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She’s just entering her prime; or, Happy Birthday, Karim!

Today is Karim’s 26th birthday. Last year, I wrote 25 things I love about her. I thought about doing the same (plus one more) today, but as I re-read that post, it made me think about this past year and what we’ve been through since then. And I admit that I cried a bit. You see, 2012 was an exhausting, difficult year filled with tears. It was also a joyous year filled with laughter and happiness. One year ago Sofía was just four (almost five) months old. Karim was working part time, and I was just getting used to being a part-time stay-at-home-dad. Life was incredible. We finally had the beautiful and curious baby girl we’d longed and planned for, lived in a wonderful home, were making plans for a big trip (research and vacation) to England in the Fall, and had a five year plan: finish school, find a job, get settled, watch Sofía grow up for 2-3 years, and then try to have another baby.

One year ago we found out that Karim was pregnant again. We cried. It was not what we’d planned. It interfered with some of our other plans. It meant we wouldn’t have the time with Sofía that we so desperately wanted after waiting so long for her to finally join our family. It meant changing travel plans and readjusting the timetable for completing the PhD. It was, in short, hard. I know it sounds selfish, and we’re painfully aware of what it’s like for those unable to have children. We were there ourselves for awhile and have shed tears with close friends and family members going through it all. But finding out Karim was pregnant again was hard. It was emotionally draining for me, and for Karim it was 10 times worse, at least.

And then Joaquín was born. And Karim was happy again. Which isn’t to say that she’d been unhappy throughout the pregnancy—she hadn’t. She worked hard and was, by the end, excited to welcome another child into our family. But fears remained. When he was born, her fears that she would not love him quickly dissipated. Her fears that she wouldn’t have time for both children went away. And watching her through the entire process has made me love her more.

One year later, we’re in a very different place: both emotionally and geographically. We have two children now, twice an many diapers, twice as many sleepless nights, and twice as many smiles, laughs, and learning opportunities. We’re currently in Dallas, staying with my family for another couple of weeks while I complete a fellowship at SMU. The next 4 or 5 months we’ll be living out of suitcases, traveling from one state to the next, and from one country to the next.

We might very well be crazy for doing it all with two children under 18 months.

But there’s no one else I’d rather be doing it with. You’re my best friend, Karim. And so, in addition to the 25 things I named last year, let me just add this one this year:

  • I love you because you’ve grown in strength, endurance, and love over the past year. I don’t remember what life was like before you and I can’t imagine my life now or in the future without you. I love you.

Pictures will have to do.

I find it very hard to keep up with blogging now that I have two babes and our life has pretty much been a whirlwind these past two months. I am much better at recording things through Instagram, so if you’d like, follow me @karimjones. I will try to do better, but I am making no promises. (At least until I get my Christmas cards mailed out… don’t remind me.)

Random pictures in no particular order…that will hopefully give you an update on our lives.

Uncle Jacob and Baby J. We love @itsyourboyjacobschwendiman !Baby J and Uncle Jacob. My babes are so lucky. They have the best uncles in the world. My brothers loved playing with them while we spent a month in New Jersey with my family. Chris is in the major research portion of his PhD program, so until May, we will only be home in Williamsburg for 2 weeks. Are we doing this with two babies in tow? Yes. And we know we’re crazy. I’m already learning that home is with my husband and my little ones.

Joaquin always has plenty of smiles for Uncle Drew!Joaquín and Drew. See what I mean? These boys love my children. And I love watching them be uncles. How sweet is Baby J’s smile? He is so smiley…especially in the morning! One morning he actually woke up giggling. I loved it so much. I use to wonder about what he would be like. At my second ultrasound, we learned he had two little bright spots on his heart, which is a soft marker for downs syndrome. The doctor said the chances of him having it were very low, but up until he was actually born, we weren’t 100% sure if he had it or not. But, to us it didn’t matter at all. I’d love him even he were rainbow colored and had a horn on his head.

Mister Mister, meet snow. You're going to love it!One day while in New Jersey, it snowed all day. It did not stop all day. I just had to prop my mister by the window to see the blanket of snow.

