Smith, I'm starting to see what a happy baby you really are. We're figuring out how to communicate together and even though my attention is now split between three children, I've never felt so in tune with reading your needs and knowing the subtle nuances in your cries that tell me whether you're hungry, tired, or scared.
You're the best at falling asleep on your own as long as you're in a soft spot and have your pacifier but you can't resist the sheepskin in your Moses basket. It's your cue to let those heavy lids fall. You laughed for me for the first time today and I didn't even do anything funny. I love that you just laughed because you were happy.
Your sister adores you and your brother stops to kiss you every time he passes by and your daddy loves when you tell him all about your day when he gets home. You're such a cooer! It's enough to forgive the river of gold that flowed out of your pants this morning and onto my lap just as I was finishing breakfast. I've never seen such a mess. You win. I used a half a package of wipes (I kid but almost) to clean us both up before handing you over to your daddy in the shower and you went ahead and emptied your bladder all over my shirt. And I wonder why our laundry mountain is always with us.
My favorite thing is your bashful smile and the way you clasp your hands under your chin when I talk to you in my sing song voice. There's nothing like it in this world, Smith.
I've got the second installment of our family photos with Heather Gray finally ready. There are literally 20 similar photos of me holding Smith that I love equally for the way each one shows a look he makes or how tiny his features were but I've picked out my favorites from the bunch and shall plaster my desktop wallpaper with the rest.
You can find the first batch of the bigger kids here and stay tuned for the last installment. Smith is three months old tomorrow and looks like a different baby already! He's filled out and is so expressive and alert. I look back on these and it feels like so long ago already! Needless to say, these photos are so precious to us.
This kid! He's filling out fast and is all smiles and coos on a full belly. He has been taking longer naps most days and sleeps well at night. I put him down when Brett goes to bed, nurse him when I go to bed, and then he'll usually wake up once to nurse at night and then is ready to nurse again around the time I'm getting up to get Sebastian ready to school. We cosleep so neither one of us really wakes up all the way when he's nursing but we get the job done! I think this little system is the only way we're making it through this newborn phase without having mini meltdowns every day. Thankful!
This boy definitely has blue eyes like his daddy and big brother and I love them. I'm such a sucker for blue eyes on boys. He's also following in his siblings' footsteps and sporting peach fuzz on top of that pretty little head except for the old man ring in the back. I'm expecting he won't have his first hair cut until he's two.
Hate to break it to you, buddy, but those bald genes are strong on both sides of the family.
Don't be mad.
Honestly, it feels so nice to be past the screamy weeks when his belly always seemed to be bothering him. I know he's changing every week and we'll have a routine down for a bit and then something will shift and the routine might be out the window but I feel like we're all settling into this a bit. I can't understand where the time goes, though. I know he was just born last week, wasn't he?
I love you, Smith. Thanks for joining our family.
I've been itching to get that boy in a photo booth since forever! Okay, about five weeks. We knew our usual photo booth in Manitou Springs would be out of order until it warmed up since it was at an outdoor location and the ink always froze. I also knew there was one inside a quirky pizza place but the one time we went our photo strips had big black streaks down the middle and were pretty fuzzy. I finally decided that was better than waiting another six weeks before we could guarantee the first booth would be working and was pleasantly surprised that they'd fixed the streaky problem!
It captured his classic side eye quite well.
Ruby was close by for his strip and photobombed the third frame. Then we took our own and she wanted the sticky hand that she'd procured from a quarter machine to be in the first frame with us (see below).
I have a growing collection of photostrips on our fridge that hold such fond memories because most of them were taken during a special part of life. One from the time my family came out for Sebastian's birthday the first summer after our move, one from a few days before Brett deployed to Kuwait for four months, one announcing our pregnancy, and most recently one of the four of us on Valentine's Day with Smith taking up a lot of room in my belly.
I took them all down this afternoon and decided to write down the details so I never forget which year something happened or how old the kids were. I'd like to scan them all into a few art journal pages as a visual reminder of our time here in Colorado and all of the things that have happened in the past two years.
Our current two-bedroom rental is big on living space but small on sleeping space so Smith, being child number three, has been allocated a corner of our bedroom until further notice. It's a bit compact but we co-sleep so all he needs for the next few months is somewhere to store his clothes and blankets.
