Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Camera happy parents

We are certainly camera happy parents, not as bad as some we've seen...but we're getting there! With my reduced blogging capacity (6 week olds aren't as tame as their younger counterparts), I wanted to get these picts from the weekend before too much time passes. Enjoy the gallery!

Dan and Finley "playing" with his first toy--suprisingly interactive, eh? Dan did several "reps" in this position to tone Finley's upper arm strength.
This one was Dan's idea, you can see his hand on the left. I reluctantly took the photo and then threw the camera at Dan and grabbed my crying baby. Kinda funny looking at it now!
Christmas afternoon brought many gifts for all three of us.
Happy family at my brother's place on Christmas day.
You sleep when the baby sleeps. I will try and follow that piece of hospital advice as long as I can.
Frogger getting ready for a car ride!
I love our Boppy, so much that I have two so there's always one nearby. The Boppy Pillow people are probably coining money these days, more power to them!
Proud papa, always looking photo-ready.
Finley needed a diaper change at a party, so we went into the bathroom and Dan prevented any embarrassing screaming.
The panda hold is so soothing...

That's all for now...I'll return to my regular blogging routines soon!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finley Meets and Greets

For the most part, Finley hung out with his maternal Mixter side this weekend. He saw some old friends and made some new ones. My family hasn't seen Fin in person since his bris when he was only eight days old, what a different kiddo he is now!! The comment we heard over and over was that Finley strongly resembles his dad and while I don't see it, it is hard to argue with the peanut gallery :)

He met Rory, my parents' tabby, upon arrival in Virginia. Fingers crossed he won't be allergic like his daddy! After this initial meeting, Rory steered clear for most of our visit.

Here's Finley chilling out with his Granddad.

His Gramma is surely able to show Finley some love without forgetting about her furry baby, Rory.

Here's Finley with two of his aunts, Caitlin (my sister) on the left and Bronwyn (my sister in law) on the right.

Two proud new mamas! Bronwyn is holding 10 day old Owen and I'm with Fin. How great is it that they are nearly the same age!

Group shot! From the left: Dan, Allison with Finley, Caitlin, Bronwyn with Owen, and Chris (my brother).

Caitlin soaked up every last minute of her nephew before hopping on the train back to NYC on Monday morning.

We had some Forseters over on Sunday (just to balance things out!). Dan's Aunt Annette and Uncle Bernie drove over with Dan's cousin Eric, his wife Amy and their almost two-year-old daughter, Mia. Mia sure is a chatterbox who entertained us all during her visit, but she was kind enough to pose with Finley for a few photos. I think she thought he was pretty cool and if he was old enough, he'd feel the same way about her I'm sure!

There's nothing like family and we are more than blessed with ours :)

Baby Car Travel

Well, we have been away from home since last Thursday night so I have a back log of blogs to write...guess I'll start with our experience of traveling down south to Virginia via Jeep Cherokee with Finley in tow.

When we decided that we wanted to go down to celebrate the holidays with my parents and siblings as well as visit my newly born nephew (Fin's cousin, Owen), it was unclear whether we'd take a plane or drive. I was an early proponent of driving, but Dan was voting for air travel. We weighed the pros and cons (price, time, packing limits, germ levels, security, delays, traffic, etc.) and driving won out.

Dan packed the car early Thursday afternoon (can you tell he's an engineer and former tetris champ?) and we headed out.

Finley was an absolute champ! I sat in the back to monitor his feeding needs (it pays to feed infants before they become hysterical with hunger) but he slept for the first three hours without a peep! We stopped for lunch in CT and Dan ordered us some deli sandwiches while I fed and changed the little man in the car. I felt quite accomplished after a successful diaper change in the back seat, especially since the diaper was quite a doozy!

We stopped again in southern NJ since we needed gas and we assumed Finley was hungry even though his deep slumber continued. He wasn't so happy post-meal while we waited in the full service NJ gas line, but once we were back on the turnpike he settled in. We arrived at my parents' house just after 9pm, which made for about a 9 hour drive--not bad!

