Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Heat Is ON!

In more ways than just the sweltering temperatures, the heat is on for sure!!!

Our movers come in two weeks. That's right...in two weeks, I am supposed to have my house belongings into three piles-- stuff that goes to NC for the next few years, stuff that stays here in storage for the next few years, and stuff that goes with us for the next few weeks-3 or more months as we move into housing.

Good times.

For once in my life, I'm adopting John's motto and figure whatever doesn't get done, will eventually. Whatever doesn't? Meh.

Can't be bothered. Luke just grows and changes and takes up every second of every day with something new and fun, and we are trying to visit with as many as we can before we have to leave, so whatever happens, happens.

(Ignore the panic attack that is actually happening and pretend I really mean the above as coolly and calmly as it is written.)

So, I haven't updated Luke in two weeks. It's crazy how he's growing! He's in 3-6 months clothing, but busting at the seams, so we are moving into 6-9 months. He is 14 lbs., 14 oz. and that's the 26th%tile for weight. He is 25.5 inches and that's the 49th%tile for length. His head circumference was 16.5 and that was in the 21st%tile. He's long and lean, though I have to say, we've been calling him "Pudgsicle" and "Pudge Pop" because he's quite the chunkster, even though he is still a little under average for weight.

For us, he's perfect! He's growing, he's healthy, he's happy...he loves us and we love him. What more could we ask of him?

His grasp is rocking these days. He is picking up so many things! Won't be long before it's FOOD he's picking up!

He rolled over for the first time on Saturday the 28th! He hates tummy time so much that he decided he was done with it and rolled to the left. He can do that like nuts now, though it's sort of a game because every time I put him on his tummy, he rolls!

Now to work on back to tummy! He is often on his side, especially when sleeping, and every now and then practically makes it to his tummy, save his one little arm that he 'chicken wings' underneath him! That's ok...he's growing so quickly, there's NO rush on anything!

He still prefers to stand. All the time. I can't believe how balanced he is, for just five months. Unfortunately, that precludes him from sitting very much, so I am often forcing the sitting. He pushes, pushes, pushes those little legs to stand and I crack up. He also pushes his little legs and scrunches that little tushie when doing tummy time, so I bet he'll be up and scooting soon!

Hence, Scooter is another nickname!

Naps stink. Seriously. This kid will cat-nap a couple of times a morning (15-30 minutes if lucky) and then maybe a couple in the afternoon (more like 3 that are about 15-20 minutes or so, and those are rare!). He's not fussy and he seems to be ok on the sleep he's getting, so...guess I can't complain, but I just feel like he's more tired than he allows himself to sleep.

For the last two nights, he's *ruh-eeeaaaalllly* had a hard time going down and staying down. I think we are in the big-time throes of teething, though I don't feel anything. EVERYTHING goes to his mouth, he is a drooling fool and he gnaws on his paci instead of sucking it as much. Feeling like teeth are coming soon.

Wow. Where has my itty bitty Baby Kitty gone?

He's a few days away from 5 months and is so darned full and rosy and sweet I can't even stand it sometimes without feeling like I just have to gobble him up! Every time I do "Super Baby" with him (which he LOVES, LOVES, LOVES!) I just can't believe how big he is!!!

Each day seems to be so full of so much emotion still...so much fun and excitement with Luke as well as anticipation for being back at the beach and with so many of my sweet NC friends...but every night before I go to sleep, I get so choked up I can barely breathe as I think of this house being empty.

Yes, we'll be back.
I just know how hard it will be to see so much packed up and gone. This house...our church...our friends...the cemetery...they are all so tied together with Matthew. His life, his birth, his death, his memory.

I cry just typing it. Won't those packers think I'm a nutcase when they see me bawling my eyes out?

They probably won't be too far off...

Here are some pics from this week. I HATE uploading pictures to Blogger--it takes forever or I get error messages after I waited for forever, so...there may be lots more on Facebook than here....sorry!! I promise, he does amazingly cute things EVERY day!!!

The movers are coming WHEN?????????

