Friday, January 29, 2010

New Endeavors

So the past couple weeks, we did some new things:

1. Instead of always reading to Finley, we let him do some reading himself:
2. Finley tried out our new spin bike in the basement (we have to get the infant adaptor so it will fit him better):
3. We went to visit my school (the kids were thrilled to meet him, sorry no picts.) and Dan's office:
4. Finley tried to entertain himself on the kitchen floor while I cooked (instead of being in the front carrier or the like). He did pretty well up until the end :) Thanks to the Silvers for this wonderful, padded mat/blanket! We also tried out these adorable booties, they stayed on better than any pair of socks!
One more overalls and booties picture!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Project Smile

Well, we thought Finley had been smiling for a couple weeks now (one every 3 to 4 days, but very hard to coax out) and he for sure gave his dad a big one during a rendition of American Pie when we were down in NY...but as I looked around at all the other babies at our last new mommy class this week, I began to feel like our perfect little baby was a bit of a grouch in comparison. Most of Fin's Great Beginnings classmates were all smiley at their moms or whatever inanimate object was being dangled in front of them...but not our boy, he was either sleeping or looking around with a furrowed brow :(

I complained to Dan over dinner last length. I just wanted a little something in return for all my hard work, ya know? Then, Dan went off to coach frisbee practice at Tufts but I wasn't going to sleep another night without a true, social a good evening snack, I got to work. Here is what I tried:

1. Singing (Itsy Bitsy Spider elicited one if his early grins)
2. Playing with his butterfly toy--zooming it up close and flying it far away, airplane style
3. Sitting him in the bouncy chair while I talked and made funny faces (oohs, ahhs, huge smile, sticking my tongue out, etc.)
4. Holding him to the mirror to see himself and me (still making faces)

What did I get? Bupkis!

Alas, Finley needed a diaper change so we went to the changing table to take care of business. Since he so enjoys laying there, I grabbed a book: Hop on Pop. I got to the page where all the words rhyme with "bee." As I read, the words (me, three, etc.) made my mouth smile and what happened? Finley smiled back! So, of course, I read the page 5 to 6 more times...but I should have settled for the one smile! At least we could both go to sleep now...

We were on the go most of the day today so Finley was spared from Smile Bootcamp. Around 5 or so, it was time for dinner so we settled onto the couch. Afterwards, I laid him in the boppy (u shaped nursing pillow) to face me and continue digesting. He was staring at me, which is great in the eye contact department, so I decided to sit there a bit longer with him. I started talking and smiling and his face just lit up with a huge smile! Again and again and again! It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen (seriously)!

I looked around for our camera but it was in the diaper bag across the room...darn. Hooray for camera phones though! I held up the phone as Finley and I continued to smile back and forth. The first time I took a picture it was not centered and I only got his ear...imagine my worry that the smiling phase was over for the night and me without a photo as proof for daddy! 2nd time was the charm though...not great quality, but a clearly happy, smiling Finley!

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. ~Phyllis Diller

I couldn't agree more! Thanks, kiddo :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Updates, Updates

Now that I've sucked you in with this irresistible on!

So now that this blog (and Finley) have been around for about 10 weeks, it is time to look back and update our readers on past news.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sleep to Dream

Well...Finley never repeated that 5 hour first sleep block at night! Boo! He's fairly consistent with about 3 or 3.5 hrs when he first goes down. After that, it's 2 or 2.5 and repeats until it's time to get up. This means that I either get up 2 or 3 times during the night to feed the little guy. The biggest improvement is that I now bring him into bed anytime after 6am if he wakes up and usually we can then sleep until after 8am, which is awesome! We hope he gets to the point where he doesn't need to eat so often at night, but for now it is what it is. He usually goes down easily and never has a problem falling back asleep after eating throughout the night, so that's plenty to be happy with for now. Oh, and this weekend he slept in his own room for the very first time! We put his bassinet set up (complete with heating pad before sleeping and sleep sheep for white noise) into his crib. He slept great and while we did use the baby monitor (despite sharing a wall with his room and having our doors all open), I only made Dan check on him a couple times each night! Maybe in a week, we'll lay him in his crib out of the bassinet...maybe...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2 Month Check Up

