Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Six months

Henry turned six months old today!

What a great reason to post on the blog again ;).

A few thoughts/observations:

we *love* our son. Henry has quite a bit of energy. Of course, this can be absolutely delightful or a bit tiring, depending on the time of day and how happy he is. At church, people are starting to know me as Henry's dad. Since Tricia plays the organ, we sit towards the front. Henry is doing a better job at not needing to be taken out during church, but he's not the quietest kid around. He loves to pant enthusiastically during songs, growl and bang his toys while he plays with them, and squirm. These are all fun behaviors at home, so I'm sure it doesn't register at all when I "shush" him at church. Last Sunday on our way home, my muscles were tired and it felt like I had just been through a wrestling match.

Words that I would use to describe Henry: engaging, very good communicator about his feelings, absolutely loves the outside (he will stop crying the second we step out the door), curious, loves to splash in the bathtub, intense. It feels like Henry never does anything half-heartedly. When he gets his diaper changed in the morning, he flaps his arms like he's making a snow angel and grunts happily. We call it his "exercises". When he plays with toys, he attacks them. He does have a quieter side, but it's a very purposeful quieter side. He still loves the piano, and now will join in by playing some of his own notes. When I take him on rides in the stroller or Tricia sits with him outside, he can be very still, but his deep enjoyment is almost palpable. Tricia and I both love him intensely. Henry's vibrancy is an welcome addition to our family.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

internet homemaker: cleaning chart

I'm starting a new series on this blog to give insight into how I approach my job as a homemaker. I am amazed at how different--and yet similar!--a homemaking job today is from a generation ago. I believe one BIG difference is computers and the internet. And since I love my computer and use the internet daily, both as resources for my current job, I thought I'd share some heads-ups that I've come across.

Take today. Since Henry's birth, I have slowly (oh-so-slowly) worked on balancing his needs with my needs. One of my needs is to have a clean environment. I'm not talking about having items picked up and put away (although that is important), I mean clean. Dusted. Vacuumed. Disinfected. CLEAN.

I've been working on a cleaning chart of sorts. Before you ask: YES, I do need a cleaning chart for myself. Let me explain by describing my day: my activities rotate around Henry's schedule of eating, playing for 2 to 3 hours, then sleeping for 45 minutes to 3 hours. He's currently pretty unpredictable about his sleeping times, so I'm never quite sure how long I'll have to myself. And when he's awake, I'm never quite sure how long he'll contentedly play by himself. Hence, if I don't have a pointed plan of what I want to get done for the day, nothing gets done. NOTHING. (Well, nothing outside of having a happily fed baby. That's pretty big.)

So I made up a cleaning chart. I was going to make a daily chart, but that seemed I would be assuming too much "free" time any given day. So instead I made a weekly cleaning chart. I started by listing every cleaning responsibility, then marking whether it needed to be completed weekly, bi-weekly (as in every other week), or monthly.

Then I made little lists for each week, with appropriate check-off boxes. (NOTE: Crossing off to-do items--or checking them off--is extremely satisfying. Sometimes I will write in "eat breakfast" or "take a shower" just to be able to cross something off.) I will print these off and put them on my fridge (in approximately 5 minutes).
I'll be trying my new cleaning chart out for the next couple of weeks and let you know how it goes.

Friday, May 28, 2010

henryman = pianoman

Henryman (for some reason, both Matt and I like to refer to Henry by adding on "man") surprised me today by trying out the piano. I've had him on my lap while I practice before, and I've tried to coax him to play, but he has seemed more awed (confused?) than interested in trying it out.

But today he thought he'd give it a shot:


video

I think he's pretty good--especially with those intent facial expressions.

Friday, May 21, 2010

water check 2010

Today our sprinklers were tested for efficiency, accuracy, coverability, uniformity, and other such characteristics. For free. The result? About 10 sprinkler heads should be changed. Not bad. (It was also suggested we gut the entire system and pack in more dirt. Hmmm--probably not going to happen.)

