Way back in January, Jess told me she wanted to arrange a "sprinkle" for Cassie & Baby #2. I wasn't able to do much to help, being in Indiana, but we finally put the plans together for the Fulchers to make a surprise visit. We were really excited for this excuse to drive to Bellefonte, while we were still in driving distance.
So the 3 of us, plus Rosie, drove over on Friday and arrived at the Carter's house. Saturday we had fun playing with Nathanael and then headed to the Martins for the Sprinkle. We surprised Cassie so perfectly!!! Sadly, no one had a camera on her, but I will forever remember her face, her joy, and her tears. Quickly joined by my tears. :-) The Sprinkle was wonderful and I can't describe how it warmed my heart to see Gabriel jump right in with all his Bellefonte buddies (who he most likely doesn't remember) and play as if he saw them daily.
Saturday night was a fantastic "small group reunion" with all our families hanging at the church. Church Sunday morning was refreshing and heart warming and Gabriel spent his first service in the nursery. Beyond appropriate for his first nursery experience to be at Faith with Ms. Barb and Ms. LeAnn in the room. How we miss them all!
Then it was off to the Martins for lunch (which Aiden slept through, hehehe, so we didn't get many fun pictures). And the finale of our trip was dinner with the Caldwells before we headed back west on Monday.
The trip was fantastic, but it was also sad to leave all our friends, again. We are forever grateful for their friendship and love and the memories from this trip will surely sustain us until we can visit again!
We had lots of specific events in March (with corresponding albums) but we also had some normal, general fun this month.
Easter was very low key and wonderful this year. It was just the three of us in Muncie. No traveling for us and no visiting family. Particularly after the crazy month we had, it was nice to celebrate this meaningful day as a family.
My final conference for the semester was the National Association for Music Education Research Conference. I had a great time learning, networking, and hanging out with friends in Atlanta. And Philip and Gabriel had lots of fun back in Indiana.
In late February, Lindsay accepted a job as a music education professor at the University of Northern Colorado. Cue making all kinds of crazy life plans and decisions! We pulled together a fast and furious family trip to CO to find a house. Gabriel's first flight, and our family's first trip to our new home state, was lots of fun and very successful. We came home with fun memories and a house!
At the beginning of March, Lindsay took off for a few days in Tampa, FL to be all professional at the American String Teachers Association. This album is a mix of conference pictures and adorable toddler text pictures.
My little brother got married! What?!? :-) We're so excited to have Hannah in the family and can't wait to have her in many pictures going forward.
This album starts with a few fun pics at home in Muncie (yay for a new slide!). Then we headed south. And Gabriel had his first Harris Teeter sugar cookie! He and I walked to the local coffee shop one day and then he got his first haircut from Miss. Cori. She's the best! We also had dinner with Smith, Caitlin, Sam, Amariah, and baby #3. Our kiddos together were so adorable.
Then finally it was wedding time. The rehearsal was lots of fun and Gabriel only fell twice going down the aisle. He totally stole the show at the wedding! He was a total trooper and someone was definitely looking out for us to make it through the day with a happy boy.
And then it was time to head back north. Our boy is getting awfully good at long car trips. Thank goodness!
After living here a month and visiting a number of potential daycares, we're very excited to have Gabriel start at Apple Tree. There were definitely rough days leading up to his start. Mostly rough for mom (who then made things rough on dad...) but Gabriel was a trooper as usual.
We're so grateful Joanne Rutkowski and Linda & Darrin Thornton gave us a family membership to the Muncie Children's Museum. What an awesome going away/1st birthday gift for us & Gabriel. Part of the beauty of the pass is knowing we can go to the museum for just a little while and then head home before Mr. Wiggle Worm wears all the way out. Our first visit was lots of fun!
We hope you enjoy a few pictures of us exploring Muncie and Gabriel exploring his new home further. He's growing like crazy and more curious by the day. He's just over 13 months old now!
Not the most enthralling album ever (mostly because it's not focused on the cute toddler) but many of our friends and family have asked about our new home. So here it is! We've been here 3-weeks or so and the house is mostly together. That was my goal before starting work. We really love our home and are so grateful for the extra space. Hope you enjoy!
Gabriel's exploring like crazy! He loves our new home and all the ways he can cause mischief with the extra space. We're still unpacking and settling in more each day.
Some of the most difficult weeks of our lives so far... Saying "see you later" to our friends, our chosen family, in Pennsylvania was so very difficult. We love them all so much and are going to miss them like crazy from Indiana. Fingers crossed for lots of texts, emails, phone calls, and even visits!
We've said it many times before and if we're lucky we'll be saying it forever - we are so incredibly blessed. The first few pictures here are from his actual birthday (the first one, sleeping, is at 10:23, his exact moment of birth). The rest are from his party a few days later. The weather was amazing up at Bald Eagle State Park and so many of our friends (really our PA family) were able to join us. We had 22 adults and 13 kids (ages 5 months - 11 years). As you see in the invitation, the theme was "books." Gabriel loves all his books so much it seemed very appropriate. The food had labels made from library cards and included fruit that the "Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar" ate, vegetables from "Peter Rabbit's" garden, and milk & cookies from "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie." Some cupcakes had monkeys on top and others were bright yellow and in the shape of a hat ("Curious George" and the Man with the Yellow Hat). And Philip grilled up an amazing pile of hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone. We had games ready, inspired by "Winnie the Pooh," "Jeremy Fisher (Peter Rabbit)," and "Pete the Cat" but we didn't really use them because everyone was having so much fun without forcing it! :-) I don't know why I thought games would be needed at a park with a beach, a lake, a jungle gym, and good friends. We stole an idea from several other friends' birthday parties and had the guests all sign the cover of a book so that we will forever remember who surrounded Gabriel on his first birthday. The sweet notes and memories that people jotted down inside "Monster Needs A Party" will be treasured forever. Here's to many more years, parties, and memories sweet Gabriel! :-)
What a year, what a year, oh my goodness what a year. Our little man is just amazing and perfect and so very smart. We regularly join the generations of parents before us who have said "we can't believe how much he's grown," and "we can't remember life before him," "he is absolutely the most handsome child out there," and "where has the time gone?!"
- His one-year check up says that's he's perfect and so very healthy! He handled all four shots with minimal screaming and a quick recovery. 30.75" tall (80th percentile!), 22lbs 12oz (71st percentile), 18" head circumference (40th percentile). We're not sure where he got his height but we'll take it! :-) He's 10" taller than when he was born and 15lbs 4oz (about 3x) heavier.
- It's no wonder he's grown given how much he eats. He's still a champion eater who shows preferences but will still finish what we give him, even if it's not his favorite and he requires some encouragement. Breakfast is usually a handful of Joe's O's cereal, a scrambled egg, a whole banana, and a serving of yogurt. Lunch is something like a handful of puffed rice, a piece of bread with almond butter, half a peach, and a half a cheese stick (he'd eat an entire cheese stick no problem but we try not to overload him on cheese). Whether he wants an afternoon snack depends on how long he naps, but if he wants a snack it's usually some blueberries & cottage cheese. And dinner is a handful of puffs, half a cheeseburger patty, a big pile of strawberries & blueberries, and a big scoop of green bean casserole.
- 4 days before his birthday he nursed for the last time. He decided on his own that he was done (it was not a mutual decision with mom... those were rough days...). And when he stopped drinking milk from mom he got to start drinking cow's milk from his sippy cup. He loves it! He gets about half a sippy cup full after each meal and guzzles it right down. Seems to be like mom - likes his milk really, really cold. Which is funny since he would only drink it warm from a bottle.
- He still takes a morning and afternoon nap. And they’ve gotten longer and more consistent! Sometimes he sleeps up to two hours. And he's a real pro at putting himself to sleep and also occupying himself when he wakes up. He LOVES his music & light box that hangs from his crib rail. He turns on the music and falls right asleep or uses it to just hang out until we come get him up. He's also figured out his sleep sheep so he sometimes reaches through the rail to push buttons and change the sounds he's hearing.
- He has developed a favorite lovey - for better and worse. He has a white blanket with satin edges that has a lamb's head and feet on the corners. "Lamby" has become his absolute favorite and it seems he cannot go to sleep without it anymore (unless he's in the car). A couple times Lamby has been in the wash at nap time and after much fighting there was no nap. We're looking for a replacement/back-up lovey but have had no luck yet.
- We can't remember the last time he took a pacifier. Sometime in the past month he decided he was really done with that. It's all thumb, all the time, now. Always his right thumb. In fact, he seems to favor his right hand for many things. He does wave primarily with his left hand. And he eats with both (can't shovel it in fast enough). But he turns book pages, reaches for toys, and carries toys mostly with his right hand. We'll see if that lasts.
- Speaking of his love of music (in his crib), he starts dancing EVERY time he hears music. His dancing is mostly with his head but sometimes involves arms and/or butt. It's pretty adorable. :-)
- For better or worse he can really watch TV now. We try not to use it often but watching a Disney movie or Curious George cartoon often occupies him or calms him down if it's a rough day.
- His crawling has gone super speed! And he loves to chase around the family room. Sometimes you chase him, he runs out of room so he has to come back toward you, and he knows to go under you! How's he so smart?!?
- He's also standing like a pro. He regularly lifts his hands off the couch or whatever he used to pull himself up to standing and he'll bounce/dance/pivot/squat and then stand back up firm as can be. Still no steps on his own but we figure it will be any day. (Fingers crossed it waits until after we move!) He will take a few steps if we're holding his hands and guiding him.
- His communication is getting better all the time. He can wave hello and goodbye and often does so when leaving a room or store without even being asked. And his wave has progressed from a whole hand/arm to just his fingers going up & down. He also has a modified sign for "all done" when he's done eating. It's not quite the "official" sign that we use but he waves both hands around and it's very clear he's saying "all done." He's not signing "more" yet but if you ask "do you want more (and sign)?" he'll smile and giggle if he does. He also claps all the time. As soon as you say "good job" he starts clapping. And he claps when other people do (like at the end of a performance). He can high-five when asked. And he shakes his head in both directions. Any time someone says "no" he starts shaking his head - the right direction too!
- It's amazing to realize the words he recognizes too. He responds to: Where's your water? Where's your paci? Can you put your paci here (with a point)? Can you turn off your music (in his crib)? Can you put Lamby in your crib? Are you all done (accompanied by sign language)? Do you want to take a nap (he'll stop fussing and snuggle into my shoulder)?
- We've officially marked his first word as "mama." He's been babbling and saying "mamamama" & "dadadada" for a while. But this month he would isolate "mama" and we would ask "can you say 'mama'?" and he would! Hopefully it will become more consistent. ;-)
- Dad has continued to take the "breakfast shift" every morning. For a while it was so mom could do dissertation work. Lately it's so mom can pack the house. But regardless both parents (and Gabriel!) still find it wonderful.
- Gabriel has gotten some for real babysitters this month! We've had several college and high school students (music students mom teaches) watch him both at home and at school. He's been great with all of them, even waking up to a surprise person! He has had a couple instances of some stranger apprehension this month but he's still handled it really well. He just looks quickly back and forth from the person to mom, maybe a little lip quiver or slight fussing, and doesn't go running to them. But he's even let some of those people pick him up as long as he can still see us, so we figure it's still success!
- And one other instance of apprehension popping up is over loud noises. He used to be so excited when I ran the vacuum cleaner, now he's less sure. He's ok with the dog barking (as he always was) but if she barks a lot and/or close to his face he's less tolerant. He's even cried a couple times at the coffee grinder! Hopefully he will outgrow these little startles and fears as he realizes they can't hurt him. :-)
- He gives "kisses!" They are open mouth and VERY wet, but we'll take it! The only trouble is when they turn into bites... He may only have 4 teeth but boy do those 4 teeth hurt!
- Forever adding to the list of solid foods: yogurt pancakes, zucchini potatoes, meatballs, salmon, couscous, chicken meatballs, kamut, hummus, ice cream, grilled chicken, fruit crusher pouches, veggie bites, and shepherd’s pie. And perhaps you’ll be excited to know that we’re going to stop tracking food so specifically. He's eaten so many different things and hasn't shown any allergies or difficulties with any of it so we're feeling pretty safe (and blessed!) and will stop worrying about every single ingredient that hits his stomach. At least for now. :-)
- A typical breakfast is something like a pancake, yogurt, and half a banana. Lunch is a handful of kamut, half a cheese stick, quarter of a pear, and quarter of an avocado. Dinner is a handful of puffs, 2 meatballs, and a large scoop of vegetables.
- We started an afternoon snack this month too. Usually something like a handful of kamut and a fruit crusher pouch.
- He usually nurses 3x a day although sometimes it’s four and sometimes only two.
- 4th tooth is here! Top middle left.
- We’re thankful he still takes a morning and afternoon nap. And they’ve gotten longer and more consistent! Sometimes he sleeps up to two hours.
