Friday, July 31, 2009

Napa

Today Mr. Howard took his parents to Napa to visit the wineries. They went to Mondavi, Silver Oak, and Beringer. While they didn't get a chance to go on any tours, they were able to taste delicious wine and even bought some to take back home to Alabama!

Kathe and Tim at Beringer (below):
Mr. Howard and his dad at Beringer (below):
Mr. Howard and his dad at Silver Oak (below):

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Three Weeks Old

Although we're nowhere near sleeping through the night, Connor is slowly starting to stay awake for longer periods of time and thus is sleeping for bigger intervals! Mommy and Daddy appreciate this a lot!! We are also getting eye contact (as you can see in the photos), though he is still not able to follow us with his eyes!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nana and Grandpa

Connor's Nana and Grandpa got him a present (an adorable Porshe onesie and hat to match Nana's car) the other day and, while he is still too small to wear it, he wants to send his thank you's!



Grandma and Grandpa

Connor's Grandma and Grandpa came in from Alabama to visit Connor for the first time! They stayed with us for a little under a week, are heading to Palm Springs and Vegas for a little bit, and then will be back with us until August 4th!



Aunt Katie & Uncle Denny

In the short weeks that Connor has been with us, he has been blessed with visits from all sorts of family and friends. While I am finally catching up on my photos and posting, life wouldn't be complete without a photo of Connor and his Aunt Katie and Uncle Denny!!

We love you!

Auntie Jen

Auntie Jen came to visit Connor (and perhaps Mr. Howard and I)! We had a fun weekend filled with a trip to the coach outlets, a trip to see The Ugly Truth, a few fun dinners and lunches, and lots of baby time!! We can't wait for Brett to meet Connor next!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tummy Time

We're working on rolling over. :-)

video

Friday, July 24, 2009

Two Weeks Old

Well, he's really two weeks and three days, but who's counting! He weighed in at 7 lbs, 9.5 oz (which is still lower than his birth weight). Connor's doctor isn't asking us to do formula (yay!), but he also doesn't feel comfortable waiting until his two month appointment to see if he's gaining enough weight. So he's added in another appointment.

Connor Highlights:
- He's really beginning to hold his head up on his own (for short periods)
- We've started "tummy time," and he is not a fan of it!
- His head is almost completely healed where his Cephalohematoma was.
- He's eating like a champ

Mommy & Daddy Highlights
- Breastfeeding is MUCH easier than Mommy thought it was going to be
- We are both quite sleep deprived, although Mommy still struggles to take naps
- Having a baby has bonded us in a way that is indescribable.
- Mommy is more in love with Daddy than ever before!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First Bath

On July 15th, we gave Connor his first bath!



Sunday, July 19, 2009

Work

Mr. Howard had to go back to work for the first time today! He is going to work a few days this week (getting his plans, vendor contacts, employees caught up) and then he has been assigned a Special Project later in the week that we couldn't pass up. He'll be off again while his family is in town. Working the extra days this week also gives him a whole extra week's vacation (we can use it later on in my six weeks off or we can save it for the holidays).

To be honest, I was a little nervous about spending the day by myself. Mr. Howard and I have a great teamwork thing going and we've been allowing each other to take naps (we tried taking a nap together, but inevitably Connor cries or coos and I spend the nap time feeding or comforting him). But, my nerves were quelled by Mr. Howard's sadness. He so did not want to leave Connor today and I feel blessed that I have another 4 weeks to be by his side!

Uncle Colin

My brother came in town from San Diego to meet his nephew for the first time! Mr. Howard picked him up from the airport Friday in the mini cooper and he was able to spend the night at our place. Early Saturday we joined my parents for breakfast. We spent the day looking at the house my parents put an offer in on, going to BJ's for lunch, hanging out, and eating a big family dinner! It was great to see Colin and we all had a great time. Unfortunately I was feeling very sick and VERY tired, so I wasn't able to fully enjoy the day. I knew pregnancy would be hard; I certainly knew delivery would be hard; I had NO idea how difficult the post-partum period could be.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Due Date

Today is the official due date that Kaiser had given me for Connor (although, as I've mentioned before, I had a different date of July 15th). I am so unbelievably happy that I did not go until today. Kaiser also has a policy where they will not induce until 2 weeks after your due date (which would have been August 1st). Eeek! I can't even imagine!!