My favorite part? The recommended minutes and cycles for watering each section of our yard. The efficiency! The organization!

And the green grass. Hello, summer!

joy


Freshly cut tulips + adorable son = happy mom.

Monday, May 10, 2010

mother's day

Two days ago I set Henry down so I could get gather materials for his diaper bag. When I turned around to pick him up, he had dexterously wrapped his fingers around a toy lying next to him and was lifting the toy in the air. Today, during playtime, Henry took the same toy and moved it slowly then quickly--to see what sounds and motions it would make. He surprised himself a few times, bringing the object close to his face. He was fascinated to discover the properties of his world and his manipulations of that world.

I have been fascinated to watch his progress. As adults, we can't remember the joy of being able to turn over for the first time--especially since we've been able to do it on command for more than a quarter century--but it must have been thrilling to understand our own abilities of control.

I am almost as excited about Henry's developments as he is. I love to watch him learn and grow--all in spite of my efforts. I have tried to do the best I know how, but I couldn't teach his eyes to focus. I didn't know how to tell him to move his body certain ways to build necessary muscles. And how do you describe to a one-month-old the proper mouth position and air movement through the throat to make the sound of a "g"? And yet, Henry is focusing on objects across the room, propping himself up on his elbows when on his tummy, rolling over, and joyfully making sounds that are awfully close to every-day words.

Amazing. Don't you think?

And so, this Mother's Day 2010, I love being a mother because I love watching my son learn. He is a miracle, and I get to participate in that miracle every day.

Friday, April 16, 2010

our conversation this afternoon





Henry is doing a smash-up job of widening his repertoire of sounds. He started out with "a-goo" and has moved on to the vowels i, e, and o while rounding out his consonants with h, d, and r (of sorts). He does an occasional "mmm," but my bet is that "da-da" will beat out "ma-ma."

Friday, April 9, 2010

knowing


Henry is asleep on my lap right now (see above picture), after a very good feeding session. He nursed in a straightforward way, and then, letting me know he was done, he pulled off and snuggled up on the pillow. I'm working on helping him take naps in his crib, but I allow for special moments like this, when I get to enjoy his sweetness right next to me. And so we've been like this for nearly an hour.

And I've taken the time to ponder, as I've looked out the windows across a beautiful southern Utah landscape. (Red dirt, green shrubs, low foothills, a white Snow Canyon, and snow-covered Rocky Mountains in the far distance. Beautiful juxtaposition.) My mind has rolled over my short experience as a mother--a mere 10 weeks. Since pregnancy was the prelude to being a mother, I've also thought about the nine months preceding Henry's entry into this world. It is yet to be one year since I became pregnant. And here, on my lap, sits a most angelic little boy whose existence was something I could only dream about last year.

How life changes.

I thought pregnancy was hard; but pregnancy really is not much more than a bit of inconvenience when compared to the result--a beautiful baby boy. And a beautiful baby boy with needs. I struggled to understand why anyone would want to be a mother more than once as I worked through the physical and emotional recovery process. Before Henry's birth, I had planned to take a trip down to St. George a week after Henry's arrival. "No big deal," I thought. In fact, Matt and I thought we wouldn't need too much help once Henry was born, so we didn't even schedule Nana to come and stay.

Henry toppled all of those plans. Nana was needed--as well as aunts and uncles--for a few weeks while I tried to just be able to get up off the bed and walk without pain. And while I struggled physically, food needed to be made, laundry needed to be done, and things needed to be cleaned. And Henry; Henry needed 24-hour attention. Where was some sort of oasis for me to just be able to wrap my mind around what had just happened to our family--and my body?

I never did find that oasis.

But now, as I sit here with Henry, I can hardly remember the pain and chaos of those first days and weeks. And month. Time has silently and subtly changed me. I don't feel pain anymore. I'm not walking around in a tired daze. And I don't look at Henry in a stupefied stare as I try to figure out what he needs.