- He really responds to the music on TV. He dances to theme songs and turns & looks if there’s music. We watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and he was captivated!
- First two bloody injuries this month. :-( He slipped and hit the back of his head on the baseboard corner so he had a little cut that bled so very much (darn head wounds!). He also slipped at Miss Jess’, while crawling, and must have hit his tooth because he got a little cut on his lip.
- He’s started using the music box on his crib to put himself back to sleep. Several times he has woken up in the night, turned on his music, and gone right back to sleep. He’s the best!
- Since mom's done at school we've stopped spending so much time with Ms. Jess and Ms. Bethany. They are truly amazing, loving babysitters! But it's nice to just be home with him too. And dad has been truly wonderful about helping mom find "work time." Dad gets Gabriel up every morning and they have breakfast time together while mom works. Then mom takes back over so dad can get ready for work. Mom & dad agree it's the perfect start to the day for them both.
This week we had a fun mini-vacation thanks to another one of mom's conferences. Dad and Gabriel came along to Mohican State Park in the middle-of-nowhere Ohio. Between poster sessions, networking (which led to a job!), and great discussions about instrumental music teacher education we had enough free time for some family fun. Gabriel did have some trouble sleeping in the hotel but somehow got comfortable napping bent in half with his head on dad's stomach. Then we went on a great walk through the woods and Gabriel got his first dip in a pool! With how much he likes bath time we figured it would go well and we were right. He loved it! If my phone hadn't run out of storage space I would have taken more video as he got even more animated and excited in the water.
- He's still a champion eater. We've added a LOT to the list of solid foods this past month: French toast, flavored puffs, chicken + apple + carrot dish, rice cake, cucumber, rice, cheese quesadilla, homemade alphabet O's, buttered noodles, potato + carrot + broccoli dish, mango, strawberry muffin, spinach + banana, beans + corn + zucchini dish, and scrambled eggs. Whew that's so much food! And you can probably tell by the list that a lot of his foods are finger foods. So great to have “help” feeding him. He regularly eats entire meals on his own. And when someone else is feeding him they cannot feed him fast enough. You have to shovel it in fast!
- He still drinks breastmilk 4 times a day but often his nursing is very short and VERY unfocused. On and off, on and off. He desperately wants to see everything around him. Nursing in public is NOT an easy feat anymore. He also enjoys playing with the clasps on my nursing bras.
- Still 2 naps a day, approximately 9am and 1:30pm.
- 3rd tooth is here! Top middle right.
- He's army crawling so fast! And he really likes when I let him crawl around upstairs. He really likes opening & closing doors, repeatedly, for long stretches…
- The week before his 10-month birthday he scootched on his hands and knees a few times for a few days. And then 2 days before the crawling became “real” enough to count. :-)
- He pulls up to his knees regularly. He has pulled up to standing a few times but he's still pretty unsteady.
- With all of this crazy movement he’s started getting bumps and bruises. He’s a bit like his mom – half the time we don’t know where they came from!
- Still taking two naps a day. Before each nap we lay on the double bed in his room, read a book, and snuggle until he falls asleep or nearly asleep. Sometimes he's asleep before the book is done. Some of my favorite moments. :-)
- He’s gotten so good at playing with his dinosaur-ball-toy. Once he figured out how to put the balls in the holes he does it on repeat for five minutes or more. It’s amazing how focused he is.
- Mom was out of town yet again this month. See the "39 Weeks Old" album for pictures of the fun that Gabriel and dad had.
- This boy does nothing but move! He's so full of life.
- This was our first "fussy" photo shoot. He woke up from a nap and we thought it would be a great time to snap pictures but apparently he woke up on the wrong side of the crib. Upside - there are some pretty adorable pictures of his sad, crying, "life is so hard" faces.
- At his 9-month check up everything was great! He responded really well to the nurse and doctor and handled a finger prick (to check iron - which was perfect) like a champ. He's 29" tall (66th percentile), 19lbs 12oz (46th percentile), 17.7" head circumference (41st percentile).
- We're so grateful that he eats everything we put in front of him. We've added to the list of solid foods: pears, plain yogurt, cheddar cheese cubes, Joe's O's cereal, and blueberries. He's even fed himself chunks of avocado! Finger foods here we come. Plus he's started eating a solid food lunch. He usually drinks breastmilk 4 times a day.
- His 2nd tooth is in! Bottom middle right.
- He still rolls like crazy and now is army crawling too! He gets tired easily while crawling so he sometimes goes back to rolling.
- He usually takes 2 naps a day. The first is 2 hours after he wakes up (usually 8:30/9) and the second is early afternoon (12:30/1). They're 45 minutes long on average but sometimes will be an hour and a half or more which is great! If they're both super short sometimes he sneaks in a third nap before dinner.
- It’s fun that he really likes the vacuum cleaner! He loves watching me vacuum and his whole head swivels to follow the noise.
- It’s also pretty cute that he slurburts himself. He thinks it’s great when he makes funny noises on his own arm.
- We didn’t get any specific pictures or video of this but the same day that he started army crawling he also sat up on his own from his slanted mattress. Just four days later he sat up from the flat floor!
- It sure seems like he’s paying attention to the TV when it’s on.
- A big deal this month was mom being out of town! Gabriel and dad had a great time and we're very grateful to our friends who helped out too. Check out the "37 Weeks Old" album for pictures & details.
- Taking pictures continues to be an adventure with Mr. Wiggle Worm.
- Solid foods are still a huge hit. He eats rice cereal, oatmeal, avocado, sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots, peas, green beans, applesauce, and bananas. He's eating breakfast & dinner and he still drinks breastmilk 5x a day.
- Based on our scale at home he weighs 18lbs 13oz.
- One tooth is through and the second looks awfully close. One of the last pictures in this album (him looking over my shoulder) is a bit blurry but you can just see some white on his bottom gums. That's a tooth!
- He continues to roll around like a maniac. In fact, in the last month he's had a scratch under his eye from landing on a book that Nathanael had, a small bump on his head where he fell into the side of his crib, and he rolled *very gently!* off the bed onto the floor. Mom couldn't quite catch him at the edge of the bed in time but she caught enough of him to make the landing very gentle. He's gonna be a handful!
- He's still doing do good staying with friends during the week. So far he has no trouble at all being passed off from mom (or dad) to a friend.
