Monday, September 24, 2012


Cliff is 2 weeks old now.  It is hard to believe.
Time. Is. Flying.  
I really will wake up a year from now, ten years from now, and wonder how it is possible.  
I know this already.  I find myself contemplating taking a picture of Clifford everyday, and turning it into some sort of photo montage where you get to see the progression of his growth and change over time....but I am too lazy for that. 

Luckily for me, I know photographers.  

Casey works with Maggie at her salon.  Her husband, Brett, is a photographer.  Not so long ago she was away with him for 3 days as he either learned new techniques, or taugh...I'm not sure.  
To avoid being super bored, Casey decided to take a class herself.  She chose infant photography.  
Now, even luckier for me, she needed a model to try things out on, and I happened to be knocked up.
Win win.  

Casey said the photos are best done around 7-10 days, when babies are still pretty sleepy most of the time.  Unfortunately for her, Clifford is a very alert baby.  
He fought me for 45 minutes after our session started before he finally took a nap. 

Casey had the studio nice and warm for my naked little man.  
I could barely keep my eyes open...I have no idea what his problem was. 
I think he just really digs snacks. 

Casey would take care of the setting up the background, then Little Cliff would be posed to perfection. 
He did well for a bit, then had 15 minute meltdowns in between poses.  There is nothing quite like trying to rock your baby and soothe him to sleep while trying not to take him out of the bucket or bowl he needs to be in.  Casey may have gotten the worst of it when he peed down her side 10 minutes into the first set of photos.  She ignored it like a champ.  
I assured her, baby pee is far less gross than pee from anyone/anything else.  
She agreed. 

I couldn't get over the pictures...even as they were being taken, I was already loving them.
Then Casey and Brett put this single shot online. 

O. M. G. 
My baby is perfection. 

This is Little Big Head, at 1 week and 1 day old.  
He is pretty much amazing. 

And, of course, I can't say thank you enough to Casey and Brett for making him their model.
I cannot wait to see the rest of the pictures. 
The hard part will be picking which ones to get printed....
It will be nearly impossible.  

I am so glad we got to have had newborn pictures taken.  
I swear, he already looks different.  Still perfect, but different. 
Plus, it gives all you bloggers something to look forward to.  
And rest assured, if he hasn't stolen your heart already, his pictures will! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A good deal

My husband loves a deal.  Can't pass one up.  
At Best Buy he has a pretty sweet discount.  He also has something called "accomodation" programs where manufacturers offer BB employees additional discounts or rebates on top of his regular discount.  
He is generally thrilled with his discount, as am I.  

It used to be that Zac would come home with a blue bag stuffed full and then we would have to have a talk about priorities.  Now, fortunately, he calls before he drops money on random things we don't really need.  Well, most of the time. 

Two days ago he called to ask if I needed any Sharpies.  He said that they were on "mega super discount."  I told him sure, I could use a couple at the office.  To which Zac replied, "Good, cause I already bought them."  He said they were on close out, and he bought a ton.  

These are the markers he bought.

This is his receipt.  
That's 39 Sharpies for $10.  
Mega. Super. Discount. 

I told him I would take a pack of the colored markers to the office, and probably a pack of black too.  
He told me that was fine, just so long as I saved a pack of black ones for my dad.  
I have a husband that thinks of my dad, and does little things for him, just cause he love him.  
Now that's the really good deal.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bustin at the seams

When I first announced my pregnancy, one of the first things my family said, was "that baby is gonna be huge."  When I got my 8 week ultrasound both Annie and Maggie said, "he is big."
My 12 week ultrasound got the "he is GIANT!"  I laughed.  He was, 6 centimeters long, and both sisters insisted that he was "MUCH bigger" than their combined 5 children.

After my 20 week ultrasound that said he was measuring nearly 2 weeks big, I started to believe they may be right.

When my 37 week ultrasound said he had a 41 week old's head circumference and that he was already 8lbs 11oz, I was a bit worried.  For the sake of my lady business, I hoped the ultrasound was way off.  I was expecting, and praying, for a high 8, low 9 lb baby.

