Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ollie-isms: One Month

Oliver hit the one-month mark on May 15th, and we can't believe how quickly time has flown! He's almost six weeks old now... and we haven't gotten around to posting his one-month pictures on the blog until today!

We are simply over-the-moon about our Ollie. He is our greatest joy! Watching him change and grow has been quite the adventure, and taking the time to write about some of his milestones has really got me thinking about how much he's learned already.





Ollie-Isms: One Month

-Oliver has started to coo now and again, but you can ALWAYS count on a happy little sound right after he sneezes. I don't necessarily think his post-sneeze coos are voluntary, but they sure are cute.

-Ollie loves his hands! He discovered them a few weeks ago. We will often see Ollie clasping his hands, stretching his arms high in the air, sleeping with his fingers extended to the sky, or grabbing at nearby fabrics and textures. We especially love it when his tiny fingertips stroke the back of our shoulder while we're burping him after a meal.

-When people meet Oliver, the first thing we always hear is some exclamation about all of his hair. We love Ollie's mohawk. Kyle and I have to style our sweet boy's hair every morning, and I'll definitely be sad (if?) when his soft strands of brown baby hair start to fall out. 

-We can always tell when Oliver is about to get up from one of his many naps, because he usually grunts and grumbles a bit before he wakes. Our favorite sound is similar to that of a Dolphin's: quick and chirpy! Hopefully I can get a sound recording of it one day soon.

-When Ollie gets really hungry, he breathes through his nose so fast that he starts to snort. What a little piggy!! I can always tell his hungry cry from any other cry because of his little snorts... silly boy.

-This boy loves his milk, and after a particularly good meal he is OUT. I love watching Ollie sprawl out in my arms after a milk coma, as his limbs go limp and his face relaxes. It's one of the cutest (and most peaceful) things he does.

-Oliver has many dramatic facial expressions, and one of our favorites is his "serious" face. You know, the one where he is preparing for one of his "serious" moments. When Oliver's eyes open big and he purses his lips together, you know it's time to get the diapers and wipes ready. ;)

-Ollie has some of the most expressive eyebrows I've ever seen! We love to watch them crinkle and raise with his various moods. Ollie can even raise one eyebrow on it's own... which is something he clearly got from Mom, because Dad still can't figure out how to do it. :)


Ollie's Stats: One Month

Eye Color: Blue, kind of light blue in the middle. I have blue eyes and Kyle has hazel eyes, but Kyle is really hoping that Ollie takes after me. I guess only time will tell!

Clothing Size: Oliver is still wearing newborn sizes, but some things are getting tight! He has a nice little Buddha belly too! The footsie jammies he wore home from the hospital drowned him when he was born, and now they fit nice and snug! I think we'll be moving to 0-3 sizes soon.

Hair: Still long and luscious and sooo soft! A medium-brown color :)

Nursing: We struggled just a little bit with nursing in the beginning, but we've got it down now! Ollie eats his meals pretty quickly, and he usually nurses every 2-3 hours during the day and every 3-4 hours at night.

Sleep: Oliver isn't really on a schedule yet, but he usually gives us a solid 3 hours between meals at night. He has been known to sleep for 4-6 hours a few times (praises!), but he's not consistent yet.

Favorite Things: Having the top of his head under the running water in the sink, tubby time (didn't like his first bath, but he likes them now!), his pacifiers, snuggling into the shoulder of whoever is holding him, listening to the music in his swing (sometimes he'll wake up when the music is finished), his hands, and staring out the window in the daytime.

Dislikes: Having his onesies pulled over his head or getting dressed, diaper changes (back when his little man surgery was still healing), and drying off after tubby time (so cold!).

Nicknames: Ollie, The Little Man, Big-a-Boy, Sweet Boy, Son, Ollie Ollie Oxen Free, The Big BM-er, Lover, Sweetest Son, Dude, and Junior (from Grandpa Paxman).

Milestones: Some cooing (barely starting to find his voice), nursing like a champ, eyes lock onto bright light or black and white contrast, sometimes his eyes will lock onto ours, legs and neck getting stronger, using his hands to grab clothes or feel textures.


Dearest Oliver,

My, what an adventure the last month has been! Your mom and dad love you so much; our hearts have probably doubled tripled in size! Life has definitely changed since you've made your arrival... but we wouldn't trade the lack of sleep or constant care for anything!

I love spending my days with you.  Watching you learn and explore the world around you is one of my favorite pastimes. There is so much for your little mind to see and do, and I can tell you're working hard to grow so big and strong!

