Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hopes of a New Father

Today marks 6 months since Anderson Sidney joined our family so I thought this 1/2 year milestone would be a good time to share something that I wrote in the hospital awaiting his arrival.

January 27, 2010

As I write this the sound of your erratic heartbeat fills the room as I watch Jill rest peacefully. So many thoughts, fears, hopes, anxieties fill my mind…about your future and the daunting task of parenting for which I am so simultaneously excited and intimidated. The literature and advice are abundant. I obviously can’t learn it all nor be the perfect parent. But here are some of my hopes for you.

I hope that you...

cultivate a love of nature that inspires you to both explore and enjoy it as well as protect and conserve it

develop the courage to take risks and the judgment to make good decisions

learn how to forgive yourself and all those around you, including your mother and me, who will surely disappoint and fail you

are ambitious - but not just professionally. I hope you set goals in your personal life, too. Learn a new language, volunteer, travel etc. I hope you learn the difference between a job and a vocation and pursue the latter.

are not embarrassed or ashamed to cry in front of others and learn that strength comes through vulnerability, intimacy from shared struggle

maintain your curiosity and develop a passion for learning that fuels your growth throughout your life

listen closely to the advice, criticism and reassurances you offer to others as it is the best indication of what you need to hear or feel

develop a healthy self-esteem and an even more healthy sense of humility

feel listened to and heard even when we disagree and that you will make the time and effort to really listen to others

learn to acknowledge when you are wrong and offer a genuine apology

not only accept the mysteries of life but actually embrace the beauty of the unknown rather than fearing it

spend less time trying to understand God and more time experiencing & reflecting something larger than yourself , where God is less subject and more verb, less belief and more action, less judgment and more forgiveness, that takes shape as beauty, gentleness, grace, comfort and of course, love

read & listen to different opinions and always hold loosely to what you’re convinced you know to be true

don’t ever forget to laugh – especially at yourself

experience “the hunch” about someone like I did about your mother

learn to walk through and with your grief rather than around or past it

experience friendship that overcomes the miles and time that so often separate us

become comfortable in silence – with yourselves and others

focus more on contributing rather than consuming

maintain a commitment to generosity that overcomes your resentment of being taking advantage of

find a way to embrace, integrate and share all of who you are and have experienced - the good and bad, successes and failures, joys and sorrows

worry less about proving yourself and more about being yourself

cultivate perseverance in pursuit of your dreams and the patience and acceptance required when life inevitably does not go as you planned

consider the wisdom and advice of others while also trusting your instincts

learn to win and lose graciously

appreciate the importance of reflection without being paralyzed by regret and self doubt

find the difficult balance between unselfishness and self-neglect. Taking care of yourself is the most effective way to maintain your ability to take care of others

have the ability to push yourself beyond your limits while still appreciating the serenity of a power nap

leave home, find yourself, succeed on your own and then choose to “come back home”

take pride in whatever you do without being tormented by perfectionism

root for the Tar Heels but more importantly that at some point you experience the indelible sense of connection to a transformative place, time, and experience like Chapel Hill was for me

enjoy hiking and camping but more importantly that you find a hobby/activity that replenishes your spirit and rejuvenates your soul

are captivated by the simplicity of a campfire but more importantly that you somehow experience the peaceful stillness that solitude and reflection offer

take the time to drive across the country and study abroad but more importantly that you make the time to explore your world in the ways that it fascinates you

appreciate the music of Patty Griffin and David Wilcox but more importantly that you find art, literature, interests that comfort, inspire and give voice to what you have trouble expressing

like to sing with your mother and me during long road trips in the car but more importantly that you’ll find someone with whom you can let your guard down, be silly, and playful

Above all, my goal as your father is to support and affirm all of who you are and become. My love for you is unconditional…except for that part about the Tar Heels ;) I don’t want you to become me I want you to become you – whatever and whoever that is. Sure, I hope that you enjoy some of the pleasures in life that bring me joy but I am even more eager to experience all the ways that you will shape and influence me as well. Oh, and one more thing - please don’t waste your time trying to earn my approval – just let me know if you don’t sense it or believe it. I’ll be glad to remind and reassure you.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On the road again

After waking at 3:30 a.m. this morning to the sound of the alarm and not Anderson, I am writing from the plane on my way to Minneapolis for my first business trip as a mother. So far, so good as can be. Last night Anderson and I went through an abridged version of our evening routine (since returning to work, my time with Anderson is focused mainly in the evenings and includes bathtime and going to bed). He is a "natural eater" and seems to have taken to eating from a spoon as easily as he took to nursing. I gave him a small bottle just before bed and as I held him at my shoulder to burp him, he snuggled into my neck (that's my favorite) and started to fall asleep. Rather than moving on to our book reading, I just held him like that and shed a few tears as I thought about leaving him in the morning for my trip. I will only be gone for three days, and I didn't sob, but it was hard to think of leaving him this time and the many times that will occur in the coming months. It is also hard to leave Jonathan knowing how much he will be juggling as a single dad while I'm away. He will do it amazingly, I know, but it will be exhausting.

After my little cry, we did read the Going to Bed Book, sang my new favorite lullaby - Stay Awake from Mary Poppins, said our prayers, and A quietly went down for the night (or at least the next few hours). Then, I resumed packing and tried to get myself tired enough to go to sleep early.

