Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

8 Months

Dear Kyle-

You are full of personality these days! I love seeing the little person you are becoming. You are very interested in the world around you. You are very detailed oriented and will just sit and explore a single toy for long periods of time trying to figure out how it works. Maybe you will be an engineer like your Grandpa Bill.

You are still very content to sit on your play mat and explore your toys. I have moved them farther from your reach to motivate you to crawl to them and instead you have found ways to scoot closer to them on your bottom or pull the mat with your toys on it closer to you. Needless to say, crawling is still not a high priority on your list of things to do. We practice tummy time every day and each week you get stronger and have started scooching yourself around a little bit on your stomach but have not got up on your hands and knees yet. We looked at your dad's baby book and he did not crawl until 9 months, and your Grandpa Mike and I never crawled so maybe you will skip this milestone all together and go straight to walking. You can pull yourself up if I give you my hand and can stand for short periods of time if you have something to lean up against. I love seeing your little body standing upright and can't believe that sooner than later you will be walking.

Baths and playing with your puppy are still some of your favorite activities. You love playing with your bath toys and splashing in the tub. You are still very verbal and say mama all the time. I think you associate it with me. Whenever you want to be picked up you say mama so I am assuming you are calling for me. We are still working on dada. Whenever I say "dada" you just get a big smile on your face and start saying "mama". You also figured out how to squeal and you get quite a kick out of yourself when you do it. Your tongue is also always moving in and out of your mouth. You love to curl it, especially when you are thinking about something.

Another favorite part of your day is chow time. You are still a great eater and will try anything. You tried your first "puff cereal" and really enjoyed the snack. I was worried you might not know what do with it when I put it in your mouth, but your gummed it until it got soft and then swallowed it. You are also pretty good at feeding them to yourself if you can get them in your mouth before they get stuck on your hands and face.

We took our first trip to the park and you got to swing and try the slide. You loved swinging but were a little unsure about the slide experience. I am excited for summer when we can go to the park regularly to play. You love to be outside too! We also had our first Skype date with daddy. He was so excited to see his little boy and you were excited to see him. It was fun to watch you interacting with the computer. You definitely recognized him and gave him lots of big smiles. I am so thankful for technology! I think Skyping will help you remember your daddy while he is gone and make reintegrating with him when he gets home that much easier.

Another not so exciting first was your first round of antibiotics for pink eye and a double ear infection. You and I both caught nasty colds this month. You took your medicine like a champ and were very patient while Grandma Shannon and I while we put your eye ointment in your eyes. I hated seeing you so miserable and am happy you are back to your normal healthy, happy self. I am also happy you are sleeping through the night again. We had a few rough weeks of sleep and I was getting up with you ever few hours! It made me thankful that you are generally a pretty good sleeper when you are healthy.

I want you to know that you are being a very brave and understanding boy and already learning sacrifice at a very young age. Not having your daddy home is hard and it means mommy only has one set of hands most of the time so you have to learn to be patient. While most little babies get to have play time with their dad when they get home from work, you get to play with a mommy who is pretty tired and counting down the hours till bed time. I do my best to keep life exciting in the evenings, but I know I am not nearly as much fun as your dad would be. Hang in there though, you are being such a good boy and you don't know it, but your smiles and laugh are what keep me going when I am really missing your dad. I see glimmers of him in your facial expressions and hope you grow up to be just like him. He is a pretty awesome guy! :)

I love you so very much! I can't wait to see what new and exciting things you learn next month.

I'm Back

I wish I could say that I have not been blogging because I was off on an awesome vacation, but unfortunately, my absence was due to taking care of a sick mommy and baby. That is right, Kyle and I spent that better part of March battling nasty colds. I came down with a really bad cold that resulted in a nasty lingering cough and then shortly after I started feeling better, my little man got sick. It started with pink eye and then landed in a double ear infection. Thankfully, with the help of some antibiotics, Kyle is doing much better and we are both back to our happy, healthy selves.

I have learned two things (1) being a sick mom is the worst and (2) taking care of a sick baby is heartbreaking. I know being sick is part of growing up and he needs to get sick to build his immune system, but it does not make it any easier to see him so miserable. It also makes you realize how we take our good health for granted. Hopefully, with the warmer spring weather and summer approaching we are nearing the end of cold and flu season and we won't have to deal with doctors visits for awhile!

Other than playing nurse mom, I don't really have too much else exciting to update you all on. We are starting to get in the groove of not having Matt home. It has been nearly two months since he left and taking care of Kyle by myself has become the new normal. We have been fortunate to communicate with Matt fairly regularly via Skype and the telephone since he left. We love our Skype dates and Kyle's face always lights up when he sees and hears Matt on the computer. I can tell that he definitely still remembers his dad and that make me happy. Other than being insanely busy, Matt is doing well. We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers for him and his soldiers. Afghanistan is still a very dangerous place and soldiers are still being killed and injured every day.

Well, now that our house is healthy again, I hope to be back to my regularly blogging. Stay tuned for Kyle's 8 month update...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Single Parenting

Whew! It is 7:00 at night and I can finally sit on the couch and catch my breath for the day. Kyle usually goes to sleep around 7 and as soon as I give him his good night kiss and lie him in his crib I let out a big sigh and congratulate myself on yet another successful day raising this little boy by myself. No lie, being a single parent is handwork. I am so thankful that this is not a permanent status!