Snow!Sofía was also enthralled with the beauty outside. At this moment, I seriously contemplated if I could ever leave this place.

Pink baths > Regular bathsSofí taking a pink bath at Ito and Ita’s house. We bought her some awesome bath color tablets, and every night she would choose a different color and throw it in. “Tira” is one of the several commands she understands in Spanish, which means “throw.”

I may or may not treat her with sweetened cereal to get her to walk. She thinks it's candy :)She walks! I was wondering if she ever would! She had been able to stand for a while, and could push her little push toys across the room, but showed no interest in walking by herself. We would have her hold just one of our fingers, and she would do so well. I just thought, “Okay! Then walk!” Finally, at 14 months, this little one decided to walk. She still walks with her legs a little far apart, and my mom jokingly calls her “Walking Dead” because she walks like a zombie🙂 Everyday she gets a little more confident and faster. This has been my very favorite milestone. This past month and half have just been so huge developmentally for her. She’s learning animal sounds, she stomps like an elephant when asked to, gives high fives, has learned new words, and utters/yells the sweetest, “Hi!” you ever did hear.

Throw out today's plans and study in bed all day smiling and talking to my babes? Decisions decisions.Can we talk about how cute this guy is? And he is so wonderful! I am so blessed to be his mama and call him mine. We  love to smile and coo to each other. Often he will start cooing when I sing to him. It is the best! And he continues to be a wonderful sleeper. I count myself so fortunate that with both babies, I have never been one of those sleepless parents. He is on a pretty regular nap schedule now, which is great, but I also miss him when he sleeps so much. He takes 2 three hours naps, or 3 two hour naps, plus a 45 minute catnap at night. He goes to bed around 7:30, I dream feed him before I go to bed, and he wakes up around 4 AM to nurse, then sleeps till around 8 AM. He is also good at putting himself to sleep. (Best advice I was ever given that I don’t think I would have been able to come up with on my own: put your baby to bed while drowsy and not sleeping.) This has saved my life this past year and a half. I pray and pray he will follow in his sister’s footsteps in being easy to put to bed.

Boyfriend has yummy cheeks! Photo credits to Uncle Jacob @itsyourboyjacobschwendimanOkay, I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I like to make our outfits match/complement each other. On this particular day, I picked out a chambray shirt for me and a chambray collar for him. All four of us now own chambray shirts. Maybe that will be our next Christmas card picture! (Or not.) I see a bright future for my Mister and I in Motherboy competitions!

"Oh, you don't put your food in your blocks as you eat?"I can’t handle her cuteness sometimes. I just love her. Oh, so a random thing about this girl. We call her our “little hoarder” because she always wants to carry something in her hands. And they are almost always blue. Hence, the little blue block on her tray. Another note: she has another tooth! Which brings it to a grand total of 7! Four on top and three on the bottom. Speaking of teeth…. this girl continues to eat like a person twice her size.

I shall keep him forever and ever.Question: how sweet is he? Answer: SO sweet! Poor little guy went through a short period of hair loss, but it is growing back already. But, now he has a really dry scalp and it makes me sad.

Okay. That’s a good update for tonight, right?

Baby J’s Birth Story

I am finally sitting down and writing our little man’s birth story. Every day that passes by, I feel like I am kissing more and more brain cells goodbye. Here is the story of how Joaquín made his debut.

All along, I thought this baby was coming early. I just knew he would come early because he was my second baby, Sofí came early and I had had more and more contractions earlier on. At my 37 week appointment, I was already dilated to 3 cm. Sweet! The doctor said the baby could be born any day, or could come late. One week later- no baby. The doctor saw me again and said, “You’re still pregnant??” Yes, two years later, I am still pregnant.

At my 39 week appointment, I had my membranes stripped. I had heard that it hurt. Well, I’ll tell you that it doesn’t and that it’s no big deal. The doctor said she thought baby should come that weekend. Hooray!

