we've had all manner of heartbreak in the area of childbearing (multiple miscarriages, told you may never conceive, etc)...and look at us! Four babies in 2010 - two of whom were born on the same day, and three of whom were born within weeks of each other (I'll let you guess which three...think hard...). What a gracious God we serve! Two years ago the only kiddo in this group was Kristin's older son...what will this picture look like in two more years??

Just had to point out how great all the carseats looked lined up with each other - all the same ones, might I add (the highly ranked Chicco Keyfit 30, in case you're in the market for one).

In other news, my cousin Laura took a break from studying for finals last weekend to come see Levi...SO GOOD to see her!! Come any time, Laura!

Levi dressed up for his first Christmas party (don't worry, I was on my way to the shower myself...)

This little play mat was a gift from Matt's sister and brother-in-law and their son in Colorado...Levi LOVES it! This is the first time I put him on it - you can kind of see him grinning from the side. :)

And I just had to throw in this post-bath pic from last night. Who doesn't love a chubby naked baby in a duck towel?

Well, friends, in case I don't have a chance to blog again this week, Merry Christmas!! And Stamy fam, we're SO EXCITED to see you!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My sweetie

Me and Mr. McSquish cleaning the house together. Clearly he is quite pleased with this arrangement!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just some random pics

I have a few extra minutes believe it or not, so I thought I'd throw some random pictures of Levi on here. My friend Mary uses her blog as sort of her family scrapbook, and I like that idea. I don't scrapbook, though I admire those who do and have the creativity and patience for it. I don't even have a baby book where you write down milestones and stuff like that. Didn't even think of it, and come to think of it, it's probably not a bad idea..but at least I can write the same stuff down in a blog. So forgive me if it's boring, but I need to archive stuff like this in some other place than the steel trap of my mind (which is more like a colander...)!!

Isn't this pic just darling??? I love to watch him sleep!!!! I do let him sleep on his tummy during his afternoon nap, since I'm checking on him frequently. I don't want his head to get a funny shape from sleeping on his back all the time. Check out his butt...Matt and I always laugh, "Do these cloth diapers make my butt look big??" Um, yes Levi, they do. How are the cloth diapers going, you ask? We LOVE them!!! We use a combination of prefolds (think of your basic rectangle piece of cloth that you twist or fold into a diaper on them and cover with plastic or wool or whatever pants) and all-in-ones (basically a regular diaper just like Pampers or Huggies, but made out of cloth and has snaps). They work great, hold blowouts of biblical proportions that I KNOW no disposable could ever hold, and he never has a rash. And oddly, you never smell his poop. I can't explain why. I've put a disposable on him two or three times, and each time when he had his usual thunderstorm-in-his-pants during a feeding, I was suddenly immersed in a brown cloud. Never have that when he's wearing his cloth dipes. But yeah, they work great, are not extra "work" or emotionally taxing or any of the other things people seem to think that cloth diapers are...I have an extra load of laundry every few days but I throw it in before I go to bed, hit the button for the second cycle when I'm up for one of his feedings, and throw it in the dryer when I'm up for another feeding or in the morning. We're saving money in the long run, don't have to make runs to the store because we ran out of diapers, etc etc. Diggin' it.

So it drives me barking NUTS when Blogger flips my pictures, but I can't flip it back. But I just love this one!! Look at that little boy face!! He looks more and more like a boy every day. He's a SOLID boy. He has these amazingly squishy cheeks and chubby thighs, but other than that he's not fat, he's just all boy. Matt and I visited my work yesterday, and we weighed him for the heck of it...subtract a little here and there for clothing, diaper, etc, but he's about 12 1/2 pounds!!! And he's LONG! He just looks so much older than six weeks to me!! (gulp!)

Someone let me borrow this snowsuit for now. Absolutely hysterical. I actually used it that day and was very glad I had it! But why can I not stop thinking of Ralphie in Christmas Story??

He's starting to smile real smiles. I can't get enough of it. I will pull out an Oscar-winning performance and make a complete fool of myself just to get a hint of one. My faves are the wide-open-mouth, eyes-wide-and-twinkling smiles. They don't come very often, but oh they're beautiful!

