Monday, December 29, 2008

The Claw!!!

We got a video of Jude's first real laugh. The same trick worked about 100 times! And it hasn't worked again since that night...:(

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let it snow!

It's been snowing this week in rainy Portland. Jude has been enjoying the view.

We had a candle melting incident last night. It was so pretty I had to take a photo. What are the odds that two candles would leak right at the same time?

Jude was a cutie on the couch the other day.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cornett Family Secrets Revealed

E Ben was working on our Christmas letter today. Here is the second runner-up:

We would love to write a long and detailed letter of our triumphs and travels this year, but it just doesn’t seem honest. This year, in honor of the holidays and the winter weather, the Christmas cheer, and the children being nestled all snug in their beds, we’re coming clean. We’re providing you with the real dirt on the Cornett family. Parents, you may wish to consider that this content may not be suitable for all ages.

Events from 2008 that we’re not proud of:

E Ben lied on his life insurance. He actually has smoked a cigar once.
Linden can’t remember how it felt to be in labor.
It took us two years to pick a paint color for the kitchen.
Jude is a bedwetter. You heard it here first.
After E Ben quit his job, he started playing a lot more golf.
Linden is ready to go back to work.
Jude pooped in his carseat and then smeared his hands in it.
Linden lets E Ben fill in her voting ballot.
Jude is not really that cute when he’s crying.
Jude only gets a bath every other week.
Everyone in our family seems to have really bad gas.
All Jude’s baby clothes are secondhand.
E Ben didn’t really have a costume together for Jude’s first Halloween.
We love to eat, and we’re too lazy to go to the gym.
We always buy cheap Christmas presents.

Whew! I feel better. That’s the miracle of Christmas, alright. It’s all about forgiveness.
Linden, E Ben, and Jude are all healthy and happy! Hope to see you in 2009!

It Worked!

Following the advice of the book I'm reading, I put Jude to sleep at 7:30pm last night after he'd only been awake for two hours following his afternoon nap. He was acting tired and a little cranky, so I figured it couldn't hurt to try it. He went down pretty easily after I swaddled him tightly. About a half hour later, we heard him talking and singing on the monitor, but did not go to him. He was quiet again after a few minutes, and we didn't hear another peep until 4am! I got up and fed him, then put him back down. I was a little worried he wouldn't go back to sleep since he seemed wide awake at 4:30, but he managed to put himself back down after making some (non-crying) noises for a few minutes. He woke again at his usual morning wake-up time, happy and ready for the day! It was a good start, but we'll have to wait and see if this pattern continues. It would be great if it did!

E Ben took Jude to the Zoo yesterday to see Sam the baby elephant who was born the day after Jude.

Jude was looking pretty cute the other night on the couch.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Painting the Kitchen

I took advantage of our last few weeks before the holidays to complete a long-standing house project. We bought this big house up in the hills of Portland, partly because it needed some work. I used to be more inclined to big house remodeling dreams, but this is an older and wiser man in the picture above.

Part of the challenge of the stay-at-home-daddy life is to balance sensible tasks with diaper changes and baby walks to keep from going crazy. The year we bought this house, I planned a summer remodel of the bathroom. That one only took 18 months. So now, when I am feeling the need to be productive, I come up with a job I can actually accomplish in three hours a day.

I hereby unveil my weeklong project of painting the kitchen. It's not perfect, but it sure looks green. Shy Blossom, actually!
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Activity and Sleep

Jude is loving his activity time in the Exersaucer. He's really started reaching for objects and manipulating them with his hands. Thanks to the Joneses for the loan!

We took some nice photos in the past week. Here are a few of the best.

I'm currently reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. In general, Jude is a good sleeper, but lately he has started waking up twice in the night to eat instead of once, which really messes up my sleep at night! I learned from the book that waking once or twice at night to eat is pretty normal until about nine months of age, but Jude should be going to bed earlier once he hits his four-month birthday. Right now he goes down between 9 and 10 after taking a fairly long nap from about 4-6. Actually, his bedtime should be sometime between 6 and 8. If he goes down earlier, he is supposed to sleep better overall, and waking up twice to feed him won't seem as difficult, I think. I guess we'll start trying some of the ideas from the book when we get back from our holiday vacation...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back On Leave

I decided to go back to work early so that I could take the rest of my maternity leave next summer. Alas, it turns out that I was misinformed and only California employees are allowed to take their leave in two chunks. I went back in for two days, but then I had to go back out on leave right away or lose the opportunity for good, so I decided to stay home for the month of December and return to work in January. I've always said that I would take as much unpaid leave as I possibly could, but it was actually a difficult decision to stay out. First, although we don't need the money I would earn (we'd saved enough for the full leave duration), it's been tough for me to see the stock market go down and not be able to rebalance by buying more stocks when they're cheap. Also, although I never expected that I'd think this, I'm finding that getting out of the house to go to work and spending some time away from the baby is good for my mental health. I definitely think that staying home with a baby can be more challanging than working in a job like mine - one I'm familiar with and have been doing for quite a while, meaning that it is rarely stressful.