So he rolled from his front to his back at the doctor's office and then he did it twice more the following morning...but nothing since. We have tried and tried...perhaps the video camera is making him shy! One night he was SO close and perhaps we'll post that video of the near attempt once we get a full roll on tape :)

Also, Finley was well recovered from his shots by the next morning and has been happy ever since!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Finley Facts

We know a lot more about F-squared now that he's 10 weeks old. Some of his preferences from a month ago are still true, but here are some new facts:

1. Finley adores being on his changing table, as long as you don't try to put his arms in or out of his sleeves...we long for those summer tank tops!
2. He still loves being bounced on the exercise ball, Dan has even found a position where Finley is actually sitting on the ball himself while Dan sits and holds him.
3. He naps wonderfully in his swing (thank you, Aunt Ellie and Uncle Donny) and almost always falls asleep when I put him in "his pouch" (the great front carrier from Aunt Caitlin).
4. He has two toys that we think he really "likes." One is an elephant rattle and the other is a butterfly he got from his Grandma down in VA. Both keep his attention well and are our "go-to" objects when he's having a hard time.
5. Black and white are his two favorite colors (babies loves high contrast and can't see other colors yet). Finley and I went to the New England Mobil Bookfair today and got him a new black and white board book called Look at the Animals! and he spent quite a while with it today. While it seriously lacks in plot (Snails crawl, whales spout, etc.), the illustrations are baby captivating!
6. Tummy time is becoming more and more fun for Finley and he can hold us his own head quite impressively! He also likes "standing" while we hold him under his armpits, in fact, he likes it so much I can do the Hokey Pokey with him from start to finish most mornings!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Playing Dress Up

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Project Runway: Baby Challenge

I still LOVE getting Finley dressed up. I have HAD to buy him some additional clothes lately since he moved into the 0-3 month size and our piles of hand-me-downs don't really kick in until 3-6. It can be hard to resist the super cute stuff with ears, monkeys, furry appliques, etc. However, now that we know he won't wear things too long (babies grow really fast apparently) it is getting easier to buy just one or two items at a time. But if any of you out there just can't resist purchasing something outrageously adorable, I'm happy to send you Finley's mailing address! Oh and Dan's even getting in on the dress up fun, he selected a old school looking Superman shirt from Old Navy this weekend that Finley can wear this spring :)

And yes, Project Runway is back on Thursday nights at 10pm on Lifetime for the new season--so tune in just in case they do a baby wear challenge!

OK, you've read enough, here are some fun pictures from the past week!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2 Month Check Up

On Monday, I took Finley to the pediatrician for his two month check up. Sadly, we had to wait for quite a while before even getting into the smaller waiting room. Good thing I brought a blanket so we could play on the floor while we waited for our name to be called! I know this picture is a bit fuzzy, but you can see a hint of a smile (we're getting them more and more these days)!

When our name was finally called, it was time for Finley to get weighed and measured. Stripped down to nothing, our little guy weighed in at a whopping 12 lbs 11 oz!! That is a 3 lb gain from his one month check up! He is 23 inches long (1 inch from a month ago) and his head is 15 inches around (13 in at birth). This explains why my arms have been getting more tired these days and why I suspect I have carpal tunnel in my left wrist :) A healthy boy, no doubt!

After the doctor did his physical exam (all is well), I went into my list of questions about sleep patterns, bowel movement frequency (he went 5 days in between once!), eye contact, Tylenol dosage, etc. My final question was whether or not Fin's head was flattened at all (babies spend a great deal of time lying on their backs). The doctor looked closely and assured me all was fine (a slight flattening is expected) and reminded me that the more "tummy time" we can do the better. He put Finley down on the table to see what kind of head control he has when on his tummy and suddenly said, "Look at his right leg!" I looked over and it was lifted off the table and in a blink, Finley had rolled himself over onto his back!! Whoa!! I was shocked and the doctor laughed saying he knew it was going to happen once he had his leg off the table!! Who knows if he'll repeat this feat again soon, but what an amazing site to see.

