Monday, July 21, 2014

2 months old

I can't believe our little love will be two months old on Friday. He is starting to grow so much! It felt like he was the same size for about a month, and then suddenly during week 5, he had a major growth spurt and quite literally grew out of his clothes over night. And man, that growth spurt? That was a rough week. During one of his three-hour crying spells, I was bouncing him around in one arm and frantically googling "colicky baby" on my phone with the other hand. Like clockwork, he was back to his normal self at the end of that week. I, however, aged about ten years (and have the gray hairs to prove it).

About a month ago, our friend Joshua came over to the house and took some pictures of Taylor. He also did our maternity shoot and is quickly becoming responsible for any and all family photos we have (outside our iPhones) since my camera has been tucked away the past couple months.

Taylor was on his best behavior, so the shoot went quickly. Joshua did a great job of improvising with the "props" I pulled out (aka the bean bag chair I covered with a sheet...) and caught some really sweet moments for us. He is so talented!

I'm sure I'll look back on these pictures fondly of what youthful, vibrant parents we were but I can't help and think we just look so tired! Luckily, Taylor is sleeping much longer stretches at night and still taking some lengthy naps during the day.

Everyone that sees me with Taylor, whether it's an old friend or a Target cashier, asks me how I like being a mom. I sheepishly admit that I love it and it's so much more fun than I thought it would be. Is that terrible? I knew I would love him, I never doubted that. But I think culture can do a pretty terrible job presenting motherhood. The "mom" character on sitcoms is always exhausted, desperately trying to keep up with her kids and rolling her eyes behind her husband's back at his laughable attempt to parent his children. I remember when I was pregnant, women would always warn me that my life was about to be over. And they're right, it definitely is, but rarely did people tell me how great my new life would be. This might be the iced coffee talking, but I just can't believe how fun being Taylor's mom is. 

When I was a nanny, I would count down every excruciating minute of my shift. Watching a four month old squirm around on a play mat was cute and everything, but how many times could you read a cloth book aloud before your brain shut down? (For me, it was about six.)  But I have clocked in countless hours just staring at Taylor laying on a blanket. Or sleeping. Or sitting in his car seat. And it's fun!

Of course, there are not-fun days. Of course, he cries. Sometimes I join in. During that growth spurt, I think I mentioned putting him on Craigslist. (Luckily, my mom happened to be home and looking slightly alarmed, offered to take him for an hour and gave me a much-needed break.) But even at the end of a really hard, long day where I can't remember the last time I ate a meal or went to the bathroom, I am in disbelief at how much I am enjoying it.

I love this little darling so much. As he becomes more alert each day, we get to know his personality a little bit more. He has started recognizing and smiling for his dad and his grandparents and thinks being kissed on the mouth is pretty hilarious. He loves hearing other languages and accents! He laughed for the first time when his auntie Kat spoke to him in Spanish and was mesmerized when my friend from Australia spoke to him.

He is still the most serious baby I've ever met and already has worry lines between his eyebrows, but is so playful and vocal first thing in the morning. I'm claiming that as my one and only contribution to his DNA-being a morning person! 

 Every morning, Matt pulls him into bed with us and I wake up to the two of them snuggling before his alarm goes off. On Saturdays, we lay in bed with him until about noon, trying to soak up every moment of this sleepy-newborn stage.

Our life is so enhanced as we enjoy being a family of three. We don't know what we ever did without him! Sleep more, I suppose.

Thank you, Joshua, for capturing Taylor so well! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Matt, Taylor and I spent the fourth of July in sunny, hot Sunriver. On Thursday afternoon we packed up the car (sheesh, babies need a lot of things!) and drove straight into traffic for about five hours. It went surprisingly well, despite a little meltdown that resulted in me frantically crawling into the backseat to unbuckle Taylor and calm him down. But hey, not bad. The drive was gorgeous. We could see at least one mountain at all times, and the best part of the drive was a long stretch where we could see eight. Eastern Oregon is so beautiful! And it's especially beautiful when you're touring it in an air-conditioned car to the patriotic sounds of Tom Petty.

I had so much fun spending time with my cousins and their babies. I'm so glad everyone finally got to meet Taylor! We spent a lot of time trying to get them to cooperate for family photos, and this is about the best one we have. Not one single pair of baby-eyes looking at the camera. I'm so glad I get to enter motherhood alongside those two, they are some sweet mommas!

We ended the holiday the all-American way, feasting on a variety of smoked & grilled meat, pasta salad and potato chips. We ate outside, slapping mosquitoes off our arms and listening for early fireworks (which we didn't see or hear since it's a wildfire-prone part of the state...).

The next day, Taylor and I stayed behind with my Aunt Jackie while everyone else hit the golf course. We got some quality time in with her, beating the heat inside and catching up.

