She’s all hugs.

Eesh, this has just not been a great day. Beatrice was fussy and didn’t nap well, the hours went by slowly, and matters culminated in a disastrous attempt at a family walk that ended up with me nursing in the aisles of TJMaxx while husband ran home with Camilla to get the car. Lesson learned: do not attempt to walk before 7 pm at the earliest. It is just too freaking hot.

On the plus side, Camilla took her nap in the Big Girl Bed(!!!) and little Bea sported my favorite baby onesie all day.

She's all hugs.

How can that not bring a smile to your face?

Now, I am generally not a fan of printed or embroidered clothes on babies. It annoys me to no end to find a nice polka-dot dress and then discover that some designer found the need to embroider bees on the bottom and add a line about how the wearer loves her daddy. Hopefully she does, but you don’t need to spell it out for everyone.

Anyhow, this one won me over and was probably the only outfit with writing that Camilla ever wore. I wish I had a photo of her in it for comparison.

Excuse me while I admire my baby for a moment.

I did snap some pics this morning of my new glasses and the shocking amount of white hairs that I have sprouted recently. New glasses have also made me re-evaluate my hairstyle, so you’ll have to excuse that as well.

They’re Dolce & Gabbana, although I was more attracted to the frame than to the label.

New glasses.

They make me feel smarter, although — alas — that is not actually the case.

What do you think?

Week 6.

Wow…Beatrice has been here for six weeks now. I’m trying to remember what my expectations were for the six week mark and if we’re actually anything like that. Unfortunately, I don’t know how much she weighs but she looks like a little chunk with nice plump rolls at the tops of her arms and thighs. For some reason I was pretty sure she’d be a fatter baby than Camilla and that’s been true so far, thanks to her great love of eating. (Incidentally, the fat seems to be moving from me to her — I was only four pounds over my pre-baby weight at my six week checkup yesterday!)  She’s still the sweetest-natured baby and when she does cry, there’s usually a discernible reason (hungry, tired, wet, bored). And let me tell you, after an unpredictably screamy baby, this is so incredibly liberating!Because of this, we’re more mobile than I thought we’d be at this age. We’ve managed drives of up to an hour with both kids, as long as we time it such that Bea is really tired and falls asleep in the car. Short drives around town are the worst, really, since she tends to scream the whole time. Camilla has been so good lately that I forgot how agitating it is to drive with a screaming baby in the car.

Sleeping is still not great but it’s a lot better than it could be. I have discovered two keys to sleeping with a newborn that I wish I had known when Camilla was small:

(1) Wake yourself up as little as possible when you feed the baby during the night. I don’t know about you, but it is reaaaaaallly hard for me to fall back asleep after I wake up. If I check my email, read a book, watch a movie, or even just spend much time thinking or moving around, it can easily be an hour or more before I drift off afterward. And then, like as not, the baby has woken up and we have to nurse and repeat the whole process all over again. This has led to our current system where I spend Beatrice’s first sleep stretch in bed (she’s in the bassinet), and then after she wakes up I stretch out as much as possible on the sofa with her on the nursing pillow. That way, when she wakes up to nurse we don’t have to move and we both fall back to sleep pretty quickly. I admit that I do long for the day when I spend the whole night in bed and this system doesn’t seem to be getting us there very quickly, but at least I am not awake half the night. Her first stretch does seem to be getting a little longer, so I have some hope that she might just eventually start sleeping through the night or have just one feeding, which would entice me to put her back in the bassinet afterward and deal with my own sleep issues. (Some of you are going to see another easy solution and suggest that we just nurse in bed. We tried, and unfortunately that doesn’t work well for Bea or myself.)

(2) Don’t keep track of how much sleep you are getting. I used to be obsessed with how much sleep I got so I could make a full report to Josh in the morning (only four hours! and in 45-minute segments!) but I have since learned that this isn’t helpful for anybody. Plus, if I know that I got only a few hours of sleep it’s like shooting myself in the foot when the new day begins in the morning. Trust me: it’s a lot better if you just don’t know.  I do look at the clock occasionally since I’m trying to roughly keep track of Bea’s nighttime sleep patterns, but I don’t keep track of how long we’re awake during the night. And you know what? I think I’m doing pretty well on levels of sleep that would have seemed impossible to sustain when I was in college.

Of course, things are going to get shaken up a bit when husband goes back to school the week after next. He starts with three weeks of short teacher prep days and then the full drive-him-to-work-at-7:30, pick-him-up-at-4:00 routine begins at the end of August.  I am simultaneously scared of being alone all day and looking forward to the boundaries imposed by the schedule because, let’s face it, nobody gets as much done during the summer as they could. Getting out the door by 7:15 is stressful but it really jumpstarts our day. I haven’t really scheduled naps up till now, but I’m hoping that things will start to fall into a predictable pattern once we have a consistent morning routine.

Okay, enough talk about our lives. Here are this week’s photos:

Week 6.