Finally getting some hair on top!!!!

And then mommy goes and covers it....sigh....

Dimples are coming!! Dimples are coming!!!

Mommy says daddy digs me too!!!!

Well, that's the THIRD Bad Request, Error 400 I've gotten, so that's all for this week!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

It Must Be Said...

It must be said.

Before I say it, I apologize in advance (Gina, borrowed that from you!) because I know I am bound to offend someone.

Someone who really meant well.

Someone who honestly is happy for us.

Someone who had no intention but just to express their gratitude for the joy in our lives.

Someone we may know and love and are grateful to have in our lives.

And I’m sorry if you or anyone you know is that someone.

If I don’t say it, though, I’ll burst. I’ve had it on my heart since Wednesday. Probably longer, but our television stints (seriously, Luke is just as precious and adorable on TV as he is in real life, isn’t he?!) have brought up the exact circumstances about which I must speak. Or write, rather. And I've always tried to be honest...especially now for Luke. I always want him to know his mother's heart.

We do not have a 'happy ending'.

Tons of people (and truly, we are honored, humbled and amazed!) saw our TV coverage and shared the links on their blogs/Facebook pages. Each time, because I was ‘tagged’ or ‘mentioned’, I was able to see the posts and the comments of friends of friends of friends.

And we saw SO MANY things like, “Sad story, but glad it ended well,” or “Heartbreaking, but at least they finally have their baby.”

Ahem. We had two babies.

We only get to raise one. Well, we pray each night that we continue to get to raise one. We know there are no guarantees.

As grateful as we are for Luke…for as much joy and happiness and sheer bliss he brings into our lives…our Matthew is still dead. I still mother a grave. My first-born is not with me and I miss him so much every.single.day.

I don’t think that’s a happy ending. I think there really *isn’t* an *ending* to our ‘story’ (save when I take my last breath, maybe).

So, do we have a lot of happy in our lives? Absolutely!!

A happy ending? Not so sure. To me, that implies that we had a struggle; Matthew was born and died and that was a ‘bump’ in the road, but now we have Luke, so we finally had success!

I know that’s not what people mean, and I feel bad even saying anything about it because I do KNOW that the intentions are not to hurt our feelings.

The thing is that it sort of does. It takes me right to the heart of where my emotions have been lately--in that it sometimes seems that Matthew is forgotten because Luke is here. All the hopes and dreams for Matthew just got transferred right on over to the son who is living and can fulfill them. When people ask me (and of course, again, I KNOW it is well-intentioned and NOT ever meant to hurt us!), "Wasn't it all worth it?" (With all, I assume, being the infertility, the treatments, the attempts to adopt, trying another cycle after Matthew, etc.)...I can't answer, "Yep, sure was, because Luke is AMAZING!"

Yes, Luke IS amazing. I love him more than I can even put to words. I did not have ANY idea that I would be so utterly in love with him. I can't imagine my life without him.

But is he 'worth' Matthew dying?

How could any mother be expected to answer that? One child dying to pave the path for another? No, I don't think it's worth it. And I think I'd be a horrible mother if I was ok with Matthew not being here if that's how Luke had to come to be.

Though Matthew died, he WAS SUCCESS! He was our first miracle! He was precious! He was perfect! He was sweet, sweet, sweet and I loved every thing about him.

He made me a mother.

His death doesn’t allow us to have that ‘happy ending’ to a loooooooooong road of infertility, but neither does Luke’s birth—because I’ll never observe a Mother’s Day with Luke without remembering that I, as Linda so eloquently said in her interview, carry one child in my arms and one in my heart.

Our story hasn’t ended…it’s sad and joyous and heartbreaking and redemptive, but it isn’t over.

We live it and are grateful for it every day.

Here are the links to the segments.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Road Tripping!

Luke's 19th week has been busy, busy, busy! We are (in theory) getting ready for the move. I say in theory because I plan a million things each night as I go to sleep and the next day, they all seem to just end up on the list for the following day's agenda.

