Monday, November 30, 2009

A boy by any other name...

In the womb, we referred to Finley as Sparky which came from Dan's frisbee coach at Tufts
who called any kid on the team who name he didn't know, "Sparky." After scoring a goal, "Good job, Sparky!" or after a poor play, "&#@!, Sparky!" We got pretty attached to calling our boy that name and sometimes still refer to Finley as Sparky. What Dan and I noticed was that we have a lot of nicknames/pet names for our little guy already and the question is, will he know his name is Finley if we continue to call him a hodgepodge of assorted names?

Here is the list names we use throughout the day (and night):

1. Finley (on birth certificate)
2. Fin (Dan's more partial to this than me at this point)
3. Sparky (explained above)
4. Buddy (as in, "come on, buddy, you're okay")
5. Squirmy Worm (my favorite pet name I think, though when he's being "wormy" in the middle of the night my love of this name diminishes a bit)
6. Nuglet (courtesy of the Tufts men's alumni message board: a nug is a bit of something so a nuglet is even smaller I guess, kinda like a owlet i assume). He's such a little Nuglet!
7. Lovebug (Dan doesn't use this one as much as I do, but maybe in time...)
8. F-squared (Finley Forseter)
9. Baby Burrito or Baby Cocoon (when he's swaddled up tight, see picture below)

I think that about covers it...though I do find myself, saying "Good boy" a lot (especially during calm diaper changes and easy feeding sessions), but Dan is worried that it sounds too canine to refer to him as "boy." I guess I can ditch the "boy" for now with so many other name choices above :) Let's hope Finley doesn't suffer from any sort of identity crisis in his early weeks of life!

P.S. Our Squirmy Worm was much less squirmy last night and actually slept in his bassinet for 80% of the night!! Hooray for progress!

Photo Gallery

Finley had his first "tummy time" session last night. Free of his umbilical cord and ready to flex his neck muscles, he really enjoyed himself! Dan and I both had some tummy time as well. I had forgotten how nice it is to lay on one's tummy after many, many months of being pregnant!

Much to his paternal grandfather's joy, Finley made his debut at Costco this morning. He rode in the front pack from his Aunt Caitlin and while he did not get to enjoy any free samples, he certainly enjoyed his trip since we equate sound sleep with contentedness.

Per doctor's orders, "you sleep when your baby sleeps." Dan predicts many dual naps in the months to come.

A wonderful surprise the day after Thanksgiving was a visit from Uncle Egon. Eric (his frisbee nickname is Egon) and Dan have known each other since summer camp and the three of us went to Tufts together. Eric was also the best man at our wedding. Since Eric lives in Austin, we weren't sure when Finley would get to meet him. Eric was in New England visiting his family for Turkey Day and was able to stop in to see us. We hope he comes back soon!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Out and About

So...I've heard from other new moms that I have come across that they did not leave the house for at least a month when their babies were born. That just seems like a frightening reality to me so I have made an effort to get out, run errands, see friends, etc. even though Finley's not yet two weeks old. Hopefully that does not put me into the "high risk mom" category!

Today, Dan, Finley, and I decided it was time to get out and get some walking done since the weather has simply not been cooperative for most of Fin's life thus far. Our first stop was to get my haircut. While I do have a salon and hair stylist that I have come to like in Somerville, the reality of making an appointment in advance and hoping that the timing will coordinate with Finley's feeding schedule (and Sangwha's schedule since I'd need to drop the boy off) seemed a bit far fetched. Instead, we went to Supercuts. In this economy, it seemed like doubly a good idea :) Finley and Dan waited patiently during my cut and then we headed off to the Burlington Mall for some walking.

We knew the place would be crawling with bargain hungry holiday shoppers, but with the weather being chilly and VERY windy we had to go for it. We circled for a while and felt lucky that we found a spot before this confused woman found her car (we followed her for a while and watched as she wandered through several aisles...kind of like that Seinfeld garage episode). The "first" for today was our use of our stroller frame that the car seat fits into. We unfolded it, clipped Finley in, and we were off. The mall was indeed packed, but it felt good to be out amongst the rest of the world. We did some window shopping, free chocolate sampling, and rode the elevator up and down several times (since I just was not ready to brave the escalator until the end of our trip and even then, just the up escalator).

