Tag Archives | Olivia’s Growing

“Posting” Our First Father’s Day Memories

Father's-Day-2013

Photo taken by Karen Hendrix

I might be a bit biased, but this beautiful baby girl has the most amazing Dad.  To celebrate Father’s Day this year, I was inspired by Paige’s “Post-It Pictures” idea on The Dating Divas.  Instead of leaving general fun captions, however, I tailored each message to be a specific reason explaining why James is a fantastic Dad.  My project started with these guys…

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…which were turned into 65  little love notes to display on each picture of James or Olivia in our house.  The heart conversation bubble post-it notes were just perfect for this project!  If the picture was of Olivia, I tried to think up something fun that she might say or list how she already takes after her Dad in some small way.

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When James walked in the door, he found this little grouping that explained all the fun:

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The whole process of writing and placing notes took a little longer than I expected but it was so meaningful to walk down memory lane, focus on how our little family has grown in the past couple of months, and make predictions about the future.

Here’s a mini tour of where some of the little messages where placed:

In the Dining Room

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On the Refrigerator

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In the Entryway

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In Olivia’s Room

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James loved the fact that I incorporated a challenge into this Father’s Day gift.  He could only open up a final card once he found all the hearts!

Cheers to all the fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers celebrating this special day!

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First Mother’s Day

Mother's Day

Photo taken by Karen Hendrix Photography

I love you so much, Olivia.  I can’t wait to meet the beautiful, confident, caring, and intelligent woman you become.  In the meantime, I’m cherishing your sweet smiles and little gurgles, as well as sneak peaks into your blossoming personality.  You are already so independent!

We spent our first Mother’s Day at my parent’s lake house and strolled through a garden of irises.  Your Dad gave me the most perfect little gift in honor of our big day: he crafted a beautiful rose out of paper.

Mother's Day Paper Rose

Mother's Day Gift Idea

What a beautiful reminder of my sweet Olivia Rose.

 

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A Typical Day in the Early Weeks

Sweet-Baby

We were blessed in countless ways during the first couple weeks after my early delivery and Olivia’s release from the hospital.  That being said, the beginning weeks were hard, especially since I was attempting to balance a pumping schedule with Olivia’s care.  To establish my milk supply, I diligently tried to pump between 8 and 10 times a day.  For the most part, we let Olivia set the schedule in terms of when she wanted to eat and nap.  In case you’re curious, here’s a glimpse into how our day went:

12:30 -12:53 am: Last pumping session of the night followed by a trip downstairs to refrigerate milk and clean pump supplies.

1:30 -1:50 am: Olivia is up and hungry.  After being changed, she eats about 60 mL.

4:03 -4:40 am: Olivia is changed and fed.

6:30 -6:49 am: Pumped and cleaned supplies.

7:30 am: James is up, showered, and feeding Olivia while I catch a little more sleep.

7:57 am: James takes the dogs out.

8:30 am: Pumped and cleaned supplies.

8:50 am: Quick cup of decaf coffee and bowl of oatmeal.  Re-swaddled Olivia as she’s escaped from her blankets.

9 -10 am: Mix of holding Olivia, unloading the dishwasher, responding to emails, and putting a load of laundry in the machine.

10 -10:45 am: Olivia is changed and fed.  Time for a new outfit.

10:45 -11:03 am: Pumped and cleaned supplies.

11:03 -11:45 am: Took some pictures of Olivia to update her album for the family.  Loaded pics on my computer for editing.  Placed next load of laundry in the washer.

11:45 -12:30 pm:  Olivia has started to root again.  Finished combining refrigerated breast milk.  Changed and fed Olivia.

12:30 -1 pm: Pumped and cleaned supplies.

1 -2 pm: Waited for the home health nurse to arrive.  She weighed Olivia and we discussed common newborn issues.

1 -2:35 pm: Olivia is changed and fed.

2:35 -3 pm: Pumped and cleaned supplies.

3 pm: Edited photos in Photoshop and loaded them to a Picasa folder.

3:30 pm: Tummy time for Olivia is interrupted by dogs barking at the door.  UPS delivered a package.

4:30 pm: Pumped and cleaned supplies.

5 -6:30 pm: Olivia is changed and fed.  James returned from work.  He took the baby after she ate to give me a chance to fold laundry, open mail, and pick up around the house.

6:30 pm: Pumped and cleaned supplies.

7 pm: Dinner at my parents.  Olivia eats again.

8:30 pm: Pumped and cleaned supplies.

9 pm: Olivia is changed and fed.  James worked on his computer while holding Olivia.  They both drift to sleep while I’m making a to-do list on the couch next to them.

Bottles

10:30 pm: Pumped and cleaned supplies.  James washed and sanitized the massive bucket of bottles for the day.

11 -12:30 am: James worked a little more on his computer while I read and got ready for my last pump at 12:30 am.

I never will forget how grueling the first 2 months were for our little new family.  James really had to step up in terms of taking an active role in Olivia’s care, even at 2 and 4am!  Not only was I absolutely exhausted, but I was also battling some pretty significant pain issues related to pumping and attempts at breastfeeding.  I am so grateful for his support, presence, and attitude that “we are in this together.”

After pumping for 5 months for Olivia, I am in awe of mamas that pump exclusively for their babes throughout the first year of life.  It is truly a commitment- not only on a physical level, but also in terms of time!  I read somewhere that you tend to develop a love/hate relationship with your pump…  I couldn’t have said it better myself… I loved the fact that the machine was my ticket to giving Olivia nutritious meals packed with my antibodies and other protective cells.  I absolutely HATED the process- it is awkward, sometimes painful, boring, noisy, and absolutely DEVOID of the typical bonding moments that accompany traditional nursing.  Trying to calm an upset baby while hooked up to a contraption that keeps her at arms length is not always easy.  Feeling like you are missing out on the special bond created during nursing that you’ve read about in countless books is utterly heartbreaking at times.

Despite the moments of unpleasantness and uncertainty, I am so grateful for everything that our experience has taught us.  I am now even more keenly aware of how important it is to enter into every situation with an open and compassionate heart that focuses on savoring joy.

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5 Months After the Special Care Unit

5 Months After the NICU

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