first month

Elodie is nearly six weeks old now — wow that was fast! Some reflections on our first month as new parents:

  • Plans are meaningless.  I read voraciously to prepare myself for delivery and sleep training and breastfeeding and parenting.. we scoured reviews on every baby product ever made and peddled to first-time parents.. I was determined to do everything by the book, best practices and all that, and kick ass at it.  Now we realize that none of it matters.  When the time comes, you just do what you have to do.  And it isn’t really that hard.  You keep the baby alive, and you love it like you’ve never loved anything before in your life.  Boom.
  • I had adamantly been against attachment parenting, but now I get it.  When you have a baby, you just want to stare at her, all day long.  When she cries, you want to make it better.  Even if you’re breaking your own rules.  Welllllll ok… I admit that sometimes when she starts shrieking it makes me laugh.  Which brings me to…
  • Elodie shrieks when she pees.  I suppose that’s a very shocking sensation when you’re so new at being a human being that you don’t even know where your arms and legs are.
  • Visitors can be stressful, and in hindsight we should have listened to other parents on mentally preparing ourselves for this.  Our world temporarily shrank to encompass only ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes, so other normal-people things suddenly became really overwhelming.   Note to my future self: give yourself at least a month to want to be social again.
  • Related item: a mother’s instinct to keep the baby from being exposed to germs is no joke.  Try to touch my baby without asking first, and I *will* punch you in the face.
  • The first weeks at home are actually the easiest.  Yes I was recovering physically from a very difficult labor, but 1) Elodie slept pretty much all day and all night, 2) Doug was home, and 3) we were both kind of excited.  Getting up in the middle of the night was no big deal — in fact, we often both got up, just because.  There was a lot of sitting together with the baby asleep in our laps and asking one another “hey do you think she’s hungry? she looks hungry.  it’s been 90 minutes.  the book says about every two hours.  do you think– oh she’s frowning, she must be hungry.  let’s feed her.”  We spent a lot of time hoping she’d wake up so we could interact with her.  Parenting in the first weeks is fun.
  • Followup to the previous: 1) Elodie no longer sleeps all day and all night, 2) Doug is not home during the daytime any more, and 3) we are no longer excited about getting up in the middle of the night.
  • Elodie is sleeping through the night (5-6 hour stretches at night), and has been since maybe … 4 weeks old?  Even before then, she’d only fuss at night to be fed, and then she dropped right back off to sleep.  Hearing other people’s stories, I think we got really lucky and have a great baby.  She doesn’t cry unless she is hungry or needs to be changed, and she’s otherwise fairly calm and contemplative.  I’m terrified to celebrate our good fortune, because I’m told that if you gloat about the first one, then you’ll pay the price dearly when the second one comes around.  Karma, I guess.
  • Owning a dog and bringing home a baby is a handful.  That’s two separate eat/poop schedules to keep track of.  Thank goodness there are two of us because sometimes dog and baby decide to do things at the same time ifyouknowwhatimsayin.  Oh, ask us about the time that the baby almost projectile pooped onto the dog’s head.  That was a screaming good time (literally.)  I sincerely don’t know how some families do this with two toddlers, a newborn baby, AND a dog (I’m lookin’ at you, Mimi and Alex.)
  • A baby cooing in her sleep is the awesomest thing ever.
  • It’s really interesting to see Elodie’s little personality develop, and to see the emotions written plain-as-day on her face… never having spent this much time with a baby before, I’m not sure if Elodie is extra expressive, or if all babies make this many faces.  She’s often skeptical or openly shocked about things, and isn’t afraid to throw us a little side-eye when aggravated with us.
  • This has been the best month of our lives.

A few snaps from the early days:

A little over a week ago, we celebrated her one month birthday.  This is a big deal in the Chinese culture, so we put some new clothes on her and celebrated with a little (cup)cake. Elodie couldn’t have been less excited about the festivities as you can see, but Doug and I will always fondly remember our first month as a family together.  Happy one-month birthday, baby girl.  We love you so much.


Announcing the arrival of our newest family member, Elodie.

Born October 13 at 8:50pm after a very long and difficult labor, she has completely captured our hearts.  Since her birth, Doug and I have gone into complete isolation, rejecting all visitors and marveling at this tiny little dancer that we’ve created, and the changes she shows us each day…  the only way to describe the time is “magical.”  I do feel a kinship with every other parent that has ever gone through this process (and finally understand all of the over-the-top kindnesses that other parents have shown us along the way.)  I always knew I loved babies, but now I really get it, the miracle and the joy and the utter love.  It really  can’t be described, it has to be experienced (thus the enigmatic “you’ll see” that we’ve heard from our own parents so many times along the way….)

