Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Penny at 2 months

So how are things in Valfrey Estates? Sleepy. The way I see it, we're two months in, maybe just three to go until Penny starts sleeping through the night - hopefully - and Val and I get some more rest.

For now? Exhaustion. But we're still happy and not nearly as stressed out as we were with Cooper at the same age. We're even happier on the weekend when Val's parents watch one of the kids and we get a little bit extra time to sleep or clean or watch our shows.

Monday we went to the doctor for our precious Penelope's two-month-old appointment, and all looks to be going splendidly. She's almost double her birth weight, up to 9 pounds, 6 ounces, with a height of 20 1/2. For comparison, at Cooper's two-month appointment he was two pounds heavier and two inches longer.

Penny's had acid reflux since she was in the NICU, so the doc prescribed an itty bitty amount of Zantac to help reduce the burning. Hopefully this will cut down on the fussiness. We had already started adding rice and changed her formula on the advice of the nurse, but we're not sure if either helped. At first we wondered if she was just hungry, but the nurse told us not to go over 4 ounces since her tummy can't handle too much.

Penny has periods of being unable to get to sleep soundly, so she ends up filling the house with blood curdling cries for a few hours a day. It's not as bad as Cooper's colic, so we're not freaking out, but it would be nice to get some extra rest with Penny asleep in her crib or bassinet.

It's been anything but a humdrum couple of months. Our schedule was already full with our mini Cooper, but now with Penny added to the mix we are active around the clock, as follows (beginning with when I wake up for work):

1:30 a.m. - I wake up, either because Penny woke me up (usually between 12:30 and 1:30) or with my alarm waking me up. I change her diaper, feed her a bottle, watch a show or movie and relax on the couch trying to get her back to sleep as she stares up at me while wrapped in a comfy pink blankie.

2:45 a.m. - I put Penny down in the bassinet and take a shower, get ready and go to work.

4:30-5:30ish - Penny wakes Val up to get fed. Val's up for the rest of the morning, because shortly after ...

6:45-7:15 - Cooper wakes up and is ready to go, go, go!

8 or 9 - Penny is fed again, maybe up and fussy.

Noon - I get home from work, play with Cooper and Val feeds Penny and tries to eat lunch herself while I force feed Cooper.

1 - Me and Cooper take a nap together, Val tries to get Penny to sleep so she can nap, too.

3 - All awake, ready for the afternoon. Hopefully the weather is nice and we can go to the park, or at least to Target or the mall.

4 or 5 - Penny is fed again. Then we eat dinner.

7 - Unwind with the lights out for Cooper, put him down for the night.

8 or 9 - I go to bed, Val feeds Penny and tries to get to bed ASAP.

Cooper's still doing very well with his little sister in the house. He likes to crawl up on the couch when we're holding her to see, and pet her hair, and he will give her his lovey and say "nice," because when he first did it Val told him that was nice. Once in a while if he feels she's been held too long he'll say "Penny down," but he doesn't get too upset.

In fact, Cooper just doubles his cuteness every day. He gigglingly repeats what we say, especially the funny words like "watermelon" or "bonus," and does this loud and long "yep!" that Val would say like the guy from "Storage Wars." All he wants to do is play with his trucks, destroy everything in the house and read books, and we try to accommodate him as much as possible. And force-feed some mac 'n cheese, chicken nuggets, waffles and fruit into his mouth three times a day.

Penny, of course, doesn't do much other than sleep, eat, poop and cry. We do enjoy when she's awake and happy, looking around at her surroundings with those big eyes, especially if there's a light to stare at. I'm not sure where she should be in her development by now, but I also remember the nurses in the NICU telling us that she could be a month or so behind due to being born five weeks early, so I'm just enjoying the newborn baby period and all the cute gurgles.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I'm Thankful For This Thanksgiving, 2011

- My wife and two children who are the most important things in my world.

- My Darling Valerie for putting together some hashbrown casserole for me to take to work this morning for our at-work feast.

- The way Cooper yells "DADA!" when he wants my attention, such as if I'm walking past the bathroom while he's taking a bath.

- Penny's squirmy little noises when she's stretching and trying to get comfy in my arms.

- Those who don't hold my (many) mistakes against me.

- The Ultimate Nachos appetizer at Buffalo Wild Wings.

