Tuesday, December 13, 2011

lying-in, sort of

Well, we have pretty much been wallowing in our expanded family.  And, up until a few days ago, watching my dad and step-mom take over our house and do pretty much everything for us and then some--cooking, baking, playing with Juniper, baby-holding, curtain-hemming, underwear-ironing...seriously, I would need to devote an entire blog post just to list everything they did for us in the 3 plus weeks they were here.  I don't think parents can get any better than this.  We are so lucky.  They were willing to give up an entire month of their fun-filled schedules to stay with us and make our new transition that much easier, squeezing us between Oaxaca and Peru.    
^We celebrated 4 birthdays during their stay: some early, some late, and one right on time.  The sous chef was more of a taste-tester.^  

They tackled toddler tantrums, no-nap days, small town cabin-fever, no microwave, and consistent below freezing temps, all the while sleeping on a blow-up bed.
^Grandma L and J bugs embellishing Hazel's stocking.^

 It was the greatest gift we could have asked for.  We are still trying to figure out my dad's magic for getting Juniper to nap.  We have a freezer full of soup, chili, cupcakes and cookies.  We haven't cooked, really, since November 17th.
^My dad's awesome full moon shot.^

:: Sometimes, Juniper will watch me and Hazel very intently, and her wide blue eyes will melt me because I'm thinking that she's thinking that she's been replaced.  But then....  Then, she will pick up Baby Sam and imitate what I was doing with Hazel.  She'll burp Baby Sam and say, "Come on, honey," cradling him in her arms.
Well, cradling her in her arms.  Apparently Baby Sam is not a boy.  Neither is my husband nor my dad because Juniper seems to only use feminine pronouns.  I love it.  She puts a refreshing spin on the world by referring to everyone and everything as a "she."

:: We've done a couple of make-shift photo shoots lately, trying to capture the newborness of Hazel before she morphs into a chunky monkey.
^My dad's photo and one of my favorites.^

I admire people who do this for a living.  There is a whole timing thing involved which we mostly missed.  Hazel took on a fighting pose and Juniper was squirmy and trying to wear Hazel's pants.

Juniper has also been trying to wear Hazel's coat.  I have a feeling this is just the beginning.

:: Oh, Hazel's feet.
How I can't get enough of the feet.  All these tiny little perfect body parts.  No wonder I was so sick and miserable and gained so much pregnancy weight.  I was busy making femurs and eyeballs, fingerbones and brains.  No wonder.  I look at her feet and I still (still!) can barely reconcile that it was these exact feet that were kicking me under my right rib just 3 weeks ago.  It seems so wholly impossible that babies come out with all these perfect parts already perfectly formed.  When she was first born, I believed it.  I had felt all those bony parts slip from my body.  But now...it already seems so far away and so impossible.  It was her, inside my belly all along?  Holy cow.

:: I haven't read any scientific studies on the matter, but I do believe newborns emanate a strong relaxin hormone.

Even Juniper takes a break from her toddler antics to hold Hazel once a day.  Then, it's back to the grind:
:Catching the last swim lessons with dad.

:Passing books to Hazel.

:Helping grandma make Christmas cookies (and eating a lion's share of dough).

:Setting up some serious picnics.  This girl has taken cooking to a whole new level.  She will endlessly cook, mix and serve up sandwiches, milkshakes, cupcakes, cornbread, coffee, tea, french fries, soup and salsa.

: And doing some aspen re-gen in our nearby forest (re: the cutting of the Christmas tree).  

:: :: ::
:: We've had so many e-mails and messages and comments about Hazel's birth and some people asking permission to pass along my story to other VBACers and I have to say, 1) Thank you so much for all your congratulations and well wishes!  And, 2) Please, please share!  It was essential for me to hear about and read other VBAC stories, particularly when the medical industry seems to think we're irresponsible and crazy for believing we can birth our own children.

:: Is there a better time of year to welcome a new family member?

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