I decided I should make this “catching up” thing as easy as possible for myself by breaking my posts down by month. That way they’re easier to remember and write. I’ll start with October, because Grant was born on September 30th, and I’m pretty much caught up to that point.
The first two weeks of October were kind of a whirlwind. Actually, all of October was a whirlwind. But especially those first two weeks. People always warned me that babies were a lot of work, but it just isn’t something you can actually comprehend until you’ve done it. Hard work, but so so worth it.
For the first ten days, we mostly just enjoyed being restful and quiet in our apartment with our sweet brand new baby and Jake’s parents who had come all the way to Houston to be with us and help us during that time. I must say, it was SO nice to have my mother-in-law, Sheriece, around during that time. She was so helpful. I think it’s safe to say that the only reason we survived those two weeks was because she was there! Aside from being an AMAZING support person at Grant’s birth, she cooked every meal for us (and sometimes even half-fed me while I fed Grant), ran every errand for us, took late-night runs to Target for us, did our laundry, took Nelly to the dog park daily, was there for me for moral support and to answer all my mommy-related questions, and even helped me bathe. Haha. I’m sure she did a million other things as well that I didn’t even notice, because she made sure I got all the rest I could get and spent time recovering with my new babe. She was seriously a life saver. On top of doing basically everything required to run our household, she took on 99% of the work when it was time for us to pack up the apartment into our two cars to go back to AZ. That was no small task.
I do have to also give some credit to my amazing father-in-law as well. He was also there for us during that transitional time in our lives. Especially for Jake. Thayne (Jake’s dad) is the quintessential example of a dedicated, loving father. I am so glad that my husband has such an amazing man to look up to and learn from. There were a lot of other more “business”-related things going on in our lives in the background during those two weeks, and Thayne was there to make sure we got all those things taken care of. He also provided some great counsel to us as we made some important, stressful decisions (like trying to decide whether or not Jake was going to transfer his schooling to BYU and move us up to Provo that semester, which we ended up deciding against).
Obviously it was kind of an insane first few days as new parents. And obviously I have amazing in-laws, because I hardly had to do anything.
By the 10th, Thayne had left Houston and returned to work. Sheriece stayed to make the long drive back to Arizona with us.
In case you’re confused about all the moving around: We were only in Houston on a temporary basis. Jake’s job takes us there every summer from May-August, but this particular summer, we opted to stay there one more month and deliver our baby in Texas. There were a few reasons we made this choice. For one, we didn’t want to be traveling on the road for two days while I was full-term pregnant for obvious reasons. Second, we had come to absolutely LOVE our midwives and birth center in TX and couldn’t imagine delivering with anyone else.
Sheriece and Nelly were in one car while Jake, Grant, and I were in the other. I don’t know what we would have done if we hadn’t had another driver with us for our second car. There was no way I could’ve made that trip in the driver’s seat at ten days post-partum. And what should have only been a two-day trip turned into a three-day trip – it was pretty exhausting. It turns out that ten-day-old babies aren’t the best road-trippers. Frequent nursing and diaper-change stops were made, but we all kept a resilient attitude. Nelly was actually a great traveler, besides that one time while we were stuck in some intense stop-and-go traffic on the freeway in downtown Austin and she got a little antsy. She somehow managed to climb through/over the barricade from the back of the car to the front and practically climbed on poor Sheriece’s lap while she was trying to drive (a manual transmission car, mind you) through all that traffic. And Nelly is not, by any means, a lap dog. We’re talking almost 60-pounds of dog here. Jake and I were nearly dying laughing watching all of this go down in our rear-view mirrors. Something we all can laugh about now.
After way too many Subway sandwiches, lots of rest stops/gas stations, two nights in motels, and maybe a couple of emotional breakdowns on my part (I blame post-partum hormones), we FINALLY arrived home in Mesa, AZ.
First thing we did upon arriving into town was meet our new landlord at our new rental house to pick up our keys. Then, we returned to the apartment we had left back in May, to sleep for one night then pack up all the big things we had left there. A day or two later, a few of our friends showed up with a trailer to help us move our things to the new house. (I know, lots of moving… Like I said, we’ve moved three-ish times in the last 7 months… I’ll tell you about the third time in a later post) My sweet new friends Brea and Ashley came with their babies Oakley (who is just one week older than Grant – we had the same due date!) and Ruby, and we three sat and nursed our babies and kept each other company while the men, and Sheriece, did all the work.