The weekend went by quickly, and before we knew it, we were repacking the car and sitting in traffic with the mountains in our rear-view mirror. But we managed to pack it full of golfing, apple pie, star-gazing from the hot tub and lots of baby-holding. I'm so thankful my family included us in their vacation! It was really nice to get out of town, spend time with my family and create a fun memory for Taylor's first 4th of July!

Taylor is 6 weeks old now! He smiles at his momma, sleeps longer stretches at night and finally fills out some of his newborn clothing. We just adore him!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Taylor Matthew

I can't believe our little love is already a month old! On one hand, it feels like it's been several months, and on the other hand, it all feels like one long, wonderful day. The day he was born was easily the best day of my life. I loved the day I met Matt and even more so, the day I married him, but when I replay the day Taylor was born in my mind, nothing compares.

Unfortunately, the weeks leading up to his birthday weren't as magical. At around 37 weeks, I started having contractions on and off. At my doctor's appointment that week, she checked me and said I should make sure I have my hospital bag packed and our car seat installed! I came home and my mom and I frantically put the finishing touches on his nursery.

I spent the next few weeks counting contractions and finishing up any last minute projects and to-dos. It seemed like he was going to come any minute, but despite long walks and spicy foods-nothin'! At my last doctor's appointment, she asked me if I wanted to schedule a day to get induced in case he didn't come before his due date. I couldn't believe it! Here I was thinking he was going to come weeks early, and now I was talking about being induced. I told her I wanted to wait until next week to decide if I would be induced or not. 

I went into labor on my due date, at about 5:30am as the bedroom started to fill with morning light. As the pain of the first contraction rolled over me, I woke up Matt by whispering "the baby's going to come today!". A few minutes later, we were scrambling to go to the hospital as the contractions came hard and fast.

Labor wasn't terribly long, just under 9 hours. I had complete back labor and the pain was all-consuming. I really only remember bits and pieces of it all. Like getting wheeled into the hospital by an intern, who spotted me buckled over in pain in the parking lot and brought out a wheelchair. Or the moment we saw a deer grazing in the grass outside our window; a perfectly serene moment in the midst of intensity and pain. I remember Matt offering me ice chips, juice, cold wash cloths, constant support and encouragement. For some reason, Taylor's heart rate dropped with every contraction. The nurses would rush in and turn me over, hoping to release pressure on the umbilical cord. It was a little unnerving to hear the words "flat line" in regards to your baby's heart rate, but our wonderful nurses did a great job of reassuring me that everything would be fine. And it was! (Although the next morning, the doctor mentioned she thought it was going to end in a c-section! She was so calm and confident, I had no idea at the time.)

The moment Taylor was born was the most surreal moment of my life. I stared down at the hot, squirming, purple baby they put on my chest with utter disbelief. I remember glancing up at the smiling faces of the nurses gathered around the bed and seeing Matt eyes filling with tears. I put my hands on Taylor's back and couldn't believe he was here, on the outside of my stomach! 

I pulled him away from my chest to look into his face for the first time and his eyes slowly opened. We shared a moment of eye contact, him studying me, me studying him, before he popped his thumb in his mouth and fell asleep. I looked up at Matt and exclaimed "I love him!"  Everything people told me was true. I instantly fell in irrevocable, consuming and unconditional love with him. (I think at one point I even asked my mom "how can people like their babies when their babies aren't Taylor?"...)

For some reason, Taylor was born with an infection and a fever and had to go on antibiotics right away. Eight pokes and seven different NICU nurses later, they gave up on trying to start an IV on him and instead he got shots every time he needed a dose of antibiotics. It was torture watching him, hours old, go through so much. His breathing was a bit rapid too, so they had another nurse monitoring that as well. Kind of a rough start! But he was such a sweet boy through all of it. 

Even though there was a lot going on, I really enjoyed our hospital stay. We had really wonderful nurses, great care and lots of sweet moments together as a new family (and drank about 64 ounces of sparkling cranberry juice from the nurse's lounge, which was the best reward ever after only drinking water during pregnancy). After two days at the hospital, we were finally discharged at about 10pm. At 9:45pm, we still hadn't picked his middle name! Our bags were packed and Taylor was buckled into his car seat, but we couldn't leave until we turned in our birth certificate paperwork, which we stood over, staring at the blank line above midde name. We always knew his name was going to be Taylor, after Matt's dad, but we could never agree on a middle name (I was pulling for "Taylor Gray" but Matt wasn't convinced that "because I like it" was a good enough reason...). Finally, we agreed on Matthew. It seemed so perfect for a little boy who came out looking exactly like his daddy. (Seriously, I can't believe I get to kiss TWO pairs of those perfect lips!)

