Friday, July 29

Friday Photos - You're So Vain

Brock is holding his head up a lot better these days. It took him a while to get the hang of it because it's such a ginormous head (80th percentile), but now that he's getting a little steadier we're finally going to get some use out of all the "must-have" toys and seats and baby entertainers that have just been collecting dust since my baby showers. My mom wanted to test out Brock's little jumping seat today so we stuck him in it (with a blanket behind his back just for safety's sake since he's still a bit of a weeble wobble) and he seemed to enjoy it. However, I think I have a vain little child on my hands because he immediately latched onto the toy with the mirror and would not peel himself away from it for anything. Even when I tried to turn the seat toward other toys he actually turned himself back to continue gazing at the mirror. Apparently he saw something he liked in that mirror. Then he decided he wanted to eat it. (My favorite is the black and white one in the top right corner where it looks like he's saying, "Man what a handsome stud I am!") He's obviously too sexy for his shirt... that's why he's once again in the nude (or maybe it's because it was like 190 degrees outside today!).

Thursday, July 28

I Am

I think one of my favorite things about this new life stage of parenthood I've entered into is the change in perspective or the new revelations it brings. Every season in life brings new lessons and new challenges: graduating high school, going to college, getting engaged, getting married, etc. And different people have different seasons; not everyone goes through the same pattern or has the same experiences which gives us all a unique perspective and unique understanding of life.

As I have encountered each season though, I have always been aware that they seem to be accompanied by growth and a deeper understanding of God and my relationship to Him. For me, it is as if God brings me to and through each stage in order to reveal something new and shape me into the woman he desires me to be. When Blaine and I were married, I came to a new understanding of God as my covenant love, my true husband who pursues me and speaks tenderly to me even when I deserve punishment (Hosea 2:14-20).

Now in this new experience of being a mom, God is showing me so many different aspects of his character that I never understood before. People always say things like, "Oh you can't really know what it's like to love a child until you have one yourself because you can't explain what it's like being a parent." While I don't really like repeating cliche statements or being one of those "Don't you wish you were a part of this circle" kind of people, I do have to admit that there is just no way to comprehend parental love until you are a parent. I never would have thought it was so, but when I look at that 4 month old baby boy there are unspeakable feelings of compassion, tenderness, mercy, protectiveness, and love that well up in me from out of nowhere and like nothing I've ever experienced before. Not to be overly dramatic, but I honestly feel like I would die or kill for this child if it was necessary, and I can't imagine (even in just the short time we've had him) what life would be like if he was taken from us. From the very first moments we held our son in the hospital, I have felt God showing me a new understanding of the love he has for me: an undying, unswerving, unconditional love of a parent who would never forsake me or abandon me no matter how I hurt, disappoint, or anger him. That is powerful to me.

As I've been thinking of these things lately, a song I like came to mind and I wanted to share it on my blog because I feel like it conveys what I'm thinking very nicely. The title of the song is "I Am" and it's by Nichole Nordeman, a Christian music artist. Here are the lyrics and I posted a link to the song on Youtube:

Pencil marks on a wall; wasn't always this tall
You scattered some monsters from beneath my bed
You watched my team win, You watched my team lose
Watched when my bicycle went down again
And when I was weak, unable to speak, still I could call You by name
And I said Elbow-healer, Superhero, come if You can
And You said "I Am"
Only sixteen, life is so mean; what kind of curfew is at ten p.m.
You saw my mistakes, watched my heart break
Heard when I swore I'd never love again
And when I was weak, unable to speak, still I could call You by name
And I said Heartache-healer, Secret-keeper, be my best friend
And You said "I Am"
You saw me wear white by pale candle light
And I said forever to what lies ahead
Two kids and a dream with kids that can scream
Too much it might seem when it is two a.m.
And when I am weak, unable to speak, still I will call You by name
Oh Shepherd, Savior, Pasture-maker, hold onto my hand
And You said "I Am"
The winds of change and circumstance blow in and all around us
Still we find a foothold that's familiar
And bless the moments that we feel you nearer
When life had begun I was woven and spun
You let the angels dance around the throne
And who can say when, but they'll dance again
When I am free and finally headed home
I will be weak, unable to speak, still I will call You by name
Creator, Maker, Life-sustainer,
Comforter, Healer, My Redeemer,
Lord and King, Beginning and the End
I Am, Yes, I Am

