Our Sweet Sleep Routine

Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you’re busy making other plans

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It’s getting better and better

–John Lennon

I don’t get to post much more than pictures lately, but tonight as I rocked my little guy to sleep, I was inspired. I was thinking of how sweet our routine is and how much I love it; but also how it’s evolved and how it will keep evolving.

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When Max was first born, he slept all swaddled up and next to my side of the bed in his snug-a-bunny rock and play sleeper. He was so sweet all bundled and cuddled up in there and it was easy for me to reach over and rock him if he woke up, or grab him to feed him. I loved being able to lean over the side of my bed and see him there!

When I realized that he was really sleeping consistently through the night and that I was waking up with every little noise that he made, I knew that it was time to move him from the rock-and-play and into his own bed. Luckily, Max started sleeping through the night around 8 weeks or so – around the time I had to go back to work (what a good boy). I was worried that he wouldn’t like sleeping flat on his back after sleeping in a reclined position in the rock-and-play, but fortunately, he made the transition from the rock-and-play and into his crib very smoothly.

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We still swaddled him for a while – and boy did he look cute all swaddled up! Bedtime meant a tubby in the plastic blue bathtub in the sink (about every 3rd night or so), followed by being bundled up in a swaddle. I’d feed him all swaddled up, and then when he was old enough to not pass out while he ate, I’d read him a story. We’d say prayers (well, I’d say them for him of, course), and then I’d rock him and sing to him. I’d always sing “Let it Be” to him, especially if he was crying. Bouncing him up and down a bit would always calm him down, so I remember times when I’d need to calm him down and I’d pace around his room, singing “Let it Be” and holding him, all swaddled up, in my arms out in front of me while I bounced him a little. I always wonder if that song will be calming to him when he’s grown up – will he remember that his mommy sang it to him when he cried?

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By the time Max was six months old, I decided that I wanted to put him down without swaddling him. He was starting to roll over pretty consistently and I was starting to be afraid that he’d roll over while swaddled and smother himself (seems like a theme from his first year alive – me worrying that he’d die!). I remember that I was *so worried* that he wouldn’t sleep well without the swaddle. But he did great!

Our bedtime routine remained pretty much the same until he stopped taking a bedtime bottle. When we dropped the bedtime bottle, I added more story and song time to the routine. I thought he needed more time to wind down – but really I think I didn’t want to cut the quiet time that I had with him shorter! I started reading him 3 (short) stories and singing him 3 songs. We’d usually read some board book version of Dr Seuss books (“Fox in Socks” was our favorite) and I’d always sing “I Will” and “Let it Be” and usually “Good Night” (or some other Beatles song).

Now that he’s a toddler, we do baths more frequently. He’s playing outside at school and he gets *dirty*. So we do a tubby pretty much every night. Max went though a short period where he didn’t want to sit on my lap and listen to stories and be sung to – when he was just discovering how to wiggle around on his own – but now he’s back to sweetly sitting and snuggling with me. And he even hugs me back now when I turn him around to snuggle against my shoulder, which is the greatest thing in the world!

I love rocking and singing to him so much, that it’s hard to put him down in bed some nights. I tell him, “Good night [kiss his head], Sleep tight [kiss his head], Don’t let the bedbugs bite [kiss him three times]!” He’s so cute: I put him down and he snuggles on his tummy with his arms and knees tucked underneath him and his little butt in the air. I cover him with a muslin blanket and put on his ocean sounds and nightlight (which have been a fixture since he started sleeping in his crib). I put on “20 minutes of lullabies” with his Sleep Scout, and turn off the light on his nightstand as I head out the door. Some nights, he’s asleep within minutes. Other nights, he plays around in bed for an hour. But luckily, no matter what, he’s quiet and happy in bed (unless he’s sick).

The next challenge we’ll be tackling around bedtime will be to get rid of “Mimi” (his pacifier with a turtle attached), and “Lamby” (his pacifier with a lamb attached). Right now, he asks for them (sounding hilariously desperate), the moment we walk into his room for bedtime. I’m not sure how that will go… And then we’ll need to start thinking about transitioning to a toddler bed. We have a fire truck bed (of course!) in the basement that I think Max will love. I’m just worried about how he’ll handle being in a bed that he can easily get out of!

I probably shouldn’t worry, though. I’ve been worried before every other transition and Max has handled it amazingly. We’re so lucky – what an awesome little guy we have!