In preparation for this momentous journey, I began weaning two weeks ago. I've been meaning to write a little bit about this because there was more emotion attached to it than I had anticipated. Yes, I know that an income is a good thing and I am ever grateful for my job, but I have to admit some resentment at needing to cut short my time nursing in order to begin leaving my family for days at a time. There's something peculiar about that. Add to this the fact that I actually enjoyed nursing, most of the time. It was something that only I could for A and I took a lot of pride in that. Sure, it was inconvenient at times - like when running errands - but on the whole, I relished this time with A, even in the middle of the night. There is something incredible about the whole process and something special about those times when I was all he needed to feel safe and secure and nourished. And in the times when it didn't come easily my empathy grew so much deeper for friends who tried valiantly to nurse and in the end were not able to do it. The bonds between mother and child can certainly be as strong through bottle feeding - one need only look at the relationship between my mother and me for confirmation of that - and perhaps things won't go as smoothly with our next child. But, with Anderson, as a brand new mother, nursing has been a gift. Now that he (and I) are fully weaned, it seems the end of a significant phase in our lives. It is liberating, I won't deny that, and it's nice not to have to sequester myself in a windowless office in order to pump a couple of times a day at work, but I was sad. My baby is growing up.

In this post, I also wanted to note some thoughts on traveling to Minnesota. Before starting my job, I had visited Minnesota only once on my cross country journey as a teenager. I had never been to Rochester and didn't realize that it was home to the Mayo Clinic until I saw a list of our medical school alumni and wondered why there was such a concentration of them in Rochester. My first trip to Rochester was last spring and it is so weird to be visiting a town that seemingly revolves around a world-famous medical institution. In the hotel on that trip, a family was checking in and I realized that they were most likely staying in Rochester so that one member of the family could be seen by the medical professionals at Mayo - was it a parent? Was it one of the children? The entire downtown area is a maze of Mayo buildings - I'm not sure if there is any other industry there. I was reminded of this just a few minutes ago when I glanced over at the woman seated across the aisle from me on the plane. She and her son are traveling together. She carried an old, hard shell briefcase and didn't appear to be a routine business traveler. As she was reviewing the contents of the manila folder on her seat-back tray, I noticed that there were several business cards stapled to the folder with what seemed to be medical logos on them. Are she and her son traveling to Rochester when they land in Minneapolis? Are they hoping for a miracle at Mayo? I will never know, but it did give me pause. I said a prayer for my family and for my friends, Jill and Chris, and was thankful that I am going to be visiting Rochester on business.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Time: Hiking, Picking, Partying, and Eating

It's summertime and we are making the most of it (especially when the heat index is below 100). Over the last few weeks, we've had some wonderful adventures that we can share with you in pictures. Here is a picture of Anderson and Jonathan on A's very first hike around Radnor Lake - both boys look like they are having fun, don't they? I believe that you can click on this picture to open an album of photos documening our activities.

We've also gone blueberry picking way down in Henryville, TN (pronounced Hen-er-vul) at the Blueberries on the Buffalo farm. There, we were warmly greeted by farm owners Dan and Debbie who demonstrated the proper way to pick blueberries - "if they hold tight, they aren't ripe" - and encouraged us to taste as we picked. After sampling all four varieties, we settled on the "powder blues" - I'm sure that had nothing to do with the color that is quite similar to another shade of blue popular in our family. We also mixed some "premieres" in to the GALLON of berries that we took home with us. I quickly got online and found a blueberry cheesecake ice cream recipe (from Cooking Light - yippee!) and dug out an old recipe for berry cobbler. Up next, blueberry bran muffins and blueberry zucchini bread. Yummy!

We've been working the one year old birthday circuit as well with celebrations for neighbors Maggie and Will. And what is summer without some time in the pool? Jonathan and Anderson have been punching in some pool time with Jonathan's classmate, Laura, and her family. They were also kind enough to invite us to a 4th of July cookout at their house.

Finally, Anderson started eating solid foods on Sunday and literally "ate it up." We've thought he was ready for a while now, but I'm not sure that we were. He gave us all of the signs - watching us when we ate, trying to mimic us as we chewed, chewing on nearly everything he can get his hands on - and so when the big event finally happened he was a natural. We think that he actually ingested a good bit of the rice cereal, but you'll see that there was plenty on his face to make a great picture. We hope to post some video for you, soon.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

So many firsts

Anderson is FIVE months old, today (can you believe it?!) and it has been far too long since our last post. He's racked up many firsts over the last several weeks. Rather than share every last detail with you, I'll just list the highlights here and leave room for more at some future point when I have more time than I know what to do with. But first, a few updates: Jonathan's summer vacation officially kicked off this weekend as he completed his June class. He and Anderson have been having a swell time together while I'm at work and have had several playdates with some of Jonathan's classmates who are also stay-at-home dads this summer. Hopefully, Jonathan will be able to post some of the video from these get togethers, soon, that feature our charming little A. One of the little girls was so taken by him that she tried to crawl right into his carseat with him! How 'bout that?!

And now, Anderson's highlights:
* FIRST Henna party (boys aren't usually allowed, so it's extra special) for our friend Sona's wedding
* FIRST time rolling over from tummy to back (and we captured it on video for you)
* Anderson loves sitting up in the Bumbo like a big boy (thank you neighbors)
* He can hold his bottle all by himself
* There is lots of jabbering these days and on one day, Anderson focused on the "Mmmm" sound (could he be trying to say Momma?), but he hasn't done it since. We do hear "Ah-gooo" sounds, too, regularly and we just love the way his mouth forms this perfect little "O" at the end of Ahh-gooo...it's just precious.
* FIRST dip in the pool at Mommy's friend Kelly's house (Erin, please notice the float)
* Daddy's FIRST overnight away from us - he went to the Methodist Western Conference meeting in Asheville
* FIRST all day babysitter (our friend, Kira) - Daddy was at the conference and mommy was at work
* FIRST time in church nursery - the ladies were just fine, but this gave us a taste of how hard it's going to be to leave him at daycare all day, every day
* 4 month doctor visit: 14 lbs, 12 oz (38 %ile); 26" (66 %ile); 41.5 cm head circumference; he did wonderfully with his shots
* Wawa and Granddaddy visited for a couple of days, and they watched A while Mommy and Daddy went to their first concert at the historic Ryman Auditorium - Patty Griffin (singer of Heavenly Day from our wedding) and friends...FABULOUS!
* Bedtime: We've started a bedtime routine of sorts that includes some baby massage, some music, some books, and some cuddles, and Anderson is able to fall asleep in his crib...now on to tackling naps!