Conversely, our ride home yesterday morning was a different story...while the car got packed just as well and we made an on time departure, Finley had a much rougher ride. We hit some very upsetting traffic in northern NJ and it was a coin toss for which was worse: Dan having to drive through the brutal stop and go traffic in the middle of a Monday afternoon or me having to sit in the back and attempt to calm a hysterical Finley. I think driving would have been easier and less emotionally draining, but that's just me!

We had to make three stops total on the ride home instead of two and got home in just over 10 hours. Long day for all three of us. We learned a lot about driving with the little guy and I'm sure our future long drives will teach us even more. We're still pretty sure that Finley loves riding in the car, but even he has his limits :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Forseter Weekend

This weekend our house was full of five Forseters since Finley's grandparents from NY came up for a visit. They arrived Friday night with home cooked dinner that just had to be popped in the oven for a bit, I sure love guests that come with food! We had a lovely Shabbat dinner that was also the last night of Hanukkah. Sure is fun to think about next Hanukkah and what our lives will be like one year from now! Later, Dan discovered a new way that Finley likes to be held. Looking at the picture later it reminded me a lot of a red panda we saw at a zoo in Budapest a couple summer ago. The Panda Position is born!

We spent Saturday at the Natick Collection (fancy mall about 30 min. away) since the weather was extremely cold outside and we needed something to do. So close to Christmas, it seemed like a dangerous venture to undertake, but it worked out quite well. We walked the entire length of both levels, ate lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, and I discovered the private nursing/feeding rooms attached to the women's bathroom. What a pleasure! We then headed home to take a nap and hang out until dinner. I think the only one who didn't sleep was ironic!

That night Finley experienced the environmental equivalent of a sleeping pill at the restaurant. It was toasty warm with just enough white noise to put him into a sound sleep :) which allowed us to have a relaxed dinner. It sure was nice to eat with both of my hands! Tango is a delicious Argentinian restaurant in Arlington and we were excited to introduce it to Gilda and Murray.  We came home and took turns entertaining Finley while we watched Enchanted. It was SO nice to have two extra sets of arms around for holding, bouncing, diaper changing, and hugging. Also, we took the picture below of Finley and I in our matching ensembles, what a mama's boy!

With a huge snowstorm overnight and into the morning, we got some extra time with Fin's grandparents. So we put them to work! Murray helped Dan put up two curtain rods and hang curtains in the living room while Gilda helped me give Finley a nice, warm bath.

It was nearly time to say goodbye to his grandparents when we decided to give Finley some tummy time. He did some wonderful head lifts to strengthen those tiny neck muscles. He would often rest in between and from the pictures below you can see how much grunt work is required to lift one's own head at nearly five weeks of age :) Keep up the good work, Finley!

Finley has been redeemed

Finley past through another Jewish right of passage the other day, his pidyon haben.  Well it actually happened last week, Dec.16th, but I’m just getting around to writing about it now. 

What is a pidyon haben you ask.  Well a pidyon haben, or "redemption of the firstborn son," is a ceremony wherein the father of a firstborn male redeems his son from the temple by giving akohen (a priestly descendent of Aaron) five silver pieces, 31 days after the baby's birth.  There is a bunch more back story, but I wont bore you with the details.

Now a days it is tradition to use silver dollars in lieu of silver pieces.  Since I also was a first born son, my dad brought up the same silver dollars that he had used to redeem me…or at least that is what he claims.  Three of the coins were from the early 1900s.  But two of the coins were from the 1980s, clearly after I was born.  Did he think we wouldn’t notice!  Either way, it was a nice token to have and now pass down to Fin.  (In case you are wondering, after the ceremony you trade the silver dollars for paper money.  The money is used for tzedakah, aka charity).

So early on Wednesday morning my dad, Allison, Finley and I headed off to Temple Emunah in Lexington.  We got there for the morning service and we did the pidyon haben right afterwords.  The Rabbi and the small group of congregants there that morning were all very nice.  Finley was calm the whole time and all went smoothly.