I love cuddling you in the middle of the night as we rock back and forth in our little yellow chair, and I love laying on the big bed with you after nap time and watching you practice your smile while we talk together about our day.

You are my most favorite little boy, and I've never known a love so wonderful. Don't grow up too fast, and never forget how much I adore you!

Love Always,
Mom

Monday, May 22, 2017

Man Behind the Blog: Baby Daddy

Mr. DeYoung hasn't been on the blog in a while - with grad school and work and parenthood consuming his life - but I've been wanting him to write about being a dad, so here he is today with a few words to share. I have loved watching Kyle become the amazing dad that he is with our sweet Oliver, and I am so glad to have such an incredible partner to share this responsibility and experience with. Take it away, Love!

(Photography Credit: Pepperfox Photo)






1. Tell us a little bit about your experience at the hospital when Oliver was born.

I remember watching several movies growing up where a baby is born and placed into the daddy's arms. The dad cries as he gazes upon his newborn child and everything is perfect. I'll be the first to admit that Ollie's birth was an amazing experience for me. I truly felt the love of God for our Little Man and I believe I caught a glimpse of Heaven that day. It was such a miracle to watch Bailee endure the long labor and to see our sweet boy enter this world. Yes, I did cry and yes, everything was perfect.

2. When did the reality of being a dad first set in?

I knew one day this question would be asked of me. The reality of being a dad kicked in the moment the nurses placed Ollie in my arms. He just looked up at me with those blue eyes and just stared at me - watching his tongue move in and out of his lips was too cute. You could just see him trying to take everything in - I too tried to take everything in as well. I knew right away that he was ours and we were responsible for teaching him the gospel truths we were taught. Even though the task seemed daunting (and still is) I knew that it would be worth it.  

3. What is your favorite part about being a dad?

My favorite part about being a dad is watching our little Ollie grow. I am amazed at how fast the time flies. Whenever I show pictures of Oliver to other people (which I probably do excessively) I simply can't believe how much he has grown in the last 5 weeks. Another thing I love about being a dad is holding our baby boy in my arms and to imagine all of the things he can accomplish. I love feeding him a bottle and feeling his tiny hands grasp my thumb. 

4. What is the hardest/most stressful part about being a dad?

Haha! I would say the hardest part about being a dad is also the most stressful - for me anyway. Bailee and I have discussed on multiple occasions that I do not function well on lack of sleep. Being awakened in the middle of the night is never a joyful experience, especially if your little one is crying and needs his diaper to be changed. You don't want to turn on any lights because if you do, it might make it harder for you to go back to sleep later. While you are changing his diaper, you realize you didn't cover the parts that need covering quick enough and the Little Man's clothes are soaking wet. You can't be mad at the kid - he didn't know better. After cleaning up the mess and putting the baby in a fresh clean diaper, you hear him fill his diaper again. No worries, he just needed a clean diaper to fill - It's just how it goes.

I am just to thankful for Bailee and everything she does for our little boy. Never once have I heard her complain about having to feed Oliver in the middle of the night. I try not to be "put-out" when she wakes me up to change his diaper because I really am happy to help and it is the least I could do. I know I need to be better at not getting frustrated when the Little Man goes through 3 diapers in 30 minutes or when his clothes get soiled. That is what comes with having a baby, and in the end I wouldn't have it any other way.

5. If you had one piece of advice for other new fathers, what would it be?

If I could give one piece of advice for current or future fathers it would be to not let your wife do things alone. When Ollie was born, I was in the thick of finals week and had 2 exams and a paper that was due. Bailee told me she didn't want the baby to cause me not to do well in my classes. So she slept on the couch downstairs while I slept in the bed upstairs (I tried to tell her I should sleep on the couch but she wouldn't let me). She fed him, changed his diapers, and rocked him to sleep every night. Throughout the course of two or three days, I could see the weight she was carrying and it was too much. I finally insisted on her sleeping upstairs with me and we would care for our baby boy together - as it should have been.

I admire Bailee for being willing to take care of Oliver while I finished up my classes. I admit it was really nice sleeping for 7 hours, but at what price? I never should have let her take on being a parent alone just because it was finals week. So, if I could change anything it would be to help out in the middle of the night and not let Bailee do it alone.

6. What are you most looking forward to in the future about being a dad?

To be honest, I don't think I can even begin to expound on the things I look forward to. I think one thing I look forward to is going on fathers-and-sons campouts. I also smile when I think about going on family vacations together or staying home and playing in the sprinklers. I know we can't force our children to like the same things their parents do, but I want to take our boy to the park and fly kites, eat PB&Js and just talk. One thing I loved the most about my dad is when he would ask me, "Kyle, are you happy?" This question was simple, yet it allowed us to talk about what was going on in my life at that time. I can't wait to have another best friend, and to talk about things that interest him. I think those are the things I look forward to the most (Overall, I'm a little scared too, haha!).

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Happy Little Nothings


Just a few Little Nothings that have made me happy this weekend:

Lazy Sunday naps
Bottled cream soda
Wet baby kisses
Toenail polish that still isn't chipped
Homemade silky blankies
A sunny bedroom window
Salted caramel sugar cookies
A new TV for the bedroom
Summer scented candles
Upcoming tap rehearsals
Upcoming birthdays
Pre-pregnancy jeans that fit
Netflix (Anne with an E)
Warm scones and honey butter
Evening drives through the neighborhood
A long warm shower
Wagons and fairy gardens
Pink geraniums
Husband home for the weekend
A happy sleeping baby

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Best By Far Is You.


Today is Mother's Day, and I am feeling so blessed. Mr. DeYoung spoiled me this weekend with the most beautiful vase of fresh flowers, a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries, and a darling bracelet to remember my first "official" Mother's Day.

Yesterday morning we saw extended family from my mom's side, and I absolutely loved showing off our little Oliver to our cousins, aunts, and uncles. We spent the rest of the day with Mom Paxman, visiting together and mostly relaxing for the day. Mom opened her gifts from us, and we all reveled in what an amazing woman she is. Then we grilled steak and ate fresh fruit and pasta salad, and the entire day was just lovely.

Today Ollie and I attended church for the first time since his birth. I felt so grateful sitting next to my sweet husband and darling son as we worshiped and prayed. We listened to two fantastic talks about motherhood today, and I walked away from the meeting with a beautiful little pink geranium that was given to me in celebration of the holiday. 

Later this afternoon we ate dinner with Mom DeYoung and the rest of Kyle's family. We listened to exciting stories from his parents' trip to Europe, ate some Apple Danish, and laughed over the dinner table. We watched Mom DeYoung open her gifts and reveled some more (we are blessed with such amazing Moms on both sides of our families!) and visited for hours in the living room together.

In the evening we saw Kyle's extended family on his Mom's side. We doted on Oliver with more of our relatives, ate delicious ice cream floats, and enjoyed the springtime evening air. Then we returned home and rocked our sweet baby boy to sleep as we reflected on the amazing weekend we were so blessed to enjoy.

It was a wonderful holiday, filled with the kind of happiness that leaves your heart feeling just so full. Mother's Day is now so significant to me, and I cannot be more grateful for the lovely holiday we had.

A year ago on Mother's Day, I lost my first baby. Miscarrying -- and on such a special holiday -- was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced.

Last year, I never would have thought that today I'd be holding my sweet little Oliver in my arms. To become pregnant, miscarry, get pregnant again, and give birth to our Oliver in just over a year truly is a miracle. What an amazing journey. Now on every Mother's Day, I will always reflect and think about the other baby I have who watches over our little family from Heaven. Remembering our angel baby is the greatest reminder to me that families really are forever.

I also have to mention how much I love being Oliver's mom. He really is the little rainbow after the storm, and he came to our family at the perfect time. Ollie and I have been through a lot together in the last month, and I have grown to love this little boy more than life itself. Between him and my Sweet Husband, I'm convinced I have the world.

Thank you Oliver, for blessing Mommy with the opportunity to experience a love more visceral and pure than I have ever known. You are the sweetest boy I know, and there are no adequate words to express just how blessed I feel to be your Mom. When I look down at you in my arms, my heart explodes. For all the things my hands have held, the best by far is you.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Throwback Thursday: The First Date.

My first date with Mr. DeYoung almost didn't happen.

The week before Thanksgiving, Kyle called to ask me on a date. I didn't have his number at the time, so I actually didn't answer when he called. After listening to a voice message from an unknown number, I realized the caller had been Kyle and that he wanted to take me on a date for the day after Thanksgiving.

I was so flattered. I had never given my phone number to Kyle, which meant that he had gone to some lengths to retrieve it. I assumed he had asked for my phone number from a mutual friend (I later found out that he had taken it from an institute volunteer sign-up sheet), and I felt giddy that a cute guy had made the effort to get my digits just to call and ask me on a date!

After making some rearrangements for my Thanksgiving Weekend with Mom, I returned Kyle's phone call and accepted his offer. We were going to see The Nutcracker together, and I couldn't wait! (Little did Kyle know at the time, but I used to do ballet and was in a production of The Nutcracker for several years. He honestly couldn't have chosen a better first-date!)

The Thanksgiving holiday came and went, and the day before our date I came down with a terrible case of the flu. We were at my Grandparents' house for the holiday, and when my sister and I started feeling queasy, we decided to go home early. I was so queasy on the drive home that I actually got sick in the car! It was awful.

I told my Mom that I should probably call Kyle and cancel our date. Mom thought I should wait until the next day to cancel - just in case I got feeling better - but I didn't want to cancel on Kyle at the last minute. I knew Kyle had already spent money on the tickets, and I didn't want my ticket to go to waste because he didn't have enough time to call someone else.

Still, my mom somehow convinced me to wait at least until the next morning to call (and thank goodness she did!) just in case I felt good enough to still go.

The following morning I still felt weak and nauseous, but I hadn't thrown up all night and I was definitely on the mend (you know the post-flu feeling... that's what I was experiencing). We decided that I probably wasn't contagious anymore, and that it'd be safe for me to go. The date was still on!

I had the most wonderful time at The Nutcracker with Kyle. He did all the right things (came on time, got my doors, and was SO polite), and we both had a really nice evening. I still felt a little queasy during the performance, but I was glad I had made the decision to come anyway.

After the show, Kyle suggested we go to his house and make hot cocoa floats together. Ice cream and hot chocolate are two of my favorite things... but I hadn't eaten a real meal since getting sick! I was a little worried about eating something so sweet when I didn't feel well, but I also wanted to spend more time with Kyle and wasn't ready to go home for the night (I hadn't told him that I had been sick the night before). I decided to go and we drove to his parents' home for dessert.

Walking into the DeYoung home for the first time, I could instantly tell that Kyle had a great family. Their home was warm and comfortable (I later found out that Kyle didn't tell his mom we were coming and she felt embarrassed about having the boxes of Christmas decorations out... but I loved seeing everything being set-up!), and Kyle's parents were so personable and kind.

Kyle brought me into the kitchen and taught me how to make hot cocoa floats together. We had a great time visiting, and lucky for me I was even able to keep my drink down! Thank goodness!

When Kyle walked me to my door that night, he mentioned that he had enjoyed our date and immediately suggested that we should go out again sometime. I was beaming. The entire date was so perfect and memorable, and I definitely liked the idea of seeing him again.

...And look at where we are now! I am SO glad I didn't cancel that date. Thanks for making our first date so wonderful, My Love! You definitely know how to make a girl feel special, and I'm so grateful you asked me out that night.

I'm also glad you didn't catch the flu! I guess it really was meant to be. ;)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Being a New Mom: The Hard Truth.


This weekend will mark four weeks since Oliver's birth. Four amazing weeks of motherhood, and they went by so very fast. I can't even believe that my baby is almost one month old! One month? Wow!

The last few weeks have been filled with too many emotions to count. Being a new mom has been the most incredible and gratifying thing that I have ever done - but it has equally been the most exhausting and challenging thing that I have ever done, also.

*******

When we brought Oliver home, our lives were a little crazy. Kyle was in the middle of finals week for grad school and getting ready to graduate, my brother had just been discharged from a very long and emotional stay at the hospital, and Kyle was also applying for a new job (the reasons and timing for his change in employment were not totally ideal).

On top of that, I was experiencing many of the typical changes that come with bringing a newborn home. You know what I'm talking about: sleep deprivation, baby blues, physical recovery, and the inability to think straight or clean the house or function at a normal rate. ;)

Having a 37-hour labor left me with an interesting set of recovery problems. Aside from the normal pain and discomfort most women experience, I had water retention that was so severe I couldn't even wear my flip flops. My milk was also a few days late coming in, which we later discovered is another side-effect from having a long labor.

Speaking of which, nursing was a challenge all on it's own. My baby lost more birth weight than what was ideal because my milk was so late coming in, so we had to supplement his diet with formula for a few days to make up for those lost ounces. I don't have anything against formula-fed babies, but giving an already-confused baby TWO different kinds of nipples to drink from made nursing even harder than it already is. Also, taking the time to breastfeed and then bottle feed a baby at every meal makes every feeding time much longer. I felt like I was nursing around the clock, and to be doing something so painful and frustrating all day long was tiring to say the least.