When I finally had my 42 week old baby, I was not shocked at his 10lbs 14oz.
I had been preparing.  I knew, all along, he would be big.  I did.
Proof of this fact, I returned almost all of his newborn outfits.
And, turns out, it's a good thing I did.

This is Cliff in one of his four newborn outfits.  

Notice the slightly short sleeves and the little ducks on the feet being strained to the max.  It's even a little small on his chest.  The man is big.  He can't help it.  

Then I realized, big is all a matter of perspective.  

Zac helped me bathe Cliff the other day.  As he was laying on the changing table, Zac kept putting his hand right in the center of his chest.  I asked him what he was doing.  He told me, "he's so little, I can basically palm him."  Truth.

Like I said, a matter of perspective.  
When your daddy is 6'4" and your mommy is nearly 5'10", you are allowed to be 22 inches long and you have earned the nickname "Little Big Head."

Friday, September 21, 2012

Two weeks in review

I cannot believe that Clifford has been here for almost two weeks. 
Even more...I cannot believe that 2 weeks ago, he fit in my abdomen!  Crazy talk. 

Anyway, as you all well know, we were at the hospital forever.  Thursday to Tuesday....and Cliff didn't get there til Sunday.  It was a long stay.  Cliff arrived at a leisurely pace.  
I have no idea where he gets it. 

When it was finally time to leave the hospital, I had to make sure that ol Fordy Stu looked like a proper gentleman since he kept so many ladies waiting all that while.  
This is his "leaving the hospital" outfit.  

He is so handsome...

 and his hair is long enough to braid. 

Plus, my favorite thing... when he gets a bath, his hair is super curly.

Doesn't that rock?
It does.

It is no wonder that this handsome man is getting mad love from everyone.  
Aubrie was so excited to meet him that she bawled when her mom and dad said they needed to wait another day before they came over.  

She also asked Annie if Cliff had Down Syndrome.  Annie told her no, he did not.  She continued to question, wanting to know if the doctors were sure and if they had done testing.  Annie assured her, Cliff does not have DS.  Aubrie said that maybe next time I could have a baby with Down Syndrome.  
Aubrie knows that Ollie is perfect the way she is. I love that.  

Everett was also thrilled with Cliff.
But then again, he was thrilled with the coffee table, and the floor vent, and the fridge, and Ford's toys. 

Look at those two pretty men.  
We Fox girls make good lookin babies.

Uncle Jade (the tan-est man we know) was loving Cliff.
He has big plans to get in some one-on-one time without Annie and the kids present.  
I am in full support of being a baby hog, so I encourage such behaviors.

(Sorry Uncle Jade for the long shot of man thigh in this picture.  Who knew I took a picture straight up your pant leg.)

In between visitors, baby and I kick it.
We have a pretty relaxed schedule, meaning we don't have a schedule at all.
We sleep until we wanna get up, eat when we wanna eat.  
We ignore the dangers of sleeping together...and cuddle in the mornings.
  Cliff likes to snack and snooze.  I can't blame him. 

In the evenings, he and his daddy get in some bonding time.
Zac always yells at me for taking pictures.  He swears the flash wakes up Cliff.  In reality, the flash wakes up Zac and he is a grouch when he is woken up. 

They are my two favorite men.

Lest you be concerned, I still get in plenty of snuggle time with babe.

He thinks I rock.
It may because he relies on me to make his food, and I am pretty good at that, or it may simply be that I am awesome.  

He is happy.
There is no debating that. 

He is perfect. 

(His dad captured that picture.  Zac's timing was simply luck.  Sidenote...when Zac is taking pictures, the flash is no concern.  It proves my theory that Zac is the one opposed to the flash, not Cliffy.)

Now don't be fooled with all these sweet sleeping baby pictures.  Cliff Stu is a very alert baby. 
He got in a stare down with his Aunt Annie the other day.  She lost.  Big time.
She was very nearly entranced by his big blue eyes. 
But he likes to stretch and smile and flail his crazy arms.  

He is a big talker too.  He coos and flirts like a pro.

He is 10lbs (nearly 11lbs) of peely-skinned, crazy-haired joy.

This is his "strong man" pose. 
Watch out for it ladies. 