Matt and I's relationship operates on the cornerstone of teamwork. We share responsibilities around the house. If I cook dinner, he helps clean the dishes, we both do the housework, the laundry, etc. I did not realize how nice it is to have a second set of hands around the house until those hands got shipped across the country. On a typical night, I would make dinner, then Matt would help do the dishes while I got Kyle's bath ready. Then we would both watch Kyle take his bath because it is one of the happiest times in Kyle's day and we both get a kick out of watching him splash around. After bath time is over, I get Kyle ready for bed while Matt fills the humidifier and empties the dipper pail. And while I nurse Kyle and put him to bed, Matt takes out the trash and cleans up Kyle's toys from the day. Then we both settle in for the night with either a good book or our favorite TV shows until we are ready to head to bed.

Now, after putting Kyle to sleep I get to come downstairs to a sink full of dishes from dinner, Kyle's toys strewn about the living room, and trash that needs to be taken out. I have to say by the time I get to sit on the couch and enjoy a glass of much needed wine, I am exhausted! In addition to Matt's help around the house, I miss his company. Instead of unwinding with some good conversation and snuggles on the couch, I have a date with my TV or my computer, and hopefully some phone calls to my family. This is my new normal for the next nine months. Luckily, I have lots of family near by to lend a helping hand when I need it and I will definitely never take for granted coming downstairs to clean dishes and empty trash cans after putting the little guy to sleep.

Well, I am off to bed, time to wake up and do it all again tomorrow :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Deployment Goals

One of the silver linings to having Matt deployed is it usually motivates me to accomplish things in my life that I have been putting on the back burner. During the last deployment, Matt and I's relationship grew so much and I was so proud of all that I accomplished both personally and professionally while he was gone. I hope for the same thing this time around. In order to help hold me accountable, I decided to publish my goals for all to read and I will revisit the list in December to see how well I did.

1. Run a half marathon: When Matt deployed to Iraq I made it a goal to run a full marathon. It was an experience I will never forget and the sense of accomplishment was indescribable, so was the pain! I have yet to get the itch to run another marathon, but I do want to regain some of the endurance I had before Kyle was born. My two best friends from high school and I have decide to do the Philadelphia Half Marathon/Marathon in November. I have lots of little races I have signed up for in the Springs and in Denver over the next 9 months in preparation for the big race and I can't wait to accomplish this goal with my two best friends...#1's all the way!!!

2. Cook dinner twice a week: When Matt is gone it is easy to slide into a dinner menu consisting of cereal, cheese and crackers, Subway, and Chipotle. While I plan to enjoy my fair share of Subway and Chipotle during this deployment, I want to cook two meals a week and hopefully have left overs from each of those meals for one night, making four home cooked meals a week and three take out meals. I am really good about cooking at home when Matt is here, but cooking for one is not so exciting.

3. Read one non-baby related book a month: Ever since getting pregnant I have stopped reading for pleasure. While I was pregnant, I was busy with work and in my free time I would read books about pregnancy and parenting. Now that I have Kyle, in the little free time I have, I choose to watch TV, blog, read blogs, or sleep. I really want to get back into reading, even if it means reading tween novels like the Hunger Games :)

4. Learn how to use my SLR Nikon camera in "non-automatic" mode: Matt bought me a fancy camera for Christmas under the condition that I would take some photography classes and learn how to actually use the camera off the automatic mode. I am really excited about this goal, I love photography, and I have the two cutest subjects to photograph.

That is all I have for now, and if I come up with anything else I will post it. So far, being a single parent has been going pretty well for the most part. I truly have an incredible support system. I have an amazing family who have already helped out a ton with Kyle. I also have the best friends! Between my college friends, friends from previous duty stations, and fellow wives in Matt's unit I feel so loved and not alone in this challenge. Thanks again to all of you for your love, prayers, and support!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

7 Months

Sorry for the lack of blogging these past few weeks. We said good bye to Matt last week and things have been a bit crazy around here. We are settling into a routine without him around and I just keep telling myself that each day is one day closer to his return.

Dear Kyle-

You are growing so fast! I can't believe how much you grow and change from month to month. This is by far my favorite stage in your life. You are so happy and can entertain yourself so well with your toys, but you are not yet mobile so I don't have to baby proof the house and watch your every move. Daddy and I started calling you Pip this month as a nickname. I am not really sure where it came from but it seems to have stuck for the time being.

Like I said, you LOVE to play with your toys. Your favorite thing is to take stuff out of your various baskets. You still love your blocks and I recently brought out a "barrel of monkeys" that you got for Christmas that has become a new favorite. While you are not yet crawling I can sense that you are getting close. You are very wiggly when I hold you and can pull yourself up on me when you sit on my lap. You are also enjoying tummy time more and more and are starting to move your legs and arms in a crawling motion, you just don't get anywhere. You also started rolling from your front to your back regularly.

Eating is also one of your favorite activities. You kick your arms and legs with excitement whenever I put you in your highchair in anticipation of food. You pretty much love everything I give you, especially fruit pouches. It amazes me how fast you suck down the food inside them! You still have not cut any teeth, but I can see that they are close. The bumps get more pronounced every time I feel inside your mouth and you continue to drool like crazy so hopefully they come through soon.

The torticollis in your neck is getting better every week. We started physical therapy last month and it basically consists of positioning everything on your right side so it forces you to stretch the muscles on the left side of your neck. We also do a variety of stretches which seem to be helping as well. Both your doctor and physical therapist are pleased with the progress you are making and have a feeling that it should be cleared all the way up in no time. It really is amazing how malleable the muscles are in babies.

