Monday, March 29, 2010

Joshua Watch: Two Months

Our little cutiepie turned two months old on Saturday! To celebrate, we did another photo shoot -- Joshua is so getting used to having a huge camera lens in his face... :)

Here he is with his stuffed tiger:

It's amazing how much he's grown in just one month -- compare this shot with his one month tiger photo! Not only is he noticeably bigger, but he's also more alert. And much more tolerant of his photo-taking mama. :)

This has been a month of firsts for little Joshua -- his first smiles, his first road trip, his first church conference... :) It's been so wonderful to see Joshua break out into a whole-face grin. His smiles are still fleeting, and we haven't been able to make him smile on cue yet, but that just makes his spontaneous grins that much more special! And he's been expanding his heart-melting routine by adding coos and gurgles, especially when he's playing on a blanket or in his play gym. Such a sweet little boy!

We've been growing as parents as well. It's funny how often our "protocols" change... We stumble across a new thing that seems to help calm him down, and we immediately add that to our shushing protocol. First it was swaying side to side while holding him. Then it was sitting down and rocking him quickly back and forth. No, wait, it's all about putting him back down in his crib in stages -- first quiet him while holding him up against your shoulder, then cradle him horizontally in your arms, and then gently put him down. Scratch that, first leave him lying in his crib and pat his chest to let him know you're there, and only pick him up if he goes into full out crying -- and then implement the swaying and rocking protocol.

Most of these methods are more for our benefit than for his, I think -- we like to think that there's something concrete we can be doing to help soothe Joshua when he's gone on one of his crying jags. But those episodes seem to be receding somewhat -- whether it's because he was going through a growth spurt that he's now finished with, or because he has awesome parents who know exactly what to do to help him get over his crying fits, I guess we'll never know...

One thing we have learned this month, though, is that his crying isn't necessarily a lasting mood. I think this is also a function of Joshua growing up a bit -- while he has his inconsolable moments, those moments don't always translate into him being in a "bad mood" for a long time afterwards. On Saturday morning, for instance, he had a somewhat fussy feeding session, which developed into full blown squalling during his diaper change. I thought for sure that we'd have to postpone his two-month photos -- who wants to have their pictures taken after a crying fit, right? But he quieted down a fair bit in my arms after the diaper change, and the lighting was perfect in his nursery, so I figured I'd give it a try. And not five minutes after his seemingly inconsolable screaming, he was back to cooing and smiling at me from his blanket-covered chair. :)

So here are some of our favorites from Joshua's two-month photo shoot!

Serious baby with soulful eyes

One of his smaller smiles -- still working on getting the big cheesy grin on camera!

Staring up at his papa, who was making funny faces in an attempt to get him to smile...

Yeah, okay, I guess I can grace my silly daddy with a little smile...

We love this little boy so much. :) Happy two-month birthday, Joshua!

Friday, March 26, 2010

"You shall see your [children's] children's children..."

Last week was Princeton's spring break, so David was able to take some time off, and we decided to take Joshua on his first road trip! Destination: Indianapolis, to introduce the little guy to his paternal grandparents.

Conveniently enough, the midpoint between Princeton and Indianapolis is somewhere in the Pittsburgh area -- which is where David's grandparents live. So on Monday (3/15), we drove out to Darlington, PA, and stayed with David's grandparents.

Not only is Joshua the first grandchild on both sides, but he's also the first great-grandchild on the American sides of his family. It was such an honor to introduce Grandma and Grandpa McMillan to their first great-grandchild -- and it was beautiful to see how much this little boy is loved!

Joshua and his great-grandparents

Great-grandparents, great-uncle and great-aunt, mom and dad, and Joshua :)

The next morning, we went back on the road and drove the rest of the way out to Indianapolis. We had such a wonderful week with David's parents! It was so much fun watching them play with and care for Joshua -- total naturals at being grandparents! David and I actually went out on our first "date" since Joshua's birth, leaving him in the very capable hands of his grandmother. We timed our lunch date to fall between Joshua's feedings, and I have to admit to scarfing down my food and wanting to get back as soon as possible -- but we did it! And Joshua loved spending time with his grandparents. :)

An unexpected bonus of visiting the grandparents -- their living room had amazing natural light! So we got a bunch of beautiful photos of our time with them!

