Friday, December 3, 2010

3 months old

Dear Luke,
Exactly 9 months ago (to the day), your daddy and I were sitting in a restaurant downtown, waiting for some friends to join us for dinner. We were there to celebrate a very special birthday, but we ended up having a conversation that would change our lives forever.

Over a basket of chips and a pitcher of margaritas, your daddy and I hatched a plan to find you. We wanted to pursue adoption and we wanted to become a family. We were ready.

And it took exactly 9 months from the day we had that conversation to the day you were born.

Today, marks the day you turn 3 months old, but it also marks the day when you brought hope back in to our lives. It marks the day (and the exact moment) when I knew it was no longer "if" but "when" I would finally become a mommy. It was just a matter of time before we found each other and our struggles would all be worth it.

In 3 months, you've gone from looking like this:

To looking like this:

You are happy and chunky and very strong. You have learned to smile (on purpose) and you stick your tongue out at me to say "hello" every morning. When I do it back to you, you instantly smile - relieved to finally communicate a small fraction of what you've been feeling. It must be wonderful. You only had crying and screaming in your arsenal before. Now you have smiling and "cooing" and the ability to express delight while simultaneously melting my heart.

Luke, you are so much fun.

You absolutely love your bird mobile, now that you can really see it. You talk to those birds and you kick your arms and legs to show your affection. I pretend they talk back to you - singing funny little songs and whispering riddles in your baby ears. You watch those birds with such concentration. I'm grateful every day for the sweet, talented Hallmarkers who made them for you.

This month, you met your cousins - Mia, Christian, Lily and Anya (in town from Colorado):

You hosted (and slept through) a play-date with Cory, Anya, Lily, Mia, Cortney, Holly, and Miss Kendall:

You went to the doctor for your 2-month immunizations (we waited until you were 3 months old so you'd be a little bigger). You got three shots in your delicious little thighs. You only cried for a second, but (again) you peed all over the doctor's office. I don't know what it is about marking your territory, but you do it a lot. You measured 9 lbs. 14 oz, and 22" long. We were just sure you would tip the scales at 10 (or maybe even 11) pounds, but the doctor was very happy to see that you'd doubled your birth weight and you were a perfectly healthy, happy little boy.

You also had a very special visitor in November - your buddy Stu flew all the way from Chicago just to see you (and bring you some super cool Chicago Bears stuff!)

You met Nate and Amie for the first time (you really liked Amie!):

Your glider arrived this month (and we have logged some serious snuggle time together on that glider!):

Again...thanks to some very generous Hallmarkers, you now have the coolest, comfy-est chair in your nursery:

You've been an excellent shopping companion this month, as we have purchased (and wrapped) about 80% of our Christmas gifts already. You don't know it, but I bought some of your gifts right in front of you!  You've attended lots of birthday parties this month (including one for your daddy where you played DJ on the floor with your toy gym).  You're a very social little guy and everyone just adores you.

This Thanksgiving, your nana and papa drove up from Houston so they could bring you a swing and spend Thanksgiving with us.

And now blogger seems to be stalling, so instead of posting this tomorrow I'm going to post it now...with a little video to show just how adorable you are.

We love you, Luke. Happy 3 month Birthday!!
- mom and dad

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the science of being awesome

The little dude slept from 9:30pm - 3:45am last night!!! He ate for 30 minutes, went right back to sleep and woke up again at 7:15am.  He ate for 30 minutes, went right back to sleep and woke up again at 10:15. It was AWESOME!!!

The difference between Luke's sleeping habits and mine...I woke up at 3:45am and did not fall right back to sleep. I was up until 7am thinking about Christmas gift ideas, decorating ideas, to do lists, and Thanksgiving recipes I want to try.

My baby is figuring out how to sleep through the night and my brain won't stop making lists.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

keeping up

My last post was November 3rd? Wow. Sorry. That's pathetic!  But I suppose now that the drama of the adoption is all calmed down (2 months and still no contact from the birthparents - yippee!) regular life stuff seems pretty boring.