The 5 silver coins are now sitting on my dresser at home.  I inherited the dresser from my father a few years ago, and the same coins had once sat on that same dresser, in his possession, for 30 years until he gave them to me.  Now it is my turn to keep them on the dresser until Fin can use them.

The kohen is accepting the coins and reciting prayers holding them over Finley.

We're reading prayers together next to the Rabbi.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Finley Facts

We don't know much, but we know we love you...that may be all we need to know.

I wish that was all we needed to know about being first time parents, it may be the most important thing--but here's what else we have learned about our little guy thus far.

Finley Fun Facts:

1. He enjoys being bounced on an exercise ball (which is great for our abs!).
2. He does not like being changed or naked at all. He screams as if he was being tortured and it is quite unsettling at times. See #11 for the exception to this fact.
3. As of this week, he will pee on you if you don't get his fresh diaper on pretty quickly. In fact, this week he did this to me three times.
a. Across my chest and neck (dangerously close to my face/mouth).
b. Onto his own face and arms.
c. Over his head and onto the wall 10 inches or so behind the changing table. Nice range (his dad was oddly proud).
4. He prefers to sleep with his mom or dad...okay, more than prefers, he refuses to sleep solo in his bassinet or anywhere else where he'll be flat on his back. See pictures below from his friend Eliot's house where attempts were made for flat sleeping...

5. When getting a bath, he clenches his fists so tightly that we can't clean inside his hands...who knows what is trapped in there.
6. He is a terrific burper sometimes sounding like an overweight man who just finished a nice, big meal.
7. He enjoys being swaddled (baby burrito style), but is learning to control his arms a bit more these days so we let them out more often.
8. He likes being sung to, especially show tunes by his Grandfather!
9. He does not like pacifiers, we've tried two different kinds so far. However, he does like to suck on our pinky fingers (which is not nearly as convenient as a pacifier, but very endearing).
10. He is great in the car 95% of the time...we won't discuss the other 5%.
11. When we're lucky, he goes into his "baby trance" (stiff, silent body) during late night diaper/clothing changes...we don't know how to get him to do it, but if we could harness that power we'd be set!
12. He does behave better during dinner when we eat out than when we eat at know what that means? Less cooking for me!!

Nearly 5 weeks in, we know a lot more than we did that first week, but we have a lot more to learn. He won't be able to tell us his needs, preferences, or thoughts for quite a while so we'll continue to fly by the seat of our pants!

Oh and a shout out to Finley's new cousin, born this week to his Uncle Chris and Aunt Bronwyn. Welcome to the world, Owen!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Recreating my childhood favorites for Finley

In the month or so leading up to Finley’s birth I started to think about things that were intertwined with the memories of my own childhood. Music definitely came to mind. I can remember countless long car rides listening to the same Harry Chapin and Peter, Paul & Marry albums. There may have been other music we listened to, but I remember those two artists more than any others. In the box of tapes under my bed I think I still have the fading copies, so it was time to upgrade. A quick trip to the local CD store and itunes and we had all my favorite songs ready for Fin to listen to. I made a mix CD that is in the stereo in his room. Now I just have to trick Allison into liking them too. (She’s not a folk music fan.)

My other childhood constant was Pillow. Pillow was just that, a pillow in the shape of a lion's face. It was a gift made by a family friend. (Who knows why I named him obviously speaks to the power of my imagination. I had some other great names for stuffed animals like Sealy the seal and Gator the alligator.)

Anyway, when I was first born my parents tied up pillow in my crib for me to look at. As I got older and was able to have loose items in the crib I would sleep with / on top of Pillow.

And as I grew up Pillow and I went everywhere together. So much so that my mom had to make a 2nd Pillow for when the original went in the wash or was misplaced. At my young age I was obviously unaware of the existence of a second pillow, and my parents could easily swap one for another. I remember when I discovered the emergency Pillow and walked around with both of them saying, "Two! Two!" To this day I still have the original (loved to death) Pillow on a shelf on my bedside table.