The week before the baby was born, my wonderful mother-in-law came to take care of us and spoil us rotten. Sofí had another playmate, and I was able to take a couple naps. Best. Thing. Ever. I felt relaxed but anxious, and pretty well rested. I was ready.

I finally realized that this baby was not coming early, and I figured he would come after his Sept. 29 due date.

Friday was a good day. Jerri, Sofí and I had fun together while Chris worked away on a research project he had due in mere hours. I had made a very yummy chicken chili I had seen on my friend’s blog in the crockpot, and Jerri and I had that for dinner. I had put baby girl down for bed, and wondered (like I did every night) if I would see her in the morning. While we ate, I noticed I was feeling come contractions, but they didn’t hurt. I started timing them at 7:23 PM. Jerri and I watched “Parenthood” as these contractions continued. I had not told Chris about them yet because he was up against a deadline, and they still did not feel painful. Just uncomfortable.  Jerri and I started to get excited, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Around 8, Chris came up, and I told him I had begun timing them. I continued doing so until 9:24. Chris was basically sprinting out the door, and I just tried to remain calm as I made sure I had everything I wanted in my overnight bag.

When we got to the hospital, my contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart. They were uncomfortable, but I was still not feeling “that” pain yet. I was taken to the triage room, and the nurse told me that I was still dilated to a 3.5, but that they were not ready to admit me because I was “still smiling” through my contractions. “Great. They’re going to send me home, ” I thought. We were in that room forever. A little before 1 AM, the nurse came to check on me and told me they wanted to keep me in triage longer to see if my contractions got stronger and I was no longer “smiling through them.” I was finally officially admitted around 2:30 AM after dilating to 4cm. Woohoo! I raced to get my gown on because they wouldn’t dare send a lady in labor with a gown on already home, right?

The next hour or so I was no longer smiling. Chris was asleep on the bed (poor guy sat for hours in triage in a really uncomfortable chair) and everything was very quiet. And the contractions were not fun. I got my epidural around 4:30 AM. Ahhh…my happy place! The anesthesiologist was awesome. We got to talking, and learned that I actually had met his sons a few times.

Fast forward a few hours. I slept, I had some broth, watched some TV, had doctor break my water, and did a lot of waiting. I thought labor the second time around was supposed to be a lot shorter?? I had tried to rest as much as I could, and in my half-asleep state I heard the nurse said, “I’m not sure she’s really in labor anymore.” Whatttttt?? Turns out my contractions were now getting further apart.

Around 10:00 AM I started noticing that the baby’s heart rate would dip down when I had a contraction. I was so scared. I noticed it, and soon after, the nurse came and said she had noticed the dip from wherever she was monitoring me. They put an oxygen mask on me, which made even more nervous. I think I can be pretty composed sometimes, but I felt a huge lump in my throat, and the thought I kept having was, “Please, please, please just get him out alive.” I am sure I was scared for nothing, and I was so lucky to have Chris by my side. Chris must have seen the fear in my eyes, and he was so wonderful at trying to soothe me. I remember the nurse kept calling the dip in his heart rate a “variable.”  She told the doctor I was nervous because of the variable. I wanted to say, “No! I am scared because I can hear his heart beating, and when I have a contraction I feel like there is an eternity between beats!” I wasn’t mad though. My nurse was just wonderful, as was the doctor. He took a look at me and said, “Let’s have this baby before lunch!” For next 30 minutes or so, I pushed. Because my contractions were spacing out, I only had a few to work with.

On September 29th, our little man decided to make his arrival right on his due date…and before lunch! When his big sister was born, I remember my first thought was, “Holy cow. This has to be THE most gorgeous baby ever born. Ever.” Like, someone hurry up and call the Guinness Book of Records. With Baby J it was a bit different. I thought, “Hm. WHO does this baby look like???” Poor little guy had half of his face swollen/smashed. It wasn’t until about a day later that I thought, “Okay. Wow. This kid is gorgeous.” To this day I still look at him all the time and I think he is the most handsome little man I have ever laid eyes on.

