Zoe - 1 Month Old

Zoe's first month was one of learning and growing together!  The first lesson I learned was that every sweet baby is so different.  At first you think of comparisons with the first experience, then you embrace and love the fact that this is a totally different baby and needs to be discovered in a whole new way.

I love my baby girl Zoe so very much.  In my very mommy opinion, she is so amazingly BEAUTIFUL!  She has the squishiest, most wonderful cheeks, and the sweetest little, perfectly round head.  And she loves any sort of physical soothing, especially having her head rubbed, which I think is the sweetest.  I've always felt like she doesn't totally love being a baby, which is maybe why she seems to resist the baby-ness. ;)  She moves all the time, just like in my belly, kicking those feet just exactly how I remember at the end of my pregnancy.  She also has the most beautiful little hands, and she's always seemed to either hold them together or reach out and grab onto something with them.

(First double snuggle session)

(First time holding baby sister...it was always instant love with these two!)

From the very beginning Zoe has wanted to be held close.  She much prefers snuggling to anything else.  And she has never, ever fallen asleep right after eating.  That completely took me by surprise, because we never had one of those eat then nap in Mommy's lap times, which is what I expected.  But from the very beginning she has needed a lot of comfort through crying, but gets to a place where she can be set down and she'll fall right to sleep on her own, with the little sound machine that came with the pack n play.  The first couple weeks she was pretty sweet and sleepy, just getting upset after feeding possibly because of it coming too fast for her.  She also gained her weight pretty fast instead of staying tiny for very long.  We also only went to the lactation consultant once, when she was about a week and a half old.  Those first two weeks were super hard in the way of day and night confusion.  I was sooo tired.  For some reason whenever I've had a newborn I feel so old. ;)  I keep thinking surely I wouldn't be so tired if I was in my twenties, but maybe it's just exhausting for everyone?  On the other hand I also have the best hormone shifting adrenaline the first 3 weeks or so, excited about new baby days, and left over nesting energy.  Then that ended drastically.

Zoe cried a lot, alot, almost all the time except when she took short naps that first 6 weeks.  That was super tough and we survived by baby wearing.  She loves, loves baby wearing.  Almost every night my nerves were way past shot, and I was too exhausted to think or do anything.  I remember just rocking her like crazy in the rock n play, silently begging her to sleep.  During the days and until she went to sleep at night I would have to walk, bounce, and pat her to calm her down, and any time I tried to sit for a break or even to try and rock her she would immediately wake up and start screaming again.  It was wild.  She has always preferred to be held upright too, and started laying her sweet head on my shoulder from early on.  I did have some fun those first days trying to get some sweet photos of her and her sister, not an easy task with a toddler, which is why I seem to have so many more photos of Zoe right now, both with my camera and my phone!

(First doctor's appointment...super duper tired mommy ;)

We also totally survived by sweet friends and family bringing us meals...what a blessing and life saver!  I remember every time someone would show up with food I would feel this huge rush of relief, both for Kevin, Selah, and myself. 

The day Zoe turned one month old she had her first sweet "play" time on the floor with Selah and I, which was so much fun to be together and happy with my girls.  I have been amazed from day one, once again, that God created this absolutely precious little human being in my womb and now we get to love, adore, and get to know her sweet spirit.  We are thrilled and thankful to be a family of four!


Zoe is 7 weeks!

(I restarted writing this on Monday or Tues. of this week and am just finishing it today.)

(my mom took this on her ipad when she was here...though it was a crazy moment and I felt awful, I'm so thankful she did! such a treasure to me)

It's been 50 days since I officially became a mom with two little ones.  So I started writing this when we were 17 days in, but honestly could not find the time or the energy to make it happen.  I do not know how mommy bloggers do it.  I'm guessing super late nights/early mornings/little sleep! :) 

What an adventure we are having!  I have certainly been exhausted out of my head, much of the past two months, but I'm so incredibly thankful.  It's really hard to believe I now love two beautiful little girls; children I have prayed and hoped for many times over the last several years.

So where to even begin.  To have both of my girls asleep at the same time for long periods of time is not quite happening yet.  And by the nighttime I am emotionally and mentally spent.  I guess I'll start with a quick list of updates and how it's going/things to remember.

*Selah as a newborn was not much of a screamer except for that hour or so at night when she was preparing for sleep.  She did cry randomly throughout the day, but with a little help she slept anytime and anywhere.  Zoe "cries passionately" when she is hungry/tired/needing changed/uncomfortable/not being held/cold/alone/in the carseat.  I know that sounds dramatic, but many days it has been crazy on the extreme side.  But I love that about her.  (Though to say I've been worn thin more days than not is an understatement.  Some for real exhaustion here.)  She came out of the womb wanting to be comforted and close to her mama, and she's growing up and out of some of that all too quickly.  The crazy thing is that she often goes to sleep on her own at night.  If I catch her when she's at that tired point - not past it, then put her down with her wubbanub and some white noise she gets herself to sleep.  That is a blessing.  My nerves have struggled quite a bit by the end of the day, especially if its been a rough one for both girls.  All this has not made me a great friend/texter/phone caller lately.  My girls have needed extra grace from me, and I have for sure needed it from others!
* I started a game where if both girls threw fits at the same time I was allowed to eat chocolate.  Then I decided it was allowed even if just Zoe screamed.  Ha.  (Sea salt dark chocolate caramels anyone?)  I wish I was kidding.  Let's be honest - it wasn't even a game, just comfort food at its best.  Weight loss isn't going so well just yet. ;)  Seriously though, the hardest moments of having two so young have been when they both cry at the same time.  It never lasts for long, but in the beginning my hormones helped me join right in.  I actually want to write a blog post of the most memorable night when this happened.