We have also made it out of the house a bit.  Clifford had his appointment with his pediatrician.
He went rocking a sweet gown I made him.   I figured there was no need to do a full-on outfit when he was gonna have to be stripped to his birthday suit.  

He makes a gown look manly.

He is tough. 

And he has Ricky Bobby hands. 

None of you will be shocked to know that Clifford was in the 99th percentile in height, weight, and head circumference.  I sent the message to Zac, letting him know his stats.  He wrote back that Cliff was "100th percentile in awesome."  My friend Darby wrote back the same thing.  I told her that I was glad that she was as thrilled with our baby as we are.  I like that kind of dedication in a friend :)

He had lost weight and was right at 10lbs before we left the hospital.  To be expected when you are disconnected from "full feed" and have to wait on your mommy's body to throw the "on" switch at the milk factory.  From Tuesday, when we left the hospital, to Friday's appointment, he had put on 4oz.  I think it is safe to say that Cliff will be a big man. 

I had my follow-up with Dr. M yesterday.  He told me I didn't look like I hadn't even had a baby.  I loved him for saying such a thing, and reminded him that Cliff is huge and I was all baby, so I should be lookin pretty good, which amused him.  He also said he is amazed with how well some people heal, so I take that to be a good thing.  Zac told me my incision looks completely healed already.  Dr. M replaced the surgical strips, so I can't really see it again, but I will take Zac's word for it.  I am thrilled with my progress and I talked him into letting me drive starting Monday.  I go back in 2 weeks to see him and make sure I'm still kickin ass.  In the meantime, I'll try to post more often cause I know you've all fallen in love and you need a photo fix of my amazing Clifford Stuart!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

To cut or not to cut?

(This post is about circumcision.  Just a heads up, so you can skip it if you want.)

Zac and I have made some "non-traditional" decisions regarding baby Clifford.  
We opted out of the HepB vaccine, didn't get antibiotic drops in his eyes, declined the Vit K shot, and we chose not to circumcise our baby.

Now, to start, I know this is not really anyone else's business.  I get that it would be ok if I never shared any info about Cliff's man parts at all, but I wanted to, because making choices based on facts, not conjecture or status quo, is important to me.  I just want people to look into things before we make unchangeable decisions...myself included, so that's why I write this.

Just a little history, simplified of course...circumcision was initially a religious ceremony to symbolize a covenant  between Abraham and God, acknowledging God as, well, God and assuring salvation for Abraham and his decendants.  After Jesus came around, and died for our sins, we now are asked to accept God through his son, by acknowledging the sacrifice of his life, to accept Jesus as our redeemer and savior.  No more need to cut our little boys, just say a simple prayer.
(As far as I understand Judaism, Jews don't believe Jesus has returned, so that's why circumcision is still practiced....I know very little about Judaism.)

The push to circumcise boys has since been declared a "cleanliness" issue, with increased risks of infection if you don't.  Also, circumcision lowers the risks of HIV, etc.  My response...teach your children to clean themselves and teach them sexual morality (or at the very least, the importance of safe sex) and both are a moot point.  Plus, honestly, I cannot imagine that a little boy's foreskin is THAT much more dirty than a little lady's business. (Let's face it ladies, we've got a lot going on down there, and we know how to handle it.)  Now, I know there may be unforseen circumstances that may cause a man to be unable to take care of himself and if I had a child with special needs, my decision may be different, but Cliff doesn't have special needs and I am not worried about future what if's.  The situation would be addressed at that time. 
I'll be honest, this was not a topic I thought I had an opinion about.  I don't know that I would have thought twice about it.  It was just another thing that you do.  Then I happened upon this blog, and it changed my mind completely.  

Then I read this, and was pretty set on skipping the procedure.  Then I saw this explanation of the procedure (this is done without anesthesia, mind you) and the associated pictures, and couldn't bring myself to watch the video.  If I can't make myself watch a video, how am I handing over Clifford for it?  I can't. 