We've also had much to celebrate in May and June - our 3rd anniversary (May 19th), Jill's birthday (June 5th), and Jonathan's birthday (June 22nd) - and now have Mother's and Father's days to add to the mix.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Reason to Celebrate (Part 1)

With Jonathan's help, our good friends, Sona and Jeff, tied the knot yesterday. And what a day it was! This was the first wedding that Jonathan officiated which would have been memorable on its own, but for it to be the wedding of such a dear friend . . . that was truly special. Sona and Jonathan became friends when he moved to Washington in 2000 and they have seen each other through the ups and downs of life as single, thirty somethings making their way in the world. Sona was the first of Jonathan's friends that I met in DC and she paved the way for "Jonathan's friends" to become more than that to me...they (and she) became my friends. We had the pleasure of getting to know Jeff while we were still living in DC and could not have been more excited to share in their joy on this wonderful day. The wedding weekend included the rehearsal, the Henna party (no boys allowed, except for one who promised not to tell), lunch for the other boys on the Potomac, the rehearsal dinner and the main event. Here is the bride-to-be with A at the rehearsal dinner - she's showing off her beautiful Henna hand.

I've posted the entire ceremony (split into two parts) for those who would like to watch it. It lasts about 15 minutes. Sona looks absolutely radiant, Jeff looks smitten, Jonathan looks very at home, and Anderson...well you'll notice that you don't even hear a peep from our little guy! Following the ceremony, we caught up with old friends but there was just not enough time. As you can see, the morning after was as tough for A as it was for us! Another trip to our nation's capital is a must!

A Reason to Celebrate (Part 2)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Big Brother in Training

During our marathon road trip to North Carolina up to Washington, DC and back home to Nashville we were able to spend some quality time with family and celebrate old friends. I really enjoyed showering my dear friend, Erin, with lots of attention at her baby shower. She is expecting her first child in July and Anderson is eager to have a new playmate. We saw Sassy and Papa, Wawa and Granddaddy, Aunt Kim and Uncle Daniel, and Aunt Brooke and Cousin Jack. We just had to include this brief video of Jack posing for the camera and saying hi to "ba-by" Anderson. We think Jack is going to make one incredible big brother (in just a few months!).

Anderson also met his share of adorable older women, including Taylor (pictured here) who is Laura and Collin's little gal and Caroline, daughter of Teresa and Mark with whom we stayed in DC (thank you, thank you!). Caroline gave us a preview of what's in store for us in just a few months, and we can't wait! Lots of words, lots of steps, and lots of books! We had a wonderful time back in our old stomping grounds and while there, we caught up with many folks at a coffee shop in Alexandria. Anderson met my cousin Paul and friends Keith, Don, Karla, Lisa, and Karen. Of course, the pinnacle of our trip back to DC was the nuptials of our dear friends Sona and Jeff. I've dedicated a separate post to that.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Made You Laugh

We bet you can't watch this without joining Anderson in a good giggle.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Beach Living

Anderson seems to be enjoying himself, doesn't he? For the record, I did NOT pose him for the pictures/video...he did that all by himself. That eTrade baby has nothing on our little guy! :) We're in Seagrove, FL on the Gulf Coast and thankfully there is no sign (yet) of the oil spill that occured several hundred miles from here near Louisiana a few days ago. I hope that those combatting the spill are successful, because I can't imagine the devastation that black sludge would bring to these white sand beaches. Really...the sand is blindingly white. And the water is very clear...so clear, in fact, that I saw dozens of little crabs rolling in the tide this afternoon when I walked by. I've never seen LIVE crabs in the water off the Carolinas.

Seagrove is minutes from Seaside which is where The Truman Show movie (starring Jim Carey) was filmed. We are staying in a perfect one bedroom villa which is cozy but still has ample room for all of Anderson's stuff. We can walk to Seaside which is not nearly as "Stepford" as we thought it would be. In fact, it seems pretty progressive. The architecture is varied and all of the shops and eateries are local (rather than chains like Starbucks). They even have several silver, old school Airstream trailers that are home to great food and snacks like Queen Bee Cupcakes (need I write more?), a BBQ place that touts all hormone-free meats, and a shaved ice place that manages to make ice really taste like banana pudding! Each home is brightly colored, with a picket fence and its own name, e.g. The Widdle House or Julie Got Her Way, and the names of the occupants on a sign in front. The houses are nestled amongst the thick, natural vegetation and the are is so idyllic!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The 1,000 Year Flood

It certainly has been an eventful couple of weeks since my last post. In Anderson's life, he now consistently finds his thumb (through the baby monitor, we can hear him sucking on it vigorously during the night), his smile occasionally breaks into a giggle that I hope to capture on video for you, and he is able to track us with his eyes as we walk around him. Unfortunately, all has not been as amaingly sweet for the rest of Nashville.