*Selah loves Zoe.  She has since the beginning.  She doesn't show signs of jealousy, or even seem to mind when I'm feeding Zoe, but I can tell when she's needing some one on one time.  I have tried to create a "15 min." plan.  I try to spend a solid 15 min. at a time doing something with just Selah, whether it's reading, stickers, bubbles, coloring, making something in the kitchen.  And I always put Selah down for naps and get her up from them without having Zoe with me.  Selah likes her best when I put her down so she can talk to her and play with her hands.  She says, "Hi baby," over and over in her sweet 'mommy' voice.  :)  I'll be honest and say it was hard for me those first weeks to really figure out my emotions and time with two.  I felt pretty overwhelmed, and some days like I didn't know how to be fun for Selah by herself.  Weird, I know, but transitioning is for real.  We are just starting to get a rhythm, especially as Zoe is becoming more flexible.  Everyone, even my friend with 10 children has told me 1 to 2 is the hardest.  And many times I've just thought or said, "This is hard."  Either it's me, my kids, or just normal.  I'm hoping it's the latter.

*In my opinion you need two things when you have a baby: a great lactation consultant and a rock n play.  I'm not kidding.  I love them both dearly.  I seriously don't know how I'd do it without the rock n play.  I worry a lot about head shape and all that, but both my physical therapist and pediatrician said the rock n play is great and just fine to at least get through the first weeks of survival mode.  The best part about it is it's easy to move around and when the baby starts to get fussy you can just rock them until they're in a solid sleep.  It's worked well for Zoe because she loves feeling tucked in or held, and it's at an incline and she struggled with being on her back for the longest time.  I think she's getting close to transitioning out though.  I just haven't been willing to do it because she's still been tough at night and I have to get some sleep.

*My nice camera broke when Zoe was only 10 days old.  Such.A.Bummer!!!  I was so, so disappointed, especially because I had been preparing to try and take my own newborn photos of her.  (Much less expensive, but not exactly recommended:)  It took 5 weeks for it to be repaired and I thankfully got it back just a week ago.  Thankfully my sweet sister in law let us borrow her camera for a couple weeks in the middle.  I have such kind and generous sisters in law!

*Breastfeeding can be completely different with different babies.  Selah was a laid back baby, but I struggled like crazy for at least 2 months to get my supply to the right place.  It was so hard.  This time I've had oversupply a bit, which just means it gushes, can be annoying for the baby/cause some colic, and they choke/eat super fast.  Even that has just started to get better though.  I think as the baby grows and your body adjusts and calms down it all starts to work out.  But we think that's what was so tough on Zoe at the beginning.  It hurt her belly to eat so fast and she would scream.  I started having to pump some before feeding.  It still amazes me how quickly she eats.  Now I understand what sounded so crazy to me when friends that had babies when I had Selah talked about these fast, no big deal feedings.  It seriously took 45 min. to an hour with Selah for at least a few months.  Then maybe 15 or 20.  Zoe is definitely no more than 10.  This is another good example to pay attention to when another mom is talking about her experience and you want to judge her or you think she's doing something wrong.  Trust me, we are all very different!  Let's be encouragers not judgers!! :)

* That oversupply did cause me to get mastitis which was seriously awful, let's be honest.  Between weeks 5 and 6, and much of the next I was wiped out in the worst way.  I'm seriously so thankful that's over with.  Thankfully my mom happened to be in town and was able to stay some extra days, which was such a blessing.  It was so hard to take care of both girls on my own, and the one day when I needed to and was still sick, they both blessed me with taking a two and a half hr. nap at the same time!  I was thankful, especially because I was asleep in bed myself.

*The first few days Zoe wasn't sure about the days and nights, but thankfully she was quick to figure out when we sleep the most. :)  Part of me thinks by having somewhat older parents our kids just have to figure it out.  Because you get to the point where you just can't stay awake.  That was so hard, but oddly enough I'm already starting to forget just how tough that felt.  Which is why we all keep having more babies!!  At around 2 weeks Zoe could go to sleep "for the night" between 8:30 and 9:30 which is awesome.  Occasionally she has a hard time and it's more like 10 or 10:30.  She was eating every 3 hrs. at night for awhile and just last week started going to every 4 or so.  She usually wakes up around 1:30, then again at 4.  Then she'll usually go until 7 or 8, but back to sleep until around 9.  One time last week she only woke up once.  I of course have no idea what day that was or what time she woke up because I feed her in bed, she eats fast, and I put her back down before I ever really wake up to see what time it is usually.  Talk about being way different this time around.  I always went to the living room with Selah and it took a long time for quite awhile.  Occasionally she needs a diaper change then, but it's always so awesome when they start being able to go all night without one.  Zoe did that around 4 or 5 weeks which was wonderful.

