Date Nights With Baby

I’ll be honest – Jackson is two months old and Corey and I have yet to go on an actual date since he was born.

Those of you with kids probably understand this. It’s almost impossible to find time to go anywhere without him, and quite frankly we aren’t super interested in leaving him alone with anyone else just yet. We’re hoping to go on a real date at some point this month, but over the past two months we have found other ways to set aside time for one another, and in the process we created a new tradition that we are kind of obsessed with.

Game night.

Corey and I have tried to have weekly at-home date nights for as long as we have been married, but over the last year or so they had kind of fallen off our radar. It wasn’t a big deal because we had plenty of time together, and never really felt like we were missing out. But! When Jackson came along we very quickly realized that we needed to start setting aside some specific time for one another again, and thus game nights were born.

Every Tuesday evening Corey grabs a Papa Murphy’s pizza and we eat that while we play some games. We don’t watch television, we don’t zone out at our computers – we just have some good quality time together. It’s a super fun way for us to connect and it’s way more fun than just watching television like we do most other nights.

We’ve gotten really into board games now, and are always on the lookout for new ones. We’ve learned some really unique games and have been introducing them to people we know so we now have lots of friends that will play with us! I still think that 1:1 dates that actually involve leaving the house are important (and our goal is to have at least one a month, starting this month!) but this is such a perfect way to connect a little more at home, and we’re hoping to keep it a tradition even as Jackson gets older. In a few years we’ll probably be playing Candy Land instead of our current repertoire, but we already get excited thinking about teaching Jackson all of our favorite games and having this as a tradition for the long haul.

How do you stay connected with your significant other when things get crazy?

Jackson: 2 Months

Stats: At his two-month appointment, Jackson weighed 11 pounds, 7.5 ounces and was 24.25 inches long – he’s “long and lean,” as our pediatrician put it!

Clothing size: We made it into 0-3 month clothes this month, but some of them are still a bit big on him!  I packed up most of his newborn clothes this month, but he still has one or two newborn onesies that fit! He’s still in size one diapers, and it looks like we won’t be moving up for at least a few more weeks.

Sleep: Jack is a rock star sleeper! At night we usually put him down between 8 and 9, and he sleeps until anywhere from 3:30 until 6:00 depending on the night! He’s consistently only been waking up once a night since right at 5 weeks, and he’s slept all the way through the night three or four times now. He’s not as awesome at sleeping during the day, but we aren’t complaining! He sleeps in his crib all night, but we’re still having a hard time getting him in there consistently for naps – he’d much rather nap on us!

Eating: Still breastfeeding – though we’ve had a few struggles, we’re pushing through and going strong. Jackson does great taking a bottle at daycare, and I get to go feed him once every day during my conference period, which we both love.

Milestones: Smiles! So many smiles! I love watching his face light up, and he gives us these huge gummy grins. It melts my heart. He’s also been cooing a lot over the last couple of weeks, and he’s starting to “talk” back to us when we talk to him. He’s becoming a lot more interested in the toys on his play mat, though they don’t hold his attention for more than a few seconds yet. He’s also getting really good at putting himself to sleep at night – when I lay him down for the night he’s usually awake, and he just hangs out until he falls asleep, which is huge!

Things we want to remember: We learned how easily Jackson can be over-stimulated this month when we tried to take him to a really noisy restaurant a couple of times. It was a complete disaster, and we’ll definitely be skipping out on the loud restaurants for a while. I never want to forget how cuddly and sweet he is right now, and how much I love snuggling with him while he naps.

Special outings or adventures: Jack went to church almost every week this month, and we went out to celebrate his Aunt Jennifer’s birthday. His Uncle Jeff came to visit for spring break, and Jackson started daycare this month. It was a busy month!

Favorites: Jackson loves to play the “tongue game” where we go back and forth sticking our tongues out at each other. It makes him smile every time! He also loves the Moby wrap and his bedtime routine…they both calm him down almost instantly. He’s always all smiles when we are on the changing table, too – something about it seems to make him happy! Bath time is another favorite – he loves having the water poured on his chest and splashing in the water. He’d stay in there all day if we’d let him! We love cuddling with him and how much more focused he is lately. We adore getting smiles from him and are so excited that he’s starting to coo a lot more and be more interactive.