Our sweet Taylor Matthew, born at 2:03 p.m. on May 25th, 2014. Weighing in at 7lbs, 10 ounces and 20.5 inches long with the most precious chin, absolutely no eyebrows and the cutest peach fuzz hair I've ever seen.

The past month has been the most rewarding and exhausting experience of my life. We are so blessed by all the love and excitement people have shared with us. Whether it's a visitor stopping by, a card in the mail or simply a text asking about him, we are so thankful to have so many family and friends sharing in our joy.

Thank you!

We are healthy, happy, sleep-deprived, thankful and in love. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A bit of May

I cant believe we are almost halfway through May! I've been counting down to this month since September as The Month the Baby Comes. And now, here it is, just minding it's own business, casually passing by.

We have had a wonderful couple weeks. The weather has been grabbing us by the hand and leading us towards summer, giving us crisp air and clear skies. It's been HOT the past couple days and as I look ahead to a week of weather in the 80's, I say a little prayer for women who will be pregnant over the rest of the summer. Lord have mercy. 

The day before Cinco de Mayo, my mom and aunt threw us a fajita-filled party in celebration of our sweet baby. The house filled up with familiar faces and delicious Mexican food and I spent the evening introducing Matt to my parent's family-like friends. (I tried to supervise as best I could, considering most of these people have known me since the day I was born and have plenty of potential blackmail material...)

We were so blessed by that night! I was so grateful for each and every generous gift given to us, but I was especially moved by the blanket my mom's friend Sally made for our baby. It is so soft and perfectly woven together, in the the most beautiful icy blue/gray yarn! I treasure it so much, and it's not even mine! The crafter in me knows how much work and time goes into a gift like that and we appreciate it so much. It's waiting for him in his Moses' basket for when he arrives home!

Thank you again, Sally!

This past Saturday, thanks to the wonders of technology and the generosity of my mother-in-law, I sat in on a Skype baby shower with family in Alabama! It was so sweet. Packages were arriving in the mail weeks before, with notes insisting I don't open them until the party. Friday afternoon, the doorbell rang and I received the most beautiful bouquet of flowers! Barbara thought of everything; she even had Matt pick up a little pink box of cupcakes from the bakery. It was so sweet and so fun to get a little time in with our family out there. This baby has some pretty wonderful grandmas and aunties! Thank you so much, family!

On Sunday, I enjoyed celebrating my wonderful mother. Her last mother's day before she has to share it my sister and me! We enjoyed a delicious brunch at the restaurant where my brother cooks, which kept us happy & full until about 8pm. After that, we enjoyed Guatemalan brisket tacos, one of Matt's many knee-buckling meat creations. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was so glad to be with my mom. I can't remember the last time I was with her on Mother's Day.

I love her so much! 

On a much more hormonal note, I have been so overwhelmed by how much love and generosity we've received in anticipation of this baby. As I was putting things away in the nursery yesterday, I looked around and realized everything in there has been a gift from someone. Everything from the dresser-turned-changing-table I was gifted a couple years ago, to the baby shoes lined up, to his precious Moses' basket, to the banner strung on the wall (made by his auntie Brittney!), to the quilt folded over his crib, is an extension of love to us from the people in our life. There have been some moments of panic over the past 9 months, where I wondered "how we were going to ___", but God has met every one of our needs so far and we have been immensely blessed. Thank you for loving our baby so much! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Maternity Shoot

A few weeks ago, Matt and I had the pleasure of doing a maternity shoot with Joshua Veldstra. This lucky guy is dating my best friend Brittney, so of course I've heard a lot about him and seen a lot of his photography. But I finally got to see him in action! I was a little intimidated to step (waddle) in front of his camera, since he normally shoots with models (and has been recognized several times by Vogue), but it ended up being really fun and easy. I'm hardly even still mad at him for whisking Brittney away to live in Alaska. Here are some of my favorites:

I can't believe I'm facing the last few weeks of this pregnancy. Since I found out I was expecting the earliest day possible (my doctor furrowed her eyebrows in disbelief when I told her I had a positive pregnancy test), it seems like this pregnancy has lasted forever. And then at the same time, it has just whizzed by.

I hardly even remember my second trimester, but this one is going by nice and slow. Despite hard days, and every pregnancy symptom intensifying in the evenings, I've loved being pregnant. (Is anyone else picturing the scene from Friends when Rachel says that a few days before her due date and then they cut to a scene of her overdue and miserable?) Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely looking forward to sleeping on my stomach and putting on my running shoes by myself, but I have been blessed with a pretty fun and easy 8 months and I'm so thankful. I wouldn't mind if he came a little early and I missed out on the last couple weeks, since my back is starting to ache and I've been in the same pajama pants for four weeks. But I'm mostly trying to enjoy it; you only have your first pregnancy once, right?