- Aaron Rodgers on my fantasy football team.

- Red Sox players who didn't waste away during the September swoon by eating chicken, drinking beer and playing video games in the clubhouse during games.

- Christmas music on the radio, even if they do play the same ones over and over and over again.

- The doctors and especially the nurses at St. Francis Labor & Delivery and the NICU who took care of Penny for her first 10 days.

- The doctor and nurses who fixed me up when I had a herniated disc in my neck.

- Watching "Monster Jam" on the Speed channel with Cooper.

- Fun stories in the news that makes us forget the serious stuff.

- Sliding into bed at night when I'm really tired and falling asleep so fast that I can't even remember what I'm listening to via headphones on the radio.

- On a related note, when Cooper and I take a nap together, and he wakes up and plays by himself and lets me get an extra hour. And Val lets me, too.

- When it's my turn to feed Penny at 1:30 a.m. and she doesn't have a poopy diaper.

- Watching "Pardon the Interruption" during the 1:30 a.m. feeding, in the dark on the couch with the house quiet and Val and Cooper snoozing.

- That even though Val was in labor for a long day, the actual pushing was quick and the epidural was awesome.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cooper playing in the leaves

Even though we have eight trees in our yard and a half-dozen more surrounding it, somehow there's a pile of leaves a foot high in the backyard, and almost none of them are from ours! Cooper loves playing in them, though, so why hurry to rake them up?

Penny's perfectly happy staying inside ...

Some of Cooper's favorite "books" are actually the Christmas toy ads so that he can look at the trucks and cars in there ...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Penny and Mommy at church

Sitting in the balcony to make it easier to slip out when Penny gets fussy ...

Playing in Cooper's room ...

Daddy and his favorite kids cuddling up before bedtime ...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Val's Sunday School Baby Shower

With Penny being five weeks early, our Sunday School class didn't get a chance to throw Val a shower beforehand, so they did so last Sunday after church. Being good Southern Baptists, we first gather for lots of food, then the womenfolk give presents while the guys and kids play in the gym.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cooper at Audrey's 2nd Birthday Party, pt. 3

It took Val some coaxing to get Cooper into the bouncy, but once she did he had a great time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jeff and Val's TV Shows In Review: Fall Edition

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER - We very much have a love-hate relationship with this show. The whole point of it - Ted's finding a wife - is the least interesting thing on the show, and has been for at least three years. Marshall and Lily's baby drama is the best part, while the Barney-Robin love affair is tiresome. There have been ups and downs this year, which is at least better than the meandering, meaningless "Season with Zoey" (*shudder*) last year. There have been a few decent themes, such as the duck tie, Barney's plausible theory that if you born after May 23, 1973 you like Ewoks and before you don't, and Lilly's "pregnancy brain." Not so much: The episode where they all pictured their parents while making whoopee, and Katie Holmes' guest stint as the Slutty Pumpkin.
NCIS - A lot of self-reflection by Tony this Fall, not as much with the fun and movie references. Cut out the seriousness! Poor Ducky, they kill off his mom, he can't get a chick, then the one hottie he does court ends up killing people to impress him. This may be titled the Season Of Redheads.
COMMUNITY - Weird season. We say that a lot, "This is a weird episode." We're missing the "theme" shows. The best so far has definitely been the one where they showed seven different timelines during Troy and Abed's new-apartment party depending on who gets the pizza.
CASTLE - Good season, thoroughly enjoying it. They're not pushing the Castle-Beckett inevitable relationship too much and the cases have altered between dramatic and fun, all interesting plots.
HAWAII FIVE-O - Glad the Grace Park-is-undercover plot is over, and hopefully with her back they can get rid of the other women who are part of the team but we don't care about, including the CIA one who is actually evil. One request: Please keep Locke, er, Terry Quinn, as a good guy who wants to help McGarrett but can't show it, and not make him a corrupt dude.
UP ALL NIGHT - Cute little show, but maybe more so since we have our own newborn so we can share some experiences. Thankfully they toned down the bleeping of bad language which threatened to derail us.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cooper at Audrey's 2nd Birthday Party, pt. 1

Saturday we went to the birthday party for Audrey, she being the daughter of Val's cousin Josh and his wife, Cathy. There were lots of kids, there, and all kinds of things for Cooper to enjoy playing and eating!