Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ten More Questions with Kip.

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Two years ago I asked Kip some answers and recorded them on the blog for posterity. It's a fun re-read, especially all the comments people left! Here are some questions for Kip about being a dad to go with this picture of him with his baby girl. I think he's looking rather manly and tough with his short sleeves, hat and scruff on his face, and Becca looks about as dainty as possibly in her Kissy Kissy romper with little pink roses, pink bow, and fair skin. It's also a great photo to show just how much her eyes match his.

1. What's your favorite thing about Rebecca right now?
Her smiles. She works so hard on them!

2. What do you like about taking Rebecca to daycare each morning?
Her smiles.

3. When I first asked you what surprised you most about being a dad, Rebecca was only a few weeks old, and you talked about the lack of sleep. When I asked again, you said how much work the breastfeeding was. What would you say now that she's ten weeks old?
Nothing has really changed, really. Her life still revolves around eating, sleeping and pooping. (I add, "and smiling" and he agrees. Do you see a trend? We're obsessed with baby smiles.)

4. What's your favorite book to read to Rebecca?
I don't really mind that Madeline book. (I was sure he was going to say "Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late" by Mo Willems because it cracks us up.)

5. What's your least favorite book to read?
I don't know. A few of them. (I was sure he was going to say Blue Hat Green Hat by Sandra Boynton.)

6. What's something you hope for Rebecca?
That she makes lots of friends at daycare. (Her first friend is named Quinn, and they lay on the mat together and look at a mirror. I walked in the other day to find them shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, just gazing at the mirror. Quinn is one month older, and they will probably be chatting in no time.) 

7. What's one lesson you've learned that you would tell other new parents?
Be patient. (Victoria's edit: The other day he told people who were expecting to not expect to do anything after they had a baby but try to sleep. No other projects will get done.)

8. What's the cutest outfit she owns? 
(After a lot of deliberation) Pink and white stripe one

9. Am I doing a good job as a mom?
Yes, you're doing a good job as a mom. Worry less.

10.  Should we have another baby?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Stripes on Stripes.

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It is officially time to start transitioning Rebecca into the next size clothes, and I am taking it pretty hard. I tried to explain to Kip that I was going to be sad to put away all her 0-3 months clothes, and he looked at me funny. All of her newborn onesies were borrowed or lovely hand-me-downs, but the clothes she is outgrowing now I am a bit more attached to! So many little memories of getting to know this sweet baby over the past couple months. But the time has come and her feet are definitely bigger than the bottoms of the footie pajamas. Thankfully these cute pjs don't have feet on the bottom so she hasn't outgrown them yet!
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This quilt was a surprise gift from our friend Abbey's mom Vicki. It's pinks, purples and gray are in perfect proportion to Rebecca's nursery. The fabrics she included are so sweet too from the pink trucks to the little girl reading and the K-State Powercats. Rebecca is lucky to know so many talented seamstresses! It's nice to have a good blanket collection for the cutest photographs and to make it cozy on the floor for tummy time and hanging out in the living room.
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I took these photos on Friday as Becca and I kicked off our three day weekend. I think she took the two month shots a little harder than we thought initially and having her first sniffles had thrown her off a bit at daycare. So we were all glad for a long weekend to rest up! It's hard to say if Becca brought home the first cold or I did, but we both took a beating after our eight weeks of maternity leave in a pretty germ free bubble. The weekend was good with an evening walk to enjoy the nice weather, some time with friends, and a class about parenting at the church.
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Rebecca's hair doesn't seem much longer yet, but the little wisps are definitely dark and starting to fill in a bit more. My mom was holding her last week and said, "She does look a little bit like Kip," and I quickly agreed though we can't put our finger on why! It might get clearer as she gets bigger.

And since this is a random post full of tidbits about our little nugget, tell me about what you do with books. Kip was reading Madeline to Rebecca last night (yes, it was as cute as it sounds), and he was getting frustrated with the dust jacket which already looks like it's taken a beating even though Rebecca hasn't even touched it yet! Do you keep the dust jackets on your books? Remove them and toss them? Remove them and save them? I'll tell you the truth about Madeline - we threw away the dust jacket because the book cover underneath looks exactly the same minus the Caldecott Honor sticker. Are we terrible? We'll take all the advice we can get. #rookieparents