Sheriece’s flight back home to Seattle was that night, after everything had been moved. As she gathered her things to get ready for Jake to take her to the airport, it started to kind of hit me what life would be like after she left. We’d be on our own for the first time since Grant’s birth. Were we ready for that? All I could think about was how desperately this house needed to be cleaned (it felt like it hadn’t been cleaned in ten years and I was so overwhelmed with where to even begin making it livable), and how it was nearly impossible to make it from one room to another maneuvering around all the hundreds of boxes, and how I didn’t even know where my toothbrush or underwear were in all the piles, and how we had an empty fridge and pantry with no promises of being able to make it to the grocery store any time soon, and how this colicky baby just wanted to be held and wouldn’t let me put him down, even for a second while I used the bathroom. How were we going to even get the first box unpacked without Sheriece’s help? Having just moved into the new neighborhood and knowing pretty much no one in the area, we felt helpless (and hungry). Sheriece and I cried as we said our goodbyes and hugged each other over and over again. And then it was just the three of us.
Looking back, I still don’t know how we got through that! It exhausts me just thinking about it. Guys – Don’t ever drive across the country and move twice in one week with a two-week-old baby. Just don’t. I guess I just took it one box at a time. Honestly, it wasn’t until about six months later that I felt like we had actually FINALLY finished getting mostly settled – for someone like me, that felt like a lifetime. Babies really change your life. I know that if we had been able to stay put after having just had a new baby, things would have been wayyyy easier, but that wasn’t an option for us at that point in our lives. Funny how life doesn’t just stop when you have a baby.
By the last week of October, we were desperately ready for a vacation. Fortunately, Jake works for an awesome company and they had planned an all-inclusive stay in a really awesome private “resort” called Pirate’s Cove for our entire office. Some people may have said we were crazy for getting on the road, once again, with a 5-week-old baby, but we all just really needed it. And we were so so glad we went, even if it was hard at times. We enjoyed getting a break from our unpacking and cleaning to be with our friends at a really cool place!
Since St. George, UT wasn’t too much out of the way, we ended up taking a little side trip there on our way back to AZ to visit my mom and sisters and spend Halloween with them. In case you’ve lost count, that’s 5 states in Grant’s first month of life – TX, NM, AZ, NV, UT. We are insane, I know. We got to see their cute costumes and went to their ward party/trunk-or-treat. Grant even had a little pumpkin outfit that his Grandma Sheriece had gotten for him as a gift before she went home. It was so nice to get to spend a couple days with my family and let my mom and sisters meet Grant for the first time. My sister Lydia even used her new photography studio and took a couple newborn photos and family photos for us while we were there, which I will always treasure!
All in all, October was a crazy time for us, but I feel like I need to clarify that amidst all the chaos, Jake, Grant, and I did get to enjoy plenty of sweet, special moments as a new family. There were still those moments of stillness and quiet, where we just looked at our precious baby – so perfect and new – and felt so close to Heaven. And thought, “Wow. We did this! Look at this sweet, innocent life we have created!”. I would give anything to go back and enjoy that time, when he was just so fresh and tiny, just a little longer. It went by too fast. Perfect moments always do.
And now for a major photo overload of pictures (which are horribly out of order) taken during October. I’m a little self-conscious of some of these photos of me, because I look at them and see a sleep-deprived, bloated, and slightly delirious new mom. But I want to share them anyway, so I hope you can see past that.
With Grandma Sheriece at the park. 2 days old.
Newborn/family photos taken by my sister Lydia on Grant’s one-month birthday.
Meeting Great Grandpa Roberts (who inspired his middle name) for the first time.
Meeting Great Aunt Cindy for the first time. He wasn’t in a very chatty mood.
Tired little pumpkin on Halloween.
My sister Sofia and our niece Kendy on Halloween.
My sister Sara and my mom on Halloween.
I dressed up as a New Mommy for Halloween. Har har har.
A spur-of-the-moment blogger date to meet Kristine Foley of The Foley Fam at a park in St. George. She was just as sweet in real life. I’m so glad we met via the Cara Box Exchange last summer.
I didn’t want to post this one, because I look nasty, but I still love it for some reason. St. George Temple with my baby.
Meeting Great Grandma Sharlene Lyman for the first time.
We went to see my sister Sara cheer at a high school volleyball game.
Cute little old man.
Silly faces at Pirates Cove.
Laying out with Uncle Andrew at Pirates Cove. That little smirk!
Comparing sizes with his cousin, Emmet, who is 4 months older.
Getting kisses from his cute cousin Kendy.
My sister Maggie came to our new house to give Jake a much needed haircut out on the back patio.
Nursing mamas while the men unload the trailer in the new house. I spy Jake’s finger.
Saying one last goodbye to Grandma Sheriece after her two-week stay with us.
Mom and Grant taking a little nap.
Meeting Aunt Maggie for the first time.
Cute little lumberjack. Two weeks old.
Meeting my dad, Grandpa Mike, for the first time.
Meeting my friend Amanda for the first time (we just happened to run into each other at the same gas station in Wilcox, AZ on our way into town!)
Saying goodbye to Texas with a visit to our favorite beach.
Grandpa Thayne and his first grandbaby.
The two cutest boys I know.