Our first moments as a family:

This time at home has been a wonderful little vacation for us, and the best two weeks of my life.  This morning, Doug returned to work and I finally sat down at the computer to work and catch up with life as well, a bittersweet return to normalcy.  For friends that have called, IMd, texted, facebooked, emailed, etc… I’m so sorry for our radio silence and I want you to know that we appreciate you so so much, and hope to see you all in coming weeks.  And now, I will try to tackle some of the pictures that we’ve taken so far and make some sense out of them

I’ll post pictures of Elodie here from time to time as I continue to blog about our lives, hopefully more often than I have over this past year!  But for those with the baby itch, I’ll be posting pictures of Elodie regularly, as in every other day, at this location:

I already have photos from our days in the hospital up, and will continue to post pictures until caught up to present-day.  Although truthfully she hasn’t done much since coming home, except to sleep, poop, look cute, and be awesome.  Elodie’s site is password-protected since we’re still getting used to the idea of circulating photos of our child.  But please do email me for the password at, I would love for all of our friends and family to keep up with Elodie and she grows and changes in the days to come.

39 weeks and change

This is probably the last picture that I’ll have taken before the baby comes.  It’s about as big as I’m going to get.  Have only taken several photos throughout the pregnancy but this snap is probably the keeper, the one we’ll show our future daughter.  Thanks to Pinterest, I had all of these grand plans to take great studio shots of my belly as the pregnancy progressed… but this is reality, man.

Every day has been a little different than the one before it… despite all of my kvetching, it really has been the most amazing and human of experiences, and I know I’m quite perversely going to miss it when this is all over.  If you had told me nine months ago that my body could do this, I would never have believed you.

Ok enough emoting.  Baby, get out.

baby shower

Before this baby makes her grand entrance, I did want to spend some time to acknowledge the amazing friends and family that we are so so blessed to have.  First our wedding last summer and now with this little girl about to join our family, everyone has been just incredibly generous and kind.  I know I must sound like a broken record by now, but Doug and I are so increeeedibly grateful for everyone’s support.

Several weeks ago, former bridesmaids (and now my mommy gurus) Mimi and Buu put together the most amazing day of baby shower celebrations for Doug and myself.  I was treated to brunch with the ladies, complete with fun baby-themed shower games and a mountain of gifts that embarassingly took an hour for me to open (I don’t do well as the center of attention hrmm…..)  Some people drove for hours in order to attend, and I’m just speechless that anyone would do that for me.  Yes, I cried several times throughout the morning.  There was also an amazing scrapbooking table where all of the girls put together gorgeous pages of memories with me or Doug, and lots of well-wishes for the baby — I’ll post some pictures of the special pages that the girls made here at some point.  They are so incredibly precious to me, memories, and really the greatest gift we could have received at the end of our day of celebration.

Here are a few photos of the brunch…

Mimi and Buu didn’t stop there — there was also an evening BBQ that our gentlemen counterparts were all invited to.  It was dragon-themed, for our dragon baby!  Unfortunately I don’t really have any pictures of this event, since we were busy sitting around relaxing with friends and having laughs, eating spicy (dragon? right?) foods, and making bets on when the baby will come and how big she’ll be.  I’m so in love with everyone, I can’t even stand it.  If our baby girl grows up surrounded by half as much love as our friends and family have given us, then she will be rich beyond belief.

My girls, my heroes, I love you forever…  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

one year

Well, summer is over and the baby is due in about five weeks.  I’ve been woefully remiss in writing posts for this blog but hope to soon go back and fill in some pictures of our great trip to SF/LA this summer.  Life has been… busy.. this year.  I’m sure every new mom feels this way, but I feel like my entire life has been in slow-motion until now — now, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get myself ready for what’s about to happen.

Several weeks ago, we celebrated our first anniversary.  Not to be mushy (words that usually mean I’m about to be SUPER mushy haha) but marriage has been so much more than the storybooks and movies show us.. it’s more than just a ring on a finger or a changed name, it’s much more than the idea of love or romance even.  It’s being whole when I didn’t know I wasn’t before.  It’s being filled with hope and light.  It’s facing life together without ever having to ask “will you be there for me?”