The pine storage unit we had set aside for his gear wasn't proving to be as efficient as I'd hoped on it's own and Brett was having a hard time using our platform bed as a changing table so we went to IKEA and found a dresser that was deep enough to double as a changing table. It's so nice having the extra drawer space to hide the surplus diapers and wipes and clothes that don't fit yet. Also, our changing pad covers were in the mail when I took these photos. I wouldn't dare lay his unexposed southern end on top of sheepskin!
I wasn't going to let the lack of a nursery discourage me from making this space special so I did what I always do when restrictions are involved and took it as a personal challenge to make it work. Not only was I working on a small scale but we needed to keep it gender neutral and keep things feeling cohesive with our bedroom. I didn't want to invest too much money in this space since I knew we'd likely be switching things up in a few months so I shopped my closets for smaller frames and used craft supplies I had on hand to make a few things.
I was then sent some really special handmade pieces including the embroidery above from my dear friend, Ruthie, of My Trash and Treasure and the charming cloud wall hanging from the sweet Jahje of Baby Jives. Those girls helped bring this whole space together with their handiwork and I'm so thankful.
Since we wanted this baby's gender reveal to take place the old fashioned way, I decided to keep most of what I made or bought within a simple black and white color scheme with shades of minty blue and yellow-green. This felt really restrictive at first but now most things in Smith's wardrobe can easily be mixed and matched and even look good together sitting in clean piles on my couch/bed/dresser. Oh, the piles of clean laundry.
Since it's still chilly here in Colorado Springs I have a lot of blankets and swaddlers easily at hand in the pine shelf as well as the darling handmade booties gifted to us by Katrina of Calikatrina and the moccasins gifted to us by Susan of Freshly Picked. We got Ruby a pair when she was first walking and they were one of the only pairs of shoes that always stayed on her little feet so I'm so thankful Smith will have some as well. The bottom of that shelf has a basket that holds more blankets and nursing covers, etc.
Our dresser/changing table has three drawers that contain most of the rest. The top drawer has diapers, wipes, burp cloths, nursing pads, socks, pacifiers, grooming supplies, toys that he's too little to enjoy just yet, etc. The second drawer is full of clothes that fit or will fit in the next few weeks and the bottom drawer we use for stashing the diapers and wipes we ordered in bulk before he was born as well as the rest of his clothes that will fit this summer and beyond.
I must say diaper changes have become much less traumatic since I hung everything on Smith's wall. He's so attracted to the high contrast of the black and white (I'm assuming) that he will stop fussing when I lay him down to change him. What started out as a scream fest that had me racing through wipes and trying not to get peed on has become a much more pleasant experience for both of us.
Also, night time diaper changing has become much easier with the assistance of this little LED light from IKEA that is battery operated. I attached it to the pine shelf and it lights up all the necessary parts that need changed in the dark without waking up my sleepy husband!
Whether this sweet boy moves into his big brother's and sister's shared room in the fall or gets his own room in our next house I have a feeling all or most of the pieces we're using right now will transition with him.
Having limited resources shouldn't mean you have to miss out on the fun of nesting. I'd love to hear how you've made a small space work for your needs. How did you do it? Double-duty furniture? Hiding clutter with cute baskets? Do tell.
Details: Moccasins c/o Freshly Picked. Crocheted booties c/o Calikatrina. Baby pants and hats, handmade by me. Cream swaddle blankets with black serging, AGraffDesigns. Baby onesie c/o Hello, Apparel. Nightlight, dresser, sheepskin, black frames, ikea. Yellow shoes, gifted and from BabyGap. Afghans, thrifted. Crib quilts, handmade by me. Striped swaddle blanket c/o BusySpinningThread. Grey striped wrap c/o SollyBaby. Wooden and cloth teether c/o Baubles & Bits.
It's not hard to forget how small a newborn is upon arrival. My first two came out big enough to bypass newborn clothing after about three weeks of healthy nursing but Smith was a whopping pound-and-a-half smaller than both of them. His features were so much more petite. I never really saw the value of documenting their size in the form of a clay mold or paper cut out as a first time mom but standing on this end-knee deep in chapter books, school crushes, and feet almost as big as mine-I'm so much more sensitive to how fleeting these tiny days are.