- Poco continues to be very affectionate. She has started being part of the morning routine. When I go to get him up in the morning she runs up with me, or sometimes is already waiting at his door. She comes right in the room and jumps up on the bed while I scoop him up. Then I lay him on the bed and the 2 of them roll around and "chase" each other for a bit. It's very sweet.
- We've started letting him sleep with his small Pooh blanket (small square with Pooh's head attached). He really likes to cuddle as he's going to sleep and we're trying to get him to cuddle that instead of latching onto our shirts.
This week we added bananas to the food repertoire. And we tried eating bananas as finger food, not all mushed up. Definitely still a work in progress, but he seems to love the taste.
Biggest news - he has a tooth! His bottom, front, left tooth has finally made it through. He was a little extra fussy for a few days but nothing terrible, just general fussiness. I hesitate to say it out loud for fear of jinxing it - but his spitting up is noticeably less this week! It hasn't totally stopped, but it's much less. We've started sitting him up on the floor to play more often and his balance has improved so much. He's very stable sitting up. He also started green beans & applesauce this week.
- This month brought a whole new level of difficulty taking pictures. The boy will NOT stay still! :-) Pardon the blurriness of a few pictures but some had to be shared just because you can see how much he's moving.
- He's eating solids like crazy. He eats rice cereal, oatmeal, avocado, sweet potato, butternut squash, and carrots. He's eating breakfast & dinner and he still drinks breastmilk 5x a day.
- He continues to roll around like a maniac. Definitely not safe to leave him on a bed for any amount of time.
- He's still napping 3x a day. Those naps used to all be 30-45 minutes although lately he has taken a few longer ones. Even up to an hour and a half! Maybe we'll transition to only 2 naps...? 2 naps which are each long would make mom very happy.
- His activity seat "Hoppy" is still a real favorite, as is rolling across the floor.
- He still sucks his thumb although not as much as when he first discovered it. He usually takes a pacifier when he's going to sleep, although not always. He doesn't seem totally dependent which is wonderful. Every toy he owns has gone in his mouth at some point and he's enjoying frozen teething toys too.
- Still good at sleeping everywhere. For naps we usually read a book and cuddle on the guest bed together for a bit and then move him to the crib once he's asleep. But he'll sleep in all the old places too if the need arises (on the couch, in the bouncy chair, in the Mei Tai, in the car seat).
- This month we took a trip to NY so mom could have an on-campus interview at a university. He got to spend a solid day-and-a-half with dad! The 2 of them had lots of fun exploring Potsdam and hanging out together. Dad did an excellent job managing a full day (which he doesn't usually have to do) and mom did a good job not worrying too much. :-)
- Also in the past month classes have started back up at Penn State. Because our little man is such a mover & shaker and LOVES to make noise, we realized he would not be content hanging out at school with mom as much as he did last semester. We are incredibly blessed to have Jess & Bethany watching him for a few hours a week while mom is at school in seminar class, teaching, or working on research. And dad still keeps him on Mon & Wed afternoons too. He has adapted so well to spending time with our dear friends. He gets along so well with their kids (Aiden & Nathanael) and so far seems better behaved for them than he is at home sometimes! He goes down for naps, he sucks down his bottle, and he's generally a smiley, low-maintenance, happy guy (their words!). We're so grateful for their love and care of Gabriel and we're glad he has good friends to learn from & grow with.
These weeks included a surprise trip to NY for a job interview for mom. Gabriel confirmed that he's just a super baby and real trooper. We added carrots and butternut squash to his food repertoire and he's still gobbling everything down.
In these few weeks he started eating avocado, baby oatmeal, and sweet potatos. He also had his first cold! It only lasted a few days but they were rough. He didn't sleep well at all so mom slept with him on the guest bed one night and mom & dad took turns the next night. By then his congestion was a little better, we propped up his mattress, and the humidifier was going. Breathing is important to good sleep! ;-) We also started using some simple sign language with him. It will be a while until he can probably sign anything back, but anytime we say these words we also use the sign: milk, eat, more, all done, dog, and cat.
We continue to be the parents who are forever shocked by how fast our baby is growing. 6-months was even more of a shocker. How can he be half-a-year old?!?
- 6-month check up was perfect. 17lb 2oz (39th percentile), 27" tall (60th percentile), and 18.5" head circumference (47th percentile).
- The biggest news is the start of solid food! Started with rice cereal and then added avocado. We'll continue on through orange veggies, green veggies, and then fruits. He continues to be an absolute champ. His first bites of new flavors are usually pretty funny but then he gobbles it right down.
- The rolling continues. He's rolling from back to front AND front to back with no trouble now. He'll even roll to his stomach in his sleep and stay that way without fussing. His Christmas present, the floor mat with the mirror and pillow to help tummy time, definitely helped him get comfortable with rolling front to back.
- He also continues to love "Hoppy," his activity seat.
- He can sit up really well with our help and his legs are super strong. The sitting gets longer and more stable each day.
- The animals are already his buddies! Well, at least Rosie & Poco. Pounce still keeps her distance. There are videos in the albums from the past few weeks that show him loving on both Rosie & Poco. It's pretty adorable.
- He's giving hugs (and sucking on our faces...) which we love whether or not it's intentional.
- He's become quite the thumb sucker. Occasionally he still sucks his fingers or arms but it's mostly his thumb now. And gross as it is, he often uses his thumb to "plug the hole" after he spits up. We'll hear a wet burp, his thumb goes in his mouth, and no spit up comes out.
- He naps really well in his crib although he occasionally still sleeps on the couch, in the bouncy chair, or in the Mei Tei carrier. And car rides put him to sleep for sure. More than 10 minutes in the car and he's almost guaranteed to be asleep.
- He typically eats 6 times a day and can almost always make it at least 3 hours between meals. He's still napping 3-4 times a day, 30-45 min each time. (Mom would love to get him to fewer, but longer, naps!)
- He's still sleeping through the night which is awesome! Rarely does he wake up in the middle of the night and if he does he just needs soothed and maybe a paci, never to eat.
- Right before Christmas we had fun participating in a research study at Penn State. He watched a computer screen and they tracked his eye movement, he got to play with a new "friend" and even had a stranger enter the room and walk toward him and he was very well behaved and happy through all of it.
- He's really quite a ham. He sure knows when to smile for effect!