As the nation now knows, Nashville experienced unprecedented (some say biblical) flooding last weekend (May 1 & 2). They are calling it a 1,000 year flood, and we can only hope that it is that long before the city sees water like this again. My parents happened to be visiting over the weekend and I think that we have finally figured out the common denominator for the notorious Skowronek freaky weather - my parents! They pointed out that they were in Charleston for Jack's birth when hurricanes threatened, they were in Nashville for Anderson's birth when we had the big snowstorm, and now they were here for the flood. Hmmmm... :)

The rain started on Saturday (actually it might have been Friday night) and fell constantly, sometimes in torrents, all day. We (including Deacon, Mom and Dad's golden retriever) hunkered down inside waiting for the rain to let up with no idea what lay ahead. We decided to pass the time with a little Texas Hold 'Em where my mother schooled all of us and I taught Anderson how to lose gracefully. (Dad gave Mom a run for her money on Sunday, though)

Following thunderstorms Saturday night, we awoke on Sunday to still more rain and learned about the horrible flooding on I24 that resulted in 70+ cars being stranded. Later that day, they shut down parts of I40 due to standing water. Water rushed down our street and pooled in large puddles in front of our garage. We now realize that our side of the street is slightly more elevated than the other side and we were very fortunate that all of this water only resulted in several inches accumulating in the space below our house which was reabsorbed by Monday. Our only casualty was our hot water heater.

Our neighbors across the street called Sunday morning to see about a wet/vac and Jonathan and Dad went over to help them move furniture, inventory, and belongings out of their flooding basement. They swept water out the door and tried their best to stay ahead of it. It just didn't seem to let up! The bakers across the street were also unloading buckets of water from their basement, but fortunately none of their delectables were impacted. We were reminded that the springs in our Lockeland Springs neighborhood are still viable and may have contributed to the flooding around us. Apparently, folks near us had water in their homes up to their chests, not to mention the homes south of us that were completely destroyed. The pictures are surreal.

Monday was literally the calm after the storm. The sky was a brilliant blue and all seemed back to normal for us. Mom and I went shopping (and I got a pedicure as an early Mother's Day gift from my sis...thanks Brookie!) and as we entered the interstate we saw firsthand the wrath of the Cumberland. A junk yard that borders I-24 that we pass every day was essentially under water - the water level was up to the windows of the big trucks and some of them were completely submerged...this junk yard borders the Cumberland and you could see that the river was even with the water that we saw in the junk yard. Incredible!

Tuesday, we all packed up and headed our separate ways - Mom, Dad, and Deacon to Salisbury and our Wright family to Seagrove, FL. We left the flood behind us and hoped that the oil from the BP oil spill in Louisiana was not awaiting us on the Gulf Coast. So many lost so much last weekend and we will do what we can to help - we hope you will, too.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shake, Rattle (and Rolling will come later)

So, we are learning that every step in a baby's development is a big one. Today, Anderson grabbed his rattle and shook it (sort of) all by himself for the first time. Woo hoo!

Music City Measurements

Since we live in Music City it seemed only right to track Anderson's growth as it compares to Jonathan's guitar, and hopefully we are witnessing the birth of his own love of music.
Left to right: 3 weeks, 2 months, 3 months

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I love my crib!

(Pictures: Left - A @ 1 week, Center - A @ 13 weeks, Bottom - A asleep in crib)

Two milestones were reached this week - Anderson transitioned to his crib AND he no longer needs to be swaddled. Although Jonathan and I were a bit nervous about having him so far away - well, he's really in the room right next to ours, but it feels so much further since he's been right next to the bed in his Moses basket since he was born - we have also survived the transition.

Reflecting back on Anderson's time in his basket, we can certainly see how much he's grown. I remember when he looked so little in the center of it - smaller than the stuffed koala bear we had lying in it before he was born with room enough to have his arms splayed by his sides, I believe. Back then, I thought he'd outgrow it widthwise first, but it turns out that it was his length that made the basket look smaller and smaller.

Moving him to his crib was rather uneventful, although he doesn't seem to sleep quite as long in it as he did in our room (4.5 hours vs. 5 - 6 before). I think that it will come with time. With our trusty monitor (thank you Laura and Earle), we easily hear when he needs us, and speaking for myself, I'm enjoying being able to move around our room more freely at night. And, his Sleep Sheep (thank you Easons) gently lulls him to dreamland with sounds of the ocean or rain.

Perhaps more exciting than his move to his crib was his new found freedom from the swaddle. We finally decided to try using his Sleep Sack after "Houdini" once again untangled his arms from his swaddling clothes but this time I found him with the upper part of the blanket over his face. I believe that it had only been that way for a short while and the blanket was a lightweight muslin, but it still made my heart skip a beat to see his face covered like that. So, we decided that it might be time to give unswaddled slumber another shot. Unlike the previous times we tried this, when Anderson thrashed about, hitting himself in the head with his unbound arms and quickly waking himself up, this time he just kept his arms by his side or rested them like goalposts on either side of his head. Although our little burrito was precious all bundled up, it is nice to not have to go through this step when putting him to bed.

We've started to develop a nighttime routine beginning around 8/8:30 after his last feeding. With abundant smiles (usually), we change his diaper, put on his PJs and sleep sack, read to him - right now we're reading Charlotte's Web, sing him a song and when he seems quite asleep we lie him down. We still frequent his room to make sure he's breathing and sometimes just to stare at him sleeping, so peacefully. "Sleeping like a baby" has taken on new meaning.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hey Mr. Tambourine Man Play a Song for Me

Much to Jonathan's delight, our son attended his first concert at the tender age of 12 weeks. Jonathan's "Riding the Storm Out" concert took place tonight and was a resounding success. He came up with the idea a few months ago. It's been a few years since Jonathan's last house concert and I believe that he has been hankering to organize some music, especially here in Music City. So, he came up with this idea as a wonderful way to combine his love of singer-songwriters with his grief support work.