What we’ve learned: We’ve started to learn his cries and what they mean, and we’re learning that sometimes Jackson just wants to be left alone. We’re learning what works and what doesn’t with our new life, and we’re getting better and better at going places each time we do it. We are continually amazed at Jackson’s new developments and how he’s growing – it is so fun to watch him change and grow over the weeks!

My Happy List

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes me happy. Becoming a parent has been such an earth-shattering, perspective-changing experience for me (isn’t it for everyone?) and it has caused me to really take a step back and look at how I spend my time versus how I want to spend my time.

There’s nothing like a tiny little human in your house to make you wonder if you’re living your life to the fullest potential.

This was already on my mind, and then I saw this post on Dooce where she talks about making a list of things that keep her grounded and make her happy. Things she wants to do more. And that got me thinking…about those moments in life where I want to just stop time and bask in how happy I am forever. The times that make my heart happy when I think about them.

Those are the things I want to do more of. Those are the things I need to be focusing on, and trying to increase in my day-to-day life. So, I decided to write my list down…and I’m committing to doing more of these things. I’m going to make a conscious effort to do these on a regular basis…I may even print the list out and tape it on my mirror. Because it’s easy to forget the things that make you happy sometimes.

1. Listening to music and dancing in my kitchen
2. Going for long walks
3. Trying new things/places
4. Taking pleasure in the little things
5. Cuddles with Corey and Jackson
6. Spending time outside when the weather is perfect
7. Opening the windows and letting the breeze in
8. Turning off the television, putting away my phone/laptop, and truly being present
9. Playing games with friends
10. Spending time with my sister
11. Making our house beautiful
12. Working on projects, stretching my creativity
13. Singing at the top of my lungs in the car
14. Taking photos – not just of our house, but of our life
15. Watching Jackson do anything

What would be on your list?

On Returning to Work

Whew. This last week was tough.

I went back to work last Monday and I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. It was the longest I had ever been away from Jackson and leaving him behind that first day absolutely broke my heart.

However, I feel like I should acknowledge that I am totally and completely spoiled by an amazing set-up. I’ve had several people ask what we are doing with Jack while we’re at work, so here it is: my school has a daycare. It’s just a couple hundred yards away from the school itself, in a little portable. It is run by people I have known for years and that I trust completely. I’m able to go up to daycare every single day during my conference period and spend about 30 minutes feeding and snuggling with my sweet boy.

I am very, very lucky.

But that doesn’t make it easy. Monday felt almost impossible, but I survived. Tuesday was a little easier, and by Friday I wasn’t tearing up when I dropped him off in the mornings. It would have been much harder for me if it weren’t for my daily visits, and I can’t imagine returning to work without them.

My ultimate dream is to be able to be a stay-at-home mom. It always has been, and I think it always will be. But I’m fortunate enough to love my job, so even if we aren’t in a situation where I can stay at home, at least I feel challenged and fulfilled every day at work.

There are 53 days left in the school year (not that I’m counting or anything…) and then I get to be home with my baby for two and a half months. There are no words for how much I’m looking forward to that.

But for now, we’re taking it one day at a time and trying to adjust to our new normal. It’s much harder to get things like housework and laundry done (much less work on my graduate school homework!) now, but I’m confident that as we get used to things it will keep getting easier. At least, I hope they will.

Has anyone else made this transition recently? Any tips for staying on top of everything?

Wish me Luck…

Today I go back to work.

I’m dreading it. I always have said I would love to be a stay-at-home mom but now that I have had a taste of it, there’s nothing I want more than to stay home with Jackson. These last seven weeks have been absolutely perfect and I absolutely hate the thought of leaving him with someone else today.

But, sadly, it’s not really an option for us. So off to work I go.

This week is probably going to be (very) rough on our whole family, so I won’t be back to post until next week. Until then, I could use your thoughts and prayers as I get settled back into work. Let’s hope Jackson and I both can make it through the day with minimal crying.

Anyone made the back to work transition recently? Tell me it’s not as awful as I am imagining it will be!