Daycare

Yesterday we went and visited a daycare that we have been interested in for a while (they emailed us the day Connor was born to tell us they had an infant spot available). After talking with the husband and wife who run the program and touring their home, we fell in love with them. They use the Home Preschool Program (with art projects, poems, stories, health lessons, science, fingerplays, PE, etc.) and even gave us their calendar (e.g. in June they focused on puppetry, Spring, Father's Day, rain and water, the letters O and U, vowel review, the number zero and dot to dot)! They also serve a healthy breakfast, snack, and lunch according to the Beanstalk food program (of course, Connor won't need this for a while).


They even agreed to continue cloth diapering Connor while he's there (which will make potty training SOOOO much easier) and were incredibly accomodating when it came to bottle-feeding (I can send frozen breastmilk or defrosted; I can send a big supply or bring it in daily; we can leave our bottles for her to clean or take them home each day). One really cool thing is that she gives families a Parent's Survival night once a quarter, where we can drop Connor off in the evening and go out to dinner or a movie and essentially get a free babysitting night. Overall, it just seemed like a really great fit and it lowered both of our fears about having to leave Connor soon!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Baby Wearing

In an effort to get back to my pre-pregnancy/pre-"eat whatever I want" state, Mr. Howard and I have been walking the dogs early in the morning (it's been in the 110 degree range here) and I have taken to Baby Wearing. I love it!!

Here is a picture of Connor in his sling for this morning's walk.

Diapers Galore!!

Before having a baby, I had done some research about different things that I was interested in trying. One big thing I wanted to know about before we brought a little one into the world was cloth diapering. My friend Diana had done a diaper service and another friend, Sabrina, had talked very highly of cloth diapering and it piqued my interest. So, when we got pregnant, I instantly started my research: what kind to choose, how many I'd need, how I would need to clean them, etc. My closest friends and family were super supportive of this choice, but a lot of our acquaintances tossed out their skepticism. I have heard more times than I care to recall, "Well, it's easy to say that you want to cloth diaper now, but wait till you have to do all that laundry..." Obviously these people don't know me very well (because cleaning is never a deterrent in my life). As a side note, I have also quite sadly heard this about a lot of choices I've made (e.g. breastfeeding: "well it's noble that you want to try, but it's so painful.")

We knew that bringing home a newborn would be stressful enough and I was a little worried about adding cloth diapering into the mix, so we decided to use disposables for a short time in the beginning. Surprisingly that time has come and now gone (can you believe Connor is already over a week old?!).

Our wonderful friend Susan ordered us a diaper service for Connor's first month and today was the first day we started! I thought that our day wouldn't be complete without a photo of him in his new adorable diapers (thanks Diana for the diaper cover)!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What a way to spend a day!

**This is one of my favorite wedding photos because of the moment it captured. When they announced us as Mr. and Mrs. Howard, I screamed my famous, "Woo-Hoo." We waited 6 and a half years to get married and I literally could not contain my excitement!!**

For our anniversary, we celebrated by taking newborn photos with our little one. Let me tell you how surreal it is that two years ago Mr. Howard and I were exchanging hand-written vows in front of all our friends and family and yesterday we were holding the newborn in our hands that we created. God has truly blessed us.


After a day filled with picture-taking, my sister allowed us to take a nap while she watched Connor in our living room. PURE BLISS!! Mr. Howard and I ended the evening by embarking on our first trip out without Connor. My mom offered to watch him while we celebrated our anniversary by getting dressed and going out for sushi at Mikuni (poor Mr. Howard - in case you're keeping track, that's 3 sushi dinners in 1 week) and frozen yogurt at Big Spoon!! My mom even let us take her Porshe Carrera S (which pretty much, just made the whole evening for you know who)!



**Aren't these photos absolutely breathtaking? My beautiful, talented sister took them. Check her out at Katie Taylor Photography**


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2nd Wedding Anniversary

We spent our first anniversary in Paris, France (see here) and at the time, we kept joking that we'd never ever be able to top that. Now, for our second anniversary, we created a child. How on earth are we going to top that for our third?