In recognition of National College Student Grief Week, Jonathan planned the entire event, including booking the talent, marketing the event, managing the logistics, and acting as emcee. I had heard two of the artists before with Jonathan - Christopher Williams (left) played at a house concert in the "party room" of our condo building in Silver Spring and Amy Speace (center) played at the BlueBird Cafe when we went there with my parents (she also played the now legendary "rooftop" house concert that Jonathan hosted while living in Dupont). The third artist, Peter Bradley Adams (right), was part of a duo called eastmountainsouth that recorded a song - Hard Times - that Jonathan put on the first CD that he made me when we started dating. Jonathan knew that all three had songs in their repertoire that conveyed loss and would create the kind of reflective, yet not too melancholy environment that he wanted, and they did not disappoint tonight. Beyond their musicality, I was struck by their willingness to make themselves so vulnerable through their music. I know that for many, a creative outlet helps sort through the grief and the hurt, but to then make public such private feelings is so brave. As much as we, the audience, enjoyed the show, it seemed that these musicians enjoyed being part of it, too.

With the exception of an out-of-nowhere scream that was thankfully NOT during a performance, Anderson just laid back in my arms and took it all in (sometimes with his eyes open, but mostly with them closed). Perhaps he was so good because he was no stranger to these songs that he has heard often at home. Jonathan is doing his best to instill a love of music, preferably "our" kind of music, in our little guy. I'm sure this is the first of many opportunities for father and son to enjoy music together.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rock A Bye

After mailing in our taxes, we readied the house for the arrival of Wawa and Granddaddy. Regina and Larry made the most of their drive and visited with Elias, Cheryl and Ken outside of Louisville before heading south on 65 to Nashville. This was Larry's first trip back to Nashville since visiting with us shortly after we moved here. We had a relaxing, yet eventful time.

Jonathan showed off his grillin' skills with dinner on Thursday night when they arrived. Friday, Jonathan went to class while the rest of us took it easy. Following a walk around the neighborhood, Anderson stayed home with his grandparents and Jonathan and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner out at Rumours East. The weather was perfect and we had a fabulous dinner outside on the patio with candlelight, wine, and yummy food. It was just great.

And the help for us tired parents didn't stop there. Regina (Wawa) insisted on taking one of the night feedings while she was here and we were happy to oblige. Thank you!! And Larry became expert at rocking our "little fella" to sleep at night. Clearly, Anderson iloves his grandparents.

On Saturday, Jonathan treated us to a french toast breakfast and we took in a Nashville Sounds baseball game that night. All in all, we had a great weekend.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

We had a Dino-mite week

Anderson keeps getting bigger and is fitting into 3 month old clothes, which meant that he was finally able to wear the Dino-mite jammies that his cousin Elias gave him. He's so happy in them, and especially likes his dino feet :)
The weather in Nashville was really nice this past week, despite the arrival of some humidity and pollen. Anderson and I went for a walk in Centennial Park - a great park across from my work building that has a replica of the Parthenon from the World's Fair years ago - and the tulips were spectacular. On Friday, a cold front blew in but we didn't let that stop us from going to our first Vanderbilt baseball game. We met up with my coworker, Kelly, her son, Jasper (who is 2 weeks younger than Anderson) and her husband, Brian and had a great time comparing baby notes. Sadly, our 'Dores fell to the Gamecocks 3 - 2. On the upside, we did not end up having to purchase a ticket for Anderson as we thought we were going to have to do - why in the world anyone would charge for an infant in arms to go to anything is beyond me. For now, I can save that strongly worded email :)

Anderson's smiles are plentiful in the morning and in the early evening these days. Jonathan is even able to get a little bit of a giggle every now and then (we think it's a giggle anyway). He's sleeping 5 - 6 hours at night pretty consistently and we will probably begin moving him into his crib, soon, although this move makes it seem like he will be so far away from us! He takes naps during the day, too, but we don't have a routine, per se. Jonathan and I are still on the fence about whether we need to create a routine or not, but for now, Anderson seems just fine and I'm enjoying his naps on my chest or in the crook of my arm since my days of this peaceful slumbering during the day are numbered. I am thankful for the full-time mommy time that I've had . . . it's actually getting to be fun . . . and love that Jonathan will be able to spend the summer watching our little guy (I'll try to hold my jealousy at bay).
Looking forward to hosting Wawa and Granddaddy at the end of the week!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Easter!

We hope that Easter Sunday was as gorgeous where you are as it was here. The sun was shining, the flowers were in bursting with color, and the humidity had not yet raised its weary head. After the Easter Bunny came to visit, we got Anderson dressed in his (cousin's) Easter outfit and went to church followed by a nice lunch outside. I was eager to capture the day - Anderson's first Easter - and suggested that we take a picture to which Jonathan readily agreed. However, he thought I was off my rocker when he realilzed that I wanted to take a picture outside of someone else's house - can I help it if we haven't gotten around to planting in any flowers yet? We drove around the neighborhood looking for this yard, but Jonathan insisted that we park at home and walk to the house rather than do a quick in and out of the car to take the picture. So, here is our Easter picture of Jonathan and Anderson - don't you think that it was worth the little bit of trouble to get such a pretty background?! :)
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Take Your Baby to Work and Family Day

We've had some amazing weather over the last several days. Blue skies and 80 degree temps without the horrid humidity - hopefully this will last a while longer before we leap into summer. Jonathan, Anderson and I have been taking advantage of the weather and our fabulous jogger stroller (thanks Speechleys) with daily walks around the neighborhood and sometimes to meals. We love where we live!

Today, Anderson woke us up around 5 a.m. asking for breakfast after going to sleep around 11 p.m. last night. This is the second night that he has slept 6-7 hours at a stretch. Perhaps it is still the aftermath of the vaccinations he received on Thursday - we are still hesitant to think that this is a new, wonderful phase!