We also said good bye to Daddy this month. It was one of the hardest things mommy has had to do in a long time. Knowing that he is going to miss watching you grow these next nine months breaks my heart. You and him are best buddies and I know you will miss your daddy time. Mommy really needs to work on her comedy routine. Daddy can make you laugh so hard and I just can't quite get the same giggles out of you. I am hoping he has the same effect over Skype. You love to go on horsey rides around the house and playing peekaboo. The good news is you won't remember this time without your daddy around so hopefully you will pick up where you left off quickly once he gets home.

You are such a joy in my life little man. Thanks for keeping me company while Daddy is away. I will do my best to be the same happy energetic mom without my second half to help, and seeing your face when I wake up each morning reminds me how much I have to be thankful for each day.

I love you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reality Check

The deployment ceremony for Matt's brigade was last week and as they started casing the flags to ship them to Afghanistan, it hit me, this is really happening. While we have been preparing for this deployment for the past 18months, I have tried my hardest not to think about the actual "good bye" and just live in the moment, or maybe live in denial. There is always that glimmer of hope that maybe it might get cancelled, but as the soldiers stood at attention as we sang the Army song there was no turning back, I really am going to be saying good bye to Matt for 9 months.

While I am anxious about what the next 9 months as a single parent will bring, we are ready, and we will not only survive this deployment, we will thrive. It is all about having a positive outlook and while I am sure I will have my bad days, I plan to stay in the positive as much as possible and make the most of our time apart. Most importantly, I have a little man who needs and deserves a happy mommy!

We are all holding each other extra tight these next few days before the official good bye, but I am ready to start counting in the opposite direction.

*On a side note, we made the Colorado Springs Gazette. Check out our photos in the slide show at the link below.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hungry Hungry Hippo

I blogged a few weeks ago about Kyle's introduction to solid foods and I am happy to update that his pallet is beginning to take a liking to just about everything I have given him. I read in one of my parenting emails that it take 8 tries of a food before children can make a decision if they like something or not. With Kyle it takes about two tries. The first time I give him a new food he sort of crinkles up his nose but still begrudgingly eats it and then the second I introduce it to him he is a huge fan. It is almost like his taste buds have to get used to eating food with flavor as opposed to the blandness in rice cereal and breast milk. So far we have tried avocados, sweet potatoes, winter squash, peas, green beans, pears and bananas. He eats all of them with ease but I think his favorite is pears. I have been giving him two tablespoons of rice cereal twice a day and adding two tablespoons of a fruit in the morning and a vegetable in the evening so he is eating about four tablespoons of solid food a day. In addition to the solids I have still been nursing him about every 3 hours. The man definitely has an appetite.

I have been doing a mixture of making my own baby food and using organic jar baby food. It just depends on what is in season as to whether or not I decide to make it or use a jar. He does not seem to have a preference to the texture so that is good. I am relieved that he has become a good eater. It seems as though Kyle likes to throw a little challenge into most new things we introduce to him, i.e. a bottle, but eating from a spoon does not seem to be a problem at all. We have also not had any issues with digestion or allergies. I will note, that changing diapers has taken on a whole new level of grossness, it is always a surprise what color and texture the poop is going to be the next day.

He is also doing really well with his sippy cup. We give him about 2-4 oz of nursery water a day and I think I am going to try putting some of my breast milk in it soon so I have the option to leave him for longer periods of time. This will be very nice once Matt leaves and mommy needs some much needed "me time." I also know the grandparents are dying to watch the little guy so I am going to take full advantage. I am crossing my fingers that as he gets older he remains open to trying new foods, neither Matt or I are picky eaters and I love to cook new things and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or mac and cheese every night is not going to fly in our house.

*I meant to take a picture of him eating breakfast this morning for the blog and totally forgot so I will make an edit to this post tonight after I get a "dinner" photo. He actually does a fairly good job of keeping most of the food in his mouth!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Snow Day!

Colorado finally received some winter snow this past weekend and we could not resist dressing Kyle up in his snowsuit to play in the white fluffy powder. While we were pretty excited about the idea I think Kyle could have done without the experience. He usually does not mind being outside in the cold but he was not feeling his sled ride as much as we had hoped. He was a little small for the sled and had trouble sitting up in it so I think that had a large part to do with his dissatisfaction. Nonetheless, it made for some fun pictures!

We spent the weekend hanging out with Matt's parents. Matt is trying to suck up as much family time as he can these next few weeks before he leaves. Unfortunately, I got sick with some type of stomach virus and was out of commission Saturday night and all of Sunday. Thankfully we had the grandparents on hand to help take care of Kyle while I laid in bed all day. Being a sick mommy is no fun at all! Thankfully the plague left me as quickly as it came on and I was feeling like my normal self on Monday morning. I am crossing my fingers that no one else in the house gets it!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

6 Months

Dear Kyle-

You celebrated your 6 month birthday this past week and I can’t believe you have been in our lives for half a year! Where has the time gone? I remember when you were a newborn, we could not wait for you to grow out of your colic and time seemed to be going so slow, but ever since those days left us, time has been flying by!

For your six month birthday mommy got some fun presents for both you and me to use. We finally purchased a BOB jogging stroller and a Kokopax carrier. I love both of these items and so far you seem to enjoy them too! I have been working at getting back into running and you have become my workout partner. So far you have fallen asleep on almost every run I have taken you on which has been great. You get a nap and I get a work out in! You were getting too big for your Bjorn front baby carrier so I upgraded to the backpack. I highly recommend this to all my mommy friends out there! It is really comfortable and makes carrying you around so much easier. I can put you in it when I go grocery shopping or when we play fetch at the park with Eros, and also when I am trying to cook dinner and all you want to do is be held.