Friday, April 22, 2016

Olivia's Baptism

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Kip and I were honored when Jon and Erica asked if we would serve as baby Olivia's godparents. We are super excited to have girls so close in age, and it doesn't feel like a normal Sunday if we don't see the Andersons at church. Olivia's baptism was last Sunday morning, and we were so happy to stand up with them and promise to make sure Olivia knows all about Jesus.
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Erica hosted a lovely brunch for all the grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even Maddie and Olivia's great-grandparents. The weather was gorgeous, so we slipped out front for pictures to commemorate the special day. Maddie hammed it up for as many pictures as she could, and we shouted and whistled to try to get baby O and baby Becca to look at the camera.
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Maddie is at that age where she is interested in babies, can be super helpful, and also is just fine observing them from a little ways away. I asked her to sit with Rebecca to take their picture, and she mostly kept her distance and held her baby. But I just noticed that she's also reaching over to hold her hand in the photo of Rebecca by herself! We're expecting Maddie to lead Olivia and Rebecca in shenanigans in no time. 
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Both little girls share the same middle name - Olivia Claire and Rebecca Claire. They are almost exactly the same number of months apart as their mamas as Erica is three months older than me. And they look good with white bows on their heads! Olivia looks like she is reaching out to hold onto Rebecca in this photo. These girls are just so sweet!
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Rebecca was going to wear her Easter dress to the baptism, but I reached for this little gown instead on Sunday morning. As every mom has told me, they grow so fast, and if you aren't careful, cute stuff will be missed! This little outfit is size 3-6 months!
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Thinking about a smile for mama...
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There it is! Happy Friday, friends - Rebecca and I have a three day weekend and lots of relaxing to do.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bar Method and a Baby

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Other than the having a baby part, doing Bar Method while I was pregnant was one of my proudest accomplishments with my pregnancy. I have to give my sister Lauren credit for being the first adopter of Bar Method in our family, and I totally thought it sounded nuts when she described it a few years ago. Flash forward to November of 2013 when I took my first class for a Junior League social event. Hoddy Potter taught that first class, offered a discount on the first month of classes, and I signed up on a whim. I'm not the athletic sort, never played a single sport in middle or high school, and I've never taken a dance class in my life (unless you count BOTAR!). But something about the classes hooked me in completely. I loved that I could see it working, felt better about myself, and loved the teachers.

So when we found out we were pregnant, I decided that I was going to keep going to Bar Method three times a week. It's a very pregnancy friendly workout, and there are prenatal classes and modifications that keep it possible till the very end. The first trimester was actually the worst because I mostly wanted to lie around eating dry cereal. But I had agreed to work in the childcare room three mornings a week. Since I was in the studio already, I kept working out through the first trimester ick.

But after that first trimester, it was easier to keep it up. I went three times a week for my entire pregnancy, including taking classes when we traveled! I was still taking Level 2 classes when Kip and I went to Salt Lake City, and I loved my class at the Salt Lake studio. Over Thanksgiving, Lauren and I took a class in Indianapolis together so I could keep up with my goal of going three times a week.

Near the end of my pregnancy, the Bar Method studios here in KC were shaken and somber with the loss of the owner of both studios, Hoddy. She was a major part of the Bar Method appeal. A transplant from the west coast, she owned both studios in Kansas City.  Hoddy was also over six feet tall, and she made the tall girls feel welcome. She's featured in the videos Bar Method sells, including their pregnancy DVD. It wasn't just Bar Method that lost a tremendous individual when Hoddy passed away last December, but the Kansas City community. Easily one of the most dynamic people I've ever had the pleasure to know and work for, I'm lucky that she introduced me to Bar Method.

I worked out all the way to my due date and took my last class Monday before Becca was born on Wednesday (pictured above). Bar Method was one of the most positive places for a pregnant lady like me to hang out because everyone was so encouraging and told me I looked awesome. No one gave me crazy unsolicited advice, and all the mamas promised that the classes would help with delivery and recovery. They probably did, but I don't have anything to compare it to! Getting back to Bar has been slow, but I have taken a few classes. The technique comes back quickly, and it is really good to see my  Bar buddies again. I am looking forward to summer and getting to take a little bit more often!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Rebecca Claire || Two Months

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Rebecca is two months old, and she has the shots to prove it! Two months is the first time babies get a bunch of vaccines, and the good news is that only Becca cried while Kip held her. I was definitely feeling pretty sorry for her though! Her official weight at her check-up was 11 lb 14.5 oz (78 percentile), and she is 23 inches long (75 percentile). We have decided she has a Lynch head more than a Luhrs head - Kip has a hard time getting hats to fit his small noggin, and Becca's head is a perfect round little 15 inches. She is still wearing mostly 0-3 month clothes, though her legs are getting long in her footed pajamas. In the photos above, Becca is wearing the same size onesie as at one month. We will see if it makes it to three months!