Exodus 3:14 - God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

I've never really completely understood this verse in the Bible. When God tells Moses to speak to the people in Egypt and Moses asks who he should say has sent him to speak to the people, I've never exactly known what God meant when he says just tell them I Am. It's always been one of those confusing passages of Scripture that I never really took the time to figure out. I still don't know for certain what God means when he refers to himself as "I Am who I Am" and judging by what I've read, it looks like even biblical scholars aren't completely sure, but I do like this explanation I found in the notes of my ESV Study Bible: "The [Hebrew] word translated 'I am' can also be understood and translated as 'I will be'. Given the context of Exodus 3:12 ('I will be with you'), the name Yahweh is also a clear reminder of God's promises to his people and of his help for them to fulfill their calling."

The song above and my experiences with God throughout my life have helped me to develop a possible understanding of what God means when he says, "I Am". It's almost as if he is saying, I am all that you need. I am everything. I am beyond what you can understand, but I am enough for you. I am who I am and that is all that you need to be concerned about. God doesn't change, but we do and the ways in which we need him change. This is something that has really impacted me when I look at Brock, a little baby boy who will grow into a child, and think about the way he will look at God and how he will understand God and how God will relate to him. To a child, God is like a superhero, a scatterer of monsters, an elbow healer. As we grow, our understanding of God changes and the way we relate to him matures and deepens (at least hopefully it does) and in each phase of life, God supplies and provides for us, sometimes in a material or physical way but other times in an emotional way. God may not always give me the money or possessions I want, but he gives me the certainty that He is my Provider. He may allow a child to be taken from me, but he gives me assurance that He is my Comfort. God may not always rain down blessings of healing or security or wealth or anything I ask for, but he reminds me that He is my Joy, He is my Possession, He is my God, my Creator, my Savior, the Sustainer of my life.

God does not change but he is dynamic in how he relates to us. Just as I would speak differently to a two-year-old than I would to an adult, God reveals himself in different ways at different points in our lives in order to, little by little, give us a deeper understanding (though always incomplete) of the totality of his character, the I Am. That's what has been on my mind lately, and I just wanted to share it.

Friday, July 22

Friday Photos - Cousin Love

This week Brock got some love from his sweet little cousin, Anna. Blaine's sister and one of my best friends, Lee, had her daughter Anna back in November of last year so she is about 4 1/2 months older than Brock. Right now, 4 1/2 months is a world of difference developmentally, but I have a feeling these two will be good buddies as they grow up together. Interesting fact: Brock at 4 months old weighs the same as Anna at 8 1/2 months old (16 pounds). And Anna is only about an inch and a half taller than Brock. She's a little girl and he's a big boy, so they are practically the same size right now! I didn't get any good smiley pictures from either of them, but they did have a few minutes of fun together.

Tuesday, July 19

Four Months

Today Brock turned 4 months old. It's strange how in retrospect every month seems to pass so quickly, and it seems like it's been years since he was a newborn. If I hadn't written out everything about those first three months, I'd probably have forgotten it all by now and be ready to have another one. I've never been more grateful for my blog! ;)

Brock went to see my favorite doctor ever his pediatrician today (Dr. Josh Smith with Pediatric Diagnostic Associates in case anyone is shopping around for a doctor - we were referred to him after our first visit with another doctor left me on the verge of a nervous breakdown; why didn't I blog about that I wonder?). He had to get another round of immunizations, which was just as heartbreaking as the first set, and got all his measurements. Let's just say he's earned the new nickname people have been giving him ("Chunk"). Brock now weighs 16 lbs, 9 oz which puts him in the 80th percentile (up from about 14 lbs and the 67th percentile last month). He is now about 25 1/4 inches long putting him at about the 70th percentile (up from about 24 inches and the 55th percentile last month). The doctor said he seems to be developing at a healthy, normal rate.