Proof that I have the most amazing husband in the world:


My love, I feel honored to have stood by your side for the last 9 years and can't wait to see what the next 74 have in store for us! I love you!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Oompa Loompa

Here was our attempt at keeping Connor awake. He sleeps alllllllll day and stays awake allllllll night.

video

Ahhh Poop

Dear Connor,


Some day when you look back at your firsts (first lost tooth, first bike, first day of school, first girlfriend), I'd like you to also have this memory: the time you took your first poop on a person! As we were ooohing and ahhing at the funny faces you were making, Nana suddenly felt an explosion on her leg and, looking down, noticed that you had pooped all over her jeans!

Some day, I will expect you to apologize for this, but for now we'll forgive you based purely on your cuteness.

Love,
Mommy

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

Connor James Howard
July 7, 2009
Mr. Howard
December 15, 1982

Do you see the resemblance?

Waited 9 Long Months For This

I know this is an incredibly unflattering photo of myself, but it ranks up there with my favorite birth/hospital photos because of the moment it captures!!! This was taken on Connor's birthday, July 7th!

The day that Connor evacuated his swimming pool, my darling husband went across the street to get me SUSHI and I CHOWED DOWN!!!! Since then, I've had sushi a few times and we're planning on going out for a nice sushi dinner on our anniversary in a few days. Poor Mr. Howard!

**As a disclaimer, I would like to mention the controversery with eating sushi while breastfeeding. Before having Connor, I did a ton of research about this issue and the conclusion I came to (because the medical advice is conflicting) is that in America we are far too obsessed with lists of things we can/cannot do. In Japan, sushi is a regular staple in a breastfeeding mother's diet and we have no specific evidence that it can harm a baby in any way. **

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sleep Deprovation Meet Mr. Howard

A glimpse into our night last night:

Mrs. Howard: "Hunny, wake up! I'm trying to feed Connor, but I need help."
Mr. Howard: "Mmm" Grumble, Grumble
Mrs. Howard: "Babe, I can't get him to latch."
Mr. Howard: Swinging legs over side of bed, begins to search the floor...
Mrs. Howard: "What are you doing?"
Mr. Howard: "I'm looking for it on the floor."
Mrs. Howard: Realizing he's sleep-talking, "Wake up! You're sleeping."
Mr. Howard: Looking directly at me, "I'm awake. I'm trying to help you breastfeed. I just need to find it on the floor!"
Mrs. Howard: Hysterical laughing, trying desperately to talk "Hunny, you're not going to find it on the floor! I'm over here!!!!"

Sleep deprovation meet Mr. Howard

Dr. Appointment

** This photo was taken in real time. He is sitting on mommy's lap while she is typing!**

Connor's weigh-in (Mr. Howard called it his "boxing match weigh-in") went well!!

Yesterday he was at 7 lbs, 1.0 oz and today he was at 7 lbs, 2.7 oz! The marathon feedings went better than expected and I am glad I stuck up for what I believed was best. It was my first mommy test and, I think, I passed with flying colors.

Mr. Howard and I also had our first true test as parents. Upon arrival at the hospital this morning, Connor started
screaming bloody murder. With all eyes on us, we tried everything we could: I pulled him out of his carseat and rocked him, shhhhh'd him, talked to him, and swung him. Still he screamed bloodly murder. Then we got the pacifier out and tried that. Still he screamed bloody murder. Then I tried feeding him (something I haven't yet mastered in public). Still he screamed bloody murder. We decided to check him to see if he needed a new diaper and...aha...poopy diaper. So then we were faced with a decision: do we change him in the waiting room (with 1 minute until they call us back) or do we wait with him continuing to scream bloddy murder until they brought us back for our appointment? After our audience WATCHING US with our screaming child, we decided to change him. We quickly (I mean, QUICKLY) changed him and right as we had the diaper pulled off, guess who called us to go back? We threw the diaper on with hardly a good scrubbing (sorry Connor), picked him up, and walked over the woman who was impatiently waiting for us.

I could almost hear a silent applause when we got up and walked back to the doctor's room.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Connor Love

Here are a few photos from our little man's first few days of life!