I also compared the procedure...religious circumcision vs. medical circumcision.  There is quite a difference in the amount of foreskin removed.  Also, notice the dotted lines on the inside of the foreskin in the image?  Those are specialized, highly sensitive nerve cells (Meissner's corpuscles).  In an adult, the skin retracts and all of those are exposed for what we will call "business time."  A circumcised man not only has lost those nerve cells (literally thrown away), but the most sensitive part of his body has spent a lifetime being exposed to clothing and has had to "toughen up" for lack of a better term.
 I saw a side by side comparison of adult men, and the intact man just looked healthier (I know the picture is graphic...put on your medical professional pants before you click on links.) Logic tells me, an intact man is more sensitive, and will have a completely different sexual experience, that is probably better for him, and I assume his lady.  (I know, it's odd to think about or be concerned with the quality of your kid's future sex life...but we worry about everything else, and I can only hope it will be fulfilling part of his marriage, even if it is 20+ years down the line.)
A side note.... if you are checking out might wanna give your husband a heads up.  It can make your browsing history look a little risque. 

Knowing what I know of anatomy (more than just the male anatomy, but anatomy in general..) I was a little shocked to read this...
The prepuce and glans are "fused" together in the vast majority of boys and will separate on its own at the right time. One may expect 50 percent of ten-year-old boys; 90 percent of 16-year-old boys; and 98-99 percent of 18 year-old males to have fully retractable foreskin. Only those whose foreskins have not retracted by the time of marriage require medical intervention.
Did you see that?  Only 50% by age what percentage do you think are fully separated at birth?
That sounds a lot like separating 2 skin layers that are not yet meant to be apart.  Bamboo under a fingernail image anyone?  

The first thing people ask when I say Cliff was not circumcised is "Aren't you worried he will be made fun of?"  This is ALWAYS the first question.  Nothing medical, all emotional. 
The answer is, yes.  I know he will be.  He will be made fun of whether he is tall or short or skinny or fat, or cut or not.  Being made fun of is a fact of life.  I just hope to raise a child that is well adjusted enough to handle it.  But, I also don't believe that he will be the only one.  Just check out this graph....
Circumcision rates in the US are dropping, a lot.  He may be the only "intact" little guy in Shelbyville, but not for long.  

Like I said, my mind was changed.  
It was not a decision made lightly.  And, in the spirit of research, I did take a recommendation from my mom and talked with 2 guys that are intact.  I asked them both if they were made fun of or feel like their lack of circumcision caused them any emotional upset, if they ever had any issues with infections, or if they had issues in explaing to their partner(s) what was up.  They both assured me, no issues of any kind....and they laughed at me. Both boys grew up in Shelbyville, so I feel like they know the environment Cliff will live in and situations he will deal with. 

Again, I know that this is a topic people are uncomfortable with and I get it.  I also know that I can name 5 little boys off the top of my head that have had issues with, or revisions to their circumcsions.  
When it comes to this decision, I hope no one feels the need to write hateful comments...I'm not better than any other mom out there.  I don't judge the decisions you are making or have made.  This is what Zac and I chose and it honestly, took A LOT of discussion, research, and facts, and Zac still was not buyin what I was selling.
But, my point is, there were facts considered and that's what I want people to do.
Is circumcision necessary? No.
Is it expected in this part of the world? Yes.
Is this post awkward? Yes.
But I hope you learned a little something, cause I know I learned a lot that I never knew I didn't know.  Plus, I want people to understand our choice, because it makes it less "weird" and ultimately, it is the people that read this blog that will be raising Cliff's peers.  Ya know, his peers....all the other kids that will be making fun of him if their parents are ignorant of the facts.

So, in review, this was our choice.  It is not everyone's choice and I am ok with whatever you decide.  Just think about it if you are making the decision for your little guy.
And know that I'm happy to discuss, not debate, my decision if you have questions.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The start of our new life

As you all know, the world as Zac and I knew it made a big shift on it's axis on Sunday.
I wrote about him being here but I just have so many great pictures to share.