I guess I'll be ready, whether or not I'm ready, right? John's favorite motto is "If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do," and that seems to be how I am approaching this move.

That said, I also just seem to not have enough time. And time with Luke wins every tug.

He had his 4 month checkup Friday. Dr. Sheth walked in as I was letting Luke 'stand' on the table. That's one of his favorite things--us holding his hands and him standing. He is so strong. The doctor laughed and said, "Oh, no, no, no...you do not want to teach him that!" At first, I thought he was serious--that there was some medical reasoning. He then went on to say that the brain imprints every single thing--every head wobble, foot placement, etc., that Luke is making, his brain is coding for acclimation into 'normal' day-to-day. Even though it sounds silly that a 4 month old is 'learning' to stand/walk, that's essentially what it is. I asked what the problem with that was and he said, "Oh nothing...but boy are you in trouble when he walks!" He continued by telling me that he could see just from how strong Luke was standing and how his head/neck control was that he wouldn't be surprised if Luke was walking at 8 or 9 months! YIKES. I was walking at 8 1/2 months...my mom said I didn't crawl very much, maybe a few weeks, then crawled under a table and walked out.

I just can't believe that. Seriously. Walking in a few months? No way.

We're not even rolling! Sure are trying, though. For a few days, he was entirely on his stomach, save his arm--if he'd just pull that out from under him, he'd be there. I have a feeling it is only a matter of a few more days before he's going back and forth pretty easily. He is all over his playmat and crib, but we've been traveling and he hasn't had as much practice lately. The doctor and I also talked about tummy time. He did a few things and then told me not to worry about it so much...Luke was obviously strong, would use his arms for what he wanted to use, and that I could just try and give him a couple minutes here and there if it made me feel better, but that he wasn't worried about it at all. I'm going to really, really miss his doctor! (Not the wait time, though!!! THREE hours...for an appointment I made two months ago.)

He was 13 lbs., 12 oz., though the scale kept wobbling between that and 14 lbs. I think he leaned heavier, based on our weigh-ins at home, but it doesn't matter. He is healthy and happy, so I'm fine. With a length of 24.75 inches and head circumference of 16 inches (longer, leaner and smaller head--very much like his daddy!), the doctor said he was just perfect. He did fine with his shot (Pentacil) because he was asleep. He woke up because of it, but then got an oral vaccine that must have tasted sweet because he didn't even cry over the shot--went straight to sucking that syrup as fast as he could! This boy loves the sweet stuff, for sure!

We went on a road trip this weekend! With our good friends Craig and Shelby, and some of their family, we celebrated their twin boys' 2nd birthday at Sesame Place! Of course Luke won't remember it, but we had a good time and he'll have lots of 'memories' in pictures! He had lots of firsts--first time in a swimming pool (loved it!), first shower with daddy (loved it!), first beer.

First beer? Yes. We all went to dinner and the wait time was crazy. Luke was in his carrier and we were all sort of trying to stand out of the way (not a lot of room in the front of the restaurant for waiting). We were all halfway in the entrance/bar area and all of a sudden, one of the boys (who was being held in his daddy's arms) accidentally knocked a glass of beer off of the bar--right onto Luke! The glass broke, beer and glass splattered, and poor little Luke was a little surprised, to say the least. Thankfully, he was fine--his toe got cut a teeny bit and he smelled like he'd been out carousing the brothels, but it could have been a lot, lot worse. Lesson learned? Might be best just to hold him if we are ever in a situation like that again.

Speaking of holding...he has decided that my arms are the best place for naps, for real. He'll 'nap' in his crib for maybe 30-40 minutes at a time, if I am lucky. In my arms? 2 hours or more. Morning naps are really iffy these days, and so to compensate, I pretty much plop myself
on the sofa with the phone, a drink and the remote control and we 'rest' for a good bit in the afternoon. I want to be sure he gets enough sleep in the daytime.

Nothing gets done and I don't care. If he'd let me, I'd sit on the sofa holding him for several hours every day until he was 34.