Anywho, Anderson was fed and then coaxed back to sleep for a few more hours. We all slept in during the rainy morning, and when the sun came out, we quickly got ready and walked to brunch at the burrito place. Then we loaded up the car and headed to Shelby Bottoms for a few hours in the park - Jonathan worked on his paper, Anderson "rode his bike" until he fell asleep, and I read. When we got home, Jonathan and I worked in the yard a bit and then had dinner. What a great day! Here are a few pictures and some video from the park.

Earlier this week, Anderson and I went to my work where we spent more than 2 hours introducing him to everyone. They all noted his long eyelashes and most thought that he favored me. He made a wonderful impression -sleeping or smiling the whole time. Although it is going to be tough to get back into the swing of things, I was reminded of the wonderful group of people with whom I work. As when I was pregnant, I can't imagine a better place to be as a "working mom."

Anderson and I also had a lunch with my friend, Kelly, and her son, Jasper, who is two weeks younger than Anderson. Kelly and I work together and supported each other throughout our pregnancies as this was a first child for us both. Jasper's a cutie and is as fair as Anderson is dark. We hope to get together with them again, soon.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Two Months - Ouch!

Anderson had his two month appointment bright and early this morning. I think we scheduled his appointment for 8 a.m. back when we thought we'd be up with him already. Little did we know that he (and we) can sleep a few more hours after an early morning meal . . . ahhh, we live and learn.

So, our little guy is growing big and strong. He weighed 11 lbs 3 oz and measured 23" in length with a head circumference of 15" (if I remember correctly). Then came the tough part - he had to get three shots! The nurse instructed us (me) to hold his hands together at his chest which would help comfort him as she stuck him. At lightening speed, she poked him in both legs and although Anderson started to cry a few moments after the first stick, he was easily consoled afterwards. He did wonderfully - mommy got a little teary though.

Our next appointment is at 4 months.

Monday, March 29, 2010

We Are Family

Yesterday, Anderson met some of his cousins from Illinois. Morgen (first cousin once removed), Matt (first cousin once removed in law), Kali and Owen (2nd cousins) made their annual pilgrimage last week from Illinois to Gulf Shores to meet up with Matt's parents. Fortunately for us, their route takes them straight through Nashville (well, as straight as one can get driving through Nashville). We missed them on their way down, but we got in a quick visit on their trip back home. Kali and Owen seemed to dig their new cousin - Owen even said that he was beautiful :)

Here's the fam with Anderson. Don't they look incredible? Especially for folks who have been on the road for 8 hours, starting at 4:15 a.m., and face another 8 hours of driving!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Two Months Old

It's hard to believe that Anderson is nearly two months old, already. My how the time has flown by. Although I find myself looking forward to when we will be able to play with him and have an entire night's sleep, I'm trying not to wish away this special time when he is so young and so completely dependent on me and on us. Listening to the sounds he makes while he's nursing and his "Beavis"-like laughs while he's sound asleep are special times that we know will go by far too quickly. He's already grown so much and I surprise myself by how sad it makes me to see pictures of him taken just weeks ago when he was so small . . . our little baby is starting to look more like a little boy. :)

As he grows older, the time draws nearer for me to return to work . . . although staying at home with a baby is it's own kind of hard work! Some days it seems that asking alumni to name Vanderbilt in their estate plans or to consider making a $100,000 gift is a piece of cake compared to acting as a human buffet for a little person every two hours, but I know it is going to be a challenge to try to balance the two. Thankfully I still have several more weeks before I have to face it and an amazing partner to help us figure it all out.

Following our action-packed trip home to Salisbury, we've had pretty uneventful days at home. It seems that Anderson and I are back in synch for meals which makes both of us very happy. Anderson found his thumb for the first time late last week, although he hasn't made a habit of it, yet. He is much more alert, now, smiling more often (especially in the morning) and looking around at whatever catches his fancy. The infant acne that broke out on his sweet little face, ears, scalp, and chest has nearly cleared up and he loves to "ride his bike" - legs pumping madly while sitting in his vibrating chair (a must-have for us!). He has grown out of nearly all of his newborn clothes and is thankful for the fabulous hand-me-downs from his big cousin, Jack - here he is modeling one of Jack's shirts and is ready to hit the luau.

We've made the most of the springtime weather and our wonderful neighborhood by walking to lunch, dinner, and dessert over several days with our neighbors Sarah, Rose and Will, and Jenny, Maggie, and Mary Beth. Although Anderson fusses a bit when we first put him into his carrier, he quickly remembers that he LOVES it and is rocked to sleep as we walk. It is tricky to eat while "wearing" him and it can get quite hot, but he is so content and right now it's nice to be unencumbered by a stroller.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Eating Ups and Downs

They say that the way to one's heart is through her stomach which explains our new love of Athens! We mentioned the delectable eats at Farm 255 where we ate dinner and we happened upon another fabulous restaurant the next morning called Mama's Boy. Here Jonathan enjoyed peach stuffed french toast that was out of this world and I had a yummy goat cheese, spinach, and tomato omelet with cheese grits and a huge biscuit. Well priced and truly delicious, we hated to have to leave the area with so many more restaurants to uncover. But Music City was calling. (here's a picture of our Mama's boy in front of Mama's Boy and a picture of Anderson appropriately resting on his first hotel bed where he wrangled his tired parents into letting him sleep most of the night)

We made it home just fine and are settling back into real life. Jonathan jumped right back into the swing of school - I don't know how he is able to think clearly on campus while also being super Dad at home. Sadly, Anderson and I are apparently having more difficulty adjusting. Anderson has been pretty fussy the last few days and we think that we have determined that he is not getting as much to eat as he needs. It seems that my food supply has slowed down a bit, and I don't blame our little guy for being awnry when he has a rumbly in his tumbly. I'm focusing on hydration and just started some delicious herbal remedy, so hopefully we will all be happy, soon, so that I can fill out my bracket!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Awesome Athens

We left Charleston this afternoon and arrived in Athens, GA this evening. Anderson seems quite at home in his first hotel - he and his daddy are falling asleep among the billowing pillows. Trip Advisor comes through again with the choice of this hotel. The Foundry Inn & Spa is a perfect spot for our mid-trip stop. Although the rooms do open to the outside, the interior seems to have been recently renovated and is really nice, including beadboard in the bathroom. So far, we'd recommend this spot to others visiting Athens. And we HIGHLY recommend the fabulous restaurant where we ate dinner - Farm 255. The restaurant actually runs its own organic farm and, as you would imagine, the menu features items that are created using locally grown meat and produce. The atmosphere was cool, yet casual and the food was delicious, including the pickled cauliflower that I tried for the first time. East Nashville needs a place like this!!