Joshua standing up and peering at his grandma

Snuggling up to his grandpa

Look at those smiles all around!

Cute wee chubby cheekies!

What a wonderful week with family! It really made us wish that we all lived a little closer together... Joshua was a trooper in the car (especially on the way back -- we did the entire drive in one day!), but the traveling definitely was a disruption to his routine, and we're only just now getting back on track with his sleep schedule. So I think the next time we visit, we're going to try flying instead.

More to the point, though, we wish Joshua's grandparents lived close enough to be able to play with him and watch him grow. For now, we'll make do with video calls and frequent photo uploads!

David's dad made the comment after we'd left that they had seen a covenant promise fulfilled: "You shall see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel." (From Psalm 128.) We're so thankful for the blessing that Joshua is to his family -- and the blessing that they are to him!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Keddie men

Just wanted to post a new favorite picture:

Joshua and David, ready to go to a PEF meeting! David spoke at PEF last night, so Joshua got dressed up in a cute little button-down onesie to support his papa. :)

And just so you can see how stinkin' cute Joshua's little outfit was:

It's so much fun dressing him up! David tells me I should get it out of my system now, while Joshua is unable to protest or express his own clothing preferences...

I should note, however, that I also picked out the clothes David was wearing. :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Joshua's birth announcement

We sent Joshua's birth announcements out in the mail earlier this week, so I think most of them should have been received by now... So here's what they looked like! (Click to enlarge.)

I really liked several designs on, but I didn't love their prices. I also wanted the option to include Joshua's Korean name. So I ended up creating the design myself in Photoshop, based on some of the designs I'd seen and liked, and getting them printed through (for a third of the Tinyprints price!). It was a lot of fun, and I learned a ton in the process -- for instance, how to draw a perfectly straight dotted line, and how to type in Korean characters. And I had so much fun picking the photos to go on the announcement! It's funny, though -- in just the time it took to design the card, get it printed, and then mail it out, Joshua has grown so much... He looks so tiny in these photos!

We so love sharing all of these details with all of you -- and we'd been looking forward to sending out birth announcements for a while. (I actually created the design, minus the photos and the birth details, a couple weeks before Joshua was born -- I don't think they would have gotten sent out otherwise!) Thank you all for sharing in our joy!

A week of firsts

Joshua's down for a nap, and back on his normal routine after a few days of fussiness -- so it's time to update the ol' blog!

The last week has seen a number of firsts for our little guy. We only have pictures of one of them, but we're on high alert now and hoping to photograph some of the rest of these soon!

Last Thursday (3/4), Joshua had his first playdate! Our friend Andréa came over with her little son Caleb, who is just nine days older than Joshua. It was so fun to go through pregnancy with Andréa, and now we get to have our sons play together! Though I'm not sure how aware they were of each other...

Caleb was fascinated by the toys on the play gym, and Joshua was studiously avoiding the interloper in his home...

And then, unfortunately, things took a slight turn for the worse. Joshua got a bit fussy -- I'm hoping this was just part of the week of fussiness he'd been going through, and not some sign of him being angry that he had to share his toys! Thankfully, Joshua's crying didn't set Caleb off; on the contrary, it almost looked like Caleb was reaching out to try to comfort his new friend!

Poor little guy. Hopefully he'll learn better company manners soon!

Saturday was the first beautiful spring-like day we'd had in months, so I decided to take Joshua out for his first outdoor excursion! The little guy had known nothing but snow his entire life up to that point -- his time outdoors had been strictly limited to being rushed from indoors to the car and back. On Saturday, though, it went up to the mid-50s, and the sun was shining brightly, so it was definitely the perfect day for a walk! David was at the annual PEF board meeting for the whole morning, into the early afternoon, so I decided to be brave and take Joshua out for a walk all by myself. I popped him in our Beco carrier, grabbed some outgoing mail, and headed off to the big blue mailbox in our neighborhood. And as I was crossing the street to get to the mailbox, who should drive up but David himself, coming back from the meeting... What perfect timing! :) So we decided to take a family excursion over to Marketfair, the upscale mall near our apartment, and really enjoyed the walk. We then headed over to campus to meet up with an old friend (SO good to see you, Jon!), and Joshua got to experience downtown Princeton from the comforts of his stroller. We're so looking forward to more beautiful days to share with our little guy!