In the past five days or so, conversations with Rebecca have really taken off. She's added some sweet coos and sounds to repertoire, and she is giving out smiles more freely. But if I laugh or giggle at her smile, it still sometimes startles her smile away! Rebecca is generally happy, a good eater and goes to bed between 9:15 and 10. We are making it work for now but always trying to nudge it earlier. Becca sleeps between four and five hours usually in the first stretch, and she is currently only getting up once a night because our days start so early. It's fair to say usually because last night she must have read the draft of the post and wanted to keep us on our toes by waking up four or five times.

While we both read to her, I think Kip reading her stories is my favorite. She gets sweet and quiet, watching him with her deep dark eyes. Rebecca doesn't have any favorite stories yet, but Kip has a few he isn't fond of after reading them several times! She seems to notice the mirror on her play mat, and Rebecca turns her head listening for us if she can't see us but hears us. It appears we have a mutual adoration thing going on, which is great. We love Rebecca Claire.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Back to School || Rebecca's First Week of Daycare

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In the days and weeks leading up to Rebecca's start at daycare, people often asked if she took a bottle. It was definitely a concern because we know plenty of babies (myself included!) who refused a bottle. But based on the advice of our pediatrician and lactation consultant, we started with some bottles around week three, and she has never given us any problem with them. Kip is the bottle champ, and I would say Becca looks pretty cozy cuddled in with Daddy after a bottle. I'm not sure there is anything sweeter than a baby who falls asleep in your arms. We put her down...sometimes.
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Rebecca started at her school, and I went back to school on a Tuesday which was an easier way to get back into a routine. Kip takes Becca to daycare in the morning, and on the very first day, he did drop off all by himself just like any other day. I cried as they left in the morning because it was such a big transition. But Becca didn't cry when he dropped her off, and when I picked her up at the end of the day, they said she did a great job. She ate a normal amount of milk and slept some!

There are eight babies and three really kind teachers in her room, and she's the youngest tyke so I think she gets held a lot! I really like her teachers and adjusting to the routine has gone pretty well. My biggest concern was that she would wake up more times in the night to nurse because she missed me, but her schedule has stayed about the same. Rebecca's such a good baby. She won't go over the summer, and we will get ten more weeks to hang out. I like to call it maternity leave, part two.

As for me, the transition went pretty well! The eight weeks not in my building were a good mental break and refreshed my sense of humor. You have to be able to laugh when you work in a middle school! It's actually one of my favorite times of the year as every day is different with unique challenges, celebrations, field trips and craziness. My buddies at work seem glad to have me back, and a few kids have been sweet in welcoming me back too. It's easier going back when you know your baby is in good hands and you love what you get to do. And the fact summer is just around the corner doesn't hurt either!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Easter 2016 || Rebecca's First Easter

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It's been an exciting time lately for our church in downtown Kansas City. We love being members at Resurrection Downtown, and we are about to begin the process of building the first NEW church in downtown Kansas City in 80 years. (Here is the story in the Kansas City Star!) There are signs of construction all around our church, with new buildings for even more people to move downtown. Our already crowded church will need to be ready to welcome new folks, and we love that! We desperately need more space for babies and kids and seats in a sanctuary. It's been so exciting learning about all the new plans for the church to grow - we can't wait for Rebecca to grow with it!

But as for now, we're still meeting in the building where Kip and I were married. So just like we have the past couple years, Easter services were held at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It's a gorgeous place for worship, and we feel so lucky to get to celebrate the resurrection there.