Here is a video that E Ben made today while I was having a nice day off...:

As you can see, Jude loves to kick. We are continually amazed by those legs!

My sister Margaret visited for the Thanksgiving long weekend. She and Jude got to spend a lot of quality time together (although she had to compete with the baby-snatchers in the family), and Jude also got to wear some of his cute outfits that we never bother to put on him. Here's a photo of the two of them from Thanksgiving Day.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sleigh Bells Ring

Ok, so it is not even December first - I'm not an overachiever, so much as a wait-til-the-mood-strikes kind of person. And this morning, it struck. With Thanksgiving passed, Black Friday behind us, and December just around the corner (tomorrow), I thought it best to bring Jude along on a long-standing family tradition.
It took about 30 minutes, but Jude and I got out the decorations from the attic, hung ornaments on the tree, and put up both of our strings of lights. Whew! All before 10am. Most people probably spend more time on this activity, but we're minimalists. I can't really keep track of more than one box of Christmas. Here's the best part: he has no idea what is going on here. He barely notices the twinkling lights, although the reindeer bells on the front door were a big hit.

Here is a picture of Jude, wondering what this could all be about. I am so excited for him! I am such a believer in the majesty and the miracle of the season. And childhood makes it all come alive. Can you hear Santa's sleigh on the roof? Of course we won't make a fire tonight, so He can come down the chimney. Have you been a good boy this year? One hundred million children fall asleep on the eve of Christmas with sugarplums dancing.

Not to mention 8 pound, 11 ounce baby Jesus in the manger, wise men following stars, and oxen a-lowing. There are miracles afoot. The story of the Christ-child, come to save the world with no room at the inn. And that boy went on to change the world.

Jude, my boy, you will not know what to make of any of this. But that is more of the beauty of Christmas. It is waiting for you, and by next year . . .

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Three Months Old

Jude had his three-month birthday yesterday. Here's a photo of him from last night:

From November 2008

Jude weighs about 13.5 pounds, up about 5 pounds from his birth weight. He's holding his head up really well and sitting up when supported. In the photo above, he's sitting in the "Nursing Chair" in our front room. He spends a lot of time in that chair but mostly he's lying on his side chowing down. Jude is still eating about 6-8 times a day (usually seven times), but we've managed to reduce each feeding to about 20 minutes. Sometimes he's even finished in 15 minutes. It's a big improvement from 40 minutes per feeding, 8 or 9 times a day!

Jude is also a really good sleeper most of the time. We put him down (in his own room, now) between 9:30 and 10pm. He usually sleeps until about 4am, wakes to eat, then goes right back down until ~8am. He has some "bad" nights now and then, but mostly when we mess with his schedule and try to get him to sleep either too late or with not enough feedings in the evenings.

We've managed to stop supplementing with formula as of about two weeks ago. I've been taking some medication to help increase my milk supply, and it seems to be working well. There was some concern that I would have an oversupply while on this medication, but that does not seem to be an issue! I returned to work this past Friday, and managed to pump enough to feed the boy while I'm away, which was one of my main concerns with returning to work. I'm feeling better about the whole feeding situation now. I only wish I had started taking this medication sooner - it could have saved a lot of anxiety and stress on my part.

On to month four!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Recent Developments

We just returned from a lovely weekend in Manzanita on the Oregon Coast with our great friends the Joneses. The weather was better than we deserved for a weekend in the middle of November. The guys played several rounds of golf on the course one block from our rental house, while the girls and babies walked all over town and the beach. Jude also rolled over for the first time (other than the fluke on the slanted table at the doctor's office) on Saturday. Then again on Sunday. He won't do it more than once a day though. It probably has to do with the fact that he doesn't really mind being on his tummy, so he has very little incentive to roll over. But he'll do it now and then just to appease his parents. No photos of the rolling, unfortunately, but here is one of us at the beach:

Jude also spent his first night in his nursery last night. He did really well, sleeping from 11pm to 4:30, waking to eat, and then sleeping again from 5-8. I slept in the room with him for the first chunk, then moved back to our room after his middle-of-the-night feeding. He went back down immediately, but it took me a while to fall asleep in the room without him. I'll get used to it eventually! Here's a photo of Jude's crib this morning after his first night there:

Jude also attended Mass for the first time over the weekend. By all accounts, he was a perfect gentleman, sleeping through the entire service. He did have fun playing on the alter afterwards, though.

This is our last week off, as I am returning to work on Friday. We've had a great time this fall, and we're so fortunate to have been able to spend so much time together as a family. We feel like we've gottne to know our boy so well, and also we've been able to ease into parenthood fairly smoothly. But we're looking forward to moving on to this next stage of our lives. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dr. Jack

Jude went in today for his 2-month visit to the pediatrician. Here are his stats:
Weight: 12 pounds 7 ounces (52nd percentile)
Length: 25 1/4 inches (96th percentile)
Head Circumference: 40 cm