*Babywearing has been so helpful.  Especially since Zoe has needed so much love.  (Which, by the way I think is super normal.   I'm a huge believer in the "4th trimester" that "The Happiest Baby on the Block" talks about.)  I still couldn't fall in love with the Moby wrap this time.  Too.much.fabric.  For me at least.  It is really comfortable though, I just don't have time to put it on.  Ha. :) And I think it would be too hot for the summer.  I have really wanted a ring sling, but have made myself not buy anything that isn't completely necessary.  Especially since we bought a Pikkolo by Catbird Baby when we were pregnant with Selah.  I didn't use it a lot then, but am really starting to love it with Zoe, especially as she's a little bigger.  It's really comfortable and supportive.  We don't have a double stroller, but today we took a walk and I wore her in that and it worked great.

(I had to stop writing this here...the babies needed me and I didn't get a chance to get back to it until now!)

*Okay, I am picking this post back up 2 days later, but what a difference two days makes.  I started leading a new Bible Study session at church this morning, (I'm crazy I know.  But women's ministry is under my husband's leadership right now, and I don't exactly think he'd relate as well. ;)  Besides, if I don't have something that I have to be out for, it takes me way too long to get connected to others after having a baby.  And I absolutely love it.  (We're doing Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer-one of my favorites)  We already had an amazing morning and I can't wait to see what God does over the next several weeks!  Anyway, miracle of miracles both girls are fast asleep right now and in their own little beds.  So I am typing like a maniac because they are growing up so fast and I want to get these memories down....

*Last night I picked up my journal and started writing..."Today I felt like a rock star."  Ha ha.  We had the car, it was a beautiful day of sunshine, and I took the girls to Barnes and Noble and Target.  And we had FUN.  It was awesome.  I even got to flip through a couple books while Selah played with the trains.  Selah and I were sweating like crazy by the end of it, but it was a sweet morning.  I wore Zoe in the pikkolo, and Selah did such a good job holding my hand and listening.  I am so thankful for how sweet she is being right now.  Kevin and I agree we are loving her current stage.  It brought me so much joy to see her experience joy on our "adventure."  (which is what we call it anytime we go out)  At one moment I thought, so this is how moms with more than one do it.  They just make it work.  I remember going to Target with Selah for the first time and feeling so overwhelmed and nervous.  Now that sounds like a piece of cake!  (Keep in mind, I never thought something like that was difficult when I was 'nannying' years ago.  It's definitely different when they're tiny, close in age, and mine!)  Seriously, my heart was so full after a fun time with my girls, and I really had that, "I so want to remember this day" feeling.  My first time really 'having a day out' with my two baby girls.  Twenty years from now I hope we'll be going to Target together for the fun of it and they'll laugh when I tell them the story.  We even went to the pool last night as a family for the first time, which was so fun too.  Zoe slept so well in her little bassinet while Selah loved the water.  AND I made dinner.  Crazy.  Thankful for a much needed good day.  (Though my laundry still/always needs folded!)

*Seriously for the last two days Zoe has had really great happy and awake times during the day, smiling at us and being fairly flexible, even in the carseat.  She is still needing her hour of fussing at night, but last night I think she seriously slept from 10 until 5!  Then back to sleep until sometime between 8 and 9.  Whoa, how awesome!  I really believe having a better milk supply this time around is making a huge difference.  Unfortunately I got so caught up in journaling that I didn't go to bed until 12:30 and it took me awhile to fall asleep.  Then of course my cute toddler slept an hour and a half later than usual, and I woke up 30 min. before we had to be at church!  But we made it.  Oh the wonderful craziness of motherhood.

Well, that's it, I'm done for now.  My lovely little ladies are awake and ready for me.  Thankful for the few minutes to write some things down.  This short, choppy sentence writing style is not my favorite, but I'm thinking something is better than nothing.  Long sentences are a luxury these days. Such a bummer to not having any pics with this one, but our photos are on Kevin's computer.  Here's what I'm hoping to post soon:

Zoe's Birth Story (half way done...don't expect anything less than the long version!)
Meet Baby Zoe...her 1st (and pretty much 2nd!) months of life (pictures!!)
The night we all rocked and cried
Cloth diapering two babies at once (wow, what an experience:)
My thoughts/compassion for new moms
A couple snack recipes we're loving lately!

You know I'd like to get those all posted in the next few weeks...but you also know me.  These days my blog posts are a big surprise in your Blogfeed. 

I hope you're enjoying this summer day in some way!