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Max’s 1st Birthday Party

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We held Maxwell’s 1st Birthday Party yesterday afternoon and it was so much fun!!  Max had lots of friends and family around him to celebrate and he really seemed to have a great time!

I had a lot of fun planning and prepping for his party!  I focused on the dessert table, and I think it turned out fabulously – exactly how I’d pictured it:

I sewed the pennant banners using leftover pennants from when I made one for Max's nursery.  I cut the letters out out of flannel using my Silhouette Cameo.

I sewed the pennant banners using leftover pennants from when I made one for Max’s nursery. I cut the letters out out of flannel using my Silhouette Cameo.

On the dessert table was: red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, shortbread cookies shaped like mustaches, marshmallows on striped straws dipped in blue colored chocolate and sprinkles, a red velvet with cream cheese frosting smash cake, and some red candy (Twizzlers, Jolly Ranchers, and Swedish Fish) and some fun non-sweets-treats that guests could bag up and "shave" for later!

On the dessert table was: red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, shortbread cookies shaped like mustaches, marshmallows on striped straws dipped in blue colored chocolate and sprinkles, a red velvet with cream cheese frosting smash cake, and some red candy (Twizzlers, Jolly Ranchers, and Swedish Fish) and some fun non-sweets-treats that guests could bag up and “shave” for later!

I really had a lot of fun incorporating some fun mustache details to celebrate “our little man”!

I cut out these little mustaches for cupcake toppers using my Silhouette.

I cut out these little mustaches for cupcake toppers using my Silhouette.

When I saw mustache cookie cutters, I knew I had to have them!  These shortbread cookies were amazing - definitely tasted "like butter and magic" as the girl who I'd gotten the recipe from promised!

When I saw mustache cookie cutters, I knew I had to have them! These shortbread cookies were amazing – definitely tasted “like butter and magic” as the girl who I’d gotten the recipe from promised!

"I MUSTACHE you to do yourself a FAVOR and bag up some treats to SHAVE them for later!"

“I MUSTACHE you to do yourself a FAVOR and bag up some treats to SHAVE them for later!”

Even the tables got mustached!

Even the tables got mustached!

Our guests even got into the mustache spirit!

Mustachioed!

Mustachioed!

Of course there was cake – and Max loved it!

Getting ready to sing Happy Birthday

Getting ready to sing Happy Birthday

Eating cake!

Eating cake!

Cake is good!

Cake is good!

Cake feels cool on your fingers, too.

Cake feels cool on your fingers, too.

Cake monster!

Cake monster!

The kids had fun playing with the ball pit (a kiddie pool – pink was all Wham could find lol! – filled with plastic balls), dressing up with the photo props, and playing with balloons.

OK, this ball pit is fun! Emma found a mustache balloon Not sure what they were doing here, but it's cute!

Max had so much fun in the ball pit, in fact, that he didn’t want to get out of it, so he opened gifts from the ball pit!

Opening gifts in the ball pit, which was too much fun to get out of!

Opening gifts in the ball pit, which was too much fun to get out of!

Opening gifts in the pink clam ball pit lol!

Opening gifts in the pink clam ball pit lol!

Gift opening chaos with the kids - which was really fun!

Gift opening chaos with the kids – which was really fun!

We had a lot of fun and were so happy to be able to spend some time with our family and friends eating cake and drinking some beers or juice!  We’re so thankful for the outpouring of love for our little guy – it was really a great way to celebrate all of us making it through the first year!

Max’s First Halloween

We had so much fun for Max’s first Halloween!

Yay, I like this pumpkin!

Halloween really snuck up on us this year!  We’ve been *so incredibly busy* the last few weeks with the kitchen renovations, which necessitated extreme cleaning sessions, all while I was working on sewing Max’s Baptism outfit.  So when it came to planning Max’s Halloween costume, I knew I’d have to go with something that would be relatively quick and easy to put together.  Max, of course, didn’t have any input on what he wanted to be, but he’s been really into waving things around.  Give the boy a straw and you’ll have entertained him for a solid half hour (which is, like, eons in baby time).  So I thought I’d make him Harry Potter for Halloween so he could wave around a wand!

Max’s Mommy-Made Harry Potter costume!