We've been on a road trip to Oklahoma, celebrated several birthdays (including Ryan's), hosted lots of visitors, dressed up for Halloween (not Luke's favorite), and have come really close to sleeping through the night! Basically, Luke is doing great. He seems huge to me now, though he was only 9 lbs 11 oz at his last doctor's appointment (we were guessing at least 10, if not 11 lbs). I've tried to use my time off to get prints made and frame some good black and white photos around the house, but that's been quite a project. It seems I've taken about 5,000 photos of Luke in the last 2 months. And looking back at them, I'm not sure I adequately captured his teeny-ness. I wish I'd done something consistent...placed him next to something...compared him size-wise to we could see exactly how tiny he really was, but it's too late now. He'll never be that tiny again. And I have to the time, my main concern was keeping him all swaddled and warm, as he had zero body-fat. It was hard to un-wrap him and lay him down without lots and lots of screaming.

Just look how tiny!

But now, he's grown out of his premie clothes. He's grown out of his newborn clothes. He's finally moved in to the 0-3 month part of his closet and he's too heavy to carry around with one hand anymore. He squirms now. He kicks his legs and throws his head around. He's strong!

Speaking of legs. Look at these! This was taken on the day we brought him home from the hospital:

And here are Luke's legs now:
Happy, chunky, strong, kick-ey legs!

My sweet boy:

How will I ever narrow these down?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2 months

Dear Luke,
Today, you turned two months old. And you demonstrated your maturity by sleeping for 6 whole hours last night! Daddy and I could not believe it when we looked at the clock and you were still fast asleep at 5am (a time when you would normally be waking up for your 2nd or 3rd bottle). When I weighed us together on the scale this morning, you added another 10 pounds to our total, which means your wrists are no longer the size of my thumbs and your legs actually have some meat on them. You are a ten pound baby boy! People still comment about how small you are and how light you are, but daddy and I can tell - you feel bigger. You look bigger. Your face is filling out and your baby hats don't fit anymore. You have a handful of outfits that we don't even try to squeeze you in to because it's just not worth the struggle. (It's really hard to get you dressed. You really hate it. I mean. REALLY. HATE. IT.) And it's not worth getting something stuck on your noggin just because we like the monkeys on the front.

I'm already starting to feel sad that the time is going by too fast. Before we know it, I'll be going back to work and we won't get to spend all day together - going on walks, baking cookies and watching home decorating marathons. I really love our days together. I love lifting you out of your crib in the morning and kissing your hot little cheeks. I love that you scream through your entire diaper change, outfit change and bottle prep, but you immediately stop crying when that bottle goes in your mouth. (Like you're just starving and you can't understand why we don't do the bottle thing first.) I love that you want to hold my hand while I hold your bottle and you immediately calm down when I brush your cheek with my finger. I love that we have had this precious time to get to know each other because I have had the time of my life getting to know you.

My friends at Hallmark threw us an amazing baby shower last week and they made the little birdie mobile that now hangs over your changing table. They also collected money so we could sit for hours in a new glider - feeding you bottles, reading you books, or lulling you back to sleep. You have an amazing support system around you and I feel so lucky and proud to show you off.

Your Hallmark baby shower:

Table decorations and games:

The insanely talented Katie Larson made this for you (still blows me away):

Our amazing hostesses (and you...snarfing down a bottle):

Mommy's take-home treat box (please ignore the ratio of fruit to sweets):

One little birdie from your mobile:

All of your amazing gifts:

In the last few weeks, you have begun to discover light and shadows. You like to lay on the floor in the mornings and watch the sun dance through the leaves outside. You like to watch the light cast shadows on the floor. You are awake more during the day than you used to be (though you wouldn't know it from all of my pictures of you, sleeping) and you've really started to study my face. You look at me and you reach for me and you try so hard to copy the faces I make at you. You are able to reach and grab and kick the things on your play mat and you even rolled over the other day!  Granted, you were furious at the time, but you lifted your little head off the mat and with one impetuous maneuver, you flipped yourself from your stomach to your back. And in that amazing moment, I saw an entire lifetime of moments - getting to cheer you on and celebrate your victories.

You rule:

The most important thing to happen this month was your finalization with the state of Kansas. You are officially Luke Adler Westhoff and a part of our family forever. We called it "Westhoff Wednesday" because the whole day celebrated our journey to permanently change our Westhoff family tree. We decided we would celebrate your birthday on September 3rd, but also your finalization day on October 20th because that's when our lives truly began. In honor of your finalization, I surprised daddy with a family garden in the back yard. I had three trees planted, one for each of us. Together, we will watch them grow tall and strong - leaving room in the garden for any other little Westhoffs that may come along.

We have had so much fun with you, Luke and we can't believe you're already 2 months old. We are so excited to watch you grow and become a little man - but not too fast, okay?

mom and dad

Cousin kisses:

Four generations: