Saturday, November 28, 2009

You Know You Married an Engineer

My friend, Cailean, runs an occasional series on her blog where she lovingly documents the ways her Engineer Husband shows his true colors. I, of course, find these snippets hilarious and so close to home. So...with acknowledgments to Cailean and full admission that we have TWO trained engineers in our family, I bring you the Maxwell Family version of

You know you Married and Engineer When...
Someone has calculated (accurately and without a calculator) that, "Owen is me at 1/8 scale and Josh is me at 1/20 scale."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I picked up an awesome Bebe Au Lait nursing cover the other day. I'm excited for the beautiful pattern and the ease in which I will be able to feed Josh among family and friends this holiday season. Owen is excited for the chance to play Superman...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Trees

Over the weekend, Owen and I made "Thanksgiving Trees" inspired by a photo I saw on Phyllis' blog. It was the first time we really tried to talk about the concept of "being thankful," and I wasn't quite sure if Owen would get the idea. It took some prompting, but Owen came up with some insightful leaves for his tree.
Owen's tree includes:
Mom & Josh
Cousin Calla (Uncle Ryan, Auntie Sara)
Baby Doll
My Cones
Big Family (which is how we refer to all the grandparents, etc)
Snow is White
Friends bring us dinner
Baby bear, Elmo, Big Bird, Zoe
...and my favorite...
Piper to feel better
(We missed a play date with Piper on Friday because she wasn't feeling well. When we saw her at a bitrhday party the next day, Owen walked right up to her and asked, "Piper? You feel better?" They're both 2!)

Of note: My thankful list included the usual suspects along with...
Bloom School
Sesame Street
Dinners from friends
...seems pretty clear we are dealing with a new baby and an active toddler!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Where we are Today

Wowee. I've just reread that last post and realized that my brain is a BIT scattered these days and I don't think this post is going to be any better. Can you blame me? On the plus side, Josh and Owen took simultaneous naps for over an hour in their own beds this afternoon. I managed to box up my maternity clothes and clean one bathroom in that hour. For those keeping score, that totals 2 hours of the day in which I was not holding Josh (the other being while he napped in the carseat), 2 naps in his own crib this week, 3 loads of laundry needing to be done, and one bathroom cleaned. The whole family is coming into town for Thanksgiving next week. Looks like the theme is going to be, "If you want a clean plate, shirt, or bathroom, you'll have to wash it yourself."

But that's how these weeks are supposed to be, right? Josh will never be this small again, never sleep so easily in our arms, and never be so oblivious to the chaos around him as he's crashed out in the Moby wrap. As much as I am appalled by my lack of productivity, I am truly enjoying having those 7 pounds of sweetness around me all day. I have decided that Josh has the most kissable head ever.
A few people have asked how Josh's tummy is faring. Josh started exhibiting some classic reflux signs last week (screaming after eating, arched back, angry on his back, and gurgly/choking sounds at random while resting), so we started him on Baby Zantac this week. Hopefully, taking action early will help us avoid the series of reflux related posts that dominated this blog 2 years ago. Fingers crossed.

Owen continues to be mesmorized by his baby brother. We're working on "giving Josh some space," but the brother love makes the challenging times more worth it. I set Josh down on the floor on Sunday and Owen quickly gathered a whole pile of his toys to entertain him... and THEN proceeded to sit down and read Josh a book. Seriously?

Owen has also asked to feed Josh from his own tummy and likes to drag over a stool to watch me changing the baby's diaper. Unfortunately, he also gets pretty mad when the other kids at daycare want to [GASP!] look at the baby, but that protective big brother roll is pretty cute for a 2 year old.
In this midst of our transition into a family of 4, Owen is taking full advantage of our worn our state, and managing to get a lot of "extras" that wouldn't normally come his way. I found myself stocking up on stickers and other easy craft supplies this week to help keep him occupied and I'm about ready to make a massive donation to PBS - Praise God for Sesame Street! He's also fully embraced the concept of DESSERT and is mysteriously unable to eat any of his dinner unless the cookie ultimatum ("no cookies unless you finish your meat") has been issued. Is bribery the answer? No. Is my toddler that hasn't gained a pound in 6 months finally consuming some calories. Yes. Enough said.

