February 18, 2012

Anatomically Speaking

 Today when I was getting Ellie dressed she noticed a couple dots on her chest.  I told her what they were. There followed a conversation in which I confirmed her suspicion that indeed, Daddy, Mommy, and Baby Wren all have nipples.

But no, honey, Elmo does not.
This girl is just too much!  She makes us laugh every day.

February 16, 2012

Wren at 6 weeks

This tiny babe is seriously adorable.  Her chubby face just kills me and I love to see her bright eyes peeking over someone's shoulder.  I can just tell already that she is going to be such a sweet girl.  A heart melter to be sure.  My instinct says that she'll be slightly less spicy than her older sister, but I guess time will tell.
Had to include a crying photo, because honestly, 6 week old Wren spends a lot of time crying.  Poor girl.  We are trying our hardest to get her gas issues figured out.  Hopefully there is less crying in store for the coming weeks, because wow, the girl has got a set of lungs.

Also, notice the photo of my grandma holding Wren?  She was out visiting when Wren turned 6 weeks old and we all had such a great time together.  I thought it would be wonderful to get a photo of Great Grandma with the two girls, but Ellie had other plans.  She spent this time running around and screaming bloody murder in our apartment lobby.  That's how much she did NOT want her picture taken.  Ah well, maybe next year.
Tiny baby hand - is there anything sweeter?

Oh, I thought you should know that I've made peace with the lack of photos for Wren. 

The ones you see here are really the ONLY good pictures of her at this age.  But that's OK, because what I lack in the ability to photograph, I make up for by being a more sure-footed mother this time around. 

The first time around there were more photographs - but there were also more tears, more fears, more doubts.  Wren may not have a million pictures, but she's got a mother who is more peaceful and comfortable in this role.  There's been some growth in the last couple years and it is good to see.  Anyone else have this experience, or am I the only person who literally lost her marbles with the first child?

February 13, 2012

Wren at 3 weeks

So you know how the first child in a family has a million baby pictures, and then the younger children have substantially less?  I mean, if you're child number four, you are lucky to even appear in the background of family photos.

Well, it turns out that the reason for this drop in documentation has nothing to do with the fact that the parents are just "over it" - which is the conclusion I had previously drawn.  Been there, done that, seen a baby grow, don't need a billion pictures of it.  Nope.  You see, I'm just as interested in Wren's every little development  as I was in Ellie's.  It's just a logistical nightmare trying to photograph every moment of your younger children's lives.  Most days I struggle to simply get all of us fed and most of us bathed.  Forget picking up a camera to photograph the littlest beauty.

That said, I do still try my best to document milestones.  Here is how 3 week old Wren usually looks:
Serious.  Hungry.  Thinking about food.
Sometimes she cracks a smile in her sleep and it just kills me!
But then, just as soon as the photo shoot has begun, this little face pops up.
She's climbing on the baby,
getting in the light,
wanting to see every photo I take.
Take my pitcher Mommyyyy! Cheeeeeese!
So I've had to readjust my expectations for Wren's photos.
(which is actually the theme for this entire phase of my life)
No time for fancy poses or outfit changes.
Just a few shots, on the fly, better than nothing.
Yes, of course I'll take your picture too.
Say Cheese!

February 10, 2012

I used to get out more...

It's true, I don't get out much anymore.  But I used to.  And I like to look at pictures like these to remind myself that there is a bigger world out there - just a few blocks away to be precise.  And one day soon the weather will be warmer and my baby will be bigger and I will be brave enough to venture downtown with the two of them.

And then we'll have grand adventures together and I'll take great photographs to remind us of our fun days.  One day soon all that will happen.  Until then we will pass the winter with story books and breastfeeding and too much children's television.  We'll be back in action soon, NYC - please still be interesting when that day comes.
Of course I needn't worry about that.

Is it pathetic that sometimes I make Joe pretend to pose for a photo because I really want a picture of what's happening in the background, but I don't want anyone to beat me up?  You do this too, right?

February 7, 2012

Ellie's Hospital Stay

When Wren was seven days old, Eleanor had to be taken to the ER because she was having difficulty breathing.  What had looked like a cold earlier in the day turned out to be a bad case of RSV and she ended up staying in the hospital for four days.  The photo above was taken the day before she was released.  Other than the constant slobber and bad case of bedhead, she looks to be doing very well.  That was not the case the night before. 