Instead I delight in the milky smell of his breath and the chubbiness of his cheeks. I thank him for sleeping through the night--for two weeks consistently now. I love to change his diaper, because that happens to be when he is most talkative. I like to read him the scriptures each day. We have been able to get through about 10 verses each time, and we talk about what the words mean and what I want him to understand from them. I adore his smiles; I consider them a sound reward for any sacrifices I might be making.

And I'm so grateful for his patience. I'm still learning how to understand him and respond appropriately. He's still learning how to clearly communicate. But we are getting better, and I know we are both eager to forgive one another for any mishap and move on.

I suppose someone could have sat me down and explained how hard this would be. I would have nodded in agreement, saying how much I knew this upcoming change would be difficult.

But I didn't really know anything; now I know. And you know what? I think I could handle doing it again. Especially if the result is as sweet as Henry is.

Friday, April 2, 2010

my delight




Don't I have a dashingly handsome young man to spend all my waking hours with?

Friday, March 12, 2010

learning


The little man--whose formal name is Henry--has done a lot of learning in the last six weeks since coming into this world. His most current learned skill is talking via cooing. Holy shmoly, do I LOVE having conversations with this kiddo.

As we went on a walk today, I realized that I have also done some learning in the last six weeks:
  • I can function on less than eight hours of consecutive sleep. (Now, the quality of functionality is totally up for debate.)
  • Parenting is done best by more than one person.
  • Books have good general information; little people are their own individuals who sometimes don't fit within the confines of a book.
  • It's good to have a clean house; it's better to feed your soul. Sometimes the two can be synonymous.
  • Families are a gift from God.
  • Spit up and milk can be cleaned out of most fabrics, but not so much out of decorative pillows that don't have zip covers.
  • I can pray for anything I need help with--and get answers.
  • A clock radio with a "day-of-the-week" function can really be helpful for orienting a sleep-deprived mother at 3:30 a.m.
I wonder what we will learn in the next six weeks. (Mom votes that Henry learns to sleep through the night...)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Progressive dinner

Tonight our dinner game plan was to be creative with the odds and ends left in the fridge. I was half expecting that it would fall to me to be the creative chef, but all my thoughts of dinner fell by the wayside when I turned into the driveway after work and saw Tricia and Henry sitting on the front steps, waiting for me. We haven't taken Henry outside much yet, and so it was really fun to be greeted by him. Unfortunately, the novelty of it all distracted us for a few minutes, and by the time we entered the house, the dinner Trish had been making had burned on the stovetop.

This left us with a side of new potatoes and broccoli still safely roasting in the oven, but no main dish. Since we couldn't think of anything fast in the cupboard to replace the burned chicken, we decided to make a progressive dinner out of it (tonight was date night, after all). So we thoroughly enjoyed the first course of potatoes and broccoli, then I called in an order and brought home some sushi (Tricia's first sushi since her pregnancy and our first time trying Yamatos--it was very good). Finally, we had our favorite dessert of late--ice cream topped with toffee peanuts and frozen raspberries. Yum!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

yes, I am alive


But no, I haven't showered yet. However, I did make the bed.

Today officially marks 21 days of life for the little man (Henry). He and I are still getting to know each other. This is what I can tell you about him:
  • He likes music. All kinds. He loves to R and R while Matt plays the piano--and he'll calm down to anything from Debussy to Chopin.
  • He's a thinker. During his quiet-awake moments, his eyes are big and deep. I can't wait for him to be able to give me some commentary on what is going through his little head.
  • He is strong. When not in a tired state, he will push against you and try to hold his head up to catch what's going on around him. And he's tried crawling while on his tummy.
  • He likes to eat. He's averaging half a pound a week. (Plus a bit more.)
Motherhood is an adjustment for me. I have never had a dependent little person have my undivided attention for an entire 24-hour period. For days and weeks in a row. It is oh-so tiring, but at the same time, it is oh-so intimate. We're fast becoming best buddies. And Mom (that's me!) will be an even better buddy once the feeding schedule slows down.