So about 2 months ago I charged my mom with the task of creating a new Pillow for Finley (using the 2nd pillow as a prototype). When my dad was in town last week he came bearing Pillow 3.0 and we tied him up in the co-sleeper where Finley sleeps (well, where we'd like him to sleep). I guess the odds are pretty slim that Fin will become as attached to his Pillow as I was to mine, but who knows...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Playing Dress Up

We found out we were having a boy back in July and were instantly thrilled. More thrilled that the baby growing inside me was healthy, but now we could call it a "he" and that made things so much more real. Along with thinking about names, we started to imagine the activities he'd like to do or toys he'd like to play with. Frisbee, of course, but maybe soccer, too. Lego's for sure, but maybe cardboard forts, too. Hopefully he'd be into music or maybe drawing...what fun it will be as his interests develop and change over the years!

Despite my childhood tomboy persona, I still enjoyed playing with My Little Ponies and carried my favorite Cabbage Patch around with me most everywhere. One Halloween, I cut up a garbage bag to make a matching witch costume so she could come with me trick or treating! Dressing up--either yourself or your dolls--seems like a childhood rite of passage for girls. I wonder if our little offspring would miss out on that altogether being a boy...maybe that's why I have enjoyed getting him dressed everyday (multiple times a day, in fact). He's much squirmier than a doll, but much more adorable. I suspect I will have fun dressing him up until he is old enough to make wardrobe decisions of his own.

I already have nicknames for many of his everyday outfits (monkey suit, frogger, party PJs) and it is fun to come up with new ones. Here's Fin in his long-sleeved white onesie that inspired the nickname Obi Wan Kenobi (from Star Wars), I think it is the criss-cross neckline. Looking online for a suitable picture to accompany this image made me realize that Obi Wan's actual outfit is a bit different than I remembered...but now it's too late, Finley's "Obi Wan" look is here to stay.

Finley's Grandpa Murray contributed to my love of dressing up our boy by bringing an adorable Giants outfit up from New York last week. It was a boxed set that came with a onesie, a hat and little fuzzy socks. The hat was marked newborn, but was sadly quite large. Perhaps the tag meant "newborn elephant". The onesie was slightly too big, but worked well layered over his Obi Wan long-sleeved top. The best part of the look was the adorable socks! We'd never put socks on Finley so it was a first...which also meant he'd need to wear his first pair of pants. Darn, we didn't have any newborn sized pants. I grabbed some 0-3 handmedown pants and while they were big, by rolling them at the top they worked just fine! The picture doesn't show it, but there is a firetruck on the rear end of the pants--baby clothing designers are so witty!

Who says dress-up is only for girls?

Much to our dismay, Finley's outfit didn't make it to the 8:30 kick off Sunday night. Around 4:30, he tested the maximum liquid capacity of his diaper...and we all lost that challenge. Note to self--specialty outfits should be put on no more than 20 minutes before intended event occurs.

Friday, December 11, 2009

1st Night of Hanukkah

Friday was Finley's first First Night of Hanukkah. In the past, we've hosted a big Hanukkah party for friends, but this year we decided that while we could probably pull off the party--if I had to spend half of it feeding Finley in his room--it wouldn't have been that much fun. Instead, Josh, Sangwha and Eliot came over to celebrate with us. A perfect compromise in my opinion.

Finley and I shopped for lakte ingredients, made cookies (not from scratch, I must confess), and set the holiday table.

Sangwha brought over a tasty chicken/onion dish and salad fixings. I apologize for not taking any photos of the potato shredding and latke frying process, but Finley was mildly involved as he hung in my beco front carrier during the beginning of the cooking process. As domestic stereotypes prevailed, Sangwha and I bustled in the kitchen for a while and Josh and Dan hung out in the living room. Thankfully the stereotypes were slightly modernized as Eliot slept in Josh's arms and Finley in Dan's.