Just like the previous months, I have to list out all of Brock's patterns and accomplishments for 4 months (the time between the third and the fourth month):
  • Brock is smiling all the time now! He is the most easily amused baby I've ever seen and gets a big kick out of my and Blaine's faces (I haven't decided yet whether or not this is an insult). He laughs a lot too but it usually sounds less like giggles and more like he's taking big gulps of air. He's a belly laugher.
  • He did roll over a couple of times from his stomach to his back at about 13 weeks but hasn't really done it since so I'm not counting that as a development yet.
  • He has definitely found his hands and likes to eat them and gag himself with them all the time (Favorite quote from my sister, "Quit gagging yourself; This isn't America's Next Top Model!"). He's started using his fists as a self-soothing device and gets drool everywhere by the time he's done with them.
  • At the first of the month he started making new noises by spitting and blowing raspberries constantly, and something happened during week 16 and he just started talking and socializing like nothing we'd seen before. We got a little bit of this on camera in case you haven't seen last week's Friday photo in motion.
  • Around 14 weeks, he started stretching his morning feeding times out to about 3.5 or 4 hours so he can go longer between meal times. He eats 5 or 6 times a day now, still just breastmilk but we may add some solids soon.
  • Between weeks 13-14, he was consistently sleeping 9 hours straight at night (from about 10:00-7:00). Then at 15 weeks I dropped his late feeding so he started sleeping for about 11 hours every night (about 8:00-7:00).
  • He's wearing 3-6 month size clothes now and size 2 diapers (size 3 at night because they have a little more absorbency and last until the morning).
  • He can lift his entire chest up now during tummy time, but he's still not loving being on his stomach.
  • He seems to like to study things more than play with them. He will just stare at toys we put in front of him and occasionally grab for them with his hands but he likes to just look at them. He also has to study new people for a little while before he warms up and smiles at them. (He's analytical like me)
  • We're still swaddling him with the Woombie swaddle for naps and night sleep. We've tried letting him sleep unswaddled for one nap every few days but he hasn't quite gotten to the point where he will fall asleep easily and stay asleep as long as he needs to. I predict by next month he'll be able to do without it. (A word to the wise: It's best not to let others see your 4 month old in a swaddle because apparently a lot of people have strong feelings about babies being swaddled, hypothetically speaking of course)
  • Brock is a lot more aware of noises and sounds now and can have his sleep interrupted more easily because of them.
  • At some point this month, he made the link between his crib and sleeping. We've been putting him in his crib for night sleep since he was 5 weeks old and not long after that we put him there for all of his daytime naps too. This month something clicked and it's like he realized the crib means it's time for sleep.
  • On that same note, week 14 was like a miracle week for naps and something clicked there too where he would only fuss for 5 minutes or less and then go right to sleep. Up until that point, he would cry a lot before naps every day. Now if he cries more than 10 minutes I know there's something else that's causing the problem.
  • He likes snuggling things like blankets and stuffed animals and squishing them up to his face.
  • One of my favorites this month: He's stopped peeing every time I take his diaper off so I am finally able to put the attractive cover on the changing pad without having to worry about washing it every time I change his diaper.
  • For a few days during week 16 he did start waking again once during the middle of the night, but I think he was having another growth spurt because he was wanting to eat every 2 or 2.5 hours during the day that week too.
  • His head is a lot steadier now and he can pull it up with his body when you pick him up, but it's still a little wobbly.
  • A few times in the last week he has woken up from his nap talking and babbling instead of the usual crying, which is fun to listen to.
  • He still takes about four naps a day but many days can go without that fourth one in the evening and just eat a little early before bed. His first two naps of the day are usually the longest lasting between 1.5 to 2.5 hours.
  • He has really become a fun, social, interactive, little guy this past month.   