What a truly blessed holiday. Yet again Gabriel was a trooper on our travels to and from NC. Still some fussing at the end of each trip but who can blame him? We all want to fuss after 11 hours in the car! We had a really wonderful time with Grandma & Grandpa Marvin and Great Uncle Mark & Great Aunt Sandy (GUM & GAS) and their new puppy Cierra. Mom, dad, Gabriel, & Rosie all got to go Christmas caroling around the Marvin's neighborhood - excellent tradition! And Gabriel went with mom, Grandma Marvin, & GAS for manicures & pedicures. It's a good thing mom was getting a pedicure since he started fussing and needed to be held. But he was super cute on my lap and made everyone else getting pedicures smile. Then he helped finish wrapping gifts. He knew what everyone was getting!
Christmas Eve service at St. Francis was incredibly special. It's awfully powerful to hear the Christmas story, the birth of a baby boy, while snuggling your own infant boy. And even though church ran past Gabriel's usual bedtime he continued to be a trooper! Laying on grandma's lap, head on grandpa's lap, and feet on Uncle Michael - what a life.
Christmas morning at the Marvin's was relaxed and very fun. Gabriel did a great job opening his gifts and then drifting off for a nap while the rest of us opened ours. After lunch the Fulchers all had a great time together at Hope's. So much fun with all the cousins! Gracie is an especially good snuggler.
And finally the annual afternoon of ice skating! Chris, Hope, and gramps watched Gabriel and Landon at Michelle's house while all the rest of us went skating. Then more fun with the cousins!
All in all it was a fantastic week of family and celebrating the birth of our Savior. We can't wait to continue celebrating holidays as this new little family! Gabriel definitely makes celebrating anything much, much better. :-)
- We had a really great trip for Thanksgiving. His first trip to NC! He did really well in the car except for the last hour or so. I can't blame him for being tired of the car by that point. And it was so great to finally meet the rest of the aunts, uncles, and cousins.
- One of our current favorite things are his dinosaur noises (see the videos).
- He's started rolling from back to front like crazy! The trouble is that he gets tired of being on his stomach and can't figure out how to roll back. This is especially frustrating at night when he wakes himself up on his stomach.
- He can sit up pretty well with our help and he LOVES to stand. His legs are super strong.
- He's getting so good at holding things. He will reach for toys and pull them to him, usually right to his mouth. His rattles, Sophie, and his Pooh blanket are some of his favorites. He also really likes things with lights and music.
- He's still spitting up a lot and now is drooling a ton too. We don't think there are any teeth coming in, it just seems to be drool for no good reason.
- He loves to blow raspberries and bubbles. He talks like crazy and has even started using a few consonants (m's and a few b's).
- He's still sleeping through the night pretty consistently. In fact before we went to NC we had a solid week of sleeping through the night!
A week of lots of fun and playing. We also went out in our first snow flurries (black hoodie pictures). First of many for sure.
- He's the biggest goofball in the entire world! He smiles and laughs all the time. He laughs at being tickled, although what is ticklish and how much changes from day to day. And he even laughs when we count. Apparently numbers are funny???
- 4-month check up: 25.5" long (57th percentile), 16 lbs 5 oz (63rd percentile), 16.6" head size (57th percentile). "Above average" head control.
- He can roll over! He's rolled over 3 times, all from tummy to back. Twice to his right and once to his left. He holds his head up during tummy time really well, and really high.
- He can sit up pretty well with our help and he LOVES to stand. His legs are super strong.
- He's getting so good at holding things. He will reach for toys and pull them to him, usually right to his mouth. His rattles, Sophie, and his Pooh blanket are some of his favorites. He also really likes things with lights and music so we bought the Sea Dreams Soother. He can reliably get his fingers in his mouth too. And a few times he's managed to get his paci back in his mouth when it falls out. Yay!
- He reaches for mom & dad often. He's pulled mom's hair and pulled off dad's glasses for the first times this month.
- He's still spitting up a lot and now is drooling a ton too. We don't think there are any teeth coming in, it just seems to be drool for no good reason.
- He loves to blow raspberries and bubbles. He talks like crazy and has even started using a few consonants (m's and a few b's).
- He's nearly too big for his Bumbo chair already. His thighs get stuck when we pull him out of the chair.
- He's already outgrown a number of his 3 month clothes and we've pulled out all the 3-6 month clothes.
- He's sleeping in his crib. Officially in the nursery! And no more swaddling since he always broke out of them anyway.
- We've started reading books every night before bed. He lays on the bed, we lay next to him and hold the books in the air above us. He gets so excited by the pictures and kicks his feet & flaps his arms. He even reaches out and holds the edge of the book. He'll be holding and reading them on his own in no time.
- It's been a month of really awesome memories and visiting people but it's played havoc with our routines. Katie and her family came for a visit. Then there was a conference on campus and mom was gone for several long days, plus Jared was staying with us. Then we had the baptism and all kinds of wonderful family visiting. Then we took our mini-vacation to WV. And finally Grandma & Gramps Fulcher came for a visit. But through all of the changes and visits we've lost the ability to sleep. He's slept through the night *maybe* 3 times this month. And several nights have been super rough with screaming, multiple feedings, and refusing to go to sleep. We're hopeful that November will bring back some regular routines & sleep before we travel for Thanksgiving.
What a special weekend! It was so special to have Grandma & Grandpa Marvin, Great Uncle Mark & Great Aunt Sandy, Uncle Michael & Hannah all here to share in our special day. Gabriel did a great job through the baptism but was hungry & cranky by picture time so please pardon his sad faces. We LOVE the baptism outfit that Grandma Marvin made. It's just so precious and fit just right (although the crying and squirming makes it hard to see in the church pictures). We are so blessed to have so many people prepared to help us raise Gabriel with faith and love and support him.
- Consistently reaching for things! You can hold a toy out in front of him and he'll reach for it. He doesn't always grab it right off, but he's getting the idea. Occasionally hits himself in the face still, but it's much more rare.
- Still playing with pretty much the same toys. We try to rotate through them so he doesn't get bored. We use the Curious George book (from one of my private students) a lot during tummy time.
- Still sleeps just about anywhere but definitely has preferences and "asks" to be moved if he's not comfy. Still sleeps through most noises but definitely wakes up more easily than last month. The cradle in our room is a getting a bit tight for him at night...
- Still using lots of 0-3 month clothes and have even brought out some 3 month clothes too, especially long sleeves & pants. Cloth diapers are going great!
- Sleeping 7-8, occasionally 9, hours is a regular thing! Not 100% yet but 4-5 nights a week we get a full night's sleep. The other nights he's only up once and the total sleep for the night will be 9-10 hours.
- Our routine is pretty much the same: eat, play, sleep. But the "play" is getting longer and the "sleep" a bit shorter. Often still hungry after 2 hours and there's no stretching longer once he realizes he's hungry.
