Friday, December 30, 2011

Harrison's First Christmas

This past week we celebrated our first Christmas as The Herrera Family!  I can not describe how much fun it is to celebrate the holidays with this little boy, watching him stare with amazement at all of the lights, trees, and ornaments.  Harrison's first Christmas was a wonderful balance between plenty of family and periods of peace and quiet. 

Friday evening we celebrated with my parents and my siblings (plus spouses and children).  We shared appetizers and Buca (YUM!) and mommy even treated herself to a glass of wine.  On a side note, I've quickly discovered that the relaxation and happiness that comes with a glass of wine does not outweigh the frustration and sadness that comes with having to "pump-and-dump." Harrison got to meet his Anderson cousins and hang out with his aunts and uncles.  He also received some very cute outfits, and his very own Elf on the Shelf.  I can't wait until he's old enough for us to start using it! 
Our first Elf!

Harrison and his cousin Nolan
Winston playing in the wrapping :)
Christmas eve was spent with my parents and my sister Emily.  This was the first year that I've celebrated Christmas eve with my family knowing that I wouldn't be seeing them Christmas Day for presents.Yes, I have been incredibly spoiled for the last 7 years with Daniel, and No, it did not make it any easier :) Daniel, Harrison and I opened our gifts from my family that evening after dinner.  Harrison received some great toys (some for now, and some for later), a lot of cute outfits and even pair of sunglasses to match!  I'm sure his favorite present of all was the wipe warmer, he definitely hates a cold wipe.  My sister gave me a Baby Bullet (think Magic Bullet, but for babies) which was an AWESOME gift and something I had no idea even existed.  I've always wanted to make homemade baby food and I'm so excited to start using it.  Only 2 more months and we can start incorporating solids into his diet.  I'm excited for all the new things coming up, but it makes me so sad to see how fast time is flying by!
Harrison and Auntie Emily

Harrison and Nana

The Baby Bullet!

Christmas Day we spent at Daniel's family.  Once again, Harrison was spoiled rotten!  He now has a bin full of toys waiting for him to develop the skills to use them.  For now, he just watches while I dangle them in his face :) This boy will also be sporting cute clothes for awhile.  We also got another car seat base from Grandma Cathy which will make all of our lives a lot easier!  Now Daniel and I don't have to play the "which car are you going to take" "who's taking the baby?" game.  It was so much fun opening gifts for Harrison, and I can only imagine how much fun it will be to one day watch his excitement when he can open them on his own. 

With Auntie Brianna

With our first Christmas as a family over, we've learned that as with adults, the holidays are all about balance.  It was a delicate situation ensuring Harrison wasn't too overstimulated with all of the people and noise that he's not used to in his quiet little bubble inside our apartment but I think overall went well.  Only a few hiccups with him reminding us that he can "take it to the next level" in case we forgot. Now we can all relax and look forward to whats to come in 2012!

Finally I can sleep!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Catching Up

Its been awhile since I've found the time (or the motivation) to get on here and update!  Things have been going extremely well here at the Herrera house and Harrison is adjusting wonderfully.  We've settled into our own little routine.

Harrison is proving to be like his mommy was as a baby in his distaste for daytime naps.  Since he's not much of a daytime sleeper, he does sport his cranky pants in the evening.  This usually means a period of near-hysteria around 7:30 until he is fed, changed, swaddled and placed in his swing around 8:30.  Once in his swing with his hair dryer CD he usually falls asleep rather quickly.  The challenge has now become transferring him from his swing in the living room to his bassinet in the bedroom.  We're averaging a 75% success rate on the first attempt, which isn't all that bad considering our second attempt rate is currently at 100%....knock on wood.  The three of us are usually in bed by around 9:30-10:00. Never having gone to bed so earlier before baby, Daniel is actually getting more sleep now than he was before Harrison. 
"Don't even think about it woman..."

The most wonderful thing of all (and I'm almost scared to "say" it out loud in fear of jinxing myself...) is that Harrison has been sleeping between 7-8 hour stretches at night for a little over 2 weeks now.  Could this possibly be how it always will be?!  I'm afraid of what it will be like if he decides to pull the rug out and we go back to waking up every 3 hours.  Knowing what its like to have a baby and still get a whole nights sleep, reverting back will be a huge shock to my system.