(Gotta love that half-smile!)

A lesson in grabbing your foot.

(Helpfully showing sister how to find her feet.)

The socks, incidentally, were an accident: I realized that they’d been on all morning and would leave sock lines if I took them off right before the photos. Even babies look silly with sock lines.

Because Camilla was in a silly mood, I also took a few photos of the aftermath:

The fabric is some really lovely Missoni(!?!) knit that I found in the clearance bin at Joann’s. It is very stretchy and probably snags easily so I’m saving it for a grown-up project…someday I would just love to try to make my own version of this Mociun dress, and I think this fabric might work. We’ll see if “someday” ever comes.

(P.S. I forgot to take a pic of the new glasses, which I really like. Mom & Marian, I will try to remember in the next day or two.)

Week 5.

So, I have discovered why there are fewer photos of second children: you don’t have a hand free to hold the camera. (SLRs are probably even worse than point & shoots in this regard because you really need two hands.) We’ve done a bunch of fun things with Camilla lately that were so cute and I even had my camera in the vicinity, but I was holding and often feeding a certain baby the whole time and just couldn’t manage anything else. Sigh. I guess that’s what memory is for.

Week 5.

It’s hard to believe, but Beatus Beatrice is five weeks old already. And she is becoming so much fun!

She’s definitely awake a lot more these days, and when she’s napped and well-fed, she’s pretty content to just sit and look. And look, and look, and look.  She is currently obsessed with our front window, which evidently has the perfect blend of brightness and contrast.

Little Bea is getting pretty strong and can lift her head up, she just didn’t feel like it for this photo. When you hold her, she always wants to be looking over your shoulder and I barely support her head anymore.

Oh, I should also mention this week’s new development: smiles!

A hint of a smile.

They don’t come very often and you sometimes have to tickle her nose to bring it on, but I just love how it transforms her round little face.

Bright eyes.

I guess “bright eyes” is a pretty good nickname, eh?

Speaking of eyes, both husband and I had eye appointments recently and we are getting new glasses for the first time in five years. Yay! He’s ordered his already and I am hauling the whole family to the Glasses Store tomorrow to help me decide between three pairs. What can I say? I am indecisive. Plus, glasses are the one wardrobe item that I wear every single day so I definitely need a second opinion. Maybe I will post a pic when I get them. :)

Week 4.

I don’t know why, but this photo project has been getting harder and harder each week. The biggest problem is getting both kids to be happy at the same time that the light is decent. Camilla’s usually pretty chipper (albeit with a limited attention span), but for some reason poor little Beatrice just doesn’t like being placed in the middle of a sea of fabric. So, I get a lot of shots like this:

I got a lot of shots like this...

And this:

...and this.

Those aren’t really the memories that I want myself–or the children–to retain from this part of our lives, so we had to try again yesterday afternoon and managed to get slightly better results.

At the moment, I have two sets of photos going (+ lots of fun outtakes) and I think I’m going to wait till the end of the year to pick my favorite.

Set 1.

Week 1 (option 3).

Week 3.

Week 4.

Set 2.

Sisters.

Week 2.

The Spiderman kiss.

I love seeing how much Beatrice has grown already! It’s going to be so much fun to flip through these at the end of the year, after I’ve spent a couple of hours adjusting the white balance on each one. Sigh. (By the way, I promise not to belabor this whole photo project thing any more. After this, no more complaining about white balance, wrinkly fabric, lack of Photoshop, and why I don’t like Picasa. Only pictures. Or posts about other stuff.)

And now for something that has nothing to do with photos.

For all the other moms and future moms out there, I thought I’d take the opportunity to pass along a pretty helpful article written by a high school classmate of mine. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why God and the church ask us to give up things that we want. To live a life of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and plain old self-control means that we need to purposefully forgo things that we want and that are in our power to have. Sometimes there’s also a good non-spiritual reason to abstain (if I eat the brownie, I won’t lose weight) and sometimes there’s not (but this shirt is on sale for only $5!). Often, I find that the non-spiritual reason becomes more important than the spiritual one and when there’s no practical reason not to do something, I just go ahead and do it. However, unless I deny myself some of the things that I want, I simply do not remember the reality that everything I have comes from God. If I always feed my hunger immediately, it is all too easy to forget that man does not live by bread alone.

Motherhood, as it turns out, is an excellent opportunity to grow more spiritually mature because you have to deny yourself all sorts of things, so long as you can keep from feeling resentful about it. Sleep, showers, make-up, money, time…all traded in for a certain little baby. Since I’ve done this once before, I know that things will get easier in a few months. She will eventually sleep through the night. We will eventually find a routine. I will eventually look decent when I step out the door. I’m trying hard, though, not to anticipate that future time as somehow better than this. I find it so easy to look at a mom with make up, blown-dry hair, a designer diaper bag, a nice stroller, and a child with adorable clothes as one who is “doing better” than a mom with pimples and rag-tag children. I have recently come to the conclusion, however, that “doing better” is often just a euphemism for “giving up less of the things that she wants.” My ideal mom is someone who has kids but didn’t have to sacrifice anything else: her figure, her style, her stuff, her time. But, aside from the impossibility of this situation, where’s the spiritual growth in that? If you have a baby and still get to finish every little project your heart desires, what have you learned about priorities? How have you become more like Christ?