Monday evening was another first for Joshua -- he attended his first Township committee meeting! We believe in starting political participation early... :) Our church has been trying to relocate for years, and has been slowing making its way through the morass of land use regulations and zoning board meetings. This Monday, the Township committee was considering the issue of sewer service to the parcel of land the church has purchased -- environmental groups have been protesting the idea of this parcel being developed at all, so the church asked its members to come out on Monday in a show of support. Because David and I both wanted to be there, we decided to bring Joshua as well. He was mostly quiet through the meeting, though there were a few times I had to walk him around the back of the room or take him out entirely to soothe him a bit... At one point, after a series of presentations on an ordinance, the mayor asked if there was any public comment, and Joshua let out a brief cry -- already wanting to be a part of the political process!

And then Tuesday evening was the most exciting "first"of them all -- Joshua smiled at us for the first time!! I had just finished feeding him, and had him propped up on his back on a pillow in my lap. I was half playing with his hands, half trying to finish clipping his little bitty fingernails (which is a very trepidacious process...). David was on the phone with his mom, setting up a Skype date for that evening. All of a sudden, Joshua looked up at David, and put on this huge, cheesy grin -- his eyes crinkled, his mouth opened in a clear grin, and his entire face lit up! And just to make it absolutely clear that he knew how to smile, he did it twice in rapid succession! I'm pretty sure both David and I started babbling incoherently about Joshua's smiling -- and David's mom joined in on the giddiness. :) Joshua has since smiled a couple more times at us, but his smiles are still very fleeting -- we haven't yet managed to get any of them on camera. But hopefully we'll get there sometime soon -- and you better believe we'll be posting those photos when we do!

Coming up next week: Joshua's first road trip, and his first crossing of a state line! We're driving out to Indianapolis next week to spend some time with David's parents (stopping on our way out there in Pittsburgh to introduce Joshua to his great-grandparents). We can't wait!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fun times with daddy

In our bag of tricks for soothing Joshua is one particular technique borrowed from our friends Erik and Erin, for dealing with baby gas: the football hold. Erik demonstrated this hold on their son, Luke, back when we went to visit them last year, and I remember thinking that it was crazy that Luke actually seemed to like it... Basically, you balance the baby face down on your forearm, so that your hand and forearm provide a steady pressure on the baby's lower abdomen. Here's Erik demonstrating with Luke:

It really does work, though -- if the reason for Joshua's fussiness is gas, then putting him in the football hold will calm him down instantly and help him work the kinks out of his system.

I posted the following photo of David with Joshua in the football hold on Facebook the other day:

And most of the comments I got were expressions of fear and anxiety for Joshua's safety...

I want to state, for the record, that I absolutely trust David with our son's life. He's just as concerned with safety as I am, and I know he wouldn't do anything to put Joshua in danger. (And our pediatrician actually used the football hold to test Joshua's neck strength at our visit last week -- so it's medically-sanctioned!)

But I have to say that David's "modified football hold" sometimes scares me. And if you were worried when you saw the normal football hold photo above, then perhaps you shouldn't scroll down to see the picture below...

I have to keep telling myself -- this really does help to calm Joshua, and David really does love to make Joshua "fly," and no one's gotten hurt yet...

And look at the expressions on their faces! I suppose that's worth the years it's shaved off my life...

The importance of humorous narratives

There are a bunch of blog posts that we want to write, and a number of photos to share, but I'm afraid our online presence has been somewhat constrained over the last week -- Joshua had a rough few days. Poor little guy had several long, inexplicable, inconsolable crying episodes, multiple times a day/night, where we just couldn't figure out how to soothe him... And what's even more heartbreaking is that his tear ducts are apparently fully developed now, so he now cries real tears. It's the saddest thing in the world!