One of the BEST parts of our trip was meeting our friend Katy and her sweet Bobby and Ellie. Katy and I have decided that at just two weeks apart, Ellie and Luke are destined for each other! I loved, loved, loved actually 'meeting' Katy and wish we'd had more time! There will be lots of sweet pictures of the babies together, as well as our Sesame Place adventure, but will have to wait until tomorrow. Luke woke up at 5 for a feeding, and I figured if I didn't get this written after he was done and back asleep, there's no telling when I would...but as it is now 6:15, John is getting ready for work and I am going to try to get another hour or so before the Lukester is back up. My insomnia is awful these days--as tired as I am, my mind just WILL NOT TURN OFF and so I'm glad Luke will go right back to sleep, but I sure don't. Probably because I'm thinking of the one million and eight things I need to do.

Too bad my brain won't subscribe to the 'Wait until the last minute' theory!

Here are a few pictures of Luke from this week...

Throwing the ball for the dogs...he likes hanging with Daddy!
Daddy and his Mini-Me

Assuming nap position....
Dixie is glad to watch Luke...and keep his feet clean!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Four Months...Sigh...

In church on Sunday, our pastor told a story in which he said he used the song "Don't Blink" by Kenney Chesney to illustrate just how fast time flies.

'Aint that the truth?

Luke turned 4 months last Wednesday! I still, in my head, count weeks (18!) but realize that he's getting to be such a big boy and when people ask how old he is, I guess I have to tell them, "Four months."


Of course I love him growing up and getting bigger, but MAN...it's too fast!

He is grabbing things so much these days--and they IMMEDIATELY go into his mouth. He puts everything...everything he can get his little hands on...in his mouth! He has always been pretty strong and pretty quickly was able to put his body weight on his legs, but now he really likes to just hold onto your fingers and stand/squat. It's a fun game with him and daddy!

Still uses his thumb, but not really to suck--more to gnaw. I check every day to see if anything is budding because with his gnawing and bubbles and drooling, I'd SWEAR he was teething, but so far, not yet. He certainly is Drooly-Drools-A lot, though!

We've started to put him in his high chair with us now at dinner. Just to start getting him used to it and allowing him to show interest in food, should that be the case. At first, he was a little unsure--but he seems to like it a good bit now, and enjoys all the toys on his tray.

When he can stay awake, that is...

He still isn't sleeping any certain times consistently. 99% of the time, he is out for the count by 9:00 pm and I can mostly count on at least a 4 hour stretch from feed to feed. In the last week, he actually had two nights where he went 8-9 hours. Then there were three nights where he was up about 4-5 times in one night! So...no consistency, but that's ok. Now that I am able to get a few stretches of 3-4 hours of sleep, sort of, I don't feel as sleep deprived. When he wakes up and won't settle back, even if I don't think he is hungry, I know I will never regret trying to see if he'll eat.

Too soon, those 3 am feedings...quiet time with a sweet baby boy...they'll be gone.
I'm glad I am sleeping a bit more because I can enjoy every second of that time...and I do.

He weighs about an ounce or two shy of 14 lbs. A lactation consultant told me that they look for babies to double birth weight by five months. Lukester doubled his at about 3 1/2! That said, he's still in the low end of the charts--about 26th%tile for weight. He's 25 inches, though, so he's in the 45th%tile for height, so he is sort of fulfilling that 'long and lean' prophecy.

He still hates tummy time, but it's good that he gets mad because that totally makes him rock back and forth. I really feel like it's only a matter of time and he's going to be rolling over. He's already learning how to roll to his side so he can watch tv when he's on his playmat! That little stinker will seek the tv out any way he can!!!!

Fine, mom...here's your stinking tummy time!

Whew...what a workout!

Naps pretty much stink these days. He just wakes himself up and can't settle himself back, so they often end up with him in my arms or the sling. He's all about the sling these days, which is good in that I can vacuum and do other things, but a toll on my back. Still looking for the perfect carrier--the Mei Tie and facsimiles thereof don't seem to thrill Luke. Carriers like the Snugli or Ergo work better for John; he doesn't seem to like them on me either. The ring sling is not too bad, but it stinks being short! For now, the slingling works and he likes being a Baby Joey!