The doctor wrapped things up and then explained the 4 immunizations the nurse would give Finley in a few minutes. Gulp. Three are shots and one is a liquid he will have to drink. Two shots in one thigh and one in the other. Okay, that sounds well dispersed, right? Before I knew it, the nurse came in and was ready to go. I'd never met this nurse before so I introduced myself and asked if she was the lucky staff member who gave all the shots. She said she was and then went on to say that when she got the job, she was so afraid of giving the infants the shots. Soon, however, she learned that infants are easy--it is those toddlers that are trouble because they can get up and run down the hall! We laughed and then got ready to give Finley the drink. He had to suck it out and swallow it down...oddly enough the plastic tube wasn't nipple or finger shaped--what baby would be interested in that? I held him closely while the nurse administered the drink. He took a while, but did a good job. Then, I put him down on the table for the shots. He looks happy here, I guess he had NO idea what was coming!

We turned him sideways and I hovered over his chest and held his hands. The nurse was really quick with the syringes, but Finley let out some blood curdling screams (3 to be exact, one per needle stick). I teared up and couldn't wait for her to put on the last band aid so I could scoop him up. Once held, he calmed down but his little face was SO red and his body was very tense. Poor thing :( I got him dressed and soon we were in the car. I nursed him in the backseat in hopes that it would make him feel better as well as fill up his empty belly. He then passed out asleep in the car seat and we ran some errands.

He slept for all the errands and continued to sleep once we got home. He woke up and was hungry, so I fed him. However, after eating he was quite hysterical and his cries were very strained. I knew he was in real pain because I couldn't soothe him with our usual techniques. He was crying so loudly, I called Dan and asked him to call the doctor to make sure it was okay to give him some baby Tylenol. I knew I wouldn't be able to hear the doctor/nurse if I called! After about ten minutes, Dan called me back and said they recommended getting his temperature before the Tylenol to have a baseline. I took his temperature (I won't get into the messy details) and it was normal, so I squirted the grape flavored gooey Tylenol into his mouth.

After about forty-five minutes, he seemed to relax. The rest of the night was up and down and we gave him more grape goo before bed in hopes that he wouldn't wake up in pain. The night was no different than usual, so I think we did the right thing.

It was certainly a tough day, but I was proud of him and of myself--we handled those shots like champs! Thankfully, round two isn't until March!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

To the WP!

While we weren't able take full advantage of the long weekend (coming back Sunday afternoon), we still had a terrific time down in White Plains, NY. We drove down Friday after Dan got home from work and made great time down to his parents' house. Finley slept for 95% of the ride and since I had timed his feedings decently well, we didn't have to stop along the way...though he was more than ready to eat upon our arrival! Gilda and Murray had a tasty dinner waiting for us and it was so nice for the two of us to eat at the table at the same time since there were other arms to hold Finley. Although, he was so awake and alert that he laid on his back on their kitchen bench/couch and played with his adoring grandparents instead! was still in the car for this :(

On Saturday, Dan's Uncle Carl came up from Manhattan with Finley's Aunt Ellie and her boyfriend, Donny. They hadn't seen Fin since his bris when he was only 8 days old and now he is 8 weeks, so they were impressed how he had grown.

Carl had to head back to work in the city and the rest of the us headed to services at Temple. While we aren't usually up for attending regular Saturday services, it was fun to show off Finley to his grandparents' friends and even Dan's preschool teacher!

Back at home, we relaxed for a while and later attempted to file/trim Fin's nails. It is still really hard for me to do even though we only try when he is sleeping...I just can't seem to really get them round and short. I am planning to invest in a more ergonomic infant nail clipper this week!

(Not sure why there is queso dip next to us, but oh well!)