I'm a dinasaur! Rawrrrrr!
On our way home from the hospital:
Today was a bit rough for us. Our little one got a little more vocal, wanted A LOT more food, and was NOT happy when he didn't get it!
At his doctor's visit today we found out that he has lost 10% of his body weight, which is not good. Mr. Howard and I suspect that it might have been human error and not an actual decrease of that much body weight (when they weighed him at birth he was 7 lbs, 13 oz., but then an hour later he was 7 lbs, 6 oz. which led the nurse at the time to question the initial results). Despite the possibility of human error, we need to rule out that something is indeed wrong and had to do marathon feedings today (complete with nursing, pumping, and more nursing). I could have chosen to simply suplement with formula, but at this point I am really, really trying to avoid formula. I know that I can provide what he needs and feel more comfortable trying to do that before going the non-breastfeeding route. Of course, at the end of the day, I will do what is best for Connor! :-)
Keep your fingers crossed that tomorrow's weigh-in goes better. They would like him to gain an ounce or two to avoid formula feedings (today he was 7 lbs, 1.0 oz. and they'd like him at 7 lbs, 3 or 4 oz).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Connor's Birth Story

As I learn how to do this whole "providing sustenance for another human being" thing (i.e. breastfeeding), I seem to have a bit of time on my hands as I sit here with nothing to do. I thought that before I forget some of the details of the birth I would share them.
My sister and mom were able to join Mr. Howard and I in welcoming Connor into the world and they were there through the entire labor to keep me company, cheer me on, and even helped me push (they'll tell you that the next day their jaws, backs, and arms were sore from clenching and trying to help me push...hehe). After he was out, the doctor let Mr. Howard tell me if it was a boy or a girl. I can't remember his exact words, but I don't think he ever said, "it's a boy." Instead he said something like, "Mommy, this is Connor James!" When they put him on me I was so incredibly overwhelmed. What an absolutely amazing experience to see the baby that you've been baking for so long there, in person, on you, breathing, blinking, crying, and trying to figure out where on Earth his swimming pool just went.
As I was admiring my new little man, Mr. Howard was cutting the umbilical cord and my mom and sister were standing there in shock. Because I pushed for so long (2.5 hours) the doctor had recommended that we use a vacuum and so when he finally did make his entrance into the world, he had to be taken to the warmer to be examined for abrasions, bruising, etc. So I only got to see him for a few short minutes before they moved him away. I spent the rest of the time before they brought him back to me, asking questions from across the room: "how much does he weigh?", "why are you putting that in his throat?", "did he swallow any meconium?", "does he look good?" Then Mr. Howard, my mom, or my sister would shout out the answer to me. Mr. Howard came back and forth between the baby and me, kissing me, giving me little updates about what they were doing, and telling me how handsome he was.

The details after that are a little fuzzy. I can't remember when my dad arrived, but at some point he came and we all took turns watching Connor get his first bath, get weighed, do his Apgar test (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration test). At one minute of life he scored an 8/10 and at 5 minutes of life he scored a 9/10, obviously meaning he was healthy and doing well. The only slight hiccup for him was that he had a Cephalohematoma (essentially bleeding where the vacuum was) and the doctor had to prescribe him some antibiotic ointment for his head where the cut and blisters were (poor little guy). Other than that, he was born absolutely perfect from head to toe.
After the birth, my temperature was very high (over 101) and so his risk for infection was something we had to watch. So later on July 7th they took him to draw blood. Thankfully all blood tests came back negative for any infection. Also because he was a vacuum assisted delivery, he had a higher risk for jaundice. On July 8th they tested for that and it also came back negative.
Since his arrival into the world, he has done soo well! He had four poops before even the first 24 hours of life (isn't it funny how you suddenly have a baby and poop is an acceptable conversation piece), nursed really well (he latched within the first two hours of his life), sleeps really well, and is altogether very healthy. I speak for Mr. Howard when I say that we feel so blessed to have such a beautiful, healthy baby. It is such a miracle, really - to create a life and then have him join you in the most amazing way and then, on top of it all, for him to be born healthy and whole. We do not, for one minute, take that for granted!