Every time I fed my baby for those first two weeks I had a struggle. I remember one failed attempt at nursing in particular... when I finally had to set my baby down in front of me and just cry. There we were by ourselves, Ollie and I, both on the bed in tears because I couldn't get him to nurse. There is nothing so disheartening as not being able to give your baby the things he needs.

And nursing wasn't the end of it. There were so many other challenges and adjustments during that first week, some of which I expected to happen but couldn't ever mentally prepare for.

There was one night when Oliver cried for six hours straight. Crying like this isn't normal for Ollie, and we were heartbroken as we watched his limbs tighten up and his breathing get heavy as he curled up in discomfort with tummy issues. Kyle and I had done everything we could think of to calm him down... and after hours of trying, we finally drove 45 minutes to my mom's house at 2:00am for some emotional support. (To any new moms out there: if you have a mom or grandmother or other role-model who has raised children in the past... utilize their wisdom. These women are basically baby whisperers and the help they give you will be worth more than gold.)

I wish I would have taken a picture of the three of us at 2:00am on that crazy night. We were a sight to behold! I had wet hair that had been pulled back into a sloppy ponytail with an old scrunchy. I had milk stains on my mismatching pajamas, no shoes on (remember, the water retention), and puffy red eyes from the sleep deprivation and crying. Kyle hadn't even been given the chance to change into pajamas yet, so he was wearing some strange combination of work clothes and lounge attire; with his hair sticking up on end and his glasses askew. Ollie was actually the most collected of us all, because we had quickly learned that there's nothing like a 45 minute drive to calm down a colicky baby.

When we came up the entryway stairs at my mom's house that night... we were probably at one of the lowest points we had ever been in our married lives.

I wish I could say the hard times ended there, but they didn't. Each day during that first week of parenthood introduced new struggles, and being a Mom started to feel like a big mistake rather than a big blessing. I could probably go on and on about the challenges of new mom life, but why am I dumping all of this onto my little corner of the internet universe today? Why am I taking the time to write about the hard, painful, and tiring aspects of this crazy journey?

*******

When we scroll through our social media accounts, we see other people's lives through a pair of rose-colored glasses. We see posts (and we write posts, I'm just as guilty as the next person!) where life seems to be nothing but wonderful and good.

Right now (must be the phase of life I'm in) my Facebook and Instagram feeds are filled with countless pictures of other new moms who are cuddling their perfectly-dressed sleeping babes while sporting floral button-up blouses and wearing a full face of makeup. Their posts contain thoughtful musings about how much they love the mom life, and how wonderful and good their life as a mother has been.

I'm not saying that these posts aren't honest, and I'm not saying that life isn't wonderful and good... nor am I saying that we shouldn't post about the good. But sometimes I think it's the hard things that make our lives so lovely. If it weren't for the bad, the good just wouldn't seem so good

I also don't think it's a good idea to complain, and that's not what I want to do here either. I just think people deserve to know that during these first few weeks of motherhood I was not always wearing my rose-colored glasses. There were days when my hair wasn't done and the house was a mess. There were days when I cried and days when I got frustrated. There were even days when I thought to myself "Why did I do this? What made me think I could ever be a Mom?"

There were hard days, really hard days... and I want to write about those moments honestly because they are so important. In the end, it was the hardship and struggle that created a love for my child that is stronger than I could've imagined. It was the hard days that made me realize why being a mom is the best thing that I have ever set out to do.

So, when you see posts and pictures of my little family online and I'm raving about how lovely our life truly is... remember that there are probably hours of lost sleep, piles of dirty laundry, dirty dishes in the sink, and a million other imperfections behind every perfectly posed photo.

And after the last few weeks, I have learned that I wouldn't ever want it any other way.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mr. DeYoung: The Master!


Mr. DeYoung graduated with his master's degree last week!
I am so proud of my husband.
Kyle went to school while working full-time
To support our family,
And he endured his most recent finals week 
While taking care of a newborn baby at home!

Kyle is amazing.
He graduated with his Masters of Accounting
With only four other people!
What an accomplishment!
I know he has put in a lot of time and work
Into this degree.
He has a few more classes to finish over the summer,
But we were glad to celebrate with him
As he walked on Friday.

Thanks for all you do, Mr. DeYoung!
I am so glad that earning an education
Is so important to you.
I'm thankful for the sacrifices you have made
to provide for our family.
You are talented, smart, and dedicated...
And I know there are some great things headed your way!
I love you!