With Easter being so early in March, it was a bit tricky to pick out the perfect outfit for Rebecca's first Easter. But my mom and I still made a big deal of it because it was her first one! Kip didn't totally understand, and I think this is very much a girl thing. What we wore on Easter was always so fun growing up! My mom made so many of our dresses or picked out matching things for Lauren and me to wear. We found this adorable little dress (with bloomers!) at baby Gap and added a baby cardigan. She wore her Freshly Picked moccasins, and we bundled her up with a blanket to keep her warm in the snow!
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Thankfully the snow was gone by the time church was over, and we stopped to take photos in the beautiful atrium. Rebecca slept or was cooperative through all of church and then woke up to eat a bunch as we arrived at my mom's. My mom had a lovely meal planned, which was awful nice of her since we were very much still in the newborn parent camp and merely drying my hair was an accomplishment.
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She also sewed her an Easter basket with darling fabric and tucked in Rebecca's first Easter bunny. We've always loved Easter and feel like we have so much to celebrate together, and it felt especially true this year as we marked Rebecca's first Easter!

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Six Books of Febuary and March.

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I finished one book in February while we were waiting on Rebecca, and then there was too little sleep for reading. After a while, I got into a rhythm with nighttime feeding and have been able to read a bit more.

The Thing About Luck is  a young adult book from the author of Half a World Away. It's an interesting look about culture as the young children in the book spend the summer with their Japanese grandparents working on a custom harvest team. They are from a fictional town in Kansas, and it is a story about family, tradition, hardship and fitting in. I liked it for the Kansas connections, and I imagine for students in other part of the state might be able to connect a bit more. It would be a bit of a stretch for our kiddos.

Red Queen is sold as a young adult book for people who love the Selection series and Hunger Games. And it is very very similar, but with more supernatural elements. It is the start of the series, and I haven't decided if I will continue. It definitely ends with a cliff hanger. However, I do think I will recommend it to students. It's got the right amount of all the features our kids love about dystopian novels - a strong female character, a couple legitimate love interestes, and the underdog.

I'll Give You the Sun is the last young adult book I read in March. The format is extremely well done as the chapters alternate between two twins, a boy and girl's point of view told a few years apart. My friend Abbey and her high school art students could probably relate to the setting at an art school and the sculpture, sketching and painting that the twins do. The YA books I have read lately are more depressing than the adult fiction books, and this one is no different. I would feel better about 8th graders and older reading it - it's got some sexuality elements.
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If you read one book from  this round-up, make it The Great Kitchens of the Midwest, A Novel. Kate chose it, and it's one of my favorite books I've read in a while. It's a wonderful compilation of shorter stories that make one big story about a famous fictional chef in the Great Lakes region. I have no idea how the author crafted the story - it's brilliant - and a fantastic debut novel. I'd read more books he writes for sure! (Bonus: just read this NY Times Review and apparently he also is a tv producer for shows like Deadliest Catch. Who would have guessed??)

Before I started keeping track of books, I read About a Boy by Nick Hornby because I loved the movie and the soundtrack. I'm also a fan of his Fever Pitch movie with Jimmy Fallon. So it's not a surprise that I really liked Funny Girl about a fictional British comedy star in the 1960s. The book includes all the folks who work on the show and follows their lives and careers. It was good, but let me use it instead as a plug for my favorite podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour. When it is new on Friday it is easily one of the highlights of my week, and they discussed this book a year ago.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a very buzz-y book that seems to be sold everywhere. We read it for our March book club with a sort of spring cleaning mindset, and it made for some hilarious discussion. Some of us are neat freaks, some of us are hoarders, and if we aren't one of the two, we're married to a neat freak or a hoarder. She makes some good points about the amount of STUFF we have in our homes, but none of us could drink the koolaid on the Kon Mari method completely. I did take every single piece of clothing out of drawers, cabinets and the dreaded plastic tubs in the basement and ended up with 96 items for goodwill. I'm not sure it changed my life, but it was a good reminder to be a bit more careful with the things I buy. I'm also inspired to downsize my piles of books, but she's not getting near my photo albums.

Also, thanks to Nanette for this hilarious follow-up on why tidying up is challenging for parents. This line summed up my feelings reading it at 1 and 3 am feeding Rebecca perfectly: Being home with my baby, I have a lot of time to fret about the clutter in my house, but not a lot of time to address it. My hands, quite literally, are full.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spring Pictures of Rebecca (and Kip)