- He still spits up... A lot...
- This silly little boy just loves to suck on things. In fact, he loves it so much that when he doesn't have a paci or toy he sucks on his arm/hand/fingers. And he sucks so hard that he's given himself a hickey! One day we looked at his wrist and said "where did that bruise come from?" Then we watched him stick that exact spot in his mouth and start sucking. Crazy boy...
- Dad went out of town for a his work retreat for a few days and that was quite an experience. Tough for dad to be gone and really tough for mom to be on 100% Gabriel-alert. But we scheduled dinner with friends a couple nights and had a good time hanging with other people. We can't imagine the work it takes to be a single parent and are even more grateful for each other now.
- He's still a real trooper, going wherever we drag him with minimal complaint. We've enjoyed 3 birthday parties at this point, lots of errands and shopping, regular meals out, and lots of time at church and school. He's usually pretty good while mom is teaching lessons at home and has even come to bell rehearsals once. He loves being passed around and loved on by all different people.
This week had lots of animal time in it. :-) Rosie and Poco both came to curl up with Gabriel, completely un-prompted. I was close with a watchful eye, of course, but so far all animals just seem to want to snuggle with him and love on him. Just like us!
You probably know Pounce & Poco have been with us since just after we got married. They were our first "babies." We were uncertain how they would react to Gabriel joining the family but they've been very good, or at least ambivalent. But they are cats - so EVERY new item that came in the house needed their inspection. And the new soft places to lay are definitely enticing. Here are a few pictures of their inspections and shenanigans.
- Stronger every day. Holding his head up pretty consistently but occasionally he suddenly becomes a bobble-head again. He's very good at head-butting while being burped. He kicks constantly and will even stand up for short bursts (with us holding his torso of course).
- Still working on arm/hand control. He still smacks himself in the face (sometimes really hard!) and punches us too. But he's also started reaching for things and it seems pretty intentional.
- He's smiling! He definitely recognizes mom & dad and gives great smiles, especially when prompted.
- Still loves looking at stuffed animals and now the staring is very intentional and sometimes brings smiles. He likes his lion, his Pooh blanket, his Silly Monkey blanket, and (for staring) especially his blue elephant blanket. He likes his little hanging bug rattles even more now. One hangs on his stroller and is his primary source of entertainment while at school with mom. And of course he still loves the "kicky piano" (especially now that he's discovered the mirror). Oh! Speaking of mirrors - sometimes we have to cover the globe mirror at the top of the swing because he gets too distracted to fall asleep.
- Still sleeps just about anywhere but definitely has preferences and "asks" to be moved if he's not comfy. Still sleeps through most noises but definitely wakes up more easily than last month.
- Finally in 0-3 month clothes and cloth diapers! In fact we made the full switch to cloth on his 2-month birthday.
- Sleeping 7-8 hours is a regular thing! Not 100% yet but 4-5 nights a week we get a full night's sleep. The other nights he's only up once and the total sleep for the night will be 8-9 hours.
- No exact "schedule" to our days but a definite routine. He eats, plays, sleeps, repeats. What a life. :-) He eats every 2-3 hours and when he's ready to eat he better get food fast! There's no stretching to 3 hours if he's hungry after 2.
- He's happy to take a bottle and sucks one down every night before bed. He gets them occasionally in the afternoons when mom's at work and he gets daddy time. He doesn't nap very well for dad but otherwise mom at work and dad at home has gone really well. And he regularly goes into school with mom. He's a real trooper & everyone in the school of music loves him (especially the music ed dept of course).
- We very regularly go out to lunch on Saturday and then do grocery shopping/errands. Depending on our timing, he often eats lunch at the same time as me and then we try to finish shopping before he needs to eat again. He's so agreeable and is great eating in public, being in and out of the car and all different stores, in and out of the car seat or wrap carrier. And sometimes we do push his food limits because shopping takes longer than expected and he hangs in as long as he possibly can!
- His 2-month check up was great! Mom cried more than he did at the shots (although he made up for it later in the day). 11lbs 9oz is the 27th percentile, 22.75" is the 32nd percentile, & 15.4" around his head is the 41st percentile.
- Sadly he's his mother's son... He spits up... A lot...
- Mom brought out her viola for the first time this month. Sadly, he cried the first time she practiced... Dad quickly pointed out that it probably had to do with volume though, not tone. :-) He seems to be acclimating to the sound though.
- Mom's favorite nicknames are currently "goober," "handsome," & " booger" and dad's are "people pooper," "Mr. Toots," "my little guy," & "señor burrito" (while swaddled at night).
Another fun week!
- First time sleeping "facing out."
- Wearing our new favorite nightgowns! We got several as hand-me-downs from a friend and we love them. Gabriel loves how freely he can kick in them.
- First trip to campus/work with mom! He was a real trooper.
- At night Gabriel is swaddled so his arms are pinned down. While he naps during the day he takes any chance he can to have his arms up and stretched out.
- Representing for Uncle Michael and WCU!
- As Gabriel fell asleep in dad's arms at church he sure looked like he was praying.
This week we have pictures of:
- LOTS of puppy time. Maybe you can see that in the first pictures Gabriel's outfit says "I love my puppy." :-) And she seems to love him pretty good too.
- Lots of facial expressions. He's so expressive! And the smiles are much more frequent now, perhaps even intentional, which is fun.
- The first nap in the crib! This was actually a very big day. The night before he slept through the night for the first time (8 hours), he took a short nap in the crib for the first time, and he wore cloth diapers for the first time (but we discovered he still needs to grow into them a little).
An entire 5 weeks old! Mr. Gabriel is just so strong and more alert by the day. Here are some pictures of:
- playing with/staring at toys. He's focusing more every day.
- first real tummy times! (videos too) He's getting so strong! He can hold his head up for a good 20 seconds or so and he just kicks his feet like crazy.
- video of the most adorable hiccups you've ever seen. They bounce his whole body.
- Rosie guarding the tummy time blanket and curled up with me & Gabriel on the couch. She got in a few good kisses of his hands and head while she was next to him.
- video of riding motorcycles with dad
- first time helping mom bake cookies
- always more kicky piano fun (videos too). We've stopped propping him on a pillow so now he can see the hanging toys better - and the mirror! He absolutely loves looking at shiny things.
- playing video games with dad
- first time out to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant (he was a total champ!)
- just generally being cute (I love how he often crosses his hands when he sleeps)
Sadly you'll see his right ear still sticks out pretty far and easily gets bent over when he leans on things. It just might not ever recover...