Here's to another three weeks of adventure and discovery!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dinner and pictures

Household chores have been reassigned at our home since Henry's birth. While I am a slow learner at doing laundry (I always forget which special buttons to press for darks, whites, or diapers), I've actually had fun taking over head chef duties. In the past week, we've had portobello mushroom quesadillas, broccoflower curry soup, and tonight, grilled chicken sandwiches with spicy avocado sauce and oven fries. Strangely, I picked all these recipes because they seemed "simple," but I've been rather late each time getting dinner on the table. Tonight, as we talked about that, Tricia reminded me that right after we got married, she had excitedly made fancy dinners each night of the week until we both realized how much time food prep was taking and decided to scale back a bit. I think I'll be doing the same now.

Here's a few pictures:

1. Tonight's dinner.


2. Henry's cloth diapers being washed.


3. Grandparents Newman vying for Henry's attention.


4. With Uncle Michael.


5. With Grandparents Sederberg.


6. First walk around the neighborhood with Dad.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Going back to church

Today I went to our ward's sacrament meeting for the first time since Henry was born. I feel like my reasons for not going the past two weeks were valid (the first week being completely overwhelmed with a newborn just home from the hospital and needing round-the-clock supervision as he was under a bank of lights, and the second week staying home with Henry so Tricia could go to church). However, even though I had good excuses, I still really missed being there.

So during church today, I found myself reading Moroni 6:4-5, which talks about why the ancient Saints met together often: they met both to worship Christ and to show concern for the welfare of each other's souls. As I read that, I understood one reason why regular Sunday worship so valuable: it helps us fulfill the first and second commandments--to love God, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

As I looked around the congregation, I saw kids of all ages and looked forward to being able to bring Henry! We're waiting just a couple more weeks to avoid RSV...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Henry and the piano



This is our favorite father-son activity right now. When Henry is fussy and doesn’t need to burp, eat or get his diaper changed, he LOVES to hear the piano. We call it our giant music box. I hold him in the crook of one arm and play with my free hand. After about thirty seconds, he will listen mesmerized. Strangely, it never puts him to sleep—he just likes to listen. His favorite music is Beethoven and Chopin, and today we learned that he likes hymns, too!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Home from the hospital



About 40 hours after Henry was born, the nurse came into our hospital room and told us that the doctor said we were free to go home; both Henry and his mom were looking fine. This news was both exciting and a bit nerve-racking. We still seemed to have so many questions, and it had been so nice to be able to just pop my head out of the door and ask a nurse for advice. But, we were looking forward to the added privacy, space, and meal options at home, so we bravely dressed Henry in his coming-home outfit, strapped him into his car seat (the nurses helped his straps get so snug that it looked like he was in secure enough to be in a spaceship), and took him outside for the very first time to get in the car for the short drive home.

I'd like to say that Henry likes his home and bedroom, but the truth is that at his age he can't really focus his eyes on anything. He does seem to be a pretty calm, peaceful kid, though.

Once he got home, Henry's bilirubin count tested a bit high, so the doctor's office sent out little bright light unit that Henry is to spend as much time as possible in. Gratefully, Henry's Nana (Tricia's mom) offered to stay with us for a few days, so she or I are constantly in the room with him when he's sunbathing. The problem is that when he squirms around, the eye shades shift and no longer shelter his eyes from the bright light, so we need to regularly reposition them. We've discovered that putting a hat on his head helps a lot in keeping them in position.