I just adore him. Simply and truly, I adore him.

Here are some more pics from this week:

He likes being in this carrier with John...me, not so much!

Kick, kick, kick! I rock at this!
Don't let the spit-up fool you! Pastor Mark gave a GREAT message on Baby Dedication day!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

On Motherhood and Mother's Day...

Today is Mother's Day.

A very different one than last year, or any other year I've ever been alive.

This year, I cradled a precious, sleeping baby boy in my arms during church, and gave thanks to God for the gift of Motherhood.

It's a bittersweet gift, though. Today was also Luke's dedication at church. While we stood in front of so many people who have loved and supported us for several years, and Luke maintained his adorableness by trying to shove his tie in his mouth, I couldn't help but think about how we should have had Matthew's dedication.

That had we, we may never have had Luke's.

How complicated so many feelings are. How my heart could be so full of gratitude and longing at the same time.

Admittedly, a tear or two fell.

I think back to last year...a few days from finding out we were actually pregnant again, and feeling so, so broken. A mother without her child...in a world where if you have no child to show for the labor, your title of mother is a muddy one at best.

Obviously, little Luke WAS with me for Mother's Day last year, so technically, it's not even 'our' first Mother's Day together...but of course I didn't know that then, and I didn't know whether or not I'd ever hold a child of mine in my arms. The desperation of that life, as well as the utter aching for my son clouded every second of the day.

And while it doesn't cloud today, as I recently read somewhere, the sadness and heartache is still here...it's just more enveloped in happiness, rather than happiness being dominated by sadness. For that, I'm grateful--that we have more days where the happy is greater than the sad, vice days where the sad just steals all the happy.

I'm thankful for Luke's role in our lives making that so.

We visited Matthew's grave after church. It breaks my heart that a little boy who brought SO MUCH happiness and joy into my life always seems to end up getting my tears now...tears because I miss him. Tears because I don't always feel like I do him justice. Tears because I am overwhelmed with emotion as I stand at his grave while holding Luke. Tears because I just can't stop them.

For 10 years, I cried at every Mother's Day service. Not much, but always a little as I silently begged God to make me a mother. When my mother died, I cried as I added into my begging some peace as I missed her so. Now, as I dedicate a sweet boy to the Lord, I cry because I miss his brother.

I am comforted by a few things though...mainly that before Matthew or Luke were ever born, I already promised them to God. Foolishly, before Matthew was born, I promised I'd give him to God, no matter what the calling. As if I had any control...

As I was pregnant with Luke, I did the same, though this time completely understanding in a way I never could before that my boys were God's before they were ever mine. I instead thanked God for another blessing and promised to raise Luke to know God to the best of my ability. This morning, we officially made that promise, and though I didn't get to 'officially' make that promise or follow through with that for Matthew, I know that my promise of Matthew's life to God was recognized. The certificate of dedication given to Luke had the verse that is inscribed on Matthew's stone..."For this child, I prayed," I Samuel 1:27. I know it is a common verse, and common for dedications, but it brought me a peace to see it both on Matthew's stone and Luke's certificate. Somewhere in my heart, I hope that God was letting me know He was cognizant of and honored by the promise I'd made with Matthew as I also made the promise with Luke.

I DID pray for both of those boys..."So now, I return them to the Lord. For their whole lives, the will be given to the Lord." I Samuel 1:28

Luke and Daddy had matching ties for the service!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Freeze, time! Freeze!

I cannot believe my sweet little Luke is 17 weeks old! I still feel like he is just newly born and we are practically fresh out of the hospital. Time is moving way too quickly--I didn't even get a chance to post his 16 weeks update last week. He just can't be this big already!!!

Clothes don’t lie, though! It seems like I take a few outfits out of his wardrobe on a daily basis—outfits that don’t fit anymore and used to seem SO big to me!! Even his Easter outfit surprised me! I thought it was going to be too long for him and lo and behold, it fit just fine. In fact, with his fluffy cloth diaper bottom, it might have been called snug!