He's holding his head up quite a bit - I've even set him in his little Bumbo seat a couple of times (he's not quite ready for it YET, but he actually did pretty well). He pushes himself up on his feet when I'm holding him, particularly when he's having a cow about something. His cry is very boy-ish and it cracks me UP. He's cooing quite a bit, and the other night it seemed like we had a full conversation - I'd say something, and he'd chirp back...I'd respond, and a second later he yipped...I said something else, and he cooed's just so amazing to see this little person who wasn't even two cells a year ago, and now he's growing into a person. Yeah, some of it is because we provide a good environment for him to grow, but all of the credit ultimately goes to God. Levi is fearfully and wonderfully made, and he's ours to nurture and teach and shepherd. What an awesome weight of responsibility and what a delight!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

God is Good.

(Insert scream HERE)

(Insert sad whimper HERE)

Day started for Matt around 0340. Bless that dear man's heart, he takes any feeding after 3am before he gets ready for work. Unfortunately for him, lately Levi's been snoozing solidly...until about 3:30 or 4. He eats, and then he chirps and yips in his bed until I get up around 7.

It started like any other morning. I got up and pumped, Matt changed Levi's diaper and handed him off to me, and I fed him.

Halfway through, what should have been a simple burp was a projectile return of the goods...with extraordinary gusto. Huh. Change of plans. I'll shower sooner rather than later. On my way out of the shower, the little twinge in my back/hip that I started noticing last night yelped at me when I bent over to replace the pacifier. Guess the bad body mechanics I'm sure I've been using for the past several weeks in bending and lifting my sweet baby have come back to bite me. Levi's starting to melt down. I'm starting to feel grumpy.

Not surprisingly, partway through my breakfast, Levi was like "Waaaaiiiitttt a second....why is MY tummy so empty???" and started to howl. Mean Mom decrees that he needs a bath before he needs to eat - but a sponge bath will do since he just had a good dunking yesterday. Perch him on the guest bed in his room, strip him down, fill a basin. Diaper is majorly full. I spit-shine him, and move to the blowout area. Gave that a good, thorough cleaning (Levi was quite displeased at this point, because clearly the growling tummy due to the earlier evacuation of his breakfast was MY fault) and am JUST about complete when a chubby little foot hooks into the basin and tips it...all over the bed and carpet. Poop-infused water. Fab. More laundry. And what is a little boy to do thereafter??? Pee!! All over mommy's exquisite new t-shirt (see above). I got it for free at the meat market. It shows a stick person chasing a steak and says, "I exercise just so I can eat more." Very fitting for me.

I was feeling a little discontent yesterday. The sky is gray. Getting out with Levi is a production that I reserve only for very necessary trips because I'm still getting in my groove of executing them with any semblance of finesse. Exercise goes on the back burner. Sadly, so does my quiet time with the Lord. I get a little lonely. Nothing anyone else doesn't feel from time to time. An early case of The Bummers enhanced by a new baby.

So in the middle of all of this this morning (post-projectile, pre-pee), I'm at the kitchen table wrapped in a blanket of inexplicable blah. For some reason I glanced at the calender and my eyes settled on a date I will not forget in this lifetime.

Ohhhhh. The day my heart dissolved.

A year ago yesterday, we found out that our Glory Baby was going to be a Glory Baby, and not an earth-bound baby.

It shouldn't surprise me that a quiet sob still teases the back of my throat when I think of that sweet baby that we had already grown to cherish. When I started decorating for Christmas last week, it rushed upon me so quickly and unexpectedly that I had to make a quick exit to gather myself (Sarah and Lisa, I covered it well!). A year ago I was decorating and still savoring that delicious secret that we were anticipating springing upon the family on Christmas Day. I pictured that a year later I would be hanging ornaments on the tree while balancing a baby on my hip...or whirling around the living room with our baby when a fun Christmas song came on...or whatever.

And then my heart dissolved on that one day.

And God is so kind, isn't He??? He is sovereign, and only He knew what joy awaited us. Only He knew that next Christmas, I WOULD be hanging ornaments on the tree one-handed while Levi filled the other...that I WOULD be whirling around the living room with a wide-eyed Levi whenever that fun song by Trans-Siberian Orchestra comes on (Wizards in Winter, I think??). That the most beautiful music in my house would be the chirps and yips of a lively baby, or the soft coos and sighs of a sleeping one. He DID bring beauty from ashes. He didn't have to. I don't deserve it. I was prepared to accept whatever He brought, even if I didn't like it.

