The Annual Photoshoot

My friend Andrea has been taking our family pictures for Christmas cards since 2008: the first year it was Nate, me and Henry and we missed the first snow of the season by one day. The second year I was pregnant and just starting to sport a baby bump and I remember thinking that life could not get any better since we were incredibly happy and excited for 2010 to arrive. That feeling of anticipation and holiday fun and visits with family was absolutely priceless and I'm so glad our pictures reflect that happiness. Of course, we missed snow on the ground that year, too, by a few days but our pics were still fab. This year we planned the pictures a little later in the year mostly because I really really wanted that white stuff to be in our pictures because darn it, we live in Wisconsin and nothing says Merry Christmas! like a blanket of snow.

And so on December 5 we had Andrea come to our place, which was literally the day after the first decent snowfall. Perfect! I knew I wanted some outside shots of our family in front of the decorated duplex to remember our home in the years to come. This is where Truman was born, where we've had so many milestones as a family, and who knows if we will still be here next year at Christmastime. And so we bundled up and snapped pictures outside.....then inside by our tree....and then just Truman and I headed to the nursery for some mommy/baby shots since we never did get to that newborn photoshoot. It's safe to say our pictures this year are phenomenal and Andrea just keeps getting better and better at photography.

For a sappy little side note: although I thought life couldn't get much better last year around this time, it absolutely did. As I look at these pictures of my happy little family I catch myself getting a little choked up, wondering how I got so lucky to be blessed with these boys in my life. While we are far from perfect, and life still feels like a whirlwind of hectic days strung together to make a year, I am reminded that God has given me a beautiful life---even when it's totally crazy.

Enough sap. Let's look at the pictures.

The happy Wisconsinites, pretending to be warm.

Probably one of my top two favorites, mostly because of Truman's face.

Score!! The snow. The decorations. The Christmas cheer. Love.

And if you are one of the 80 people on our Christmas card list, you will see that this is the one I chose to display. It took much deliberation to decide on just one shot but you can't go wrong with the snow, a sled, and two Santa hats. :)

Cannot handle the cuteness. Nate pulled him around the front yard for fun and he loved it until he tipped over backwards. Whoops!

My little Grinch----the colors are just too perfect.

And the family back in the warmth of indoors. I love our Christmas ornaments, by the way. And Truman's argyle sweater.

The mommy and baby shoot! Love my little man and his belly.

He loves mommy's necklace!


Happy baby boy, obviously the light of my life.

I wanted some of me lifting T up like this and my triceps are still burning from this task. :)

Just hanging out----my idea of heaven, pretty much.

So that's that. A Christmas shoot plus a nursery belated newborn shoot. Hope you enjoyed and if you live in Milwaukee, you need to hire Andrea to shoot your family asap.

Now to decide which ones to frame...

best year ever

by andrea weiss photography

2010 was a pretty good one for us, no?

more to come from this photo session with the fab Andrea....including Christmas card pictures! :)

Nine Months

Niner. Three-fourths of a year, people. And let me tell you, the month of November brought us a whole new baby in many ways. Never a dull moment around here and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I wasn't noticing a huge difference between months until I realized that every monthly sticker is the exact same size. So if you compare the first month to the ninth you can see how much bigger his head has grown compared to those circle stickers....dang!

Let's begin with the mecca of all topics: SLEEP.
At his eight month post I reported that T was down to waking twice per night and I hoped that by this post we'd be talking about once or none at all. Then everything fell apart and we almost drowned. But then we turned a corner and I cannot believe that I'm typing this, but Truman sleeps through the night about half of the time now. The other half includes just one wake up time followed by a quick return to sleep. A-MAZ-ING. Life is suddenly happy again, the birds are chirping (through the snowflakes), and I remembered how to smile all because we are getting more than 2 hours of sleep at a time.

Our strategy? Well, first of all, if Truman does wake up at night, Nate is the one who goes into him. No mommy. Nate will offer Truman a bottle to see if he's truly hungry and since T knows there will be no boob time for plain old comfort he will usually take some of the bottle, or perhaps all of it. I have been getting up at the same time the boys are awake to pump. I know it's rather crazy but it let's me have a little bit of control in the situation and I'm awake at that point anyway. Some might wonder why I don't just nurse Truman if I'm going to pump instead but honestly, it was not working at night for us anymore. He'd only nurse for a little bit then fall asleep and sometimes he'd never even get a let down. But of course, if I tried to place him back in bed he'd wake up and freak out so really it wasn't accomplishing anything. With the bottle at least he doesn't have to wait for my milk to come in before he falls asleep again. Works for us!