I went shopping for summer clothes for him last week and while I love shopping for all the sweet little things out there, I got so nostalgic and weepy right in the middle of the Carter’s store as I saw outfits that were teeny, tiny and wouldn’t come close to fitting him. I saw the “Little Brother” outfit I had bought for him before he was born…I bought the newborn size, and it was big! My little peanut needed preemie, and now he is pretty much exclusively in 3-6 months clothing. Some Gymboree things (they run big!) are still 0-3, but those 0-3 outfits are few and far between. Heck, in just a week of buying things last week, there are already two or three 3-6 month outfits that are iffy for fitting!

I feel like time is spinning out of control—I never seem to have enough of it. Enough to get things I want to get done done and enough of it to prolong Luke’s babyhood. Every single day, I am more and more aware of how I need to soak in every second I can because I blink and they are GONE!

Last week, he hit the 13 lbs. mark, barely. It put him in the 24th percentile. Yesterday I weighed him and he was 13 lbs., 11 oz. and this put him in the 29th percentile. I think he is going through a growth spurt, even though he's still on the low end of the charts. Considering it took him a while to get on the chart at all, I still am ok with that. I shudder to even think about where I am on a chart! Oh wait, I’m not. Guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, huh?

His first Easter had Grandma and cousin Andi visit, with Aunt Pretty, Uncle Puny and cousins Zach and Ryan visiting a bit right before. He enjoyed all the antics done to entertain him, and gave out lots and lots of smiles. He didn’t really do much for Easter this year, save ‘help’ Mommy make a bunny cake. In his Easter basket were books a few toys and things for the beach this summer in NC! We plan to have quite an enjoyable beach summer!

After Easter service, we went to Matthew’s grave and planted a few hyacinths. We’ve finally gotten the bench in; our precious L&D nurses gathered together for a nice bench and as Luke is older, John imagines that we might spend some nice sunny days there…eating lunch or reading books and just remembering how special Matthew is in our family. As much as I don’t like being ‘tied’ to a grave, I will miss quiet, reflective moments there while we are in Jacksonville. I am so grateful to those who have told me that they visit, or will visit while we are gone. The thought that his grave may go untended or unkempt breaks my heart. When I walk by graves like that, I always feel so terribly for the deceased—it’s as if their life doesn’t matter to someone any more and the thought that someone might think that of Matthew’s terrifies me.

That baby boy matters as much today as he did the day he was born and he will when I take my last breath.

I want him to matter to Luke, too.

Luke is such a smiley, smiley baby! He almost always wakes up with a smile, and he gives them pretty freely to just about anyone. He has special ones just for me, though, and they make me melt. Not only does he give this big, sweet grin; he gives this adorable little head tilt that kind of says, “Aww, shucks, mommy….you really think I’m that great?” Seriously, the kid is just too cute. He makes me laugh out loud sometimes when I feed him because every now and then, he’ll just stop and look up at me and grin. With a coy little smile and twinkling eyes—like he is just tickled to pieces over something. He also gives some of the funniest looks with his eyes—he bulges his eyes wide open as if to say, “WHAT?” and he is often furrowing his brows inquisitively as if he’s not quite sure of what the situation is and he wants to analyze it a tad bit more. He cracks me up with how sweet and huge his grins are and then seconds later how he can look so intensely and inquisitively!

He is slowly but surely reaching for more things, and is very capable in grasping them—and then bringing them directly to his mouth! Most everything tries to go to his mouth, including his fists still. He had a breakthrough on Good Friday, though—he opened his fist enough to find his THUMB! He isn’t consistent in sucking it, but then again, he’s not all that consistent in sucking on his paci, either…I have a feeling that he will be more of a thumb/finger sucker as he realizes more how easily accessible it is! Still hating tummy time, but we do it regularly. About the only time he fusses is tummy time or when he’s tired. Often, it’s because he is TIRED of TUMMY TIME! I know it's too early to get an idea of him being left- or right-handed, but he NEVER reaches for anything with his right hand and ALWAYS reaches with his left. Seriously, I have yet to see him put his right hand out for anything. If I put something within his right hand's reach, he'll clasp it and bring it to his mouth, but he definitely favors reaching with his left!

