Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Month with Otto

Newborn time: cycling between eating, burping, getting a diaper change and sleeping. I'd forgotten how being in the middle of that schedule makes time move differently and makes it harder to get anything done (while at the same time not always feeling like I'm doing much.) But this morning Otto is having a little snooze, and of the many things I could try and get done, and as Otto's a month old today, a blog entry seemed fitting.

One month already--it doesn't feel like that much time has passed....

So many things have been different this time around. Otto's birth was really different. Tyler shared the basics before, but this time we were in the hospital longer, the labor was a little longer but the intense time was much less. And after Otto was born we were, as expected, as in love with him as possible. But it didn't feel so new this time. Rather, it felt as if now things were somehow complete. We now had the two healthy children we were hoping for and it felt right and natural to add him to the family.

Otto with an adoring daddy!

It's also been easier to do the newborn stuff. Breastfeeding? No problem. Crying jags at night? Now we know it won't last forever, and we have better soothing skills. Gassiness? I already know the likely culprits to cut out of my diet. Getting out and about? Piece of cake.

Taking a snooze after a little snack!

Otto's first bath--just as relaxed as his sister used to be!

I'm also being smarter about making sure I get sleep this time, which cures a whole host of ills I experience when over-tired (including being irritable, anxious and easily overwhelmed). We know this time that this is a marathon, not a sprint, so we're happy for any help we can get, any time anybody wants to spend holding Otto and sleeping whenever I need it and can get away with it. And Tyler and I do more dividing and conquering. When Stella was a baby, we both would be up at night for feedings and diaper changes. Now that Tyler's back at work, I let him sleep as much as possible, and he does the same in the mornings or weekends when I need to play catch up.

I think I'm also helped this time by having a toddler who still needs schedule and routine. Stella's still in childcare four days a week, so I get a nice mix of morning and evening time with her with our usual activities (dinner, bed time, making pancakes, etc.) and then I have my four days with Otto that can be a lot of nothing if need be.

And Stella's been adjusting about as well as a 2 1/2-year-old can probably be expected to. She generally seems to like Otto, giving him blankets, talking about being a big sister, sometimes asking to hold him and taking turns doing things like laying on the play mat.

Holding hands! Stella got so much positive attention this time when she first did it that it's become a regular thing for her to do.

Sharing bath toys during Otto's first bath

Being part of the birthday fun! (She's very anxious for her next birthday)

Multitasking--brushing Stella's teeth while giving Otto some tummy time

The biggest challenge is the jealousy over me feeding Otto. Almost as soon as I'm holding Otto, she wants to be in my lap. Now.

We took this because Stella was getting jealous of us taking photos of Otto, but it turned out so cute I just had to include it here too.

I worried before Otto was born that being a second baby would mean an early babyhood overshadowed by his sister. But we are just as enamored with him as Stella, and in some ways he might be getting less of our undivided attention (and there probably are fewer photos and videos), but he's probably getting better quality attention since we're more relaxed and experienced this go around.

And because we still think Stella's pretty cute, I wanted to include these shots:

At the Samoan festival, happily running back from throwing away some trash!

Tyler and Stella as moody French film stars

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Six Years

I know that most of you are waiting for more pictures and stories about Otto (and believe me, they're coming), but I wanted to do a quick entry about another person who I'm constantly in love with and in awe of: Sarah!

...since today marks our 6th Wedding Anniversary!

In past years, we've marked our wedding with cards, renewed vows, remarkable dinners or, of course, travel. But, while having a 4-week-old and a 2-year-old might make some of those things a bit ambitious, I thought I'd at least take the time to make this quick post to mention -yet again- how much I love my fabulous wife.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first picture of Sarah and I together, snapped by someone's Polaroid camera at a random party just a month or two after we started dating. If for no other reason, it will always be a favorite of mine, and the original hangs in the hallway of our house.

And it begins! Our wedding day! (Fun fact: You can see our friend, Alison, adjusting Sarah's dress on the right. Her son, Oliver, was born two days before Otto!)

Sarah and I on our honeymoon! (Regular readers will recognize this as our "profile picture" in the upper right corner.) We took the ferry our of Bellingham up to Southeast Alaska. It was an amazing experience, and one we largely credit for the reason we decided to go on our Round the World trip together.

Our second Wedding Anniversary, in Istanbul, while on our trip. While it's been years now, that trip was still one of the defining moments of our lives and -specifically- our lives together. If you can survive marathon bus rides, strange stomach bugs and questionable accommodations together for 7 months, it leaves no doubt that you can survive anything.

Stella's birth... still one of the most amazing experiences of my life. And, along with watching her through Otto's birth, I will forever be in awe of what she's capable of.

And, finally, recently, Sarah with Stella and Otto. Sarah is my amazing wife, but both Stella and Otto are lucky to have her as their amazing mother.

...Which brings us, briefly, to today. I'd be lying if I didn't say that things haven't been exhausting recently. A newborn and a toddler live to come up with new ways of making adults tired. But, I couldn't hope to have someone better to be exhausted with. Knowing Sarah for these last 7+ years, and being married to her for the last 6, has been one long lesson in the best sense of the word: I've learned how much I'm capable of loving someone else. I've learned to explore the world and to embrace food and life. I've learned how much I could love the two small people we've brought into this world. I've learned compassion and learned strength, and how to treat others with dignity and respect. I've learned all these things and more because I've had someone to inspire me: Sarah.

I love you, Sarah, Happy 6th Anniversary!