Friday, July 15

Friday Photo in Motion

What's better than a Friday photo? A Friday video, of course! I have kind of developed an unintended theme with my Friday photos in that every week I've been posting new skills or fun things that Brock is learning and doing. I was all set to post some pictures of him holding a little ball and talk about how he's becoming so much more aware and can really grasp things with his hands now, but Brock decided he had something better to show off this week. And the video camera was more suitable than the regular camera for capturing this skill.

Just in the past two days, he has started making some really interesting sounds. Up until this point, Brock's "talking" consisted mostly of spitting, grunting, and the occasional "ahh" sound. Thursday morning he got the hiccups twice and I noticed both times that every time he would hiccup, he would make a long noise afterward. I figured he was just voicing his frustration with the hiccups and didn't think too much of it. Then that afternoon he started really showing interest in this conversation thing and said all kinds of stuff to my sister, his aunt, Shanna. That evening he was sitting in my lap and decided he had more information to share with us, so Blaine grabbed the video camera before the moment passed and this is what we caught. Listen closely for the surprise ending; Brock's grand finale.

Monday, July 11

Dusting Off the Sewing Machine

Because apparently babies under 6 months shouldn't be out in the sun and can't wear sunscreen or bugspray yet, the combination of spending my summer indoors and my recent obsession with do-it-yourself craft blogs has created some right-brain (the creative side) inspiration for me. My wonderful mother-in-law bought me a sewing machine for Christmas a few years back, and I have perfected the art of pillow-making on it (mostly because pillows are easy and very forgiving and I can't sew in a straight line to save my life). Since I haven't had a need for any throw pillows lately, the poor machine has been collecting dust in my basement/craft room for a little while. Last week I decided it was time to show it some love again.

My sister-in-law's mother-in-law (or my brother-in-law's mom, or for simplicity's sake, Sammye) made Brock a little blanket before he was born. You know the ones I'm talking about; they are small and really soft and babies often get attached to them and carry them around until they're like 20 years old and give them nicknames like blankie, silky, lovey, wubby. Well, Brock is a big fan of this little blankie that Sammye made...

Since Brock likes his so much, I thought it would be a fun and simple little gift to make for one of my best friends who is having a baby in November. So I texted Sammye to find out for sure how she made them and then headed off to Hobby Lobby with my birthday gift card from my mother-in-law (she knows me so well!). Here's a breakdown of the blankie making in case anyone else is interested in trying it out.

Step One: Collect supplies. Soft, washable fabrics in whatever patterns/colors you like, sewing machine, matching thread, scissors, and thread needle. I think I bought a yard of flannel fabric and a half yard of silk. This easily made two rectangular blankets that were about 12x16 inches and I have a lot of fabric left over.

Step Two: You should probably pre-wash and iron your fabrics but I'm lazy and hate doing laundry, so I skipped that step. I washed it afterward though and mine turned out fine. So if you skip that step also, then this would be your step two: Cut out one square or rectangle (or I guess any other shape you like) from each piece of fabric.

Step Three: Place fabric pieces together wrong side out (so the pattern on the flannel and the silky side of the silk were facing in toward each other) and sew along the outside edge leaving about 2 inches open at the last corner (seen in the top right of my picture below). I will go ahead and mention again that I cannot sew straight so please do not pay attention to my lines. These blankies are my new favorite because they're as forgiving as the pillows are.

Step Four: Using the corner you left open, turn the fabric right side out (just reach inside the hole and pull the opposite corner through and it's like magic!). This is a good time to iron the fabric and press it down flat, which I did do.

Step Five: Using your needle and thread, handstitch closed that one corner that you left open. Then using the sewing machine again, make a stitch about two inches in from the edge to keep it from bunching up when washed. I used a zig-zag stitch because I thought it upped the fancified factor and gave it a little flare, but straight stitches work just the same.