I decided to wait until 6 months to introduce solids. I got some really thoughtful and thought-provoking advice and looked more into why I should wait until 6 months rather than begin at 4. There’s lots out there that really gives good reasoning for an exclusively breast fed baby to not have solids introduced until 6 months, and I’m inclined to agree with it. The caveats are often for babies with reflux or weight issues, and while those were my main reasons for starting cereal and fruits soon, the medicine helps his reflux and I am ok with his weight. No, he’s not a big baby, but he’s more than ample (just look at the chub!) for his frame and I’d rather get all the benefit of exclusively nursing for 6 months that I can. So…won’t get to use my awesome baby-food maker for a bit longer, but all in all, I feel really good about that decision.

Sleep is still not consistent, though we’ve had several rays of hope! One night, he went for 8 straight hours without me having to get up to feed him! The next night, he went 7. The next night, he went 6. See where that was going? That’s the inconsistency…but at least I am learning more about his ability and needs during the night. We had to get back into routine after family visiting for Easter and taking a little road trip with Daddy to Philadelphia overnight and for the last few nights, he's gone for 7-9 hours from feed to feed. I am glad to see some (hopefully) patterning coming out, but I of course am still not getting that sleep! I wake up every so often looking at the monitor to make sure he's still ok, or for the last few hours of his sleep stretch, I am uncomfortable while my body works out his feeding schedule and demands. The average baby his age sleeps between 14-15 hours and he sleeps on average 12-13 hours...I may try to start him to bed a bit earlier to see if we can squeeze a bit more sleep in, but last night, he wasn't all that thrilled with the prospect. So, he may just not be ready to go to bed earlier and we'll just play things by ear. He doesn't give me very many cues for when he's hungry or wet or even uncomfortable, but he sure does let me know when he's tired, so I'm grateful for that.

We had the follow-up appointment with the dermatologist. His cradle crap seems to be doing ok--getting a slight bit better in some places, but worse in others, I thought. She definitely now thinks there is some eczema in addition to the seborrhea, so we will probably be seeing the allergist in the next year or two if things don't clear up a bit on their own. Dermatologists and allergists differ in their theories of allergies and eczema--Allergists tend to feel that allergens cause and aggravate the eczema while dermatologists don't necessarily feel that way but definitely feel that eczema and allergies often exist co morbidly. Either way, he's hit the allergy jackpot with our family, so I wouldn't be surprised with either. I'd try some elimination of foods, but honestly, I have to really work to put dairy IN my diet, and when I eliminate, I don't notice much difference in his skin. The treatment is the same, regardless, and she told us that even though he can't really reach and scratch because of his coordination, it is probably still uncomfortable for him (it's like baby psoriasis and sometimes will even bleed!) so we need to treat him. I always worry about over-treating, but his dermatologist is a mom who is pregnant with another child, and calls Luke her favorite patient. And she's smart--so I don't have any doubt that she looks out for Luke. As always, grateful for the wonderful and compassionate care we have in our medical providers!

Here are some pics from this week and last:

Cousin Zach is so sweet with him!

Luke's first Easter Bunny cake! (Daddy couldn't find the string licorice for me, so we improvised a hare. Get it? Hare?!)

Officially found and am using my thumb!

Cousin Ryan does all sorts of stuff to amuse me!

Mommy is home alone a lot of hours.

Luke had several Easter outfits! He was wearing something new from Maundy Thursday to two outfits on Easter Sunday!

"Hmm...what should we do today???? Loving this warm weather!"

Yep, that's a muffin top. Boy's got some chub!

SnuggleBaby time after bath!

Yes, Mommy commandeers my playmat to hang with me!

Little brothers ARE Awesome!

I don't know where she comes up with these clothes!!!!

She seems to have fun, though, so I guess I'll indulge her!!!!!