The following few days were a blur. Recovery this time around was a-mazing. I was up and about soon after and couldn’t believe how great I felt. Speaking of great, Joaquín is pretty awesome. Aside from wanting to sleep through his meal times the first two or three days, he has had zero problems nursing (and zero pain for me.) Seriously?

I am head over heels in love our little guy. I look at him daily and and think, “I needed you.” I wish I could visit my pregnant self and tell her to stop worrying . Yes, you will love him with a love that almost hurts. No, you will not be changing diapers 24/7. Yes, you will get pretty good sleep (baby man wakes up only once a night to eat, sometimes he sleeps the whole night). Stop worrying because there WILL be time for both of them. Stop worrying because two babies are better than one. I firmly believe this. I LOVE having two babies. It’s tricky at times but I am so thrilled with these two little people. They are mine and they are everything.

Quick Update

Baby brother and I had some very sweet cuddle time this morning. I am so in love!I am just loving this little man. He is so wonderful. He really loves to be mugged on and I am more than happy to oblige.

TitleI feel so lucky. The first couple weeks of Baby Brother’s life have been pretty wonderful. Sofí does well around him and he seems to fit right in. I used to worry that my heart couldn’t love again the way it has loved for my baby girl, but I have learned that my heart has just as much love to give to my little guy.

Recovery. Wow. Completely different this time around. It has been so shockingly smooth and practically painless. I know, not fair.

Speaking of not fair…lots of people ask us how he’s sleeping and eating. He sleeps great (wakes up once or twice to eat in the night) and has been a great eater since the start. I’d like to think this is my reward for the whole “being-pregnant-for-forever.”

Now excuse me while I go find some wood to knock on.

ps. I will be posting the birth story when I get the time. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

TitleLoves…

sleeping a lot

being snuggled tight

getting lots and lots of kisses

nursing like a champ

did I mention being snuggled?

TitleMeet our little Baby J…

Joaquín Cannon Jones

Born September 29, 2012 at 11:43 AM

7 lbs. 10 oz. 19.5 inches

TitleWe are all quite smitten with this little guy.

Tick tock. You’re not a clock.

You’re a time bomb baby, a time bomb. 

(*Bonus points if you got that reference before Googling it. And bonus points for me for because I know Chris will be proud.)

That is how I am feeling nowadays. Like a ticking time bomb. Here are some thoughts at 38 weeks.

  • I’m beginning to get that “look” now from people. The look that says, “Please, oh please, don’t let this lady’s water break in front of me.” I’ve gotten a few, “When are you due?” I respond, and then they say, “Oh! I could tell.” Emphasis on the the “tell.”
  • Getting dressed is a blast! I wore one outfit this morning, and 2 hours later, I already felt too warm in it and couldn’t remember why I thought it was cute in the first place.
  • I am getting so excited to meet this little guy of mine. I feel so lucky to be able to start brand new with a little boy. And I can’t can’t wait to smell him. If they could bottle that newborn baby smell, I would buy it and spray it on my pillow every night. Heaven must smell like that.
  • At our last doctor’s appointment, I was told I was 3 cm dilated already. I find myself Googling absurd things like, “3 cm dilated how long until labor?” I try to ignore those naysayers that say they went nine and a half months pregnant while at a 3 and focus on the more positive ones.
  • 4. That’s on average how many times I’m waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I could get there with my eyes closed.
  • My dreams are getting weirder and weirder. Twice now, I have had dreams about going shopping for colored pants. Then again, this probably shows just HOW excited I am to finally be able to introduce cute colored pants into my fall post-baby body wardrobe. I already bought a mustard pair because Chris saw my eyes light up when we saw them. I really miss feeling like me.
  • I’m at that point now where I’m afraid of leaving things dirty. Poor Chris. And poor Sofí. As soon as she goes down for a nap, I put all her toys away, even though I know they will be strewn all over the floor a couple hours later. If we could eat off napkins so as not to dirty any dishes I’d probably have us do that. I find myself itching to put Chris’s plate in the dishwasher before he’s even done with his meal. I also try to make sure I never smell bad and that my hair looks presentable. (Okay, I just laughed out loud at this. I never want to smell bad…this isn’t a new development.)