You continue to grow and change so much these days. I stare at you in amazement sometimes at the little man you are becoming! Now that you can sit up right you enjoy playing with all your toys on your activity mat. I love to watch you play and talk to yourself. I try to imagine what you are thinking and saying, and you make it very hard for me to get anything done because you are just so cute to watch! You are also very good with your hand coordination and can pick objects up with ease. Your Sophie giraffe, blocks, and baby cell phone are some of your favorites right now. In addition to your toys you LOVE your jumperoo (Thanks Aunt Holly!). You learned how to jump in it this month and can really get yourself going. It is so fun to watch you giggle and smile. You also like to growl when you are jumping which is too funny.

We are working on increasing your “tummy time” to continue to build your core muscles but right now you show no signs of wanting to crawl. You are very content to just sit and play with your toys. This is fine with mommy, it makes my life a lot easier not having to chase you around the house, yet.

This month you have also really taken a liking to your dad. As soon as he walks in the door your face lights up with joy and you smile and laugh. It melts my heart and breaks it at the same time since he will be leaving us very shortly. I will have to make sure we read our daddy books and look at videos and pictures so you don’t forget him.

Winter cold season also struck our house this month and you got your first cold. Luckily it did not turn into an ear infection but you had your first stuffy/runny nose. It made for a week of sleepless nights for mommy and daddy but you seem to doing much better so hopefully that is the worst of our cold season this year.

Your adventures with solid foods are going well. We gave you sweet potatoes for your 6 month birthday and you were not quite sure what to think. You love your rice cereal and will eat about 2 tablespoons twice a day with no problem, so I thought for sure you would love sweet potatoes and other solids since you enjoy your rice cereal so much but you are a bit unsure. We tried avocado the next day and you liked that more, but the slimy texture made it hard for you to keep it in your mouth and I think more of it ended up on your face and hands than in your tummy. We tried yams (the orange sweet potatoes) today and you actually seemed to prefer it to the yellow sweet potatoes. Right now it is all about the experience of eating and trying new things so I am not too stressed about you getting any sort of caloric nutrition from these meals, and I am sure in time you will get the hang of eating other things besides rice cereal and breast milk, or you will be one cheap date when you grow up :). I am going to move onto fruits next week and am curious to see what you think about bananas and pears.

Your 6 month check up went well and you are continuing to grow healthy and strong. You are 17lbs and 26 inches long and wearing 9 month baby clothes now. We are going to be starting you on some physical therapy next week to help strengthen the left side of your neck. The doctors say you have slight Torticollis on the left side of your neck which basically means we need to lengthen the muscles so you are able to hold your head straight. If you look back at all the photos we have taken of you, your head leans slightly to the left in each one, mommy and daddy just figured it was because you had such a big head. The good news is you can move your head from side to side with ease and the doctors feel that after a few weeks of physical therapy the problem should be cleared up.

You are such a joy in our lives and I am so thankful every day to be your mom! I have to say that so far this is the best stage yet in your short little life and I can’t wait to see what the upcoming months have in store for us as you continue to develop. Thanks for making me smile every day little guy!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Kairos Moments

One of my mommy friends shared the link below on her Facebook page today and I had to steal if for my blog. This article is so true! Being a mom is the toughest job I have ever had. To be completely honest, it is much harder than I ever thought it would be. However, with great challenge comes great reward and I would not trade a single sleepless night or a crying fit to see one of Kyle's smiles or hear his sweet laugh. These "Kairos" moments are what make motherhood worth while and I thank God everyday for the opportunity he has give me to be Kyle's mommy. And now that my little babe is fast asleep for the night, I am going to kick back and enjoy a beer and some pizza with my husband, and congratulate myself on another successful day in raising my baby boy. I could not ask for a better Friday night!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sitting Straight

Kyle started sitting on his own this weekend and he LOVES this new perspective on life! He started sitting for short periods of time a few weeks ago but was pretty wobbly and if he tried to play with any toys he would fall over. However, on Friday last week he woke up one morning and could sit and play with his toys with no problem. He has become such a happy baby and loves that he can entertain himself from this position. I also love that we have reached this milestone! I can plop him on the floor with a few different toys around him and he will play for a good hour before needing some assistance and attention from mommy. He is thoroughly enjoying all his Christmas toys so thanks to all our friends and family who spoiled this little guy with gifts this year.

Other milestones from the past week include, responding to his name when you call it and saying the word “mama.” While he does not understand that I am “mama”, he does say the word often, especially when he is tired. I will rock him to sleep while he drones “mamamamam…moooommmm…mamammama.”

We also took a nice family trip to Crested Butte for MLK weekend. While it was a bummer that there was horrible snow for skiing, the silver lining was the weather was beautiful and it felt like spring in the mountains! We were able to get outside with Kyle and go for a fun runs in the BOB stroller. Eros was also super excited with the weekend. Matt took him Nordic skiing and he loved it! It was so nice to get away and enjoy a family weekend together in one of our favorite places. It made me realize how much I am going to miss having Matt home when he leaves!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Five Months

Dear Kyle-

You turned five months right around your first Christmas. It was clear that you love the holidays! Your dad and I had so much fun with you this month. Daddy had three weeks off to spend with us before he deploys and we loved every minute of our time with him. You were quite the traveler this month spending time in Baggs, WY; Colorado; and Whitefish, MT.
Our first trip was to Baggs where Grandma Shannon grew up and mommy and daddy got married. You got to meet lots of your great aunts and uncles and even took your first buggy ride on Rosemary the mule. Mommy rode in the buggy on her wedding day and it was a special experience riding in it with you and daddy. I remember thinking my how far we have come as we rode down the lane. You enjoyed your buggy ride and almost feel asleep to the motion her hooves pounding on the gravel.

