Thurs, Dec 25th: We come home from the hospital to the beginning stages of a Christmas party. I take my first shower and change my clothes for the first time since Monday, and it feels glorious. Lots of relatives start showing up, both those we’ve met already during our trip and some new faces, and the boys go crazy with the excitement for opening presents. Betsy gives Aria the sweater she knitted for her, and the boys get the books we picked out for them. (The initial reaction from the boys is “hmm, a book. Where’s the next toy?”, but the books have since become very popular.) Everyone gets a chance to cuddle with Seth a little bit.

Sweater for Aria
Sweater for Aria

Uncle Carter
Uncle Carter

Fri, Dec. 26th: There’s some concern that Seth isn’t getting enough food, as Betsy’s milk has yet to come in and he’s showing some early signs of jaundice. Heather teaches Todd how to make a homemade formula to help supplement Betsy’s milk, and Betsy experiments with using a supplemental nursing system. Seth isn’t too fond of the SNS and has trouble feeding, and we start feeling worried and stressed about him not getting enough food. Add some gas troubles in the evening, and it’s a fairly tough day.

Making formula

Bags of formula for the SNS

Sat, Dec. 27th: Gale (the leader of her local La Leche League) determines that he has no problem with the strength of his suck or his desire to nurse, and that since he’s such a natural, using a bottle for the supplemental feedings would be okay as long as it is done in moderation and with LOTS of pure nursing in between the bottle supplements. He takes to the bottle very well, and the day goes much smoother. I take advantage of the downtime to record a picture of his heart-shaped birthmark. (Angle your head slightly to see it.)

The phone rings during the afternoon, and the caller ID shows that it is my parents calling. That’s not suspicious, as my Dad expressed an interest in calling the house to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. But when Gale answers the phone, she gets up immediately and moves to a different room. She almost never moves into another room for phone calls (raising 3 kids seems to have granted her impressive noise-filtering abilities), and so that makes me wonder. When she returns, she mentions that my parents called “to ask what they should buy (Betsy and me) for Christmas”. I know my parents finished their shopping in early December, so I’m pretty sure she’s not telling me the truth. I have my guesses as to what’s going on, but I’m trying to not get my hopes up too high…

Heart-shaped birthmark

Sun, Dec 28th: We go to church in the morning. The theme of the service is all about babies being born, with Christmas happening a few days ago and another baby being dedicated that morning. The combination of songs and sermon make several eyes in our party wet.

The afternoon is laid back, and I’m starting to feel more and more confident in my guess as to why my parents called. Just the thought of that coming true is making my eyes wet, and I’m trying to not get too excited…

In the evening, there’s a knock at the door, and a couple of very familiar voices in the front room. I walk around the corner to see my parents at the house. They had been planning on coming down to California for New Years already, and while their final destination was going to be in Pasadena, hundreds of miles away, they made a special stop in Lake County to visit their grandson. It was great to see them.

Mom V

Dad V

Mon, Dec 29th: My parents come over again in the morning, and we hang out for a little longer before they have to leave at noon to catch their next flight.

In the afternoon, Seth gets his first bath. He’s not particularly fond of bathing.

I suggest that we take a family walk around the neighborhood, as I’m getting a bit stir-crazy in the house. Betsy is worried about the terrifying arctic weather outside (55 degrees and sunny), and my idea is handled as if I had suggested loading his playpen with a sack of disgruntled weasels. I back off, and I’ll try this again later.


Tue, Dec 30th: We go to the doctor for the one-week checkup. Seth is weighed in at 8lbs 12oz, which would be a 11oz gain in the first week. Since babies usually lose weight during that first week, we’re a bit skeptical of these results, but it makes us feel good about his nutrition levels. Everything else checks out great, and I think we surprised the doctor by being calm and confident in our parenting. (Betsy suggested that the first week check-up is often as much for the parents as for the child, which sounds about right to me.) But what the doctor hasn’t seen is that we’ve been peppering Gale with questions all day long for the past week, and we didn’t have any questions left for him.

In the afternoon, Aria’s friends come by to say hello and meet Seth. After that, there’s some family naptime, and I get to capture my favorite picture so far.


Family Naptime

Wed, Dec 31st: Wednesday is the most mellow day on record so far, as the rest of the family leaves for the day, leaving just Betsy, Seth and me alone at the house. I finally convince Betsy that Seth would be able to survive a trek into the wilderness, and he gets bundled up for his walk outside.

In the evening, we’re left alone again, and the family has a very relaxed New Year’s Eve, nursing near the fireplace and watching Top Chef on YouTube. (TV shows that are normally 40 minutes now take 3 hours to watch – I can’t imagine how long it would take to watch a movie.) Seth had slept through most of the day and wakes up more in the evening, so we’re up until about 11:45. We don’t stay up all the way until midnight, so we instead greet the New Year somewhere around 2am, with a feeding, a diaper change and a cuddle. I have the feeling that those are going to be the themes of 2009 for us…

Snow Suit