I absolutely cannot believe it... but Gabriel is already 1 month old! And honestly I wish people would stop telling me to enjoy every minute because it's going to fly by... we already know! Thinking about how fast it's going just makes the pregnancy hormones go crazy again. ;-) He's our sweet little angel and we're so glad he's healthy and happy and has blessed us for a whole month.
Gabriel fun facts:
- So strong! He can hold his head up for 30 seconds or so and he's constantly trying to move more and hold his head more.
- Still doesn't have good control of his limbs, especially his arms/hands. He regularly smacks himself in the face (sometimes really hard!). He's scratched himself hard enough to draw blood 2 or 3 times too - when mom doesn't get his nails cut daily.
- Loves looking at stuffed animals and occasionally reaches for them. He likes his lion, his Pooh blanket, and his Silly Monkey blanket. He also likes the little bug rattles designed to hang. They're hanging by his changing table and play pen and are a good distraction. If it makes noise - he enjoys it. He really likes his "kicky piano" too.
- He sleeps just about anywhere: our arms, our chest, wrap carrier, stroller, swing, bouncy seat, play pen, cradle, couch, bed. We still use the SleepSack at night to try and help subdue him. It seems to help. And the SleepSheep sounds help push him to sleep as well. He sleeps through the dog barking, the vacuum running, and Philip making lattes.
- He's still in newborn size diapers and clothes. We've tried size 1 diapers and 0-3 month clothes but both are still a little too big. And he's still swimming in the cloth diapers! His thighs need to fill out to actually fill/close the leg holes in those diapers.
- He'll sleep for 3-4 hour stretches at night pretty regularly. Lots of naps through the day, sometimes only 20 minutes sometimes over an hour.
- Mom's favorite nickname is currently "Goober" and dad's are "People Pooper," after a blow-out diaper incident, and "Mr. Toots."
We're so grateful our church family is excited to embrace Gabriel. On 7/27 they put a rose on the alter to celebrate his birth and put an announcement in the bulletin. When we wanted to take pictures Gabriel was a bit fussy, but there are a few nice ones here of him with his rose.
We also spent the afternoon this day with Cassie & Roslyn & Riley (the dog). Roslyn (who's almost a year old) was so sweet with Gabriel. She was very gentle and is going to be a really wonderful friend!
Gabriel is so good at going out. The only time he's started fussing while out is when he really needed to eat and we pushed him too far - our fault! Here are our first fun outings (not including the many trips to the Dr's office):
7/13 (1 week 6 days old) - first family walk with the stroller and a trip to the grocery store
7/14 (2 weeks old) - first family walk with wrap carrier
7/16 (2 weeks 2 days old) - Gabriel & Lindsay to Target by themselves
7/20 (2 weeks 6 days old) - first time to church
7/26 (3 weeks 5 days old) - first "whole afternoon" outing with combination of wrap & stroller [lunch at Jersey Mike's (Gabriel ate too), Animal Kingdom, Gamer's Arena, Target, Wegman's, Trader Joes]
Gabriel still likes to sleep... but he's starting to be a bit more active and have fun. Philip took these beautiful pictures out by the corn field and we saw so many good smiles from Gabriel.
Rosie still follows Gabriel and I around the house all the time - especially if he's crying she wants to be close by. She regularly licks his toes, when prompted, and has even kissed his head a few times. The kitties aren't as forward as Rosie but when forced they are willing to be near him and sniff him. And, like Rosie, they often want to be near Gabriel and/or me.
Gabriel and dad have so much fun making music and playing together! Philip is starting the ukulele lessons early.
Gabriel also really likes his stuffed animals and blankets. The way he "plays" right now is to stare at these colorful toys and occasionally reach for them.
So we still spend a lot of time being cute and sleeping... And if we're not sleeping we're usually crying or eating and those are not pictures we care to share. :-) However, the wake-up process is super sweet so check out the videos too. This week was also our first trip to church! Where Gabriel slept through everything - even the loud kids enjoying their VBS presentation.
The "kicky piano," as we refer to it, is a favorite toy so far. Thanks Uncle Mark & Aunt Sandy for giving it to us! And Cassie for highly recommending it! There are some pretty killer facial expressions in these pictures and he's pretty stinkin' adorable in the video - including hiccups!
Gabriel HATED sponge baths. Trying to bathe him before his umbilical cord fell off was torture for all of us. Based on the epic quivering lip we think he just gets cold really quickly. You may have seen some of these crying, upset pictures in the "Hospital 7/1/14" album where he got a sponge bath in the hospital.
Tub baths have generally been much better. He got his first tub bath on 7/16 and did a lot of screaming and fussing and squirming so the pictures aren't fantastic. We took a few more during bath #3 (or 4??). With every bath he seems to get more and more comfortable. As long as he has nice warm water to sit in he's a happy camper.
Yay for meeting grandma and grandpa! Having my parents here to help out when Philip went back to work was so incredibly helpful. I can't even list all the things they cleaned, fixed, and took care of for us. Not to mention that Gabriel got soooo many snuggles. :-) The first few pictures with grandma really show off his ear that still won't lay flat. The pictures with Pooh were at 1-week old.
So excited to meet the family! Dad, mom, Chris, Gracie, and Michelle all came up when Gabriel was only 4 days old. We had a great long weekend with them and so, so, *so* appreciate all the work they did for us while they were here.
A few pictures with Pooh before we left the hospital, a few pictures in the car on the way home, and an adorable sleepy baby in his own home!
A day of learning & loving. I finally got a shower, Philip finally made it home to shower & nap, and we had so many wonderful visitors at the hospital (Cassie, the Thorntons, the Carters, Tirzah, Heather & Sarah). You'll see wonderful pictures of Gabriel & his buddy Sarah (only 2 weeks older than him) meeting at the hospital. And Gabriel got his first sponge bath! He's not a fan...
In the few pictures where he's not wearing a hat you can also see his funny right ear. The poor guy... when he came into the world his ear was bent in half and pinned forward. It's taking quite a while to recover. Will it ever...?
The marvelous day! Or rather dayS...
We hope you enjoy these pictures of Gabriel John's first moments in the big, cold world. (And pictures of mom & dad's first diaper changes...) Sorry if some seem redundant - every facial expression is just too precious not to share! And if you're interested, here is the labor story:
2am on Sunday, 6/29: I woke up having contractions. Contractions were fairly short and far apart so I moved down to the couch and tried to doze, unsuccessfully. Philip woke up about 7 and the fun began. :-) We spent the day around the house (walked the dog, unloaded the dishwasher, cut up watermelon, watched movies). By lunch we were timing all contractions and they were definitely getting longer, stronger, closer together - and much more painful!