We spent Christmas Eve with Grandma Mary’s family in Ft. Collins and again you were the life of the party. Everyone had fun holding you especially your second cousin, Kayleigh, and you loved seeing your extended family. You sure were spoiled with lots of presents. On Christmas morning we went to Grandma and Grandpa Meersman’s house and opened presents and enjoyed spending time with the family. You got the cutest sweater that mommy loves to dress you in!

On Christmas night we took our first airplane ride to Montana. I was unsure of how you would do on the plane but you did great! You loved all the sights and sounds in the airport and fell asleep as soon as we got on the plan. I could not have asked for a better travel partner. Once we landed, we were greeted with huge smiles from Aunt Kate and Uncle Nate. We spent the week snowshoeing, antique shopping, and spending time with family. You loved every minute of it and it was becoming clear that you enjoyed the outdoors which makes your mommy and daddy very happy. We put you in your bear snowsuit and you were quite warm and comfy being outside.

You also got very good at rolling and finally rolled for your daddy! I had seen you roll a few times but he had never witnessed it. You also started sitting up on your own for a few seconds at a time. You love this new perspective on life and I can’t wait until you can sit on your own for long periods of time.

I can’t decide if you are teething or not. I keep thinking that you are but I see no sign of teeth under your gums. However, you have all the symptoms. You are drooling like crazy; clear runny nose off and on and you chew your fists in pain from time to time. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

You had another major milestone this month; your first taste of solid foods in the form of rice cereal. You were showing all the signs that you were ready to eat. You were grabbing for our food when we ate and moved your mouth open and closed. And ready you were. You ate your first tablespoon of cereal mixed with breast milk like a champ. Some definitely made it on your face and hands but for the most part you ingested a fair amount and every day that you have ate since you do better and better. You get very excited as I prepare your food and when I start putting the spoon toward your mouth you kick your legs with excitement. We will wait until you are six months to give you additional solids but I am positive you are going to love eating. I plan on making your baby food and can’t wait to start!

I can’t believe you are almost half a year old. You have not been in our lives for that long but I can’t imagine life without you.


Four Months

Dear Kyle-

On your four month birthday daddy came home from his training and he could not believe how much you had changed. You had full control of your head and could look around with ease at the world around you. You also started sticking your tongue out at us which was too cute!

You continued to grow like a weed weighing 15lbs 8ounces and 25 inches long at your 4 month well baby exam. Your size is definitely one of your defining features at the moment. People always comment on how big and healthy you look.

You still enjoyed spending time on your activity mat and started taking interest in your puppy dog. The two of you are quite a pair. He loves to try to sneak in as many puppy kisses as he can when mommy and daddy are not looking and will lie next to you whenever you are on the floor. He is also very protective of you and goes on guard whenever a stranger comes into the house.

You have also started enjoying baby toys which worked out very well with Christmas right around the corner. Everything you touch goes in your mouth! Grandma Shannon bought you a Very Hungry Caterpillar toy which you love.

Yu still sleep well at night with one wake-up in the early morning and then you usually fall back to sleep for a few more hours. We started teaching you to self soothe with your favorite blanket which is going well. You definitely love your “nana” and are immediately comforted when you grab onto it and bring it to your face.

We enjoyed our first Thanksgiving with you and were reminded of how thankful we are to have you in our life. You have changed our lives completely but we could not imagine life without you. Your smiles melt our hearts and you have taught us what love really means.
We ended the month experiencing one of the sweetest sounds, your laugh. You do a lot of “air laughs” where you open your mouth but nothing comes out. However, every so often something really gets you excited and you let out a little belly laugh. It always brings a huge smile to my face and makes all the sleepless nights and crying fits worthwhile.


Three Months

Dear Kyle-

At three months you hit a big milestone, you were no longer a colicky baby, and you became an infant! Mommy learned that she much prefers having an infant to a newborn. Daddy had to leave for a month of training in Louisiana when you were three months old. It was very hard to say good bye but it was good practice for when he deploys later this year.

We survived the month without daddy but not without the help of your loving Grandparents. You are one lucky kid to have three sets of Grandparents who adore you! They love spending time with you and are a huge help in giving mommy breaks to recharge her batteries.
You grew a ton this month and really developed into your own little person. You started rolling on your side and by four months had rolled over completely. You were interested in grabbing objects in front of you and your smile would light up the room. You were happiest first thing in the morning giving us lots of smiles and coos. You also started chattering quite a bit. I think you are going to grow up to be quite the chatter box like your mommy.

We also made the transition from sleeping in mommy and daddy’s room to your crib. You were such a big boy and made the transition with ease. You love sleeping in your crib and enjoy waking up to your bear mobile in the morning. Mommy also enjoys having you in your crib as well. I did not realize how much better I sleep at night not hearing all the noises you make in your sleep.

You also experienced your first Halloween and mommy dressed you as a baby tiger. You were sooo cute! Mommy soon realized that holidays are all that more fun with babies and can’t wait until you are old enough to understand what Halloween is all about.

While your colic was gone, you were still fussy in the evening and we realized that it was because you were tired so we pushed up your bedtime from 8:30 to 7:00 and it made a huge difference in your mood. It was also a great for mommy and daddy because it gave us a few hours in the evening to spend time together without having to take care of you.

It was clear you were growing into a happy healthy human and I could not get enough of you sweet smile.