So I sat at the table crying into my oatmeal, because little did I know a year ago, on that awful, awful day when I stared at a mockingly empty ultrasound screen, that here I'd be with spitup stains on my clothes, poop-water on my carpet, and yet another pee-soaked load of baby clothes in the laundry queue. Looking at a darling, perfect, gorgeous little boy who knows how to dial my number with one wide-eyed blink! Whose cheeks I could just suck right off his face. Whose sleeping form I can hardly take my eyes off of. Whose sassy cry is like music to my ears.

God IS good. All the Time.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So sorry!!!

(A rare moment with eyes open for the camera!!!)

I know, it's been about two and a half weeks since I last posted!!!! A lot of people are asking for more pictures! I can't beLIEVE how much time one little person can take up in my day. Even now I'm sitting here blogging and know I'm taking a huge risk...when I really should be taking advantage of some downtime to take a shower! BUT - we got a jump start this morning at 4:30, so I figured, why not just start my day? I mean, who doesn't love starting their day at 0430??? So we've already done one cycle of feeding/playtime/work out/fold laundry/eat breakfast/etc. Yes, I said "work out." I did pull out a Biggest Loser video. I had energy, I went with it.

Levi is NOT a fussy baby, thank the Lord!!! He "chirps" and yips at times, and when he gets really mad it only lasts a few minutes. He's pretty obvious about what he wants (duh, like any newborn I guess!) but he doesn't just fuss for the sake of fussing like many babies do. He goes down in his crib when he's ready to sleep. He's just a good kid. :) We're figuring each other out, for sure.

I'm taking dinner to a friend today who just had her little boy this past weekend. Just a year ago we were both sobbing in each other's arms at church, mourning our own losses. Little did we know that in God's timing we'd each rejoice in the birth of our sons!!! He is so good! He's good when we mourn and He's good when we celebrate.

Okay, so I stink at taking pictures. My darn camera (well, it's actually the darn user, not the camera's fault) has this red-eye reduction feature on it, so even when I've turned the flash OFF, this little light STILL comes on and flashes in Levi's face and makes him close his eyes and scowl. So I have THE HARDEST time getting pictures with his eyes open. And then I just give up. So I took a video of him one day last week, and it's SO cute because he's cooing and making these little kissing sounds with his lips like he does when he's hungry, but Blogger won't let me load it. Argh. Anyway, here are some more recent pics....

Modeling his new hat aunt Elizabeth made...

Tummy time with Daddy...he really looks like he's interested in his toys here...but he's not...

He LOVES when Matt reads to him. There's a pattern emerging here...Daddy is WAY more fun than Mommy! Levi acts totally enamored with Matt and he scowls at me.

Starting to hold his head up!

This pic is a bit blurry, but it's the best display of his Thanksgiving outfit! The hat says "Baby's 1st Thanksgiving" and I LOVE the turkey feathers on top!!! (He yakked on the onesie pretty early in the day...isn't that just the way it goes?)

Still pretty displeased with the bath routine in the morning...but we're getting better...note the scowl...

Hanging out with Grandpa on Thanksgiving!

Hopefully my next post won't be so far off!!! And I'd really like to post actual thoughts, really I would. I have a couple of posts rattling around in my head, but, shoot, look at how long it took me just to load pictures on!!! So we'll see when that happens!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Already growing so fast!

Here are a few snaps from the past week or so...he's already growing so fast! I feel like every morning his face looks a little different. He's growing fabulously - 9lbs even at his checkup this past Friday! Clearly he's gobbling his food pretty well!

Gramma Sue came last week to help out....he LOVED the snuggle-time!

Token shot of me...I'm like, okay, there are a lot of pictures of Levi, Levi and Daddy...but where's Mommy???? So here I am.

He LOVES playtime with Daddy! Matt always manages to captivate him!