Around 3pm, our many guests arrived! We had a lovely time chatting and passing Finley around to anyone that wanted to hold him. He slept through much of the pre-dinner festivities and woke up just in time to require Dan to hold him during the first part of the delicious meal.

Dan's Aunt Barbara and his cousin's daughter, Maggie.
My sister Caitlin and her boyfriend, Justin.
Grandma and her friend Bella (holding Fin).
Dan looking on as Maggie does a great job holding Finley.
Aunt Ellie and Aunt Caitlin, what a lucky nephew!
This is what Finley looked like for most of the evening, a shout out to my friend Rachel who knitted this ADORABLE sweater!!

When Finley finally did wake up, Maggie and her brother Harrison were very excited to play with him. Fin seemed equally excited!

After dinner as we awaited dessert, Finley tried to join us at the table. Dessert was great and then we began to clean up and say goodbye to all the wonderful family who came to see us.

On Sunday, we went to Buy Buy Baby (same owners has Bed Bath and Beyond, what is with all the Bs?) to look at strollers. We don't have this big box store near us and let me just say, WOW. It was laid out exactly like a Bed Bath and Beyond but with baby gear...kinda trippy. We took Fin and his grandparents stroller shopping in hopes of making our final decision for Finley's big boy stroller.

He looked pretty dope in his grizzly bear hoodie, don't you think?
Doesn't he deserve a pimpin' stroller?

After shopping (yes, we made our decision and will order it this week, more details to come in a future blog) we stopped for some Carvel milkshakes and went home to have lunch. Then, we packed up and headed back to Boston. It was a great visit and it was really nice to be around family :) Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for having us!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Downtown Adventure

This past Thursday, Finley and I went for an exciting adventure into downtown Boston. First, I bundled Finley into his much loved Patagonia snowsuit. It's a bit big for him (his hands and feet don't nearly fill out the sleeves and pants), but it is very snuggly warm! Also, he usually falls asleep once he is zipped into it, which is an unadvertised bonus. For example, I zipped him up and left him for two minutes so I could get my coat on, when I came back he was zonked out!

We drove to the T station, got Finley into his Becco (front carrier), and hopped onto the next redline train. Finley instantly fell asleep to the hum of the train and the rumbling along the tracks. His Granddad would be proud!

We got off the train at Park Street and out we popped right on the Boston Common! Still snow covered, the public garden was a lovely site as we walked through. We passed the state house and the frog pond, too bad Finley was too sleepy to watch the ice skaters on the pond! We left the Common and walked down Charles Street to Upper Crust where we picked up a delicious pizza. It was pretty awkward carrying Finley in his carrier and trying to hold a large pizza out in front (with mittens on!), but we managed to get the pizza over to our destination: my friend Deb's house :)

We went to see Deb's little baby (only 4 weeks old!), Edward. Deb and I taught together in Newton and were lucky enough to have babies really close together. I pulled Finley out of his carrier and we just had to see how the kids measured up!

Now Finley isn't really THAT much bigger, that snowsuit gives him some extra inches :) Finley looks like such a little man! Edward is a cute, little peanut and it really took me back to see how small he was...hard to believe I'm already experiencing that "they grow so fast" cliche, but I am! We hung out, had pizza, nursed, changed diapers, saw Edward's adorable nursery, and chatted and chatted and chatted. I love having so many fellow mommies in my life! I know Edward and Finley will be fast friends...once they realize the other is in the room!

We bundled ourselves back up, said our goodbyes and headed back to the T. However, halfway across the Common I realized we could stop in to visit my friend, Lisa, who works nearby. Luckily, she was available and we hung out with her in her really, really warm office before heading back out to the suburbs.

Our ride home was uneventful, except that since it was now rush hour the subway was packed and we got a lot more "oohs" and "ahhs" from commuters :) It was really fun and quite easy to go downtown, so I'm sure I'll come up with all sorts of excuses in the coming months to venture in!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Party Animal

On Sunday, Finley got to go to two birthday parties! We were amazed how our social lives have quickly turned from football and frisbee to diapers and cupcakes (not together hopefully)!