Two Months

Dear Kyle-

By the time you were two months you and mommy had settled into a nice little routine. I went back to work after my maternity leave for a few weeks and quickly decided to leave my job for the time being to focus 100% on raising you. I am so thankful that your daddy’s job in the Army allows me to stay at home right now. I really can’t imagine working, you require all of my energy and I don’t think I could balance both at this time. One day I plan to go back to work, but for now taking care of you is a full time job.

Being a stay at home mom was a bit of an adjustment. I had to find things to keep both you and I entertained. Just hanging in the house all day got quite boring for the both of us. You loved getting out of the house so we would take many trips to Target and the grocery store. Your eyes would light up and you would smile as I pushed you in the shopping cart. We also joined a playgroup with some of mommy’s friends in Colorado Springs and started a playgroup with mommy’s friends from high school with babies. We both loved getting out and seeing other babies and talking to other mommy’s going through the same joys and challenges of parenthood. Another part of our daily routine was taking Eros to the park to get his exercise. You loved hanging in your car seat and watching me throw the ball for Eros to fetch.

We found that the best way to sooth you when you were fussy was to bounce you on the edge of the bed. Most babies love being rocked but you loved being bounced. After hours of being cooped up in my room bouncing you I realized that I could get the same result if I bounced you on an exercise ball. It was a great discovery that allowed mommy to bounce you while watching TV with the rest of the family and it also saved the springs on our bed.

We also gave our first attempt at feeding you a bottle when you were 6 weeks old. To mommy’s dissatisfaction you rejected the new form of nourishment and much preferred getting your food straight from the source. You were a puristJ. We tried multiple bottle nipples but it was clearly not something you were ready for and since I did not have to go back to work I accepted the fact that you and I were going to be attached at the hip for the time being.

You also started to become more interactive at two months and I enjoyed finding things that would cause your arms and legs to move with excitement. You loved when I read you books, especially The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Cat in the Hat. I also built your Lady Bug Activity Mat and you immediately fell in love with this apparatus. It was like being in a baby amusement park and provided you with hours of entertainment. Mommy also loved the “ladies” as I nick named the mat, because it allowed me to get things done around the house.

The first month of your life you hated baths with a passion but we tried again at two months and you fell in love with your tub! We created the “Kyle Spa Treatment” before you went to bed every night and it helped you fall asleep with ease. I would run a hot shower for a few minutes to steam up the bathroom and put your towel in the dryer to warm it while you were bathing and after you got a lotion massage. You loved the spa experience. It was one of, and still is, my favorite times of the day with you. You also started sleeping through the night at two months which was AMAZING! I was able to recharge on much needed sleep from the past few months and felt like a new person. While you became a great sleeper you were not the best napper. You thrive off of 4, 30 minute naps a day. This is challenging for mommy because I can’t get much done during your naps since they are so short, but since you sleep so well at night I can’t complain too much.
You had your first well baby exam at two months and weighed in at a healthy 12lbs 15ounces and were 23 inches long. You were in the 94th percentile for weight and 70th percentile for height. You also received your first round of vaccinations and did pretty well with the whole experience.

Life with you just kept getting easier and more joyful as you started developing you own personality and interacting with the world around you.


Colic Monster

Dear Kyle-

It would not be a true recap of the past five months of your life if I did not take some time to write about our adventures with your colic. When you were about three weeks old you started routine crying fits in the evenings. Mommy and daddy were not quite sure what was wrong with you but all we had been reading about newborns said it was common for babies to get fussy in the evenings as they processed their day. However, your crying seemed much more than just a fussy baby and lasted for almost 3 hours. After talking with the nurses we concluded that you were one of the 30% of babies who is colicky. Your dad was also colicky as a baby so we got lots of support from your Grandma Schardt.

This was honestly one of the most trying and challenging times of your mommy’s life. It was heartbreaking to not be able to do anything to console you and you quickly got the nickname “screaming meme”. You usually started up around 5:00 when you dad got home from work and stopped between 9 and 10 at night. Your dad and I would take turns holding you while you screamed and sometimes it got to the point where we would have to put you in your swing to cry by yourself. I apologize if you ever felt unloved during this time. I never stopped loving you but I was very distressed with your behavior and sometimes we needed a break to recharge. There is nothing worse than a screaming baby. Many nights you would bring the entire family to tears as we wondered what we did to deserve such an unhappy baby. Everyone assured us that usually by 3 months babies grow out of colic and it disappears as quickly as it starts so we began the countdown. Most parents don’t want their babies to grow out of the sleepy newborn stage but your daddy and I could not wait! After about a month and a half we became used to the colic routine and entered each night armed with ear plugs and determination to make it through the evening without breaking down. By two and a half months the crying fits started to lessen in duration and by three months they were pretty much completely gone.

I am happy to say that with a lot of prayers and help from Grandma Shannon and Grandma Mary we survived those trying three months and through it I gained a great deal of patience and strength that I never knew I had.


One Month

Dear Kyle-

The first month of your life was a whirlwind of emotions as we adjusted to life with a newborn. It is true what they say, nothing can really prepare you for parenthood, you just have to jump in head first and do it! You came home from the hospital when you were two days old. We could not wait to welcome you home and introduce you to your puppy Eros. Grandma Mary welcomed us when we got home and we quickly put you in your Sungabunny swing. You immediately feel in love with this swing and it became your favorite place to sleep! In fact, you would probably still be using it today if you had not gotten too big. It was hands down the best baby purchase I made.

The introduction to your puppy went very well and we could tell that you were going to be buddies from the start. He could not get enough of your scent and tried to smell you every chance he could get. He also wanted to give you lot of puppy kisses.