One evening, after Smith was well fed, I got out the acrylic craft paint and a sketch pad and enlisted the help of my husband. I did a few test runs on one sheet of paper to see which angle was most effective and then ripped off a few new sheets to get down to business. I reapplied fresh paint and after about five takes had a footprint with all five toes that wasn't smeared. My professional foot stamping opinion is to set the paper on a table or counter and gently press your child's foot down like he/she is taking a step. It will likely take two people. Safety first!
As soon as I had the print I was happy with we washed the paint off of his foot. I suggest using something non-toxic. Then I took apart a frame from ikea and centered my footprint in my mat with room for some handwritten details. I added his first and middle name and his birthdate and then adhered the mat to my page. Then I trimmed off the edges with my paper cutter and framed it before adding it to the gallery wall arrangement.
I love that it's bold and adds to the graphic look of this wall but is also sentimental. The Denbow men tend to be on the taller side with big feet. It's hard to believe my little men could one day be wearing a size 13 shoe!
For more ways to add handmade touches to a baby space or customize something for yourself check out my Alpha Sticker Art, Mini Banner, and God's Eye tutorials. They're cheap, easy, and can be finished in two episodes of The Mindy Project.
I've taken a photo of him almost every day since he was born but Instagram is so much easier than blogging - especially when you can only count on spare moments at a time instead of hours. I didn't want to scroll through my blog a year from now trying to recall these early, precious days and not see anything to help me remember so a photo heavy post of his first month(ish) of life via my IG feed it is.
We had Brett home for four days after his birth and my mom was able to come out for a few days but then it was just me holding down the fort until dinner time each day for his second week. Then my parents were able to come again for a few days and soon after that Brett was finally able to take his paternity leave. It happened to also be Sebastian's spring break so we all got to stay home for ten whole days to enjoy being lazy, catching up on shows, putting together ikea furniture, changing all the diapers, doing all the laundry, and trying to do our best on limited sleep.
Smith slept so much his first two weeks but has since become so much more alert and awake for long stretches. He's a fan of being worn in our Solly Baby Wrap and will stay asleep in his bassinet only after he's fallen asleep on me for at least twenty minutes. He cosleeps with us at night for easier nursing and has gained over two pounds since he was born. He is always frowning or gazing around with that wide-eyed look on his face and might be our second blue-eyed boy from the looks of things.
We've had some tummy troubles so I'm cutting coffee again as well as dairy to see if either of those might be the issue. Gripe water and DigestZen and lavender essential oils have helped ease his pain but it's made for some long nights this week. Sebastian and Ruby love holding their little brother and smother him with kisses whenever they come check on him. Sebastian's suddenly taken ownership of new responsibilities and has been so helpful with chores Brett's given him to help make things easier on me. Ruby's an adoring sister and is always available to grab something while I'm nursing or changing a diaper but has also had a harder time remembering boundaries now that I'm not as available to her as I was before Smith came along. We're working through all the new things, though. We're all figuring out our new family dynamics.
Most days I'm feeling great but there are short periods every few days when I can feel myself feeling all the feelings or getting overwhelmed by the state of our house or the inability to accomplish anything. This time around it's much easier to recognize those feelings and realize hormones are mostly to blame and to remind myself to enjoy these long days because this is likely the last round of baby yawns and newborn smells for us. I'm also eager to start exercising again. I know that will help things on all kinds of levels.
We've had hints of spring this week although we're sure to get more snow this month and maybe next before it's officially okay to pack away the hats and gloves. I can't wait for bare feet and sundresses and hours spent in the yard.
It's almost been a month and yet I still have to remind myself that we're a family of five now. It's starting to feel like it fits.
p.s. I'm @smileandwave on Instagram if you're interested in regular peeks into these early days.
We had ourselves a little photo shoot last Sunday. I wanted to get a few photos of the kids together while Smith was still a fresh addition to capture their new relationships. I also knew family members would appreciate photos of all three in one spot.
As with most family photos there was some coercing, a few pouty faces, one stern warning, fart jokes, and tickling in between shots. It's always worth the effort in the end.
Still feeling so thankful for this new life that has joined our family.