That's about all for now. I will write more profound thoughts at a later time! Too pooped right now!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tummy Time

Tell me you don't want to suck the cheeks straight off this baby!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Good Food and Gratitude

Just look at this sweet baby!! We have so much to be grateful for. Yes, we are experiencing life with a newborn and everything that comes with it. Like, the sleepless nights. As you can see, this is what Levi thinks of sleeping at night:

The first few nights, he morphed from a sweet, docile baby to a head bobbing-and-weaving, screaming, baby-bird-mouth-open-wide, falling apart mess. Matt and I have been doing "shifts" where one will stay up from 8pm till 2am, and then we switch. But man, one of those nights we were both up wondering WHAT the heck was going on with this...this...child.

But I have to count it all joy. Matt had to remind me of that as I started to join Levi in meltdown mode around 4am the other morning. And I do count it all joy. Nearly a year ago we had our own loss. There are countless families who are grieving out there right now and their arms are empty...whether due to infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, or the fact that their baby is in the ICU on a vent, with a birth defect, a horrible infection, or born too early for words to describe. And they would give ANYthing to be up at all hours listening to their baby cry, frustrated with feedings, feeling hung over from lack of sleep.

Alas, the morning comes, and THEN what does he think of sleep???...

Of course!!

I'm so grateful that we live in the community that we do...our church community, my work friends, our neighbors...God is so kind to us. Our fridge is STUFFED full of food (I had to clean, rearrange, and shuttle stuff to the freezer this morning to make space!) from our Sunday School class and community group. We have at least two weeks' worth of meals coming, and that's just from church alone!! That doesn't even count friends from work who are asking when they can drop something off!! It's unbelievably humbling. We're so well cared for. Twice this week friends from work came to rock and love on Levi while Matt and I crawled upstairs for a two-hour nap. I mean, who does that? Carolyn and Michele, thank you SOOO much!

I'm grateful for how good I feel, barely a week after delivering this little moose! (I know there are far bigger babies, but we simply were not expecting to have a baby who was 8 1/2 lbs to come out of me!) My ankles and legs up to my knees were so puffy it looked like I had been inflated with a bicycle pump. Parts of me were beyond painful and sore (won't expound, but ladies, you know what I'm talking about). But I've been able to get out for a walk (that's why Levi is so super-bundled up there). Heading out to the pediatrician felt divine! Today I woke up and had my feet back. And I could put my wedding rings on again. I could even put my regular jeans on thanks to the help of a Bella Band (I know, it's the same as wearing maternity jeans, but it just felt nice to wear something different). Ahhhhhh.

I'm SO grateful for my dear husband, who is an AMAZING daddy!!! Matt has stepped up more than I could ever have asked...learning how to diaper Levi (with cloth prefolds, no less!), dress him, and feed him...comforting him, staying up with him, snuggling him, singing to him, reading to him, doing laundry, washing bottles, cheering me on when I get frustrated...I mean, he's just been unbelievable. Way more than I could EVER ask. Thank you so much, my Matt.

And just look at this sweet baby!!! When I look at this face, I just think, he can cry until kingdom come and it would still be the sweetest sound in the universe. It's not lost on me how many hearts are broken because their own dear babies' cries won't be heard in this life.

But I do appreciate the times when he's sleeping peacefully....

And laugh at the times when he just utterly melts today during his bath -

(meltdown following bath...)

(still melting down...)

(Getting better...)

(Ahhhhh!!! Daddy saves the day every time!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

First day home

On our way home Sunday!!! Me and one of my work besties, Michele...

Hanging out with Daddy...

Asleep in his little crib...

On our way out on the town!!! (Well, to Carter's to exchange all the girl clothes he doesn't need and the newborn clothes he doesn't fit!)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Welcome, Baby Levi!

Welcoming our sweet little boy, Levi Matthew!!

Born October 29th, 2010 at 7:33am
8lbs 6oz (a little more than we anticipated!)
20 1/2 inches long

A few minutes after birth...getting checked over and weighed

Checking out Daddy...

First bath with aunt Carolyn (my buddy who was our nurse yesterday)

A sweet sleeper (well, on the first day anyway)

This picture looks a whole lot like a newborn picture of ME!

I'll tell more about how the delivery went later, but wanted to get some pictures up!!