Step Six: Almost burn dinner that has been cooking during the sewing project because baby wakes up from nap and demands to be fed immediately and husband is outside mowing yard and can't take it out of the oven for you. FYI, though it may not look too appetizing from my picture, dinner that night was Taco Casserole and it was easy and delicious.

Step Seven: Have baby test blankie to make sure it meets quality standards. Then make another one for friend because baby gets his drool all over that one.

That's it! It was pretty easy to make and I liked the end result. Like I said, I was able to make it while dinner was cooking so it wasn't a huge time demand, maybe 30 minutes or so, depending on how fast you can cut and sew. And lest any of you think I'm some accomplished housewife with my sewing and cooking and all, please note that I had not had a shower that day and I was still in my pajamas. Blaine is a lucky man! :)

Friday, July 8

Friday Photos - Snuggles

Have I mentioned yet how glad I am that Brock is not a newborn anymore? This third month has been a pretty fun one as Mr. B becomes more and more social and interactive. One thing we've noticed lately is how he likes to snuggle soft objects that we place on his chest. I first observed him doing this with little blankets when I would try to cover him up. We pretty much just leave him in a diaper most of the day at home if we're not going anywhere because he's very hot-natured and gets sweaty in his bed if we have clothes on him. So rather than take clothes off and on for every nap, we just let him hang out partially nude all day. (I know all those "babies-need-socks-on-constantly" ladies may flip out about this revelation, but trust me, we make sure he doesn't get cold). Anyway, when I lay blankets over him during playtime, he either kicks vigorously until they're completely off or he bunches them up with his fists and shoves them in his mouth. After several repeat instances of this, we decided to see what else he would snuggle with in this violent manner, and as evidenced in the pictures below, it's pretty much anything we give him. There was one big, soft stuffed block that was just too large for him to squish close to himself but other than that, every little item we placed on his chest became an immediate snuggle pal.

Thursday, July 7

Never Say Never

One lesson I am quickly learning as a new parent is the old cliché, "Never say never" (sorry to disappoint, but this post is not about the Justin Bieber biopic or the Justin Bieber song by the same name - although I do get the song stuck in my head every time I see that phrase). I've mentioned in a previous post how we (translation: I) had planned before Brock was born to not use a pacifier but how those plans went out the window around about the second night in the hospital. Very early on, I became aware that sometimes it doesn't matter what you say or think before you have a baby because the actual having of that baby can change everything. So here are three "I will never" statements previously proclaimed by me that I am already retracting:

1.   I will never... talk to people through my baby.
Back in the day before Blaine and I got married, I worked at a preschool/daycare for three years. I started out in the "Baby Room" which included babies between the ages of 6-12 months, and I worked every day from about noon til 6:00 so I usually had to talk to the parents when they came to pick up their children. There are all kinds of things you can learn about what NOT to do with your children from working in a daycare, but one thing in particular that always annoyed me to death was when parents would talk through their children to me. Since the babies I worked with couldn't talk yet, if the parent wanted to know something about the child's day they would have to ask me. Now, either many of the parents weren't aware their child couldn't talk or they were just too passive-aggressive to address me directly but I can't tell you how many times I was the third party in conversations like this:
"Oh, Luke, did they not feed you all of your bottle today? I bet you're starving!" (actually precious Luke had eaten all 6 bottles she'd sent for him and just couldn't force down the remainder of that 7th one)
or "Poor Ethan, they've got you dressed like a homeless man today don't they? What happened to your clothes?!" (well, lady, Ethan's diapers were two sizes too small so they leaked in every pair of clothes you packed for him)
or "Aw, Lily Kate, why are you crying? Will they not hold you sweet girl?" (no, I'm sorry, there is 1 of me and 6 of them, so I cannot sit around holding her all day long like you apparently do at home)
Needless to say, I was not a fan of this type of communication and always vowed I would never participate in it once I had a child. Unfortunately I've caught myself on several occasions doing just that. Thankfully, it's usually only with Blaine that I find it happening (aren't spouses generally the recipients/witnesses of our worst behaviors?). And usually it's not with such an angry or accusatory tone as some of those parents had toward me. Here are a few of the comments I've unwittingly found myself saying:
"Brock, did daddy not brush your hair?" or "Brock, I wonder why your daddy dressed you in that outfit? It doesn't match." or "It's okay buddy, daddy doesn't understand the concept of overstimulation."
I admit these statements have come out of my mouth at one time or another. I annoy myself when I realize what I'm doing! But I do kind of see the appeal in it now that I have a baby. I have a tendency toward passive-aggressiveness myself so for some reason it is much easier to say no to someone as though it's coming from Brock rather than coming from me (e.g., when a stranger wants to hold him, I can look at B and say, "Oh, you're just too tired to be held right now aren't you? Do you want to stay in your carseat?") It's still annoying, but I can't say I won't ever do it again. You have my permission to slap me and tell me to be direct if I ever do this to you though.