You ended up being born during a very important training exercise for Daddy and after lots of consideration we decided that he should lead his Soldiers in the exercise for the next 48hours. We had lots of family offer to help so we knew that you and I were in good hands while he was away. Grandma Mary stayed with use for the first few nights. My milk came in when you were two days old causing me a lot of discomfort. I was producing way more milk than you could drink but after a few days my body regulated itself and we were good to go. You were an excellent nurser and was very patient with mommy while she learned the ropes of breastfeeding. When you were four days old your Grandma Shannon and Aunt Kathleen came down to help take care of us. You daddy also came back from his training and we were able to spend some quality family time together. Aunt Kate made us lots of yummy meals and Grandma Shannon knew just how to hold you when you were having stomach gas.

Being born in the wee hours of the morning caused you to reverse your nights and days so it took some time to get you on a good sleeping schedule. Luckily we had lots of helping hands to take the night shift while mommy and daddy caught up on some much needed sleep.

One thing is for sure, you are very loved by your family. On the day you were born all three sets of Grandparents were there to hold you along with your Aunt Holly. Everyone immediately fell in love with you! You ended up being born a month before your Aunt Holly and Uncle Zach were married which gave us the opportunity to introduce you to all of your Great Grandparents and Great Aunts and Uncles in the first month of your life. Great Grandma and Grandpa Schardt also flew in from Florida to meet you! It was a very happy time but also very exhausting! I look back on that first month and wonder how I survived. I quickly learned that I can function on much less sleep than I ever thought I could.

After one week of help from the family you and I “flew solo” for the first time. I was pretty nervous to have just you and I alone by ourselves but we got along ok. With all the help we had that first week I had not had much of a chance to truly bond with you so it was nice to have some quiet time to hold and cuddle you. You loved to take naps on my chest which I loved but stopped me from getting anything done during the day.

At two weeks old you went on your first outing to a “Hail and Farewell” for daddy’s work. It was held at the Fox and the Hound Bar. You really enjoyed all the white noise in the bar and slept most of the time! When you were three weeks old you made your first trip up to Littleton for Aunt Holly’s bridal shower. You were quite the socialite and let everyone in the room hold you! When you were one month old you attended your Aunt’s bachelorette party at the Hyatt in Downtown, Denver. You were the only man allowed :). Grandma Shannon watched you while mommy went out to dinner with the girls. It was the first time I had left you since you were born. You also started smiling at four weeks! I remember you giving some of your first similes to your Great Grandpa and Grandma Schardt. You loved the sound of men’s voices and would usually smile if Daddy talked to you.

Your first road trip was when you were five weeks old to your Aunt Holly and Uncle Zach’s wedding in Crested Butte, CO. Overall the trip went pretty well for how young you were. You did amazing on the day of your aunt’s wedding and slept almost the entire day while mommy and the girls got ready and most importantly you made it through the entire wedding ceremony without making a peep! Your aunt bought you a little tuxedo onesie and you looked very handsome.

I have to admit, that many moments of that first month are a blur, but we survived and each day mommy got better at taking care of your needs. We became quite the pair and it was clear that you were definitely a mommy’s boy from the beginning.


The Night You Were Born

Dear Kyle Baxter-

The night you were born was one of the most miraculous nights of my life. It is a night I will never forget! It was Friday, July 29th 2011, three days past my due date. I had been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions on and off for the past two weeks and I was getting extremely anxious to meet you. Your Grandma Mary came down to Colorado Springs earlier that week to keep me company and help pass the long days as I waited for labor to start. We went on lots of walks, she massaged pressure points in my feet and ankles, I drank lots of Red Raspberry Leaf tea, basically I was trying everything I could think of to try to get labor started but you were very comfy and content in my belly. Each day that week I would wake up waiting for a sign that labor may be imminent and I was starting to get discouraged that you might decide to stay in my belly forever! Finally, on Friday morning I woke up to some light bleeding and had a feeling that this was going to be the day. I called my doula, Candace, that morning to let her know about the bleeding. She told me that was a good sign, and to drink lots of water, eat a good meal, and to start doing pelvic rocks every hour to ensure you were in a good position for pushing.

With a hopeful heart that I would be meeting you very soon I went for a “curb walk” that morning, took a shower, went to Chipotle for lunch, and did lots of pelvic rocks throughout the day. Grandma made us a delicious broccoli casserole for dinner that night and while we were eating I could feel contractions starting to intensify more than the usual Braxton Hicks contractions I had been feeling for the past few weeks. I did not want to say anything to your dad and Grandma for fear that they would think I was “crying wolf” once again about going into labor that night. I figured I would just take it easy the rest of the evening and see if things picked up. At 7:00p.m. my back started hurting so I decided to soak in a warm bath. I told your dad that when I got out of the bath we should watch a movie together and take advantage of yet another night with just the “two of us”. My contractions started to kick up another notch while in the tub, however, I could still talk through them so I was not totally convinced I was in labor. After my bath, I walked downstairs to find your dad peacefully sleeping on the couch. He had a long week of work and I figured if I did go into labor that night he could use a nap so I let him sleep.