I Googled “Baby Harry Potter” to try and get some costume ideas and I found this post on a blog where the author was talking about her book, World of Geekcraft, in which there are instructions for a Harry Potter costume for babies.  And I lucked out and the Kindle version of the book happened to be on sale for $2.99, so I bought it!  I made a few modifications to the costume – I didn’t finish the scarf in time, so I quickly printed out a Gryffindor Tie on Iron On Transfer Paper that I just happened to have around the house and ironed it on a plain white t-shirt (in his size!  Another thing I randomly had around the house…).  I also purchased a Gryffindor patch from an ebay seller instead of DIYing the Gryffindor emblem.  And there wasn’t a wand in the book, so I whipped one up using some of the leftover brown felt that I used for the broomstick.

I finished everything up late, late, late Monday night – just in time for Max to be able to wear his costume for his Daycare Halloween Parade and party on Tuesday!

Max didn’t want to stay in the stroller for his Daycare Halloween Parade, so Mommy carried him.

After Max’s Halloween Parade on Tuesday, we carved our pumpkin.  We didn’t get around to getting a pumpkin until late in the day on Sunday.  When we pulled up to the pumpkin stand, the mother-daughter team who were running it looked like they were trying to pack up.  They apologetically told us that all of the good pumpkins were gone… except for just one.  It was a *huge* pumpkin that they’d been using as their “sample extra-large pumpkin” and had a big “$20” written on it.  “It won’t be $20,” they said.  We told them we’d take it along with a couple of mini pumpkins – and they charged us $10 for the lot.  Score!

Alex carved the pumpkin while Max supervised:

Daddy carves the pumpkin while Max supervises.

And when we were done carving the pumpkin, we, of course, took a ton of pictures:

Posing with the pumpkin!

Max didn’t go Trick-or-Treating on Halloween (it was too cold and it’s not like he knew the difference this year!), but he really enjoyed “chewing” on candy!

You mean it tastes better with the wrapper off?

 

 

Max’s Baptism

Maxwell was baptized this morning at the 9:30am Mass at St John the Evangelist Church! We had a wonderful morning starting with his baptism during mass at our beautiful church and followed up by a small gathering of family back at our house. We began a small-but-big-enough-to-make-a-huge-mess remodeling project in our kitchen only a few weeks ago, which caused us to be working on the house right up until the very last minute – and then there was still cleaning and cooking to do! So there was definitely some stress leading up to this morning, but fortunately that didn’t spill over into today and we had a fantastic day!

Max was such a perfect little guy during mass today. I was a little nervous about how mass would go, considering he’s really only sat through an entire mass once before! I was also nervous about this morning because I scheduled the baptism about two months ago and when I talked to the church secretary then, she mentioned that the day was technically blocked off in their books, but since it looked like practically the only weekend that would work for us, she’d make an exception. I kept imagining we would show up this morning only to be told that they didn’t have us on the schedule! Of course they were ready for us today. The priest brought Max down the aisle during the processional and invited parish members to trace the sign of the cross on his forehead and Max did so great – he smiled at people and was perfectly comfortable letting Father Bob take him! He even tolerated the holy water on his head and really only cried a little after the priest went back for a third pass over his head. We were so proud of our little guy! And since we’re blessed with such a large immediate family, we had quite the crowd at church this morning!

I made Max’s baptism outfit – white stretch corduroy pants and a vest with a bow tie – and I think he looked pretty dapper today.

Back at our house, we had more food than we could fit on my table and counters – and with my younger brothers and nephew in attendance, that was a good thing! We had a great time celebrating with our family today and we are so grateful that we were able to do that! Of course not everyone could be here (and we were really pushing the limits of being able to fit in our small house!), but we know that those who weren’t with us physically today were sending good thoughts our way and were with us in spirit!

So Coxsackie Virus Sucks…

Max with Coxsackie Virus :(

I pulled in our garage at about 5:30pm on Monday, rushed into the house, kicked off my shoes, and ran to find Max and Alex. Alex was getting dinner ready in the kitchen while Max played in his Exersaucer. I scooped up the little guy and snuzzled him.

“How was his day?” I asked Alex.

“Good!” he replied, “He got outside today and did well with his food and bottles. They said he had a really good day.”

“Of course he did,” I said, looking at Max with pride while he smiled broadly back at me.

“Oh,” Alex said, “There was a sign up on his room at Daycare. There’s a confirmed case of the Coxsackie Virus in his room.”

And so began our slow march to inevitble doom.
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Six Months!