2.   I will never... tiptoe around my house just because the baby is sleeping.
This particular "never-ism" stems from experiences I've had at other people's houses who won't let you talk above a whisper if their baby is asleep. I always joked with my sister-in-law about how she would prohibit the use of the ice maker once her daughter was in bed. My perspective was that babies should get accustomed to sleeping through the noises that we make every day and that we shouldn't cater the environment around the baby. I remember saying things like this even when Brock was 4 or 5 weeks old and still in that newborn state of constant sleep that is dead to the world. I recall a particular occasion where Brock was in his rocking seat next to me in our bedroom while I was blow drying my hair, the dog jumped off the bed onto the floor barking because the doorbell rang and the child never flinched, stirred, or batted an eye. I remember smugly thinking, "See if you just let them get used to the noises, they'll sleep through it fine." Oh, how I've eaten my words on this one.

Brock isn't a newborn anymore, and the older he gets the less soundly he sleeps. He is moving out of that oblivious stage of sleep and gets disturbed more easily. The problem is that even though he's outgrowing the ability to sleep without disruption, he's not outgrowing the need to sleep uninterrupted. Two things I've learned about my son: He loves to eat and he loves to sleep. He's a pretty content and easygoing baby until he's hungry or tired and you don't give him what he wants (he comes by it honestly). Take away the food or the sleep and he can become a pretty angry little fellow. Not to mention early wakings from naps result in a completely thrown off schedule for the day (see point #3). So where does that leave us? That leaves us walking around on tiptoes, not using the ice maker, and holding our breath every time the UPS man rings the doorbell and the dog goes flying down the stairs barking. That leaves us hoping that the brush collectors, the garbage truck, and the neighbor with the unnecessarily loud Mustang will drive by only when Brock is awake (which never seems to work out to our advantage). That leaves us whispering to each other in every room of the house, afraid to flush the toilets or use the microwave, and setting the television volume at level 8 even though I'm pretty sure Brock can't hear any of this over the sound of his calming ocean noise machine. It's amazing what you'll do to preserve your sanity with a baby. But family and friends, rest assured that we will not impose these restrictions on you if you come to visit us. We're not going to force our ridiculous behavior on others - baby or no baby!

3.   I will never... schedule my life around the baby.
My final "never-ism" is a little tricky because I'm not sure that I've actually broken it. What I meant by making this statement is that I don't want to become crazy obsessed with my child and make everyone else work around my schedule and forget that I'm something other than a mom. I'm a big fan of the Babywise books and the general theory and philosophy behind the books. A basic summary of the babywise principles is that the best approach to raising children is to adopt a parent-directed approach rather than a child-centered approach and that it is important to make your marriage and your spouse the number one priority and then welcome the child into that solid relationship. The books emphasize the fact that just because you take on this new role of mother doesn't mean you abandon the old roles you previously held such as wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc. I've really tried to keep these principles in mind and I've used these methods with Brock pretty much from day one, which I think has resulted in a very content, predictable, secure baby and two very happy parents.