Our current working theory is that he was going through a growth spurt of some sort. And it looks like he's finally coming out of it -- he's begun to settle back down into his normal routines, and he seems happier than he's been in a while. And his parents are starting to breathe again -- he gifted us with a 3.5-hour stretch of sleep last night, which was amazing!

In the midst of his squally times, it's very easy for me to get caught up in the emotional vortex, fretting away at what might be bothering him and getting frustrated with myself for not being able to calm him down. That's when I'm especially thankful for David and his particular brand of cool-headedness and humor.

The other night, when Joshua was crying at full volume just half an hour after a feeding and diaper change, and I was walking him back and forth in our apartment, David started giving voice to what he thought might be troubling Joshua:

"I'm feeling an explicable ennui."
"My toe is twitchy. Why is my toe twitchy?"
"I have an itch. But I can't control my hands to scratch it!"

The thing is, we knew that he wasn't hungry, and that his diaper was clean. We'd also tried all our normal tricks for helping him with gassiness, and that didn't seem to be the problem. Really, Joshua just needed to work out his fussiness on his own, and there was little, if anything, we could do for him but hold him as he cried. Imposing these little humorous narratives helped us keep our sanity while Joshua essentially cried it out in our arms -- and they're just as likely as anything else to explain his fussiness. As David pointed out during one of these squally marathons, Joshua has only the one way to communicate his moods... If we cried every time we were bored, tired, confused, etc., we'd cry an awful lot of the time!

So we now have a new catchphrase around our house. When Joshua goes on one of his crying jags, we can just tell each other that it's his twitchy toe!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Joshua Watch: One Month

We had such fun documenting our pregnancy with the weekly bump watch posts -- it's nice to have the record of such an exciting time in our lives!

Now that we actually have little Joshua to take care of, we don't have as much time to blog (sorry about that, I know we have loyal readers who wait for our updates!). But we do want to do something similar to the bump watch feature to chronicle Joshua's growth and development. So this post is the first of a new series -- a monthly Joshua Watch!

Every month, we plan to take a photo of Joshua next to this plush tiger (which was originally a gift to me from my college roommates Shauna and Rachel -- thanks, girls!). It's the perfect size to work as a comparator to mark Joshua's growth, and it's also in keeping with Joshua's Korean name. And, of course, it's a fitting theme for a Princeton family. :)

So here's the first Joshua Watch photo! We took this on Saturday, when Joshua turned one month old... It's hard to believe it's already been a month!

Isn't he cute? :) He's outgrown his newborn sized clothes, but he hasn't yet grown into the 0-3 sized pants I dressed him in for these photos... The cuffs are folded up about three inches, and David joked that Joshua looked like a samurai in his loose and flowy pants. :)

And yes, I do have stickers to correspond with each month. What else would you expect from a doting, record-keeping, first-time mama?

Joshua had his one-month check-up this afternoon, and he's doing so well! He now weighs a whopping 10 lbs., 11 oz., and he's 22-1/4 inches long -- 75th percentile for both height and weight. Our pediatrician was so pleased with his weight gain! It shows that he's certainly getting enough to eat, which is wonderful news, given how much weight he had lost in his first few days of life. The doctor also confirmed that Joshua has surprising neck strength for a one-month-old. When Joshua was lying on the table on his belly, the doctor held his hands against Joshua's feet, and Joshua sort of pushed off and scooted himself forward several inches! So there's a chance that we'll end up having an early crawler on our hands... How exciting, and terrifying... :)

I don't have a nice little developmental blurb, or any comparisons to fruits/vegetables. But what I do have is a fun little photo shoot we did with Joshua on his one month birthday. Here are a few of our favorite shots, one of which is now in our updated blog header above -- enjoy!

Contemplative Joshua

Baby feet!

He loves stretching his arm out like this -- David calls it his "Il Duce" pose

A half-smile of sorts... We can't wait until he's really smiling and laughing!

Happy one-month birthday, Joshua! We love you!