In other news, Harrison is now "talking."  He is constantly cooing and babbling--either to us, himself or his first aid kit (whom we now fondly call Arc, short for it's American Red Cross label.)  He can be heard talking all day, I actually woke up the other night to him chattering away to himself in his bassinet.  It is so much fun to talk to him and have him make little noises in return.  Harrison also blessed us with his first smile last week.  It has been a goal for us now to get him to smile as often as possible.  It melts my heart every time.  His most frequent smiles and chattering have come during and after his baths.  I wonder if he will be a swimmer like myself with how much that little boy loves the water!
Harrison and "Arc"


We're slowly starting to bring him out more.  Aside from our parents' houses, we've done our best to limit his exposure.  Honestly, its been extremely difficult.  More so for myself than anyone else, I get extremely stir-crazy in this apartment by the end of the week that I'm so excited to get out--even if just to the grocery store.  Once Harrison hits his 6 week mark we intend to get him out and about more. 

This past week we brought Harrison to the audiologist to have his hearing re-tested.  While in the hospital during his routine hearing test, Harrison failed to pass in both ears at the same time.  The first test he failed in the left and passed in the right,  the second test came back with opposite results with him passing in the left and failing in the right.  Even though it was technically considered a pass by the hospital's standards, our pediatrician referred us to an ENT doctor to have him retested.  We're happy to say that he passed in both ears and it was confirmed that the failing results were due to fluid build up in his ears from before birth.  One less thing for mommy to worry about!

Daniel and I have escaped a few times now by ourselves, once for dinner and another for a movie.  Each time has been anxiously awaited. Each time however, I've come to tears by the time we get to the car and have received pep talks by Daniel throughout the date on the importance of getting out.  While I know this to be true, I cant seem to shake the aching in my heart when I'm away from my baby boy. I'm hoping that in time this will fade some, because as of now the thought of spending a night away from him is out of the question!

5 weeks in, the 3 of us are starting to sync up with each other and Daniel and I are starting to get used to having a baby around--although we will admit that we will be all too ready for that second bedroom once we move.  Our nightly routine of watching the news and catching up on each other's day has become more of a quick whispered "goodnight" in fear of waking the baby.  Oh how things change :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Other Shoe Has Dropped

Where did my calm, serene baby go?!  Harrison has developed the fussies.  A case I'm hoping will be relatively short-lived.  They seem to be worse in the evenings, but he's started to transition into days as well.  Its amazing how such an loud, angry noise can come out of something so small!  I'm very thankful Daniel is such a patient husband (both with Harrison and myself) as the crying is beginning to sound like nails on a chalkboard, sending chills right up my spine. 

Leave it to Daddy to take a picture of him crying :)

This past Sunday after trying to soothe him for hours with no luck, we finally broke open The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD my mother gave me for one of my baby shower gifts.  One part of the DVD is an instructional movie where Dr Harvey Karp (the creator) shows his 5 S's for calming a baby:  Swaddling, Shushing, Swinging, Sucking, and Sideline positioning.  It was incredibly helpful to see the examples as opposed to just reading the descriptions-- I never realized how loudly they actually want you to "shush" in your baby's ear!  It was absolutely incredible, the immediate transformation from a blood curdling screamer to a baby as limp as a rag doll.  By immediate, I really do mean immediate.  It was a matter of seconds.  While each attempt since then has not been immediately successful, it still makes a profound difference.  As Daniel put it, this man is a genius and if we could afford it he would be our live-in baby calmer.  The second part of the DVD is a compilation of "soothing sounds" to play either to calm a baby or keep a baby sleeping once they are calm.  I've quickly learned that sounds that calm a baby are NOT sounds that calm adults.  Loud hairdryers and vacuum cleaners seem to work wonders on Harrison, but of course there's no way to relax when you're playing them at volume level 50 on the TV and you can no longer hear your own thoughts.  I'm sure our neighbors are loving us as well...  That being said, I really do recommend this DVD for anyone with a newborn.  I would have lost my sense of reality completely without it!

With no signs of ear infections, or other physical causes for his fussiness, it appears as though he may be going through a growth spurt.  Keeping him pumped full of milk is the only other way to keep this little boy calm! 

Finally passing out the one place I can't leave him...his changing table.