Around lunchtime, we drove to Natick to celebrate Charlotte's first birthday. Our friends Davey and Gabi threw a wonderfully laid back shin dig at their local rec center. Finley was much too small to enjoy the gym set up, but Dan certainly took advantage by shooting hoops and trying to get the grown ups to play dodge ball. It was awesome to see Charlotte crawling everywhere and climbing all around...amazing that Finley will be doing the same thing next Thanksgiving! He slept through 90% of the whole thing, but that was just fine with us.

Happy Birthday, Charlotte!

Later we went over to Sam and Betty's house to celebrate the dual birthdays of their sons, Benjamin (turning 1) and Andrew (turning 3). We walked in and knew we were in for a serious celebration because we saw the amazing homemade train cake! Ace of Cakes, eat your heart out! My mind began to swirl with ideas for Fin's first cake...but I digress...

The party was fun with lots of our friends and Finley's, too. Here is a picture of Aliza and Eliot dancing while Finley watched in amazement from behind the camera :)

It was adorable to watch Andrew and Ben while we sang "Happy Birthday" and Andrew did a great job blowing out the candles and patiently waiting to dig into the giant cake!

Finley only slept through half of this party, but we're pretty sure he enjoyed the evening. He did have a rare freak out before we left, it was really odd because he was nearly inconsolable despite being full and was the first time we couldn't satisfy him by bouncing him around or changing positions in our arms out in public. He caught us off guard and it just reminded us that we are still on the gigantic baby learning curve. We said quick goodbyes and made a run for it, perhaps he was OVERstimulated (I know I was!).

All in all, a great Sunday filled with friends and partying :) I know there will be many, many more kiddie birthday parties to come and it feels good to have the first couple under our belts!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Almost 8 weeks old

The past week or so, Finley began to be slightly more interested in stuff other than his parents. We learned how important it is to promote visual tracking using black and white images (babies see high contrast the best these days) and how we need to stimulate him without OVERstimulating him...a delicate balance, apparently.

He's become more entertained by hanging out in his bouncy seat (a gift from some Texas friends) but he is surprisingly more interested in the green turtle there as opposed to the high contrast penguin on the other side! What do those baby neurologists know anyways?

Now that he enjoys being flat on his back more, he thinks his playmat is pretty fun. We think he likes the bunny shaped rattle the best (but we are bunny-biased), though this morning he was finally locking eyes with the cow that has a mirror on his belly.

My beloved nursing pillow, the Boppy, is also good for elevated tummy time. Finley seems to have pretty advanced head control for a nearly 8 week old (who has been doing this for a couple weeks). Not only is this good for his neck muscles, but also pretty awesome for photo ops!

My best friend from high school, Kate, came to stay with us for three days this past week and Finley enjoyed his time with her--though not as much as I did :) It never ceases to amaze me how she and I reconnect in seconds after being apart for such a long time, a sign of true, long lasting friendship. It was awesome to have another adult around at home with us this week. I think it is good for Finley to be held, soothed, and fascinated by people other than his parents!

While this isn't "play" perhaps, we are pleased to find that Finley is often happiest just hanging out on his changing table. Who'd a thunk it? He still doesn't love being changed, but more and more he is just relaxed and happily looking around afterwards. Now we keep a couple toys nearby so we can have some fun while he's laying there. He's holding onto his o-ball here (a gift from our friends Moira and Ryan). It's neat how he can grasp small, thin stuff now. Not to mention he's occasionally been sucking his knuckles or thumb (since he won't take a pacifier, we're pretty excited).

I don't know why this is's been fun to see what attracts Finley's attention: his black and white squirrel flashcard (for real!), ceiling fans, that green turtle, staring outside our living room window...and it will be interesting to see how these preferences change and develop in the coming weeks and months :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sleep to Dream

I apologize in advance for not having any Finley pictures that coordinate with this blog, but I really wanted to post about this topic: Baby Sleep.