6pm: Contractions were 4-5 min apart and at least a minute long (and had been for over an hour) so Philip called the Dr. We got the last of our hospital bag items together, he ate a sandwich, I ate a granola bar, and to the hospital we went! With 4 contractions along the way... I should say that our goal was to have as natural a labor as possible. We're not totally opposed to medication or anything (as you'll soon see) but our hope was to deliver Gabriel without medication if at all possible. We were so grateful for our birthing class and all the breathing/relaxation techniques we learned that we were planning to use.
7:30pm: Admitted at the hospital. 6cm dilated! I really wanted it to be more than that... but Philip was appropriately excited and encouraging that we were that far along which helped. They hooked me up to the monitors to watch contractions & baby's heartbeat. They took 5 or 6 vials of blood (and left me with a nasty bruise) and then came the saline lock saga. Our nurse couldn't get the saline lock into my left hand (after many attempts, lots of pain, and another big bruise). A second nurse couldn't get it into my right hand. They brought in the "IV team" who pricked at right and left hands again and then put a port in my left elbow-pit. It was large and very, very uncomfortable but ultimately was a good thing they got it (foreshadowing). And of course, all that pricking was happening through contractions!
Labor continued on, progressing as it should. Contractions were incredibly painful. I tried sitting on the birth ball, standing, kneeling (which had worked well at home) but nothing helped for long. By 10 or 11:00 I really just wanted to be in bed.
11:00: 9cm! I finally hit 9cm around 11 or 11:30. I definitely felt like I should be at 10cm by this point... but I was grateful to be at 9. The Dr offered to break my water. Knowing that would probably speed things up, but also make them more intense, we asked to wait it out a bit longer. We gave in at midnight and asked her to break it. Contractions were incredibly painful at this point. I was gripping the bed rails and shaking them, gripping my stress balls so hard they fused together, and even beating on Philip's back. Philip was absolutely amazing through everything. He was so encouraging and supportive. During this stretch we learned that baby only wanted me on my right side. When I rolled to the left his heart rate dropped. And at some point his heart rate dropped enough that the nurse put an oxygen mask on me. They weren't super-concerned, it was likely he just rolled onto his umbilical cord or something, but it was enough to warrant oxygen and some extra fear in me & Philip. The nurses also had me try laying on my side & putting a peanut ball between my legs. For many women that supposedly helps them get the last couple centimeters. It did not help me and maybe just made me hurt more.
2am on 6/30 (24 hours in labor): Still at 9cm... I stalled. I was devastated. The Dr thought it was due to how tired I was and how tense I was. I'd been in labor for so long she thought maybe my body just couldn't relax enough to open up that last centimeter. She was incredibly supportive and said "we'll keep going naturally as long as you want to - but at this point I would recommend considering an epidural. If you're at all interested now would be the time because the anesthesiologist is here." (At our small hospital there is not always an anesthesiologist in the hospital so in the middle of the night it can take a while for him/her to arrive). I said "yes, let's do it." Philip followed our plan and looked me right in the eye and said "are you sure" and I said, through tears and the oxygen mask, "yes, let's do it." I was just so exhausted and devastated. The nurses were incredibly supportive and said "this is in no way a failure! You did so good! And the woman down the hall, who came in at the same time and also wanted to do it naturally, gave in and called for an epidural a while ago!" (She was why the anesthesiologist was there.)
2:30: The anesthesiologist got the epidural in and the nurses had saline running through the port in my elbow-pit. Getting the epidural in through really painful contractions was rough. Once it was in I had almost immediate relief. Philip and I both dozed for a while and I had contractions without feeling them. It was really difficult to be grateful for the relief & rest but also sad that baby and I were now full of drugs. At some point through here the oxygen finally came off.
5:30: I was finally at 10cm! But a lip of my cervix was still in the way. A nurse tried to push it back and didn't succeed but then the Dr did. Once that was out of the way we did a few test pushes. This happened several times.
7am: I started pushing for real. They turned down the epidural so that I could feel what was going on which was a real mixed blessing. I needed to feel what was happening, but man did it hurt. And hurt... and hurt... for 3.5 hours it hurt... Philip was holding one of my legs - bless him! We were hoping he could stay up by my head & be encouraging from there but instead he saw, well, everything. He was so encouraging and is the only reason I made it through 3.5 hours of pushing.
10:23am on 6/30 (32 hours in labor): Gabriel John entered the world screaming & crying his head off. And his bottom lip was quivering so hard I thought it might come off! He confirmed right away for me that his name was Gabriel - entering the world blowing his trumpet. I am embarrassed to say that the nurse had to prompt me "open your eyes and look at him." I'd had my eyes closed for so long I didn't even open them right away to see my boy. But when I did I saw an angel who landed right on my chest and snuggled into his mom right away.
Our house will never be this clean again - I'm sure! We love how many special items are in the nursery from friends & family. Gabriel will always be surrounded by reminders of how many people love him.
We have the most amazing friends! Our small group Bible study at Faith Church decided to throw me a baby shower. These ladies are quite the party-planners! We had a really wonderful afternoon together at Cool Beans coffee shop here in Bellefonte. Katie (my college roommate) even came over from Ohio and Fallon (who recently moved) came up from West Virginia. Every detail was amazing. From honey bees on the cupcakes to hand-painted Pooh quotes on the flower pots to the wonderful alphabet book coloring pages we all worked on - this was a really special afternoon.
I'm so grateful for these ladies and their support and love. I know Philip & Gabriel & I are in really great hands.
Not only an amazing day with family and friends but also the big reveal of baby's sex! Philip's sisters & mom and my mom worked so hard to create a wonderful afternoon of fun surrounded by Winnie the Pooh. We could never thank our friends & family enough for their love & support of us and baby.
What an evening! My amazing Music Education Department at Penn State put together this baby shower for us and we had a really great time. It's such a special thing to work with, and for, people who care about you and support you. We are eternally grateful for this group of people and all that they do for us. I think the most powerful testament to the awesomeness of this department is the fact that 4 graduate students have had babies since I've been here. I know our decision to have a baby now, while I'm at Penn State, was partly because of how supportive the environment is and how comfortable I felt taking this step while working here. I'm certain some of the other grad students felt the same. We just have an amazing department!