Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in Ojai

We came home from Christmas in California with 122 pictures. Grandma and Aunty Milly went overboard this year and were beyond excited to meet & spoil Bryony. Abigail and Morgan had a blast together. It was definitely a special Christmas this year and hard to choose which of the 122 I should post!

baking cookies to leave out for Santa

Milly's Martha Stewart skills

Christmas Eve at the Neiderhisers: Tayten, Jayci, Abigail & Morgan

ah, sweet new niece

still the most handsome dad in the world

Christmas Morning!! Do you think ....

she was ....

excited??!?! :)

top gifts: Giraffe Pillow Pet

and a guitar

far too much excitement for a five-week old

first attempt at a family picture

second attempt

ok, forget it

the Hollands & the Madonnas

hanging out waiting while mummy breastfeeds again

first bath together

and when we got home to Phoenix - one more gift, from nanna & grandad!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jake at Christmas

I shouldn't have posted below that maternity leave was 100% baby-time, I should have said 90% or something. We did get to do Christmas-season activities, mostly because Jake forced them upon us, ha ha. Christmas is his absolute favourite time of year and no breastfeeding, sleeping, pooping, newborn excuse was going to stop him!

with his girls - hard to get Bryony to look at a camera, that's a challenge when you cannot yet hold your own head up

making a gingerbread house

the finished house - little candies kept 'disappearing' off the roof throughout December

and we did get some Starbucks time, right before we saw the lights at the train park

daddy loves Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bryony - One Month Old

One special thing we did with Abigail was take a monthly photo every month for her first year, next to the same sign and on the same chair every 23rd. It was great to see the growth & change. I printed them all and have them in a small plastic album. While pregnant with Bryony, I made sure to pick up another one to do the same with her. Here's her first entry, December 20th 2010:

And, just as comparison, here's Abigail's first from April 23rd 2007:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Maternity Leave

What a whirlwind maternity leave is! It's a time-warp because your days & nights are all mixed up (up every three hours so it doesn't matter which is day and which is night) and your house is a sudden explosion of diapers, bottles, spit-up and pink gifts. I had visions of it being this wonderful time off from my crazy job to wander the shops with my new little family, wrapped up in boots & jackets, Starbucks in hand, Christmas shopping at my leisure. Ha! I was pretty quickly reminded that maternity leave is to recover and take care of a new little human. Here's Jake & I for most of it:

But of course it's also wonderful to give into it. To forget about bills, and work, and a tidy house, and Christmas shopping, and emails. To realise that there will be so few times in life where you're fully allowed to lay around in bed just soaking in your precious baby. And take your time over your morning coffee because 'morning' could be 5am or 1pm depending on said precious baby.

And to watch your daughters get acquainted - this part is magical.

To give your baby her first bath ...

... then swaddle her up & gaze at her peaceful sleeping:

Obviously, I could go on and on with the special moments on maternity leave. I think I'll just put the pictures. Here are all my favourites from this fleeting six weeks at home:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Due Date!

So, today, December 8th, was the date I focused on all year. The Big Countdown. And somehow it feels like Bryony's been here forever already. It feels even longer since I was last at work. Maternity leave is such a time warp.

Where do I start with the last two and a half weeks? It's been ... challenging. What is that saying? Out of the frying pan, into the fire! You definitely trade one set of aches & pains in for another. Bryony is thriving and already a pound more than her birth weight which is WONDERFUL. And not surprising because all we do is FEED. But the commitment to breastfeeding has been very challenging for me. In fact, 'recovery' in general - much more difficult than the first time. Nobody talks about the first two weeks at home and how hard they really are!

There have been two things that have really helped get me through. Firstly, I've read some silly light humour while I breastfeed and, while these two books won't count as intelligent reading for the year, they have really helped with perspective and comfort:

I could pull quotes out of both books for hours!

And, secondly, the support of my mother this time. I wouldn't have stuck with the breastfeeding if she weren't here with her words of encouragement too. And her home-cooked meals, ha ha. It makes it particularly fitting that Bryony has her middle name.