Soon it was time for prayers and candle lighting. Since it was not only the first night of Hanukkah but also Friday night (Shabbat), there were many prayers and several candles to light. We sung the Hanukkah prayers and lit the candle on the menorah (and flipped the adorable wooden menorah given to Finley at his bris). Then, I sung the shabbat prayer and lit those two candles. Finally, Dan did the rest of the shabbat prayers, had some wine, and then said the prayer over the challah. Phew! Now we could eat :)

Dinner was delicious and the babies were somewhat accommodating. Eliot hung out in Fin's swing for a while and when Finley woke up he hung out in the Beco. I don't think I dropped any food on him...but I can't be sure.

For those that don't know me too well, I HATE pictures of myself...but this one is terrific and makes me laugh (again) to look at it! I had to include it :)

We cleared the table and had some cookies (not as good as homemade, but they got the job done). The only thing we didn't quite have time for was to play some dreidel, but that's why there are eight nights of this holiday I guess. Finley was pretty worn out by the end of the night, but he managed to keep one eye open .

You may be wondering why he's half naked in this winter season...well, he needed to be changed and all his long-sleeved onesies were downstairs in the dryer, so I put a new diaper on him and wrapped him in a cotton velcro swaddle blanket and gave him to Dan. "Just so you know, he's naked under there," I said with a smile. "Oh, he has a diaper on!" I added. Bad mom.

Happy Hanukkah to all and maybe next year, Finley can have a latke or two!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Weather

Today, Finley and I woke up to a serious winter wonderland. I'm not talking about a dusting of snow, but several inches and copious amounts of flakes continuing to fall well into the late morning. Now usually, I enjoy the first snow of the season...but I didn't see this situation as "snow" but rather as a hurdle to getting out into the real world. You see, we have a slanted driveway since our house is up a small hill. It is a non-issue three-quarters of the year but once winter comes, we can sled on our own property---but getting up and down the driveway on foot or in a car becomes a major problem. The arrival of our new fridge/freezer yesterday seriously depleted our food stash and Finley's growth spurt means I feel like I am always starving...literally. I knew I had to go out, but I thought I'd wait out the storm.

The snow turned to rain and our driveway turned to slush. Alas, we had to leave the house and we had to leave NOW. I bundled up Finley and put him into the car and started the heat flowing. I grabbed a shovel and tried to shovel two tracks for the car tires on the driveway. Sounded like an easy enough job...until I tried to lift one shovel-full of soaking wet snow to toss and I nearly fell over. Seriously, I almost fell to the ground (and then would have slid down to the street). Pregnancy and child birth really do a number on the body...I won't get into specifics here.

I persevered and pushed enough slush out of the way and then successfully exited the driveway. Little did I know that was the easy part! By the time I drove the three miles to our local supermarket, it was raining sideways quite heavily. Thankfully, the "Customer with Infant" spot was open near the entrance (sort of) and I parked. Then, I sat there for a while hoping that there would be a pause in the storm...10 minutes or so of NPR and I decided I had to make a run for it. I grabbed the umbrella and tried to keep Finley as dry as possible...but I couldn't even run to the overhang (see above regarding pregnancy and child birth pains) so we power walked. I plopped Fin and his car seat into the shopping cart...which then allowed no room for actual groceries. Darn it.

I put one reusable grocery bag over my shoulder and the other in the child seat. I loaded them up while we went up and down the aisles. My baby brain was surely in full effect since I couldn't remember most of the "must-get" items that I had braved the rainy, slushy, freezing world to buy.

Going back outside wasn't a picnic, but I'll let your imaginations run wild on the scene that occured (which was basically a repeat of the entrance saga but with two huge bags of groceries).

The rest of the afternoon was more restful. Finley slept well in his pack n' play (we are training him to be happy sleeping flat on his back and not in close proximity to one of his warm-bodied parents) and Dan's dad, Finley's grandpa, arrived around 5.

Dan was out late with a work dinner so I was very excited for the company (and relief!). Grandpa walked around with Finley, swung him to sleep, and tried to help him get over his latest case of the full-bodied hiccups :) What a champ! Let's hope Grandpa is as accommodating in the wee hours of the morning!