Meanwhile, I went upstairs to our bedroom and tried to find something to watch on TV. As I lay in bed my contractions started to get closer together and become more regular. I also had to focus on my breathing to get through them. Grandma came in to check on me and I told her that I just wanted to be alone to focus on you and me. I had a feeling that active labor was on its way, but again, did not want to jinx myself. Your puppy, Eros, came upstairs to the bed and laid his head on my stomach as I worked through each contraction. He was such a calming spirit. About two hours had gone by and Grandma came back in to see if I was still doing ok. I told her to heat up a rice pack to ease the pain in my back and decided that maybe it was a good time to wake up your dad. I was not sure where the night would take us, but I was focused and ready for you to arrive. I gently woke your dad and told him that I was having pretty regular contractions and that maybe “tonight was the night”. He groggily looked at me thinking, here we go again. However, I knew in my heart that tonight was different. We went upstairs and started timing my contractions using an application on my iPhone. I told your Grandma to head to bed, your dad and I had things under control, and if we needed her we would wake her up.

For the next few hours your dad, Eros and I sat in bed and worked through each contraction together. I was very focused on my breathing during each one and in between I would rest, talk and laugh with your dad. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I do remember the feeling in the room was very peaceful and quiet. As the contractions got closer together it was becoming evident that we were definitely having a baby soon. I started wondering if I should go to the hospital but I was doing a good job of managing the contractions with the help of your dad and my water had not broke yet so I figured we were probably a ways out from active labor. At one point, I remember asking your dad if he thought we should go yet, and he said, “we need more data” because there was not a clear enough pattern to the contractions we were tracking. They were averaging one minute in length and three minutes apart, but then sometimes they would shorten to 30 seconds in length and be about five minutes apart.

At about 12:30a.m. I felt a gush of water with one of my contractions and went to the bathroom to find I was leaking a lot of blood. I still felt ok, but was pretty nervous to see that much blood and did not remember reading anything about lots of bleeding in our birth class notebook. We woke up Grandma, who was in a dead sleep, to see what she thought. I could sense some concern in her eyes so we called our doula. Candace did not seem concerned and said that it was probably just my cervix effacing in the midst of my water breaking so we decided to carry on laboring at home when all of the sudden I felt a contraction that sent me to my knees. At that point we quickly decided it was time to head to the hospital. Your dad went into military mode and calmly got me and your Grandma loaded into the car. Before I knew it we were on our way.

As we pulled out of the driveway my contractions took on a whole new level of intensity! I was in a lot of discomfort and quickly lost my focus. Instead of breathing through the contractions I started screaming. My goal was to have a natural childbirth and I never doubted my ability to do so until we started driving on Post. What was a 10 minute drive seemed like an eternity! I remember thinking to myself that if I am only 4-5 centimeters dilated, I may have to break down and get an epidural. I did not think I could endure this level of contractions for much longer. We finally arrived at the hospital and I was quickly wheeled up to labor and delivery. The nurse examined me and told me I was 8 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced! In the midst of intense contractions, a relief overcame my body, “I can do this,” I told myself. I was in the final stretch of the “marathon”. They quickly checked me into my labor suite, introduced me to my midwife, Gwen, and with renewed strength I was ready to welcome you into the world.

Your dad was by my side holding my hand the entire time. I found the most comfortable position to labor in was kneeling with my arms resting over the back of the hospital bed. Your dad was behind the bed helping me focus and breathe through each contraction and your Grandma was rubbing my back. It was the perfect team! I gained my strength by looking into your dad’s eyes, he was my rock, and I could not have done it without him! I quickly got into a rhythm with each contraction: Intensity, Intensity, Intensity, Relief, Relief, Relief, and Repeat. After about an hour of laboring in the hospital, I started feeling the intense sensation to start pushing. The midwife quickly checked me and gave me the green light to start pushing. While labor felt like an intense charlie horse in my stomach, pushing was an entirely different sensation. Just as I began to push, our doula, Candace arrived. It was the perfect time to welcome the third member of our team. She and your grandma each held one of my legs and your dad continued to give me the strength and focus I needed through each push. Just like with labor, I quickly got into a rhythm with the pushing and within 45 minutes you made your entrance into the world at 3:20a.m. on Saturday, July 30th.

The doctors immediately brought you to my chest and I could not believe what my body had just done. I had given birth to the most amazing little bundle of joy. It was love at first sight! You came out purple, but as you took your first breath your body quickly turned bright pink. Your dad cut the umbilical cord and the nurses whisked you away to clean you up. Your dad kept a close eye on you the entire time to ensure you were never alone while the doctors took care of cleaning and sewing me up. My placenta passed with ease and then began one of the most intense parts of the entire labor experience: stitching me up. I was given a local anesthetic so I could not feel pain but I did feel lots of tugging and pulling and all I wanted to do was relax. At least the nurses had you right next to me while they were cleaning you up so I could hear you exercising your powerful lungs :).

To all of our amazement you weighed in at a hearty 9lbs 8ounces and 21 inches long! I had no idea I was carrying such a big boy. We were soon reunited and quickly began our nursing relationship. It was evident that you were going to be a good eater from the start! While you nursed, I could not stop looking at you in amazement thinking of the miracle that we had all just witnessed. There was so much love and happiness in the room as we took turns holding you and made calls to all the family to tell them the good news. You had arrived and our lives were forever changed from that moment on. I could not have asked for a better birth experience. It was absolutely perfect just like you!

“Heaven blew every trumpet
And played every horn
On the wonderful, marvelous
Night you were born
~Nancy Tillman

Love, Hugs, and Kisses-

Welcome Back!

Hello Friends and Family,

Welcome back to my blog! I took a 6 month hiatus, but I am back and excited to start writing again. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get back to blogging. I love writing and documenting things so my plan is to try to update once a week. This year brings a lot of excitement and challenges and writing will provide a good outlet to express my thoughts.
To document the past 5 months of Kyle’s life and to bring everyone up to speed I decided to write letters to Kyle in the past tense. I hope you enjoy reading along.