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December 2016

    Baby

    Hudson’s First Christmas

    In what is possibly my biggest parenting fail to date (in all 4.5 months…) we have but one family photo of Hudson’s first Christmas. And while I’m really glad we have that one—many thanks to my sister in law!—it’s not even by a tree or a single, sparkly light. Ugh.

    Thankfully, we have the Driehaus photos of the three of us, and all of the fun photos below of Hudson opening presents with our families.

    In my defense, I was running on basically zero sleep. All of the activity, people and new places were a lot for our routine-loving baby, and we were rewarded with three nights straight of Hudson up every hour, crying. Even in his earliest newborn days, he was giving us at least a couple of hours in a row, and his lung capacity has improved significantly since then… so little newborn mews have evolved into full fledged wailing. So, yeah. I have a new appreciation for moms that survived weeks on end of that.

    A not-so-Christmassy story: one of my top five life moments was a day spent in Italy with good friends on a trip to Europe in 2013. We spent the day at a wine and cooking experience with an Italian couple on their farm and vineyard, and it was as beautiful and surreal as it sounds. We drank their wine all day long while cooking, and capped it off with a dinner—and more wine—under the stars. I fell asleep on the ride back to our hotel and expected that to be the end of a really beautiful day.

    Except, it wasn’t. I woke up when we arrived back at the hotel to find that everyone had continued the party on the ride home and I summoned one of the only instances I can remember of a second wind. The hotel was an old castle in the Tuscan hills (see why this day was one of my top life moments?) and we took all of the wine we’d purchased that day out to a patio and continued the night there. Later when we went adventuring around the grounds, we found that they left their indoor pool house UNLOCKED. I love to swim, and we were up until almost dawn running around the Italian hills and swimming in the beautiful, ornate pool house.I kept thinking, is this real life? I’ll never forget how lucky I felt to have such a crazy, beautiful experience.

    I’ll also never forget how I felt the next morning, because when I woke up to our friend telling us that we had to get on the move to our next destination, I burst into tears out of exhaustion and chianti. My own doing, of course, and I turned the day around with a long snooze on the drive to Rome and a TON of espresso. Plus, now this story is a funny one: J will say, “hey, remember the time you woke up and started crying because you were so hungover in Italy?” No regrets! I can say that years later, anyway 😃

    Anyway, I share that long and rather unbecoming hangover story here because that morning in Italy came to mind as the only real comparison I have to the feeling of three nights of sleeping no longer than an hour or so. I don’t think I actually cried in the morning of day three, but I really, really, thought about it. And then even that seemed too tiring, so instead I just drank eight or so cups of coffee that day and survived to tell the tale.

    Plus, look at his little face! Those chubby cheeks and big eyes make me completely forgive those rough nights.

    Thankfully, we’ve gotten back to normal-ish around here, though we’re far from the days of sleeping through the night at 3 months. Did that ever really happen? But, lest I go down another infant-sleep theorizing rathole, I’ll end my whining here and tell you that despite the above six-paragraph-tale of sleep deprivation, it was actually a great Christmas.

    We did our little family Christmas here in the city early, and had a great morning with just the four of us (counting Blitz!) in our jammies, opening up presents by the tree. Then we headed out to visit both of our families over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and our trunk got more and more packed with presents for our lucky little dude’s first Christmas as the weekend went on.

    Hudson is SO loved—by us, of course!—but also by two families and lots of friends. I found myself holding back tears of gratitude more than a few times when I’d find a quiet moment and watch Hudson surrounded by people that love him. I have always loved Christmas for the slight feeling of magic that comes with the lights, the extra time with family and friends, and the excuse to eat cookies for a month straight. A temporary break from the real world that reminds me just how much I have to be thankful for.

    Having Hudson here with us to share this Christmas amplified that feeling tenfold. A hundred-fold! I kept thinking that last year we’d just found out that I was pregnant. Then somehow, as it does, time leapt forward and here we were at Christmas again, with him in our arms. I am so grateful that he’s here, healthy, and thriving. I love my little family and the wider circle of family and friends that surround us with all my heart, and I’ll forever remember the feeling of joy that accompanied his first Christmas.

    And the coffee 😃

    Cheers, friends. I hope your holidays were happy ones!