P.S. As proof that he is as wonderful as I say he is (for all you naysayers), I was able to write this entire blog with him in my lap nursing and sleeping and not once did he fuss. I know Daddy appreciates that as he is sleeping soundly in bed. :-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It's a Boy


Directly after my last post, my sister came over and we headed over to my scheduled doctor's appointment for the follow-up about my blood work, high blood pressure, and urine test results. When we got there, my blood pressure was even higher than Thursday's check-in and there was definitively protein in my urine. At that point, she decided that I needed to head into Labor and Delivery to be checked out.

My sister and I called Mr. Howard and headed over to L&D (first, though, we stopped at In-n-out for a quick bite to eat - THANK GOODNESS). At labor and delivery they took my blood again (doing a lot of tests) and my urine. After a few hours, Mr. Howard and my mom arrived to be with my sister and I. Shortly thereafter, the on-call doctor announced that, if it was okay with me, she was recommending I induce labor (due to contractions, dilation, results, blood pressure, etc.).

They officially put me on Pitocin at 4:3opm and almost exactly 12 hours later, with the help of my mom and sister, we welcomed Connor James Howard into the world. He was born on 07-07-09, 7 lbs & 13 oz, 20 inches long at 4:35am. We are SOOOO overjoyed, blessed, and in love with our new little man. How could we have been a family for 9 years already without him? We just can't imagine our lives sans Connor!

Welcome to the world, Connor! Mommy and Daddy love you so much!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I finally felt a....

Baby Hiccup!!

I realize now that I've actually felt them a lot over the past nine months, but didn't really know what they were. This morning Harley and I were cuddling in bed when Mr. Howard had to go to work and Harley started hiccuping. Coincidentally enough, Baby H. was hiccuping at the same time and it was then that I put two and two together. It actually feels like kicks do at the beginning of the pregnancy - a kind of pop, pop, pop low in my belly.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fourth of July

We hosted a barbeque on the Fourth of July at our house, complete with yummy food and desserts, good company, a game of cranium, and a trip to Roseville's firework show at the Placer County Fairgrounds. It was the perfect way to spend a fun day!


Picture Courtesy of Katie (below)
Watching the show - I was actually cold (below)
Another Photo Katie Took (below):
Denny Chillin (below):
Crazy Group Photo (notice I'm the only one not doing crazy):
Chad and Keara (below)
Cranium was getting a little crazy (below):

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Memory I don't Want to Forget

So many things are happening, that it isn't always easy to post about everything I want to. A memory came to me the other day and I realized that some day when I look back at being pregnant, or having a newborn, or having a toddler, or being a newlywed there are things I won't remember. Because this is my online diary, I wanted to document a cute story.


For those that know me, it will come as no surprise to you that I am a coffee drinker. One might even go as far as to say that I am a coffee addict. Hello, my name is Mrs. Howard and I am addicted to coffee. I drink one cup EVERY SINGLE morning. One can imagine, then, that when I found out I was pregnant that I probably didn't stop. Au contraire! When I found out I was pregnant, I stopped cold turkey. Now I know you can have up to 500mg of caffeine a day, but we weren't sure whether I was going to be considered high risk at the very beginning of the pregnancy and we all know the correlation between miscarriage and caffeine in the first trimester. So it was easier to cut it all out than to monitor it. I also knew that, God forbid, had anything happened to our little one, I would have enough blame to place and that I wouldn't ever want to add caffeine to my list of reasons why I was a horrible mommy. It wasn't until late in my second trimester that I decided I would treat myself to a decaff coffee on Friday's from Starbucks. It was my treat and I looked forward to it every Thursday night.

One Friday months ago, as I was standing in front of my class with my Starbucks cup, one of my students quietly and politely raised her hand. I was trying to get everyone ready for morning sing and was rushing around the room to take attendance, but I stopped to hear her question. "Mrs. Howard, you know, you aren't supposed to be drinking coffee," she explained. Completely caught off guard, I looked at her quizzically. "You're pregnant and pregnant people aren't supposed to drink coffee," she emphasized. After realizing what she was saying, I replied, "Thank you for being concerned, but this is decaf coffee. It doesn't have caffeine (the ingredient pregnant women can't have) in it." She smiled and looked relieved, "Oh okay, I just was looking out for you Mrs. Howard." Honestly, it completely made my week. I still look back and smile. She was quite worried about my baby and for that, I am grateful. Thank you Savanna.

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