The most remarkable part of our trip was two fold: my first "public" breastfeeding endeavor (under a wrap of course) and our exploration of the unreal Nordstrom's women's bathroom. I had heard rumors of how the store's women's room catered to moms so we simply had to investigate it when our little nuglet needed a diaper change. I wanted to wait for the family bathroom, but it was occupied. Finley wasn't in a position to wait, so I walked into the women's room. On the left was the women's lounge which has a love seat and two chairs. On the right was the mom's lounge that had two comfy nursing chairs and a nice changing table set up next to a sink. Both lounges had women nursing their little ones and I was next in line for the changing table. All the moms there were very friendly (and again I heard the "wow, you're out at 12 days old!). I took care of Finley's diaper and went back outside to report to Dan. What a treat it was to have a calm, clean, private place to take care of a baby! I'll probably visit Nordstorm quite a bit in the coming months :)

After finishing our mall crawl, we hopped back in the car and headed home since we had dinner plans at Mike and Tali's house around 6. Dinner went well, but Finley pushed the limits of our diaper bag. He needed to be changed and dressed in a 2nd outfit after dinner. Then, about thirty minutes later he needed to be changed again and dressed in a 3rd outfit. The problem was we did not pack a 3rd outfit...poor guy got a fresh diaper but had to ride home in a bit of his own filth, our bad :( The lessons we continue to learn...Finley was happy as clam when he got new clothes at home!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Couple Milestones

I'm sure eventually I'll stop taking note of Finley's firsts...but there are just so many coming back to back that I don't want to lose track just yet.

We gave Finley his first bath yesterday afternoon. It was certainly a two person job since we have to give him sponge baths for a while. I held and dried Finley while Dan did the washing and rinsing. What a team! Fin was pretty accommodating until the end when he'd clearly had enough.

Last night, we got to see Finley's true bellybutton since during a diaper change we found that the remaining piece of his umbilical cord had finally come off! While we have been quite enamored with our son's good looks since his birth, both of us were not so fond of the umbilical cord attached at his mid-section. Kinda gross looking, really. We were pretty excited when we made this discovery last night.

Who knows what first will be next, but I suspect I'll still be just as excited as I was with all his other firsts. I guess this just comes with the new mom territory!

Turkey Day 2009

A new baby undoubtedly means new traditions, right? Right. For the first time in our nearly ten years together, Dan and I did not spend Thanksgiving with either his family or mine. Little Finley has proven to be a great sport at eating out, but we certainly were not ready to take him on a car trip or a plane flight to have turkey out of town.

Luckily, our good friends Sangwha and Josh (Eliot's mom and dad) invited us to Josh's parents house for the holiday. Even better, his parents live just ten minutes from our house! Finley is definitely in a growth spurt as his eating habits have increased in frequency and so it was hard to predict when he would be ready to go over for dinner. Our attention to promptness was tested, but thankfully it was a pretty laid back scene over at the McCarthy's so we were not holding anything up :)

While it was a bit odd being anywhere else but home for this holiday, the traditional smells and buzzing in the kitchen felt very "homey." Everyone made us feel right at home and aside from some diapering escapades before dinner, the evening went smoothly and deliciously! Eliot and Finley were pretty patient through dinner and when it was time to go, we all felt proud that we survived their first thanksgivings with ease (more or less).

Originally, we'd planned to follow Josh and Sangwha back to their house to watch the Giants on the NFL network (that we sadly do not get with our cable service). However, getting into the car Dan had some second thoughts and we decided we'd just go home to avoid a really late night. I texted Sangwha and she texted back in shock and awe that the #1 Giants fan was backing out of the viewing. After a few minutes of driving, Dan changed his mind and asked if we could go for the first half. I agreed and texted Sangwha our new plan, she wasn't surprised to hear we were en route to their place afterall :) I was willing to go for several reasons despite the possibility of the later bedtime:
1. I love watching the Giants, too. Bummer that they played terribly.
2. Josh and Sangwha have a baby, too, so their house is stocked with everything we could need.
3. Football and Thanksgiving go hand in hand, we couldn't do one without the other.
4. We didn't have any plans for Friday, so if we were super tired it wouldn't be a big deal.
5. Finley needs to love watching football, so we have to give him plenty of opportunities to learn about the game starting now!