I think I made it pretty clear that I was not interested in the c-section I had.  Not at all.
I did 2 rounds of cervidil, which sucked.  And followed it up with 18 hours of pitocin, just to hear at the end of all of it, that the progress I had made, didn't really count.
That was the awful part.
To really want something, do everything you can to get there, to believe and mentally celebrate that you are making progress, only to realize it was all in vain, was a really hard thing to accept.
I still haven't really.  I am working on it.
 I just knew that it would be harder on me emotionally to do the second round of pitocin and have it fail, then to choose to do the surgery.
At least, at that point, it still got to be my choice.
I just feel a little cheated by the process.  I put in 42 weeks, 42 freakin pregnant weeks and didn't get to follow through with the delivery part of labor and delivery.
I am disappointed in myself to admit, even though I knew Clifford was coming, I dreaded Sunday morning and was not happy to see night turn into day.  I cried a lot.
My family showed up and did their best to support me.

Maggie braided my hair to cheer me up.  

I continued to sit and cry.  

It made mom cry too. 

They all had to leave so I could get ready to go to the operating room. 
It was just me and Zac... and Cliffbelly. 
I had Zac take this very real, obviously untouched, picture of my "unscarred" but very stretch marked belly.  Not so pretty I'm afraid, but honest and earned. 

Then I had to take pictures of Zac and his last few moments as a man waiting to become a dad.
What's funny is that he was standing normally until I took off the lens cap, then bam! awkward pose.  
I asked him why he was standing like that and he said he didn't know.  And then he couldn't not stand awkward.  A Ricky Bobby moment for sure.  

Shortly after this picture, and more crying, the nurses came and got me.  Zac stayed behind.  He was in charge of the camera after that. 
Zac stood at the head of the surgery table with me as the surgery started.  
I was feeling very anxious at this point, as you can imagine.  
It wasn't very long, however, until Dr. M started going on about how much hair Clifford had. 

Zac got a shot of Clifford as he was half way out of the womb.
Incredible right?

A few minutes later I finally got to hear Cliff start to squall.  

A few minutes later he was cleaned up and I got a chance to look at and hold my newest love. 

Our first family picture. 

I am so thankful to our exceptional anesthesiology nurse for taking these pictures for us.  
They are priceless. 

The nurses needed to clean up Clifford, so I handed him over to Zac.  
This is him, holding his son for the first time.  

He got to hold him for a minute, then stood and held his hand as the nurses looked Cliff Stu over. 

All I could do was cry again.  This time, it was pure joy.  
All the sadness of the morning was gone. 
My baby is perfect...that's all I could think about. 

I kept telling Zac how jealous I was of him. 
The boys had to leave then for Clifford's assessment in the nursery.  
Dr. M stitched me up and I tried to sleep through it to speed up the time until I saw my men again.

They rolled me into the recovery room and after my anesthesia shakes calmed down a bit, they brought in my boys.  Bare chest time was exactly what I needed. 

You can see he is peel-y.  He is well cooked :)

My surgery was at 9am.  By noon, we were in our room and had taken this picture.  
Zac and I look tired. 
Cliff looks amazing. 

After his first feeding (he is a nursing champ!) Cliff had his first visitors. 
Grandma Lolla was thrilled. 

I told Zac to get my parent's next.  They had fallen asleep in the waiting room and Maggie did the honorable thing and snuck out before they heard it was their turn. 

That is a look of sheer joy on her face.  

Annie said she heard Maggie sneaking out and was not about to be left behind.
She, too, was in love.

This face is undeniable.

My sisters were so happy with him that they didn't even mind giving Zac a diaper change tutorial.

Aunt Jackie came down with the sisters.  She knows not to miss her chance when it comes to babies. 
I just realized how HUGE he looks in her arms.  
Ford looks every bit of his 11lbs right here.

Mom and Dad were the next to come visit. 

It is pictures like this one, that validate the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words." 

But I love this half smile from Dad.  

And this one of Annie and my beautiful man.  
I have such good looking family memebers!

Here are a few pictures of the next day, as Clifford got to meet the people that will be big players in his life. 

Pure love.

And, when Dr. M came to check on me, I made sure Cliff got a picture with the man that pulled him into the world.

Clifford and I were released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon. 
I made sure he looked like a proper gentleman for his hospital pictures. 

Home has been a wonderful and welcome change.  
We are getting settled in.  I'll keep up with the pictures of the beautiful new man in my life.

He changes a little bit every single day. 
And don't worry ladies, I kiss Clifford for you every chance I get.

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