I hope I have not offended or made anyone upset with my complaints/sarcasm. I know that I am very very fortunate to be pregnant and to have had a very pleasant pregnancy. Trust me, I’ve been on the other side. The side that just ached to have stretch marks and have my ribs kicked hard. The side that kept asking “Why? Why? Why?” I can also say that being pregnant for the better part of two years is also very very hard. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. I could write a novel about it. But, I hope everyone knows how blessed we feel and how much I am looking forward to holding this little baby of mine.

And now I will get back to our night of football. Chris is over at a friend’s house watching the BYU v. Utah game (10 PM start time, really??) , and I’m at home watching The Blind Side. Same thing.

1 Year Stats

Title

Oh, and here’s a picture of Sofí and her cousin, Mav, from last weekend. So cute.

Today, Sofí went in for her 1-year doctor’s appointment. I thought we had forever until this milestone, but it certainly creeped up on us.

Height: 29 1/4 inches (55th percentile!) That’s the highest percentage in length she has ever been!

Weight: 19 lbs. 1 oz. (18th percentile)

Head: 18 inches (70th percentile!) Holy smokes. I knew her brain was working overtime!

Love my helmet hair baby!

To My One-Year-Old

Title

Dear Sofí Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear, Stinkyface, Cheeseburger Head,

You are now one year and one day old! I spent the entire weekend thinking, “One year ago today, I was (fill in the blank).” You are truly the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to your Dada and I. The day you were born, I wanted to spend every moment taking in your sweet baby smell and feeling your soft skin against my cheek. When I really held you that first time I felt like my heart could just explode. That feeling has not left me for one single second.

From the start, you were a wonderful baby. You have always been a great sleeper and a great eater. I think we have been spoiled this way. You are also good at letting us know what you want and don’t want. You are not much of a cuddler, but every so often, you will cuddle up on us like a little koala. When that happens, we know not to move in hopes to make those seconds last a little longer.

You are very vocal. There are times when you like to be independent and play quietly by yourself. Other times, you seem to not have an “off” button. When I’m doing something in the kitchen, you like to pull yourself on the backs of my legs and say, “Mamamama!” I know I will miss this someday. You definitely have my sense of humor. You think it’s so funny when things fall or drop. I love to watch you dance! You make funny sounds when you dance that seem like you are dancing with real purpose.

I love seeing your dad in you. From the very start, you have always crossed your legs just like Dada. It is the cutest thing ever. When you sit down to play, you often sit with your legs “criss-cross-applesauce.” You look so grown up when you do. You also have Dada’s bed head. You two have matching hair most mornings. The other thing I love that you share with your dad is the sparkle in your eye. Since your dad and I started dating, I have always loved his “smiley” eyes. When you two smile, your eyes smile as well. One time, my mom pointed out that there was just something in your eyes that were just like your dad’s, but she couldn’t quite pinpoint it. I told her it was the smile in them, and she immediately agreed.

You have shown us time and time again that you are a baby that will do things on her own time, and not a second before. You are still not walking, but have no problem pulling yourself up on everything and walking along those things. You hate shoes! The second they go on  your feet, you try to pull them off.

Your little brain has really been working overtime these last couple months. There are times I so wish I could know what you are thinking because you have the most pensive looks on your face. Once in a while, it takes you a very long time to go to sleep at night. You lay quietly in your crib without making a sound while clutching your lovey. I can almost see the wheels turning through the monitor. Lately, you have been taking a lot more to signing, and I just love seeing you learn new things.

Baby Girl, I could go on and on about the wonderful and unique things about you. I truly feel like you and your dad (and soon, Baby Brother) literally hold my heart in your hands and keep the air in my lungs.  This year has gone by entirely too fast, but I am looking forward to see you grow and learn during this next year. And I am especially excited to see you become a big sister.

I love you!

-Mama 

Sofia devoured her "birthday cake" (a sweet potato with a candle in it.) I love you, baby!For your birthday, you had a sweet potato instead of cake. It was a huge hit! You devoured the entire thing🙂