The game ended up being disastrous, so it was easy for us to pack up at half time. Finley and Eliot certainly enjoyed the game--they were both actually watching it for a good chunk of the time. Now, we know that technically they can't see much past twelve inches in front of their faces and the television was some distance off but at least they were looking in the right direction!

We have a lot to be thankful for this year, maybe more than any other year. Our son is healthy, happy, and beautiful. Our family has been amazingly supportive and generous throughout my pregnancy and Finley's arrival. Our friends have continued to be a huge part of our lives and we truly know what the phrase "friends are the family you pick" means.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A New Routine

So 10 days in, it's amazing how quickly we've gotten into a completely new routine. I won't say that it has been an easy, smooth transition or that we've accepted it as reality entirely...but we are adjusting. For such a small package who sleeps 80% of the time, Finley sure knows how to
push his agenda!
Here's what today was like at the Forseter home:

7:00 Getting out of bed with Finley (due to his hunger or eyes wide open presentation) and say good-bye to Dad. Ideally, Finley will require a diaper change before Dan's departure!
7:15 Finley's breakfast followed by some time in his swing or boppy so I can eat.
8:00 I set up Finley in the boppy on the bathmat in the bathroom so I can grab a quick shower
(I'm sure there are other options of how to keep him safe/occupied during a shower, but I just like to be able to see him at this point).
8:15 Finley napped in his bassinet (co-sleeper) which is a big deal since he hasn't done so much, he prefers to be held or propped up to sleep.

9:45 Finley's second breakfast probably preceded or followed by a diaper change.
11:00 Visit to pediatrician: Fin's just 2 oz shy of his birth weight now at exactly 7 lbs!
11:45 Time to feed again (the kitchen is always open!), used doctor's examination room for this session.

12:30 Met up with Sangwha and Eliot at TJ Maxx and then we met up at Carter's for some pajama/jumper shopping (Finley's just much happier in outfits that have mittens at the end of the sleeves).
2:00 Dan calls and says he's headed home and so we head home, too.
2:30 Toss new clothes in washing machine and go upstairs to feed (again!).
3:00 My turn for lunch, thank goodness Dan's was home to take the little guy for a while.
3:30 We watched a movie (Sugar) while Finley slept on Dan's chest...and I slept through most of the second half of the flick.

5:30 Movie over and Dan encouraged me to go take a real nap and he'd wake me when Finley was hungry.
6:30 Dinner time for Finley and Dan dashed to the grocery store for some dinner supplies.
7:00 Dan back and I passed Finley to him since I hadn't cooked dinner in a while and was ready to get back on that horse.
7:30 Tacos for dinner!
8:30 More dinner for Finley while Dan did the dishes and continued with the next load of laundry.

Phew! We usually get in bed by 10 (after a diaper change and pajama time) and I get to sleep first while Dan's on Finley patrol until the next feeding. Tonight it'll probably be between 11 and 11:30. Then we simply take turns for who is sleeping with Finley or just chilling with him if he's not in a sleepy mood. 3 hour shifts are pretty typical since that is his current feeding schedule.

I plan to write more about the overnight routine soon since that has been one of the more interesting pieces of our new life...and by interesting I mean exhausting/overwhelming/etc.!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Brit Milah

Mondays have been tough days thus far for little Finley. Last Monday he had to work his way through the birth canal to emerge from the womb. Today (Nov. 23) he fulfilled a major Jewish covenant through the ritual of circumcision.

Family and friends from near and far gathered at our home to help us celebrate this rite of passage. For most people it was probably their first bris, it was mine and I think that was a good thing. I couldn't really picture what was about to happen! However, I started
getting nervous about an hour before the ceremony was set to begin, but I sat with Finley in the glider in his room and we read a few books. Okay...I read the books to a snoozing Finley :) This calmed me immensely while the noise from all our arriving guests increased by the minute. Our mohel (who would perform the circumcision) arrived and she was very reassuring and thorough in our preparation.