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Our house has excellent light for taking photos of this darling face, but I'm definitely still learning how to get maximum effectiveness out of the light. It's fun to have a cute little subject who can't run away from me just yet.
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Between cute clothes from Aunt Lu and Rachel and the best assortment of blankets, I've always got something that makes for darling photos. I haven't used all of the blankets I wanted to yet for photos - saving one of my favorite quilts for last! In these doodlebug photos, Becca is wearing a onesie from Lu, navy pants from Carters, a bow made by Rachel, and her first pair of Freshly Picked moccasins! She likes to jump on the bandwagon of trendy footwear.
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I love all the photos of sleepy newborns swaddled up and sleeping on white beds. Rebecca loves to wake up as soon as she is sleepy and I try to lay her down on the white bed for photos. This is as good as it gets, and I don't have many photos of sleepy Rebecca. She's getting really darling eyelashes and more dark or red hair is growing in slowly on the top of her cute round noggin.
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The star magnolia in the backyard bloomed over two weeks earlier than last year. I took these photos of Kip and Becca one Sunday after church to document how big the tree was getting. It's funny how different parents hold babies different ways, and Kip's always got Rebecca cradled in his arm like this. He's so great with Rebecca, and they are darling together.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Meeting Rebecca.

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I think it's pretty natural when you have a baby that you want to show her off and all your loved ones want to meet her. Rebecca's first days and weeks were no different, though thankfully the internet makes it easier to share her photos with everyone too! Rebecca arrived in the late afternoon, and my mom and dad were both able to hold her that same day. Aunt Lu was traveling for work and got to meet her new little niece on Friday when she returned home. I'm dying looking at the outfit that she is wearing while Lauren is holding her - I packed way too big of clothes to come home from the hospital and those are some of my favorite pieces now, seven weeks later!
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Rebecca has an abundance of uncles! Her six uncles range in age from 10 to 46 so she's got plenty of guys looking out for her. (Plus two aunts - Lauren and Gabby!) The weather cooperated, and Dad, Tracy, Spencer and Blake were able to come from Indianapolis to meet her. They stayed in Kansas City that night and were able to come see her the next day (and bring Lamar's) as well.
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My in-laws raised three great boys, but they are both delighted to have a girl granddaughter. Keith has called her "the squiggler" for months, and they love to get photos of Rebecca text to them in Manhattan. Karen said she's been looking at everyone else's grandchildren for a while, and she loves to show off photos of Rebecca.
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One of the happiest visitors all the way from Boise was our dear friend Candi. Her spring visit to Kansas came at the perfect time so she could stop by and hold Rebecca too! And my aunt and uncle came from Mankato to meet Rebecca. Bethany has 19 great nieces and nephews on her side of the family, and while we'll never catch that total, Keith was glad to have one of his own. I have loved visiting my great aunt and uncle in Delaware over the years, and I'm pretty sure Rebecca will feel the same way about her great uncle Keith and great aunt Bethany.

And a note about sharing photos...I did take down the Instagram on the side of the blog, but I'd love to have you follow Rebecca adventures on Instagram if you don't already! It's a private account now (lynch.victoria), but just request, and I'll add you in. There's a whole lot of cuteness over there.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Rebecca Claire || One Month

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My maternity leave with Rebecca has gone really quickly, and I regularly say that she is SUCH a good baby. I took these photos right when she was one month old, but I'm a little bit late posting about Rebecca at one month. At her one month appointment, Rebecca weighed 9 lb. 14.5 oz. (65th percentile) and was 21.5" long (60th percentile). This seemed just about right to us!

We learned a lot about breastfeeding and growing babies in the first month and celebrated all her little gained ounces and then pounds. In fact, six and a half weeks later, we're still learning and feel like rookies some days! Rebecca started taking a bottle at about three weeks old so that Kip and I could attend a wedding, and she continues to do that without any complaints. Rebecca and I didn't get out much in the first month, but we attended a breastfeeding support group each week and loved meeting other moms.

I reread through a couple of emails I sent right around March 17th to see what she was doing because she changes so quickly. Rebecca sleeps in a bassinet in our room, and at one month was sleeping about like you would expect with some good nights and some rough ones! Sometimes I would get a three hour stretch after bedtime and sometimes she would have a really hard time going to sleep, holding everyone hostage. But she was adorable and never mad, just stubborn, so we made it work. My friend Kate wisely told me to just keep going back to bed, so we would keep snoozing until we had to get up or felt a little bit more rested!

At one month, Rebecca was giving a few smiles, kicking her legs and definitely stealing everybody's hearts. Her eyes are as dark as her dad's and in some lights her hair looks almost red. Kip calls her sweetie, and we both were already calling her "nugget" at one month probably because of the adorable way she liked to curl up on my shoulder or in the Solly wrap. Such a good baby!