My baby turned six months old yesterday! I can’t believe how quickly these months have flown by. I also can’t believe how much he’s changed! He’s no longer a squishy, sleepy little lumpkin – he’s a bright, shiny little baby! We’ve been having so much fun watching him conquer new abilities. He’s still not a fan of Tummy Time, but he’s got excellent head control and can push himself up on his hands (and was working on getting up on his knees last night!) and look around. He hasn’t yet rolled over, but he seems so close! He’s been sitting up on his own for a few weeks now – at first he could only stay up on his own for a few minutes but now I feel pretty confident putting him down on the floor without feeling like I need to stay behind him to bounce him back up if he starts to fall. His best times are in the mornings. He’s such a happy smiley guy – makes it hard to get ready for work and leave him at daycare! He’s out of his swaddle at night now and in the mornings he doesn’t cry when he wakes up, instead he just lays in his crib playing with his feet and cooing to himself. He’s such a sweetheart!

He’s changed so much in how he looks too. Ok, well, that’s obvious! But I mean, when he was first born, he looked so much like Alex. Like his little twin! But now that he’s a little older, I can see more of myself in him. I put this comparison photo together when the ladies in the online moms’ group that I participate in all started posting pictures of their kids and themselves to show that their kids did/did not look like them. I think you can really see how Max has grown into some of my features:

Daddy, Max / Mommy, Max

Max started solids recently. We started him off with “Baby Oatmeal” a couple weeks ago – and I, of course, made sure we thoroghly documented the occasion:

He tried butternut squash this week for the first time. I got a Beaba Babycook baby food maker from one of the girls in the moms’ group (along with pretty much everything we’ll ever need to feed Max solids lol!) and butternut squash was the first thing I made in it. It’s super easy to use and for the price of one butternut squash I made 14 oz of baby food. So, ok, I did calculate it out and the squash cost $2.90 while buying the equivilent in squash Gerber 1st Foods would be $3.27, so there’s a savings of $0.37, but it all adds up, right? Here’s Max enjoying some squash:

Max enjoying (no really!) some butternut squash

He actually really did like the squash. I liked it too (before we mixed in some formula for the right consistency) – steamed and pureed squash tastes really sweet. This was also the first time that Daddy tried feeding him… We’ll all get better with practice. ;) Max and I had a shower after dinner last night!

Max goes for his 6 month check up on Friday and I’ve got the day off work to take him. Hopefully he does well with his shots and isn’t too fussy on Friday – but even if he is I’ve got the entire day to snuggle him! I’m pretty excited to find out how much he’s grown and how much he weighs. I’m estimating about 16.8 lbs now – we’ll see what they say on Friday!

4 months almost done already…

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Where did my tiny guy go?!

It seems like 4 months is a transition period between the newborn and older baby period in most of what I’ve been reading. Now is a time when we could think about starting solids (though he’s doing fine with the breast milk and formula that he’s been getting, so we most likely won’t start until 6 months) and when we should be working on making sure Max can self soothe to get himself to sleep. We will have to work on that last one – we’re still in the habit of swaddling and rocking the little guy to sleep.

Max had an evaluation at daycare and he mostly seems on track. He got one zero – he doesn’t yet grab at things in front of him, say on a table. Alex says that it’s just because he’s polite lol. I know that babies all develop at different rates, but I couldn’t help but worry over the areas where he didn’t score “perfect tens”. His doctor didn’t seem concerned at his four month appointment, though, so I know that I should just calm down and enjoy my little guy.

And he is just so enjoyable right now. He’s always got a huge smile for Alex and me! He’s super cute in the mornings when we’re all getting ready for the day. Of course, this makes us late getting out the door every day because we tend to linger in bed (where I bring him after he wakes up and eats – he doesn’t spend the night in our bed!) making him giggle and coo. I love to watch Alex and Max play in the mirror while I get ready for work. Alex talks to him and tickles him and does tummy time and Max babbles away at him and sucks on his hands. Max is all about his hands lately – they must be super tasty! He’s also become able to be a little more independent now by entertaining himself for 20 or so minutes at a time in his exersaucer. He looks like such a big boy in it!

This is a fun time but I’m also pretty excited for the next few months when he learns to sit up and can start to really be able to play with toys and not just shove them in his mouth (although I know that will still be part of his repertoire for a while). This year is going to fly by with all of these new developments happening all the time. I know before I know it I’ll have a little toddler on my hands!