When I was a little girl, I didn’t understand that there was ever a time when my mom didn’t know my dad — they were so obviously a team in this world and in this life.  I’m not saying that Doug and I don’t bicker about stupid things or laugh loudly and pointedly at each other’s mistakes (that’s one of our hobbies actually) …. it’s just that — I get it now.  And it was totally worth waiting for.

I love this man.  Happy anniversary, Doug.  It’s been a crazy year and I hope that we stay crazy forever.

And now, fast forward one year later…..  here is a photo of me, 8 months pregnant.  It’s not an actual photo but it’s all I have… I don’t have any real pictures of my bump since I’ve been actively avoiding cameras throughout this pregnancy.  But friend and colleague Jeff snapped this as a light test at a wedding shoot while I stood in for the bride…. I look very bridal, no?


halfway there!

We’ve officially crossed the midway point of the pregnancy, hooray!  I’ve been notoriously camera shy since the pregnancy started (we went to the beach for Memorial Day weekend and I didn’t even bring a camera, imagine that!), but in honor of our 20-week celebration I had Doug snap one.  Note how excited I look to have my picture taken.  Hello, belly!

So the big deal about the 20-week mark is that we get to find out if it’s a boy or a girl.  The fun part was planning how to share the information with our families…  the latest pregnancy rage is to announce the news at these huge gender reveal parties where friends and family find out together by simultaneously biting into cupcakes with pink or blue filling, or opening a big box of balloons and seeing what color balloons come flying out.  I considered these options … they sound so fun … but realistically, the extra several days it was going to take for a baker to make our custom order was probably going to drive our families over the edge.  Both sets of our parents are first time grandparents, and very eager ones at that🙂

We decided to buy pink or blue cakes to give to our families, and attach these clever tags that I found on Etsy for a little mini reveal.  Followed by the very important cake-eating.  After visits to a few bakers in the area, we found that a lot of bakers seem to use pink boxes for their cakes and confections.  Well that sends the wrong message right off the bat, don’t you think?  It took us a whole hour to come up with the solution of “put the cake box in a brown paper bag.”  I’ll be the first to admit that brain power wasn’t running high that day.

On Saturday morning, we packed up the car and the dog and the cake for a road trip to Richmond to share the news with Doug’s parents.  During the drive, I posted the following picture to facebook, with the message “boy or girl???

…and when we arrived, Doug’s mom threw the door open and said WE SAW YOUR FACEBOOK POSTING!  Hahaha.

Well, without further ado, Doug and I would like to announce that we are having a baby…

We are having a baby girl!  Yay!  Doug’s folks were thrilled of course, and there was much celebrating that day🙂

Telling my parents the news didn’t quite turn out the way we had originally planned — Doug and I were supposed to have dinner with them on Friday night and surprise them with the cake at that time, but those plans had to be canceled at the last minute because weather reports showed severe thunderstorms for our area in early evening, with threat of tornadoes.  As if DC traffic wasn’t bad enough during rush hour as it is.  We thought it prudent to postpone our plans to meet until Sunday over lunch.  My poor mother had a fit over the phone and … well, partially because she was so insistent but also partially because I was bursting at the seams to tell someone, I caved in and told her over the phone that we were having a baby girl.  Mom and I squealed together for a while, and I have to say that I wasn’t sorry that we told her that way.  How can I be sorry when everyone is so happy??

When we did meet them on Sunday, I decided to be a little mean and mess with mom a little bit.  I went out of my way to get her a cake in a blue box, and I attached the gender reveal card to the top:

The cake inside was still pink of course, but she had a moment of doubt when we pulled the box out.  Muahaha…

So that is our big news for the week!  Baby girl is on her way, and it’s time to start shopping!

double d

I’ve been containing most of my baby-related updates to the Baby Blog, but some baby-related conversations take a left turn into Awesome.

Jeanne: Why do bra sizes suddenly start double-lettering at D?  B.. C.. D.. Double-D?

Doug: Double-D is bigger than D.

Jeanne: Yeah that too… why?  That makes no sense.

Doug: Why does that make no sense?  Two Ds are more than one D.  That totally makes sense.

Jeanne: But Double-A is smaller than A!

Doug: You just said that double letters don’t start until D.

Jeanne: Oh right.  I’m thinking of batteries.

Doug: ???

Jeanne: Triple-A batteries are smaller than Double-A batteries.

Doug: Oh my god.

Jeanne: Why are there no Single-A batteries?