The problem with this "never-ism" is that life with a baby is never simple or easy. While I may not schedule my life around Brock in an unhealthy way, it is inevitable that I'm still scheduling my life around him. We went to a cookout this past Monday for the July 4th holiday and every moment of that entire day was focused on how best to arrange Brock's eat/wake/sleep schedule so that we could spend an extended amount of time out of the house that evening when he would normally be sleeping but still have him be pleasant and content. It was successful for the most part (with a little help from some wonderful ladies who wanted to hold and rock him the entire time we were there), but I couldn't help but notice as we left the party that I felt a little envious of the other party-goers who probably had not needed to think of the party until a couple of hours before it took place and who only had to get themselves ready and could arrive or leave at whatever time they desired. You just can't do this when you have a little baby... or well, let me rephrase that and say Shelby Vandegriff can't do that with a baby. I'm positive there are a lot of parents who are a lot more laissez-faire with their children's schedules than I am and do just fine, but I can't operate that way. I'm a Type-A posterchild with a compulsion for list-making, day planners, and organization, and since Brock is my son, my need for order and routine naturally flows into his life (hopefully not in such a way that it will cause a need for therapy later on). So for now at least, a large part of my day is spent figuring out how to balance my needs, Blaine's needs, and Brock's needs so that we all end up happy and content.

Well, lesson not completely learned yet but definitely in progress. The moral of the story: Watch what you say regarding how you'll deal with your babies. I am at least recognizing the importance of watching who I make my "never-ism" statements to, and I've mostly concluded that Blaine is probably the only person that it's safe to do this with. I know he is pretty much on the same page as me and he'll be merciful and won't judge me when I have to retract my statement (but more importantly he usually forgets most of the things I tell him anyway so he'll have no recollection that I ever said it in the first place).

Friday, July 1

Friday Photos and New Things

Fun things are happening this week as our two babies are starting to become more aware of each other. Technically, Piper (the dog) has always been aware of Brock since the day we brought him home from the hospital. She was on hyper-alert that first night and would fly out from under the covers in our bed (where she sleeps because she's a rotten dog) every time Brock cried. However, I think she's only just now starting to figure out what he is. Dogs read human faces to detect emotion (we watched a documentary on dogs because we're nerds), and Brock's face really hasn't been able to express human emotions until the past few weeks, at least not in any way that Piper was accustomed to. So now that he's smiling and laughing and can show sadness with a frown instead of just wailing all the time, I think she's starting to realize Hey this is just a little version of those people who walk on two legs and take care of me. On the flip side, now that Brock can actually see objects instead of just blurry fuzz, he is starting to notice her occasionally. So of course, I had to get some pictures to mark this momentous event. You can tell Piper's still not completely sure about him by some of the looks she gives, but she's figuring it out. We're pretty sure they'll be best friends before too long.  (Also note Brock's unkempt hairdo... that is what happens when his dad is the one that bathes him)

In other news, I thought I'd mention the "New Things" I referenced in the title of this post. I've really gotten into blog reading (remember what I said about being a nerd) lately and have found all kinds of interesting material out there. Some blogs are by people I know, but most of them are just random things I've found that interest me like recipes or crafts. I added a list of the blogs I'm reading toward the bottom left side of my blog in case anyone else is a nerd like me who would like some reading material in their spare time. 

I also added some links at the top of my blog. One of them is titled "What's For Dinner" and the other is "12 Months". The Dinner tab is a link to a new website I've found where you can create a personal recipe box and meal planner. I've been collecting new recipes that are easy and fast so feel free to leave a recipe in the comments on that page if you have any good ones I should try! The 12 Months tab is more for my reference and is a quick link to Brock's monthly updates... I like to go back and read them occasionally to see how he's changed. Anyway, just wanted to mention the new things I've added to my evolving blog.