In any case, my time on Henry duty has given me unexpected waking hours in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, they aren't the most coherent hours, but it's nice to have time to read, post blog articles, and just spend time watching our little son and admiring his functioning body. I have always looked forward to being a dad, but it's something else to actually be given the chance to be one. I've been surprised that changing diapers really isn't as bad as I had feared--it's Tricia's job to feed him, and my job to change his diapers. I'm always thrilled when I check his diaper and it needs to be changed, since that means his body is working correctly. Also, hearing Henry cry is not upsetting to me. At this point of his life, crying shows good communication skills, and it's a (sometimes challenging) detective game to figure out which response (change diaper, feed, burp, swaddle, cuddle) he'd like.

We are very grateful to our Heavenly Father for sending Henry to our family.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Our new life as parents


For the past week or so, Tricia and I have enjoyed watching the Australian Open on ESPN360.com. Even though we don't have cable TV, ESPN has been live streaming matches online. Even better, you can switch from one court to another to choose who you watch, so in some ways this is arguably better than TV.

We never tire of watching Roger Federer win, so last night after Henry went to sleep (we're still at the hospital) I told Trish that Federer was playing that night and asked if she wanted to watch. "Sure," she said, out of habit. However, as she thought about it more, she decided that it would probably be better to sleep while Henry did so she could have energy later in the night to get up with him. Strangely, my thoughts had progressed exactly the same way. I pulled out my hospital chair that turns into a skinny hide-a-bed and tried to get some sleep.

Henry continues to be a pretty loved kid. He met both sets of grandparents yesterday as well as more of his aunts and uncles. When his grandparents came to visit, both Tricia and I were a bit tired and wondered if this was the best time to be entertaining. However, the excitement and pride that we felt from all of them buoyed us both up. As they reminded us how much they had all prayed for Henry's safe arrival, we felt the powerful strength that comes from having loving extended family nearby.

Here's a picture of his Grandpa "Papa Newman" and Aunt Christy somewhat excited to be visiting Henry.


And finally, two Henry updates:

#1: He had his first smile yesterday. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of it, but he has a cute dimple on his right cheek.
#2: He actually slept quite a bit last night. We're a bit worried since that means he didn't eat much, but we're glad that we have more energy to start today.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Henry's here!



Henry Matthew Sederberg was born on January 27,2010. 8 lbs 7 oz and 19.5 inches long!

Henry was due to be born on the palendromic day of 01/22/10, but decided to stay in the womb a bit longer. Yesterday morning, at our scheduled non-stress test at the hospital, the technician discovered that there was very little amniotic fluid left, so they decided to induce labor immediately. Tricia and I were both kind of hoping for this--we were getting impatient to meet our son.

After Tricia's labor was induced, Henry came quickly--in only 5.5 hours. Tricia only had to push for about 30 minutes.

I was so impressed with Tricia throughout the whole process--labor, delivery, and then trying to feed Henry throughout the night last night. She was quite calm, often expressing gratitude towards our helpful nurses, and has an amazingly deep love and patience for Henry, even in the middle of the night. I was grateful that she'll be his mom.

We are excited to have Henry as part of our family.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

simple pleasures

Pondering about and praying for those in Haiti has helped open my eyes to the simple nuances of our lives. What I have enjoyed today:
  • mandarin mango handsoap
  • a magpie on our fence
  • a clean kitchen
  • scanning pictures from my courtship with Matt--I love that man!
  • a healthy, kicking baby in my tummy
These simplicities help my heart feel tender.

God bless those in Haiti to feel peace in the face of such devastation and destruction.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

getting closer


In all the craziness that was the holidays, I continued to get bigger as Henry continued to grow inside of me. We are now 9 days from the official due date, which means I need to finish the nursery, get packed for the hospital, finish decorating projects, clean and clean and clean, and be sure to rest. Well, we'll get there--eventually.

And I kind of have a feeling that Henry will come when he is good and ready. If he comes early, he will have inherited his dad's punctuality; if he comes late, he will have inherited his mom's timetable. Either way, we are very excited to welcome him here.

(Doesn't Matthew look pretty handsome in a beard? He let it grow out over the holidays, but now he shaves consistently every day. Too bad; I kind of like the professor look.)