It broke my heart to be separated from Eleanor for those four nights.  I had to stay home with Wren to make sure that she stayed healthy.  Joe and his Mom took turns caring for our sick little Ellie and I would come visit for about an hour each day.  The day before this photo was taken I was heartbroken to see my girl hooked up to a machine to help her breathe.  She was feverish and lethargic and completely hysterical whenever a nurse entered the room.  She didn't sing or laugh or even open her eyes.  She just sat limply in my lap and rested fitfully.  It was so very hard to see her that way.  This was not the cheerful girl I had always known.  There are no pictures of her when she was that ill, because it hurt too much to see.

During those days I would return from the hospital and change my clothes - hoping to shield Wren from the disease.  I would hold my tiny baby and try to cherish the newness that still hung about her, yet my thoughts would be far away, wondering and worrying about my firstborn.  This was not in our plans for Wren's first days on earth.
Despite our best efforts to keep Wren completely healthy, she too contracted the virus - though miraculously not to the extent that Eleanor experienced.  It was hard to watch a two week old cough and sputter and gag, but as I watched her diligently, I felt assured that she would be fine.  And I felt so grateful that she didn't need to be hospitalized as well.

This experience taught me a lot about faith and gratitude and what it means to love someone so much that it kills you inside to watch them suffer at all.  I am grateful to finally feel confident in my motherly instincts.  Somehow I knew when it was time to wake the pediatrician and when it was time to call a cab and rush to the hospital.  I am thankful that the Spirit of God inspires mothers to know what their children need at any given time - and also that the Spirit is a source of comfort when your heart is heavy and your mind is troubled.
This experience taught me to be thankful every day for the things I have often taken for granted.  When Ellie was gone I realized how much I missed the sound of her feet running through our tiny apartment.  I missed her messes and her laughter and her energy that often overwhelms me.  Our house was so quiet and meaningless without her here.  I learned to be thankful for my health and the health of my husband and children EVERY DAY that we are alive.  It is so easy to take our health for granted - to feel that these bodies will always work well and that we are invincible.  But truly each breath is a gift not to be treated lightly. 

I am grateful also for so many friends and family members who prayed for us and served us and lightened our load during this trying time.  We are so very thankful that our daughters are well and we are excited to greet February happy and healthy at last.

February 5, 2012

A Christmas Tradition

Every Christmas we buy a new ornament for our tree.  It's one of my favorite traditions.  We try to find an ornament that represents the year for our family.  Last year it was a little wooden taxi, this year a beautiful metal bird.  It's for Wren, of course.

I love the image that she just gracefully landed in our lives.  I have hopes that she will be sweet and gentle and that her tender song will gladden the hearts of those who know her.

Will I ever regret naming my baby after a bird?
Maybe, but not today.
Birds are so in after all.

I hear rumor around the internet that foxes are the new birds.
Foxes on kids clothes, foxes on pillows and stationery.
Foxes are cute, but naming your daughter Foxy is just asking for heartache.

February 4, 2012

Wren's First Week

Well, I'm finally back.  I have missed blogging so much.  Believe me, I've composed many posts in my head.  It's just IMPOSSIBLE to find any time to actually get something on the internet.  I'll try to blog when I can, but I'm afraid my free time is very limited these days.  For now, how about a fast forward look at what's been keeping us so busy for the last 6 weeks?

It's funny how when your stomach is the size of a small beach ball, 
you find it hard to believe things will ever be different.
 And then a few short days later you are introducing your child to her baby sister.
Little Wren surprised us with 
her chubby cheeks
her thick dark hair
and her cute crumpled ears.
We tried our best to take advantage of the sleepiness newborns experience in the first couple weeks.
Sleeping was our main activity this Christmas.
Joe and Ellie took a little break from sleeping to attend church on Christmas Day.
But upon their return, the napping continued in earnest.
Well, we weren't sleeping ALL the time.
There was that time at 2am when Wren was wide awake.
Joe and I were watching a movie to pass the time.
We were snacking on chex mix and I went to return it to the kitchen.
Then I tripped and fell.
It was awesome.