So the next time I go to the grocery store, I’m trying to look more favorably at the tired and bedraggled-looking moms who obviously don’t have it all together. As long as they are managing to stay cheerful and keep their tongues in check, there’s a good chance that they’re progressing much further in their sanctification than the perfect-looking ones. And, one can only hope that the children of parents who visibly and cheerfully sacrifice their own desires for them are set on a better path in life than those of parents who didn’t seem like they had to give up anything.

Week 3.

I’m beginning to find this kid-on-the-floor style of photography to be a bit repetitive…I guess I need to spice it up by taking pictures of something else, eh? Week 3 ended today, but I’m afraid the photoshoot wasn’t the best. Camilla was a little less enthusiastic, the fabric was wrinkly, and poor little Beatrice looks kind of angry again. You have to believe me when I say that she’s the sweetest little baby. She basically just eats a lot, sleeps a lot, and poops a lot. In between she sometimes has very alert and contemplative bits of wakefulness, but they never seem to be right at picture time.

As I said, the photos didn’t turn out great but I got three good contenders for my photo project:

Week 3.

The Spiderman kiss.

Isn’t that the sweetest little Spiderman kiss?

You might think that Beatrice has shrunk, but the fact of the matter is that she outgrew her newborn onesie already. Did I mention that she likes to eat? I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that she’s going on ten pounds by now. I bought some size one diapers today (did I also mention that she likes to poop?) since the newborn ones are looking a wee bit tight. This onesie is theoretically 9 – 12 months, so I’ll have fun watching her grow and fill it out.

In other random news, I was really proud of Beatrice for sleeping soundly through our 2.5 mile evening walk tonight. The Ergo I got on super-sale has been working nicely, although I do find that I tend to hold her head with one hand which doesn’t make it exactly hands free. (I do use the infant insert.) I tried my Moby Wrap a week ago without success, but I guess I should give it another go. The big problem with baby carriers is that you basically strap a space heater in front of you and it’s just so HOT. Florida is miserably hot and humid this time of year anyway, so I really envy all you readers who live in parts of the country where it actually cools down at night. I bet your evening walks are a lot less sweaty. Hot weather outside means that we tend to keep the family inside, which means that a certain toddler has been a little bored since grandma left. To be honest, there are times when I’m just not sure what I’m gonna do when husband goes back to teaching in August. In the meantime, I guess I need to learn to be extra-grateful that I have a husband who can help me hold down the fort during the day.

Cousins.

We enjoyed one last influx of family before my mom flew back to Washington yesterday (sniff). Tim, Hilary, and baby Annie came for a few days so we decided to line the babies up and take a cousin photo. Unfortunately, it was a little hard to get everyone napped and happy at the same time and Beatrice ended up getting the short straw.

Trying for a cousin photo.

Poor kid.

It also turned out that, while nice for seeing the small-medium-large effect, this particular angle made it just about impossible not to get some extra feet.

I think Tim got the best photos with with enviable lens and height advantages (plus the fact that his child was happy as a clam). If he ever posts them — hint, hint — I’ll be sure to share the link.

I think Annie might have something to say to Beatrice someday about why she’s deaf in her right ear…

Ransom, we missed you! I look forward to the day when we can get all four (soon to be five) cousins in the same photo. Even if they’re not all happy.

Week 2.

I’m running a day late this week because I accidentally scheduled a bunch of appointments for my photo day. It turns out that, after a mere two weeks, Beatrice is up to 9 lb 5 oz and 21.5 inches. That’s 2 inches of growth (unless someone made a mistake early on, which I think is possible) and 7 ounces over birth weight. Need I mention that she likes to eat? A lot? All the time?

Anyhow, here are this week’s photos plus some outtakes. I still can’t decide if I want solo baby, baby in the center with Camilla on the side, or a sister shot. Here are my top three contenders:

Week 2.

I was thinking that I would have to coax Camilla into participating, but as soon as she saw the fabric she shouted “next to! next to!” (because last time I told her to lie down next to Beatrice) and immediately flopped on the carpet. Um, okay. I had no idea you felt that way. Camilla is really a sweet sister, as you’ll see below. I don’t know that these photos will make it into the “final” project, but I am so glad that I have them.

I think she might be plucking a hair.

As a side note, I did have some trouble with the fabric wrinkling this time. This is particularly annoying since you can’t really do repeats with a weekly photo project. Maybe I’ll safety-pin it to something stiffer next time. Any other suggestions?