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    Chicago

    Santa Pictures at Chicago’s Driehaus Museum

    I’m so, so excited to finally post about a Chicago-specific activity for babies! I know there’s a ton of stuff in the city for kids, and highlighting that is a big part of the reason I wanted to start this blog. But the reality of being a mom to an infant has been a lot more watching the city out the window than it has been participating in these activities. But of course that will change as he gets older, and our adventure this past weekend was a great example of how much fun it’ll be to explore the city again through Hudson’s eyes.

    As a shameless Christmas freak, getting a Santa pic was non-optional for Hudson’s first Christmas. But as a claustrophobic and slightly panicky new mom, the thought of taking Hudson to any of the local malls made me… claustrophobic and slightly panicky.

    So imagine my delight when I came across Santa Saturdays at the Driehaus Museum while browsing SantaInChicago.com. (Thank you, whoever started that site!) My fingers were crossed that it was as ideal as it sounded: ticketed time slots so no crazy crowds, within walking distance, and a family portrait with Santa in a Chicago historical landmark.

    I’m happy to report that it exceeded my expectations. The Driehaus Museum is a meticulously preserved home and example of 19th century architecture in Chicago. Not only do you get to tour the home and imagine life for the super-wealthy back then, but they also host complementary galleries in some of the rooms upstairs. I loved an exhibit featuring cover work and other illustrations from Puck, a satirical magazine from the early 1900’s.

    The house was totally decked out for the holidays and there were carol singers in the lobby for the event, which Hudson loved and watched, drooling away and open-mouthed, for no less than 20 minutes.  Our tickets included a craft and storytime, both of which we skipped because Hudson still tops out at about 120 minutes of awake time right now and we wanted to get to the main event: SANTA!

    Santa was charming, the set-up was beautiful and warm, there was no line, there were Christmas carolers, a great photographer… I mean, this is THE way to go. It all added up to Hudson totally nailing his first ever Santa picture, and our family portraits turned out pretty well, too! Big high-fives all around.

    The only complication was that apparently 19th century homes weren’t built to accomodate Uppababy’s.  The staff graciously helped us get our stroller stashed away in a safe space when we arrived, and we ended up carrying our little tank up and down a bunch of flights of stairs. No disaster, but a carrier would have made things easier.

    We’re already looking forward to going back next year when Hudson’s a little bigger for round two, and we’ll definitely be partaking in the cute crafts and storytime then. Jason and I paid $15 a piece and children under 2 are free. I consider that a steal, especially for the printed photos that they give you before you leave as a part of your ticket.

    Also, a funny Hudson story from the day: I had the cutest little man outfit picked out for him. Sweater, plaid shirt, pants, and shoes. Our angel baby who rarely cries absolutely LOST his mind at the indignity of being forced to wear that getup, so after about 10 minutes of hysterical crying he was happily hanging out in his “My First Christmas” onesie. Santa said he liked that Hudson matched his suit, so maybe it all worked out as it should. But… anyone want an adorable outfit that we’ll apparently never be using? It’s all yours 🙂

    See you next year, Santa!

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    Baby, Milestones

    Month 3 & 4 with Hudson

    Looking more like his daddy every day <3

    Since I never did get around to that 3 month update (blame Trump) we’re just moving right ahead to 4 months.

    I remember reading about the concept of the “fourth trimester” when I was pregnant—the first three months after a baby is born when they’re so helpless they might as well still be in utero.

    Well, being on the other side of those early days… I totally believe it. The amount that Hudson has grown physically and developmentally in the last four months is incredible. I do recognize that this rapid growth applies to all babies—not just our little genius 😃  But Hudson is a veritable person these days, and watching our own baby grow has really blown our minds. Jason and I keep saying, “we made this!” and looking at each other like—holy sh*t. Does that ever get less crazy to think about?

    You’ve been warned: this update is a LONG one. I try to be concise in my other posts, but on this topic I want to be able to look back and remember all of the little details 😃 And with that, here’s life with Hudson over the last few months.

    Stats

    Pre-shot smiles at the doc

    Hudson is 17 lbs, 27” and his head is huge: in the 100th percentile. That last stat totally cracks me up… I keep telling him he has THE biggest baby head. His weight is 85% and his height is 98%! Everywhere we go  people will ask how old he is and when I tell them, most often the first thing they say is—“he’s a big boy!” Yes, he is. It’s comforting to know that he’s such a sturdy little guy, but I’m also glad that he’s getting a little more coordinated and helping me by holding on when I pick him up. Our little dude is HEAVY, and getting heavier.

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