I am endlessly thankful for my amazing mommy friends right now. We have wonderful meals arriving at our house 2-3 times/week and I guess that is scheduled to continue well into December. Many of those meal deliveries also come with a short play date for Owen and adult conversation for me during the dreaded 4 PM witching hour. Glorious!

The latest Owen funny:
Mom: Owen, are you feeling a bit crabby?
Owen: No. Lobster.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Like a Weed

(I posted some pictures of the Moby for my Aunt Tracy in the post below.)

Josh is packing on the pounds (or ounces, as the case may be). At his two week check-up, he was already up to 6 lb 2 oz - a full pound larger than birth. And this week, I put him on a baby scale at a mom's group and it read 7 pounds. Yozers! 40% weight gain in less than a month is pretty awesome in my book. Josh is already out of the premie clothes and diapers and starting to fill out the newborn outfits. It's also great to have a bit more baby to hold on to, pass around, and snuggle.

And we do! Here are pics of Josh with each grandparent during that first week home:

I am starting to see that we are going to have a big napping battle on our hands, but we will work through it. I told myself that I wasn't going to worry about Josh's sleeping habits until after Thanksgiving (i.e. after the first month), and I am trying to stick to that and not stress about our "only sleeps when held" kiddo. In fact, I hesitate to type that I think he has been sleeping in his own space for the last hour... a first! There is hope yet.

Though this is still the most common sleep position in our house:

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Moby

Scott and I love gear. Who doesn't? When we found out we were pregnant with Owen, the FIRST baby gear purchase we made was a backpack carrier. Since that time, the one piece of baby gear that we seem to have an abundance of is the carrier. With Owen, we started with the Snugli (like a Baby Bjorn). We also have two "Too Cute Baby Slings" that we used every day through the colic months and well beyond. When Owen hit 8 months old, we also got an Ergo carrier that is still the preferred carrying method over that fancy backpack.

For Josh, Shannon lent me her Ergo infant insert, so that should be great for walking with our friends. However, the only piece of gear I really wanted to add to our collection was the Moby Wrap. Now, a three weeks into this baby's life, I can say I love, love, love the Moby because:

1. It's rated (and works well) for babies as little as 5 pounds. All our other carriers really need a bigger body.

2. It gives me two arms free. My sling gives me about an arm and a half, which works for doing dishes and making easy dinner, but two full arms seem to be key when chasing a toddler.

3. Full back support. Of course, ask me if that's really true once Josh puts on some pounds.

4. Cozy fabric design keeps Josh warm.

5. One size fits all means Scott and I can both wear it.

6. Josh seems to be one of those babies that doesn't like to be on his own (not such a fan of the bouncy seat or even his little crib), so we're loving the ability to keep him on us without being confined to the couch.

7. Full wrap covers Josh from head to two, protecting him (a bit) from those nasty flu germs floating around when we're out in public. It's my preferred method of implementing the "look but don't touch" message.

8. Machine washable!!

On the downside, Josh has a lovely peanut smell this morning because I've already managed to drop my peanut butter toast on his head ... sticky side down. Nice!

Josh helping dad make cinnamon rolls (sitting upright like a kangaroo):
Josh dancing with mom after dinner (he's sitting sideways like in a sling):

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Love You Two

A few days after Josh was born, my friend Michelle asked if I had felt that same "instant love" at Josh's birth as I did with Owen. I know it's something that many parents worry about as they await the birth of their second child.

What I shared with Michelle (and what Scott and I talked about later) is that it feels like Josh has always been a part of our family... we just didn't meet him until his birth. As if we already had the love for Josh floating around our family, it just hadn't been assigned to anybody yet. It's now our privilege and our joy to meet the little boy that belongs to that love.

Michelle's question also got me thinking about how I love my boys - and the reality that I don't love them the same at all.

With Owen, I've had over 2 years to get to know him, to learn all the little things that make up his ever-changing personality. The more I get to know him, the more it seems like my love of him grows stronger, though I know I have always loved him with all of my heart. My love for Owen is also now part of a reciprocal relationship - I get to share that love with him and see some of that love flowing back toward me. It's the most amazing feeling as a parent when your child says "I love you mom" unprompted for the first (or 23rd) time. Owen is also old enough that we can have some little rituals to express our love.

For example, I've started reciting this little poem to him as I rub his back before bed:
"I love you from your head to your toes,
From your knees to your nose,
Inside and Outside,
I love everything about you."
I hope he remembers things like that down the road and I look forward to the time when I can do the same for Josh.