We plan to walk around Athens a bit in the morning and then set the Roadster's course for Nashville.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Anderson is one lucky little fella. Although we live several hours from our families, he has already enjoyed several visits with his grandparents. Sassy and Papa (Jill's parents) and Wawa and Granddaddy (Jonathan's parents) each have two grandsons - what fun!

Jack Meets Anderson

Following a wonderful visit with Erin and Ben (Erin is perfectly radiant as a mommy-to-be), we arrived in Charleston on Wednesday and introduced Baby Anderson to his cousin, Jack. At first, Jack wasn't too sure about this new little guy, but he quickly warmed too him, pointing and saying "Ba-by." All was great until Brooke cradled Anderson in her arms, and Jack went from curious cousin to surly son. The pouting lips and crocodile tears clearly stated that he did not like this new "ba-by" in his momma's arms. But a little distraction made all well.

Little does Jack know that he will soon have one of these "ba-bies" in his life 24/7 - Brookie is expecting baby #2 later this summer. She looks fabulous and she and Jeff certainly make this parenting thing look easy. Jack loves his Sassy and Papa - lighting up whenever they come in the room - and he is very polite saying "Please" and "Thank You" with his baby sign language. Amazing! He's very welcoming, saying "Hi" and waving to anyone who walks in or whoever drives by while on our walk. And his love of cleaning continues...when is he coming to Nashville?!
While in Charleston, we celebrated Brooke and Jeff's 32nd birthdays and then Sassy and Papa kept the kids - so funny to be saying this in reference to our own children! - so that Brooke, Jeff, Jonathan, and I could enjoy a nice meal at 17 North. Yum!

Anderson loves it down here where he has had the best nights of the last few weeks and seems to be the least snuffly. Sadly, he looks like our little teenager with the onset of infant acne. Our poor little guy has it all over his perfect little face and his ears. Hopefully he's getting it all out now so he doesn't have to go through it as a teen.

Tomorrow we start our trip back to Nashville by way of Athens, GA. What a wonderful week we have had!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Anderson's Salisbury Debut

Last Friday we loaded up the Wright Family Roadster and headed out on our first big road trip. Anderson seemed to love the drive - sleeping most of the way and staring out the window when his eyes were open. We made a lunchtime stop in Knoxville and visited with our dear friend GG who had a fabulous lunch waiting for us. Then it was back in the car, destination Salis-vegas. All told, the trip took us about 8.5 hours of actual drive time.

While in Salisbury, we entertained many visitors who traveled from near and far to meet Anderson. Although he slept through most of the visits, he and especially his parents, were deeply touched by all of the folks who came over to see him. In addition to spending time with both sets of grandparents, Anderson's days were filled with arms that were eager to "love on him."

On Saturday he met Janet and Berkley - little nine-year old Berkley held him as if she was a momma already - Jill's 1st grade teacher and dear friend, Nana Joyce, our longtime family friend, Candy, and his cousins Gina, Dwayne, Sarah, and Perry (actually they are first cousins once removed for those,like me, who like to figure this stuff out) and Weston (his 2nd cousin). Following all of this visiting, Anderson attended his first surprise birthday party for his Aunt Kim where he met her and Uncle Daniel for the first time. He also was introduced to Great Aunt Karolyn, Great Aunt Marilyn, and Great Uncle Phil. Kim was surprised by the number of people who came out to celebrate her big 4-0 and we all had a great time celebrating her. The day ended with the Carolina/Duke game that Jonathan has asked we just not talk about. But, the highlight of that event was that Anderson got to meet Earle who came over to cheer on his 'Heels.

Sunday was just as full with visits from Jill's college roomie, Laura, and Jonathan's college roomie and family, Chris, Rachel, Mia and Sam. Mia also got to try out her pre-babysitting skills by holding Anderson while her brother made fast friends with Deacon - Jill's parents' golden retriever. Following a Wake Forest win over Clemson (phew!), we were thrilled to see the Michaels - Autumn, Jeff, Boone, Della Scott, and Mary Kirk. The evening was complete with the Oscars, although the awards show reminded us that we saw far too few of the movies that were nominated and that it isn't likely that we'll see many in the forseeable future!

Monday started out with a wonderful visit with Earle (another of Jonathan's college roomies) and Laura, followed by lunch with Nancy at one of Salisbury's newest restaurants - yum! We got back home just in time to introduce Anderson to Mr. and Mrs. C and their grandson, Samuel, and spent the evening with Aunt Kim and Uncle Daniel who drove in for some more time with their new nephew. Of course, Wawa (Grandmother Wright) and Grandaddy Wright were with us, too.

Today, our last day in Salisbury, we had a quick visit with Kay and then headed to Cleveland to see Jonathan's Granddaddy Wright. We snapped a memorable picture of four generations of Wright boys - Great-Grandadday Carl, Grandaddy Larry, Jonathan, and Anderson. A pretty special occasion and Great-Granddaddy just loved feeling Anderson's tiny grasp on his finger. We then had lunch at Sidewalk Deli and got back just in time to meet Jeannie and Stella, followed by Tracy and a return visit by Berkley. Micki stopped by in the evening while Wawa and Granddaddy got in some remaining "A" time.