We selected different members of our family to participate throughout the ceremony (lighting candles, holding Finley, passing Finley, calming Finley, etc.) and soon it was time to begin. Our living and dining room were packed with our guests and it made us feel so loved and supported. The actual surgical part of the ceremony happened within the first five minutes and that was certainly the most emotional part for me. Seeing our little guy there on the table was tough. Thankfully, Finley only let out one little scream and then remained quite peaceful for the rest of the ceremony. I don't what I would have done if he'd become hysterical! The rest of the ceremony was full of prayer, song, and explanation. Dan explained the choice of Finley's Hebrew name, Yakov (Jacob). Both our paternal great-grandfathers are honored through this name since mine's name was James (closest to Jacob) and Dan's great-grandfather's Hebrew name was Yakov. Then, I explained Fin's English name which wasn't too complex since we simply liked the name Finley (and this alliteration is created with Forseter) and his middle name, Hawthorne, is the same as mine since we are descendants of Nathaniel Hawthorne. I forgot to say that in an unexpected coincidence our names: Dan, Allison and Finley share the same initials as Dan's full name, Daniel Alexander Forseter. I love things like that! Not exactly numerology, but close...

After the celebratory singing of "
Si-man tov u-mazal tov" we took Finley into his room for some quiet time and to allow the mohel to inspect the incision as well as to show us how to care for him over the next few days. We thanked her for the wonderful ceremony and she told us that Finley did just great. The next couple hours were spent eating delicious falafel and other Israeli treats from Rami's (Brookline, MA) and spending time with our guests. Everyone was so impressed at Finley's behavior and there was certainly a waiting line to hold the little dude. Dan's Uncle Carl was definitely the baby whisperer of the afternoon, he held a sleeping Fin for quite a while like a pro!

Later, guests began to say their goodbyes and we did our best to let everyone know how much it meant to us to have them there. Several of Dan's parents friends from White Plains made the drive and my dad's sister and her husband came down from Maine. Also, a good Tufts frisbee friend, Zach, came up from NYC for the big event and it was so special to have him there.
Finley's future playmates Eliot and Henry came, too (with their moms). Dan's sister, Ellie and her boyfriend, Donny, made the trek north along with my brother, Uncle Chris, who flew up from Washington, D.C. for just a few hours to be with us. His wife is 9+ months pregnant and it was a big sacrifice for her to share him with us for those 5 hours! Thanks, Bronwyn! Finally, a great big thanks to Dan's Aunt Annette and Uncle Bernie who came up from Maryland and served dutifully as photographer and videographer, respectively.

Quiet finally took over the house as a small group remained to help us clean up and open all the wonderful gifts that people brought. Lots of books, clothes, and special treats were given to Finley. One of the most moving was from Dan's cousin's son, Harrison, who sent one of his beloved beanie babies with a note saying "Finley, Love this danny." (Harrison calls all his little beanies Dannies.) Finley also received his first menorah, a very inventive-child friendly wooden menorah from Linda and Jacob Darer. We can't wait to use it this December!

All in all, it was quite a day and one that we'll certainly remember for the rest of our lives. I didn't think that I would ever match the feelings of love and support as I had felt at our wedding celebration back in 2006, but I was wrong. Today I was overcome not only by my own emotions, but by how much love there already is for our son far beyond Dan and myself. A huge thank you to our parents for helping us put this occasion together and to everyone who joined us today.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Finley's First Sunday

After a somewhat restful night, Dan and I were up with little Finley when Dan pointed out the clock on the bedside table. 7:01 it read. Exactly 6 days ago our bundle of joy was born. Exactly 7 days ago, we had NO idea what the next 24 hours would bring. It seems like forever ago!

Our first baby Sunday began with a visit from Mike and Tali. Finley settled into Tali's arms easily and we opened their great gift basket full of books. Dan quickly looked through Corduroy with flashes of his own childhood! Books are wonderful gifts that Finley won't grow out of or ever tire of--good work, Mike and Tali!

We then headed over to our friends Casey and Megan's house for an Autumnal Brunch. What a treat it was to walk into their house and smell all the delicious aromas emanating from the kitchen! Finley was a bit overwhelmed with all the noise at first, but he did allow me to get some food before needing to be fed himself. The highlight of the lovely, yummy spread of brunch foods were Megan's Pumpkin Waffles. Never have I had such tasty belgian waffles! Topped with delicious Vermont maple syrup, I inhaled this delicious breakfast treat. Below is the link to the user friendly recipe for anyone whose mouth is watering!

Dan waited patiently to eat while I ate and Finley was a good sport, too.