Loving Josh is a quite different. At this point, it's a love of his creation, an anticipation of the person he is going to become, a love of possibility and hope. Loving Josh right now really follows the old adage that "Love is an action word." Since we don't have the communication that I have with Owen, I get to express love purely through actions - snuggling, feeding, changing, holding, and sweet whispers in his ear.

After Owen's birth, I had the overwhelming realization that he was (and always will be) the baby that made me a mother. At Josh's birth, I realized that he is the baby that makes me the mother of BOYS. Both are amazing feelings, and the things I am most proud of in my life.

So, do I love both my boys the same? Absolutely not. Do I do love them both fully, with all of my heart? Absolutely yes.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What's in a Name?

Joshua Todd Maxwell

Joshua - Scott and I took a little longer than we would have liked to settle on Josh's name. In fact, one of the items I tossed in the hospital bag at the last minute was the baby name book! Joshua was a name that had "staying power" on our short list. Neither of us was willing to cross it off the list. About 12 hours after Josh was born, we had written our top options on the white board in the room and Scott finally looked at me and said, "So...Josh?" And there it was. Ironically, what helped push us over the hump was learning that Joshua has been a top 10 name for the last 20+ years. Scott really felt that would give Josh the ability to be anybody he wants to be - not to be pigeon-holed by the connotation of his name.

Side Note: Joshua is also the only name that Owen seemed to like during our discussions. (You know we were struggling when we were asking our 2 year old his opinion!) Every other name we tossed at Owen got a resounding "No!" but Joshua got chanted around the house for a while. I guess Owen had the name figured out before we did.

Todd - We had our middle name picked out pretty early. Those that know my family know that my brother's middle name (and the name he has always been called), is Todd. While we are certainly honored for Josh to share his name, there is another inspiration behind the name.

Back in college, our friend, Todd Porterfield, was instrumental in bringing Scott and I together. I think he saw our relationship long before Scott or I figured it out - setting us up on TWO dates during our sophomore year and encouraging Scott in my direction at another social function. Todd became one of our dear friends, a roommate of Scott's for a time, and someone we both expected to be part of our life long after college. Todd was unable to be a groomsman in our wedding because he was participating in the Journey of Hope - a charity bike ride across the country to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities. (We thought that was a pretty good excuse to miss a wedding!) Sadly, only a few days from the finish line in Washington DC, Todd was struck by a vehicle and killed while riding in the Journey of Hope. It was very much a tragedy to lose someone of such promise at such a young age. Todd was a guy with amazing integrity - he lead by example, held true to his beliefs, and took actions to affect positive change. You can read more about Todd and his dedication to PUSH America and the JOH here.
Basically, since we lost Todd over 9 years ago, I have thought it would be fitting to try and honor him in some way once we had kids. As I see it, without Todd's prodding, Scott and I would never have started dating and Josh (and Owen) wouldn't be with us today. So, in honor of a dearly missed friend, Joshua's middle name is Todd.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Our Dinosaur

Halloween was so fun this year! We scored on a great (read cheap) costume from Costco. Now, most people would easily identify this as a green dragon - hissing tongue, wings, etc - but in our house, this is obviously a dinosaur to match Owen's current obsession.

Scott did a last minute Target run to see if there were any tiny costumes for Josh, but I guess there's not much of a market for preemie halloween gear. We did get a fleecy "Little Pumpkin" sleeper that Josh will probably still be wearing at Thanksgiving... Here are my two boys in their halloween finest!
I asked Julie if we could bring Owen to trick-or-treat with Hazel in their neighborhood. They took the suggestion and called for a last minute Halloween Potluck. I don't know quite what it says about our friends that with only 24 hours notice, there were over 30 people roaming the house... but man, it was so fun for all the kids and a barrel of laughs for the adults. Among the chaos were a 2-year old bumble bee, park ranger, giraffe, police car, pink pig, dragon, lion, 2 dinosaurs (both named Owen!), and of course, the Dread Pirate Roberts from the Princess Bride.

Owen brought Nana and Papa along and Scott and I managed to get out of the house with Josh and over in time for Scott to take Owen trick-or-treating. They didn't get far, but Owen did come home thrilled with his 10 pieces of candy. I love this classic picture that my mom snagged.