Also, I nurse Truman before work like always (usually still a good successful session, too), he gets his two 6 ounce bottles at daycare, then we nurse after work around 5 pm and then I will offer a bottle to him right after that. The nursing session we have here is a short, distracted, quick one and most of the time he will take some of the bottle I give. Then he has a solids meal at dinner at 6 pm, nursing at 7 pm for a short session again, then bath, jammies, books, and a bottle. This extra bottle before bed in addition to nursing is the key to our sleeping success, I just know it. I really think my supply is just lower at night and Truman's attention span is even shorter and thus a nursing session plus a bottle equals a full baby who can sleep better. I pump again before bed to make up for that bottle and although I thought I was pumping a lot before (with my three sessions during work) I am now the queen of the pump with sometimes 5 or even 6 sessions in 24 hours. INSANE. But at least my supply is sticking around for now and at least we still do get to nurse three times in a work day.

(Hi, stuffed Henry dog!)
At his 9 month well-baby check up I asked our doctor about possibly starting whole milk before the one year mark if my supply can't keep up with Truman, and if our stash disappears like I think it will. Our doctor is awesome and was totally supportive of my goal to avoid supplementing if possible and gave us the green light to start mixing whole milk into breastmilk bottles slowly. Obviously, I won't go there until my stash is almost gone but at least I know we can push the cow's milk a little early if needed. It just seems silly to switch to formula for a month or two and then go to cow's milk after that. Gotta have a plan! And really, I'm just trying to take this thing one day at a time to avoid a major freak out moment. I want my baby to be fed and happy and sleep well and if bottles allow that to happen more than my boob, I need to accept that. I mean, we are still nursing for now and it's lovely to also get good sleep at night so I shouldn't complain. The evolution of our nursing relationship is becoming an easier pill to swallow for sure. If anything, I cherish our quick nursing sessions even more now and hope they continue but we shall see.


Next topic: FOOD

I already beat the breastfeeding horse to death in the above paragraphs, so I think I've covered the milk part of the food equation. :) But also, solids are a huge hit for Truman right now. This month Truman decided that eating purees from a spoon is SOOO last month. He really only wants to feed himself finger foods now which is great but also a little stressful. I mean, when he ate three cubes of purees in a sitting I knew he was getting enough without a doubt. But now he just munches on random things and half of the food ends up on the floor for Henry. Great for the dog but not for the kid.


I've been sneaking in a bite or two of purees between his finger food experiments and it's working okay so far. The doc said that was fine, too, and really Truman can just eat finger foods if that is all he wants. I just have to be creative in figuring out healthy foods that are chopped up now instead of blended. So far peas, blueberries, and apples are the biggest 'healthy' winners but graham crackers and animal crackers are like crack to this child. He definitely has a sweet tooth like his mom and dad, big surprise.

He eats three meals of solids a day and at least one 'snack', too. It's so cute to see him eating big boy foods in his high chair and it doesn't make me as sad as it once did back in the day. This is just such a fun stage it's hard to be sad about the passage of time!
Oh, and the stats from the doctor's appointment affirmed my thought that baby boy is really thinning out.

Weight: 20 pounds, 13 ounces ( 56th percentile)
Height: 28.75 inches (67th percentile)

The doctor assured me that this drop from the 88th percentiles when T was 2-4 months is totally normal. He said breastfeeding babies who start solids and become very mobile will thin out and especially considering that Nate and I are both fairly thin, it makes sense that Truman doesn't stay at the top of the charts forever. I miss my chunky monkey fatty baby but still, a long and lean dude fits in well with our family, too. He's still 'big' I'd say, since he is wearing 18 month clothes but he is less of a hippo apparently, too. :)



Truman's favorite new things this month are clapping, waving, throwing his arms overhead for 'so big' at random times, pointing, high-fiving his dad, shaking his head 'NO' with avengence and slamming two toys together for fun. He also loves to say, 'da da da' over and over and sometimes I swear he looks right at Nate as if he gets it. Who knows. No 'ma ma' just yet but that is okay. We all know I'm his fave. :)


He gets around like a wild man now and this is the first month we really had to worry about babyproofing things. But the weird thing is, he isn't technically creeping or crawling. He doesn't pull up to a stand yet. And yet, he is totally mobile on his belly scooting around, spinning, rolling, and successfully getting to where he wants to be. I was worried that he isn't getting up on all fours yet, isn't really army crawling, and doesn't pull to stand yet because I'm a psycho first-time mom who worries incessantly about her child's development. But the doc did ease my mind a bit to say that Truman is not delayed at all with these tasks. He wasn't worried and so I guess I won't be, either. Do you see a theme here? Doctor calms crazy mom and tells her to chill out about all worries regarding babe. Good things at that appointment, my friends.

He can go from sitting to his tummy with ease now (less face slamming into the ground at least) and is much better at sitting and turning around on his butt to see different things without toppling over. This child can entertain himself with toys for minutes on end which is pretty good for a nine month old I think. His fine motor skills using his hands to manipulate any and everything is astounding and I just love watching him explore the world.


He also tries to eat the ottoman at times, but whatev. Obvi he is a genius.


So that's that: nine months of fun. A mobile, independent baby who is changing before our eyes every day. He proves that old cliche is true: It just keeps getting better. :)

Bring on December and our first Christmas with baby. Can.Not.Wait.
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