Megan (far right) was a great hostess and the house was filled with kids, but Finley was certainly the smallest wee one there. We all ate (yes, Finley ate out of his home environment for the first time, hooray!) and chatted with friends. We felt very relieved to do something "normal," especially something we'd be planning to do for weeks!

We came home to meet up with the family back at our house and settled in so Finley could watch his first Giants game with his dad. It's been a rough season for the G-men, but according to Dan: it's never too early to begin to understand the ups and downs of the New York sports world. Thankfully, the Giants pulled out a win in overtime!

Our bravest adventure yet happened this evening when we met up with some extended family in town for tomorrow's bris at an Italian restaurant in Davis Square. Yes, we took little Finely out to dinner and he was an absolute peach! He let his mom and dad have their dinner and when he got hungry, the check came and it was time to go :) Maybe there is hope for a social life post-baby...

...not bad for a first Sunday, eh?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lazy Saturday..sort of

Finley had his second visit with Lisa today and while he didn't really do much, he seemed contented to be in her arms.

We wanted to include this picture to disspell the rumors that all Finley does is sleep and eat. Occasionally he does flip out for a few minutes before regaining his composure :)

My sister arrived from NY, NY this afternoon and was really excited to meet her first nephew. While Finley does love to be swaddled, more and more he is able to handle having his arms free without upsetting himself with them...who knew arms could both distracting and entertaining?

My dad got to meet his first grandson this afternoon and it was pretty awesome to see them together. Finley behaved well, passing only a small amount gas.

Here are the two proud grandfathers amidst a discussion on what Finley will call each of them. No final decisions have been made...suggestions are welcome! Please visit for a more thorough discussion of Murray's plans for his grandfatherly name.

I tried Finley out in the HotSling today and he was quite accommodating as Dan and I folded him into the correct position. The kid seems to cry when he gets his clothing changed, but not when put into an advanced yoga pose...kinda strange.

All in all it was a pretty good day and as more family arrives tomorrow for Monday's bris, things could can imagine...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Visitors a Plenty

Today was a full day, despite none of us leaving the house! Before lunch, some friends and their little ones came over for a visit. Stacy brought over Aliza (in the stripes) who just turned 6 months old and Sangwha brought over Eliot (in the pink) who is one month to the day. Below is our attempt at a group shot...Finley was the least squirmy of the three, but clearly the least interactive!

Then an hour later or so, Mike Z. came over. Despite recovering from last week's knee surgery, he braved our front steps to meet Finley.

A few minutes later, Mike B. showed up to join the boys club on the couch. Finley was very sweet and Dan pulled out his little hands and fingers to show them off. Mike B. was more than taken aback at the tiny scale of Finley's paws!

The rest of the afternoon was more laid back as Gramma Mixter busily cooked and cleaned for us and we just hung out with the little man. He is spending a bit more time each day with his eyes open and since it still such a novelty, we always yell out across the house to one another if both eyes are open at the same time! It sounds much cooler to be excited about that than the fact that Finley gave us two good BMs today (though to be honest, that was pretty impressive as well).

More family arrives tomorrow to meet Finley and we can't wait!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pediatrician Visit #1

After a somewhat productive night of sleeping and feeding, we braved the real world for Finley's first check up at the pediatrician. We allowed plenty of time to get there and even had time to stop in CVS for some supplies before our appointment--for anyone that knows Dan or myself, efficiency and promptness are key! Let's hope Finley will be the same...
Finley got all weighed and measured, he gained 1/2 an oz since discharge but had somehow shrunk 1/2 a inch or so in length...the nurse told us that's normal. His head was measured to be 13 inches around, plenty of room for a newborn brain apparently.
Our doctor was great (Thanks to little Henry for his strong recommendation!) and said that Finley was just perfect and on track. We asked lots of silly questions that were answered very courteously. We will go back in a week for his one week check up. Finley was amazingly well behaved the whole time, until it was time to go when he screamed like we had never heard! His lung strength is certainly not in question :)

The rest of day was spent at home with Grandma Mixter while I relaxed and Dan opened boxes and put together Finley's swing (thanks Aunt Ellie). My friend Moira came over for a visit and it was great to connect with the outside world. Fingers crossed that tonight will go as smoothly as today!