I think the main thing I'll miss is my extrovert-dream-come-true of having someone with me all the time, stirring around. This kid is so active! At my first appointment with my new doctor here, she was trying to find his heartbeat and looked up with wide eyes as my abdomen thrust around before saying "hm, you are definitely going to have your hands full...". We're so thankful to have a healthy, active baby but we are already brainstorming ways to keep up with him (as if there are better solutions than coffee).

Joshua and Brittney did a great job of finding flattering poses for us the whole shoot (not an easy task when there's a 33 week pregnant woman draped in a black maxi dress), but I especially love these last two pictures. We were about to head back to the car when Matt asked if we could take one more shot and bent down to kiss my stomach. I love how they turned out and I love how genuine Matt's face is. It's not easy getting him comfortable in front of a camera, but he loves kissing that baby. He always goes a little nuts when he hears Matt's voice. I can't wait to see those two together!

Thank you again for a wonderful shoot, Joshua! I love having such great shots of our almost-family-of-three.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Easter Sunday

Here are a few shots from our time with family over Easter weekend: 

I got to see my beautiful cousins and meet their beautiful, new babies! Out of seven female cousins in our whole family, five of us are pregnant this year. It's just been nuts. It was so fun snuggling their babes and watching the rest of the family ooh and ahh over the new additions. Our family get-togethers will never be the same! It was such a fun weekend. It was very relaxing and as usual, Aunt Jackie lavished delicious food and drinks on us. I'm always taking mental notes on her hosting skills (note: serve whipped cream to top on berry danishes and coffee).

Although a family weekend isn't complete without my brother and sister there, it was still really wonderful to gather with family over a holiday; something I really missed living down in California! Thank you again for having us, Jepsens! We love any time we get to be with you guys. 

I am 36 weeks! In the home stretch and getting as "ready" as possible before our little guy makes his debut. So far all that means is washing a few loads of little baby laundry and putting a box of PopTarts in my otherwise empty hospital bag.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A sweet, sweet Saturday

A few weekends ago, I was spoiled to death by my wonderful friends Melanie, Kat and Brittney with a baby shower. Having thrown a few showers before, it does not escape me how much work and time goes into something like that! Yet despite very full schedules (like moving out of state the same week or raising seven month old twins), they still made time to celebrate my little babe. I felt incredible loved and known by them! From the invitations right down to the Krispy Kreme doughnuts piled high on a cake stand, I was so happy.

Kat's lovely (and adorably decorated) home filled up on a Saturday morning for a brunch consisting of all my favorite breakfast foods and drinks. A serious highlight for me were the blueberry pancake cupcakes topped with maple frosting. Between those and the two or three mason jars full of chocolate milk I sucked down, I think I had more sugar that morning than in my entire pregnancy.

I enjoyed seeing my sweet friends of the northwest! This is my friend Chelsea, who I've been friends with for over ten years and now we are both expecting boys in late May! I have been really lucky to be pregnant alongside many of my friends. My pregnancy has overlapped with ten of my friends and cousins. Watch out people, it's contagious.

Besides the blessing of just being amongst my favorites ladies and treats, my favorite part of the shower was when guests were asked to share a piece of advice or a funny story about motherhood. Debbie had a bit of both to share and this picture captured the story perfectly. You don't even want to know what she is fictionally holding in her hand...

I am so thankful for all the thoughtful gifts that help me feel a little more prepared for his arrival! It was kind of surreal opening up packages with baby bottles and itsy bitsy pairs of pants. Made everything feel a little more real. Above is a hand-stitched quilt made with much love by Saki's mom. In case you don't remember, Saki designed and sewed my wedding dress for me. Talented genes swimming around in that family! I adore that blanket and constantly unfold it and smooth my hands over the beautiful squares. That picture doesn't do it justice!

Look who made it down for my shower! My fabulous aunt Jackie was down for the weekend and joined in on the celebration. She spoiled us rotten with a package full of infant Alabama football gear for Matt (including a baby fedora, which I pick up just about every day and squeal), the cutest onesie she crafted up and a beautiful Mose's basket with handmade lining in it! It's gorgeous. You will be seeing countless pictures of our little baby laying in it over the next few months, so I'll spare you for now.  I'm so glad she was able to come and I loved spending the weekend with her. 

This is my favorite picture from the shower. A sweet moment candidly caught as the party was wrapping up. I am so happy to live near my family again and enjoy all the time with my mom preparing for the baby. My parents have been a huge blessing to our little family as we adjust to a new city and gear up for a whole new season of life. I must admit, I miss the authentic Mexican food and constant sunshine that California has to offer, but I haven't once wondered if we made the right choice moving up to the northwest.

Thank you again, sweet friends, for coming together and planning a celebration that made me feel so loved. It was unreal sitting in a living room full of women from all different parts of my life expressing excitement and joy for a baby that isn't even here yet! Love you three so much.