A whirlwind visit but oh so special. There's nothing like going "home" to remind you of how special a place it is. We're now off to Charleston to meet Jack and Uncle Jeff and enjoy a few days of anonymity.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Johnsons Come to Visit

Anderson met his cousin, Elias, and Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Ken this weekend. The Johnsons drove down from Indiana/Louisville, KY to spend a couple of days with the newest addition to the family. We had a wonderful time.

Elias welcomed Anderson to the family with some spiffy dinosaur PJs and a book. He was very sweet with his new cousin and was a bit perplexed by all of the sleeping this baby was doing. "Is he awake yet?" was a common question. Elias, on the other hand, was high energy and enjoyed expending some of that energy with his mom and Uncle Jonathan at the Adventure Science Museum down the road from our house. Later, Elias and I made banana bread - yummy!

Uncle Ken and Aunt Cheryl got in their baby fixes and their cradling and "baby exchanging" skills quickly came back to them. Before heading back up 65, Elias read Anderson a couple of books. What a great visit!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Anderson Sidney Arrives

On Wednesday, January 27th, we welcomed our son, Anderson Sidney Wright, into the world at 5:52 a.m. We simply liked his first name and chose his middle name in memory of my paternal grandfather, Sidney Skowronek. He weighed 7 lbs 1 oz and measured 20.5 inches. Following three prior visits to the hospital to monitor my blood pressure (beginning at 36 weeks), we chose to be induced on the 26th at 38 weeks.

We started the day with a Cinnamon Crunch bagel at Panera and arrived at Vanderbilt University Hospital around 9 a.m. The staff was ready for us, including our fabulous nurse, Mary, and gave us a sweet suite (Room #5) that came complete with a cot and a great view. They started me on Pitocin at 11:15 a.m. and as Mary came in to check on me, stealthily increasing the Pitocin level, she said that her goal was to make me cry. That took quite a while, and to my credit I didn't cry until the very end, but I received an epidural around 7:45 p.m. Many thanks to our friend, Joe, who is an anesthesiology resident and made sure that I was well cared for. Sara Beth, another fabulous nurse, took over at 7:00 p.m. and saw us through to the end.

The epidural gave me time to rest and take in the wonderful tunes that Jonathan lined up for the event - who said that he wouldn't really be able to play "delivery room DJ?" We did have a bit of a scare later in the night - after just dozing off, the entire team rushed in and quickly rolled me to my side. Apparently Anderson's vitals had fallen sharply. But the quickly recovered and all was okay. As we rested and waited for the magic 10 cm, my parents (who arrived in town the Thursday before) and Jonathan's mom (who drove in from Louisville earlier that day) waited patiently around the corner. None of us considered what they would do if my labor continued through the night, but they chose to camp out in the waiting room and "break the rules" of 1. Do not turn out the lights and 2. Do not sleep here overnight. These rules were clearly not meant for grandparents.

The hard work began around 3:30 a.m. Jonathan and I were quite surprised to learn that this part of the process involved the two of us and Sara Beth - not the team of people that we've seen on TV. So, Jonathan had a front row seat for Anderson's birth. He and Sara Beth were incredible coaches and Dr. Boudreaux and the rest of the team arrived for the last 10 minutes. Three more pushes and Jonathan announced that we had a "beautiful baby boy."

After introducing him to his grandparents and making a few calls, we noticed that he hadn't really cried and he had a cute little whimper. Turns out that the whimper was indicative of a potential breathing problem. So, after arriving in the nursery and scaring his new daddy with chocking up some amneotic fluid, Anderson was transferred to the NICU for observation where he stayed for about 24 hours. He finally arrived in our room on Thursday afternoon and we didn't let him out of our sight.
A snowstorm was on its way on Friday, so the staff was eager to send us home. I was discharged, but Anderson had jaundice and had to stay for a couple more days under the "sun lamps." Fortunately, the good staff at Vanderbilt allowed us to stay in our room so that we didn't have to navigate the snowy streets back and forth while he tanned.

So, this afternoon nurse Betty Witherspoon (does her last name ring a bell?) discharged our little guy and Jonathan carefully navigated the snowy, icy streets to bring us home. And baby makes three...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Showering Baby Wright (October/December 2009, January 2010)

We have been overwhelmed by the love and support of our friends and family. Baby Wright has been showered on several occasions and we are so grateful for all that we have received in preparation for Baby Wright's arrival.

Our dear friends, the Swaim Girls, hosted a Halloween shower for us back home in Salisbury. It was an incredible, intergenerational celebration with many of our childhood friends, their parents, and many of their children. We will never be at a loss for good advice! And as a wonderful surprise, Jill's Aunt Susan and Uncle Steve flew in from Connecticut for the weekend to help celebrate!!!

Jean Ricard (Baby Jack's other grandmother) is full of creativity and in addition to making us covers for shopping carts and restaurant high chairs, she made Jonathan his own Diaper Changing Tool Kit. Jonathan is proudly modeling these essentials, here.

In early December, Jill's co-workers transformed the conference room into a Beatrix Potter springtime baby bistro. We enjoyed some after hours chatting and wonderful gifts for Baby Wright, including this adorable Moo Cow onesie and numerous books for baby's growing library.

And in January, Jonathan's classmates were eager to show Baby Wright some love with a wonderful afternoon shower. Great food and even better conversation about what to expect when you are expecting from Moms (and a couple of Dads) who know.
The Ladies on the Block (don't be fooled by the rocks that we got) also treated Jill to brunch earlier this month. We had so much fun that we are going to do it much more often and next time, mimosas for EVERYONE!