Finley's a good sleeper in that he will sleep at night and doesn't have a difficult time falling asleep no matter how much he's slept during the day and/or evening. Since bringing him home, he's slept 95% of the time with us in our bed. We didn't plan on it, but he wouldn't sleep alone in his co-sleeper (small crib/bassinet next to our bed) and we all needed sleep so we reluctantly made a family bed. It was fine, in fact, it was very snuggly...but as time went on, we knew that he needed to transition.

He's a little young to "cry it out," so what else could we do? Consult friends with babies and endless google searches like "baby won't sleep alone" and "getting baby out of your bed." We learned a lot and got some great ideas. For example, we learned that babies do not fall into their deepest (REM) sleep until 20 minutes after they fall asleep, unlike adults who get there almost instantly. Therefore, if you want to rock your baby to sleep and then drop him/her into a crib, bassinet, etc., you should rock him for at least 20 minutes after he's closed his eyes and drifted off to dreamland. We polled the new moms we know and the web to come away with these assorted tips:
1. use a white noise machine on a heart beat or rainfall setting (mimics in the womb white noise)
2. baby should be tightly swaddled (we have been doing that, so it was good to know we were already doing something right)
3. at first, babies should sleep in a place that isn't very spacious (not a crib or co-sleeper) because they can feel the openness and aloneness of it and they don't like it
4. roll towels to put around the bottom half of where baby is sleeping, so he or she will "fit" into the space and feel snuggled
5. put a piece of clothing like a shirt that mom has been wearing that day as a sheet so that her familiar smell will comfort baby (apparently, I have a motherly scent these days)
6. at least 10 min. before putting baby to bed, put a heating pad into bassinet to warm it up so the transition from your arms won't be as jarring temperature wise

Okay, that's pretty high maintenance, right? Well, we figured let's try ALL of the above and see what we get in return. Finley's friend, Henry, lent us his padded bassinet to borrow that is just the right size for a boy of Fin's size and we put it in his co-sleeper so he'd still be next to our bed. We rolled up towels and put in a shirt I'd worn that evening. Another one of Finley's friends, Eliot, lent us one of her extra white noise machines (the sleep sheep) and it was ready to go.

Dan turned on the heating pad while I nursed and rocked Fin to sleep. Then, I took out the heating pad, smoothly made the transfer (after he was into his deepest sleep), turned on the rainstorm, and then slipped into bed. We held our breath and waited to see what would happen...suddenly two hours had passed and he was making hungry sounds because it was time to eat! Holy cow, two hours! He hadn't slept solo for close to 30 min. since his first couple weeks of life!

That's where we started New Year's Eve and it was interesting over the next few days to see if he'd develop a pattern. The second night, we only got 1.5 hrs to start with and it was harder to get him back to sleep after feedings throughout the night. But now, five days later we are into a good place. Last night he slept for 3 hours before needing to eat and that made for a total of 5.5 hours since he'd eaten last, a new Finley record. So he slept from 10:30pm to 1:30am, ate until 2, slept from 2 to 4, ate till 4:30, and slept until almost 6 when I lifted him into our bed where he slept until 7, ate until 7:15, and then slept until nearly 8:30!! Unheard of and quite mind boggling...especially since he's sleeping again as I type!

We're so proud of the kid and pretty impressed with ourselves for trying new things and sticking with them. Who knows what the next couple of weeks will bring in the nighttime hours, but this progress feels awesome. He gets more sleep, we get more sleep, and the world seems like a brighter, more wonderful place. Thanks for our friends and the internet for helping us achieve this terrific feeling.

Okay, here's an unrelated, but adorable picture:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Snow Day!

I said "no" last time it snowed and Dan wanted to take Finley sledding, but I caved this time around. So while Dan took a test run, I bundled Finley up in his new Patagonia fleece suit.

Then, I headed down to wait at the bottom of the hill (of our driveway) to video the experience as well as make sure no cars were coming. It may be hard to tell, but Finley is in there enjoying the ride :) Turn up your volume and watch!

This was our first official use of the Flip Video camera we got from my parents a while back and it is just so cool! Technology sure is something!