So, he is average for weight and above average for height - long and lean like his dad... Jude also had his first immunizations - three shots and one oral vaccine. He did really well, and didn't even start crying until the doctor was almost halfway done, then quieted down again pretty quickly once the shots were finished. We stopped on our way home to pick up some Infant's Tylenol in case he had a fever or some pain in his legs, but he was asleep before we got home and slept for the rest of the afternoon. He woke up sort up upset, but after eating, a diaper change, and a little Tylenol, he's in a pretty good mood this evening. We both felt sorry for him, so we had some family reading time. Here's a photo of the guys tonight:

From November 2008

We also had a visit from Jude's in-town cousins, Julia and Tommy. He likes both of them, exactly the same amount...;)

From November 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Almost Seven Consecutive Hours

In Baby World, that is sleeping through the night! Here is what we did:
  • Cluster-feed in the evening. We fed Jude at 6:30, 8:00, and 9:45, with a one-ounce supplement at each feeding. He was moderately fussy for most of the evening.
  • Walk to the A-Frame at 9pm. He cried for the first 10 minutes, then calmed down and was asleep for the walk back down the hill.
  • Read him a story at 9:30. He was very interested. Then changed his diaper and put on his pajamas.
  • After the 9:45 feeding, swaddled him twice. First with our customary swaddling blanket, then with our new Secret Weapon (see below), the fancy velcro-fastening swaddler (thanks Aileen!). He has been kicking out of his swaddle lately, and I think that's what typically wakes him up in the night.
  • Put him down at 10:30 after a little bit of swinging and with the pacifier in his mouth. He was asleep by 10:31.
  • We had to wake him at 5:15 to eat. He was asleep again by 5:50.
  • I woke him at 8:15 after lying in bed for an hour wondering when he was going to start screaming.
  • He's had a great morning, and went down for his morning nap at 10:30. Here's a photo of the peaceful sleeper...

From October 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Newest Cornett

Jude's cousin, Brady Michael, was born yesterday afternoon. The boys got together for their first photo session this morning. Jude has a lot to tell Brady about the first two months of life!

From October 2008


Vacation? Are we crazy? I did ask myself this question several times in the last 2 weeks. Cornett and Company took our first official family road trip down to California and back. Are we worse for wear? I WILL say that we learned a lot about our baby boy on this trip.

Initially, we intended to see a few friends and family, boldly drive the highways and biways of America, and spend some time away from our house. We accomplished all of these goals easily. We also visited Crater Lake, Yosemite National Park, and played golf (twice). Having the chance to travel outside of the "normal" school schedule was a big plus. We beat the crowds, enjoyed the crisp fall air, and stopped along the way for nursing and plates of cheese and crackers.

But WHY do it with an INFANT? Hmm. That is a good one. Because we could? Because its there? Because we're trying to inculcate this boy into our culture of travel and life experience that he will never remember? We are both off of work, and hate to miss the opportunity to laugh and play. So laugh and play we did!

Yosemite could be the greatest of the national parks. I haven't seen Yellowstone, or Teton, or many others - but hear me out. It is at a gem like Yosemite Valley that the entire idea of preserving natural American treasures was born. John Muir sat around the fire on the valley floor with Teddy Roosevelt and they hammered out a plan for public funding and park ranger uniforms on the back of a cocktail napkin. This is where history was MADE, and it feels like it. Yosemite comes from an earlier time when men and women on horseback rode for days to see the waterfalls and rock formations they had only read about. And when they arrived? They dressed up for dinner, thankful that they could at least get a good cocktail and a medium rare hunk of bison. Some of them played golf, for gad's sake. The Wawona course was built there in 1918. And I played it. Poorly. But proudly.

Yosemite was impressive for its Sequoia trees and rock formations. Crater Lake was beautiful on the afternoon we stopped, cold and windy, and wild. Linden and I hiked to the top of a rock called the Watchman. Jude remained impassive, and asleep. After, we sat in a parking area along the rim and watched the sun go down as the boy had his dinner.

So Yosemite and Crater Lake were fantastic! but the bulk of our trip was really spent among friends and family in the fine city of San Francisco. More on that soon!

One more short anecdote. Jude became increasingly mistrustful of the carseat over time. We fed him, watered him, gave him short walks along the way, but he was on to us. Eventually we began referring to it as the "Hell Hole", and then (for propriety's sake) the "Hell-Heck Hole." But, as might be expected by people who actually know anything about children - eventually Jude got his revenge. We were driving a windy route down from Glacier Point in scenic Yosemite, when Jude dipped his hands down around his butt region and came up with something brown and sticky. Basically, we refer to this incident as a "blowout". I will never forget Linden muttering the words "What is this on your hands?" just before the screaming began. We pulled over on a narrow turnout and changed EVERTHING we could change. Except the car seat cover. We wiped it down the best we could. Eventually, we had no other recourse. He had to go back in. It was a warm day, and the drive through the central valley and into San Fran was only a few hours. But I think you can understand why we may have re-christened the car seat as "The Smell Hole!"
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Road Trip

We just returned from a 12-day road trip to Crater Lake, Yosemite, and San Francisco. The photos are here. We'll post some stories in the next week or so!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Seven Weeks Old

My weekly posts have fallen by the wayside between travel and general overscheduling. However, we have been taking lots of photos! The October album is located here. I'll include a few winners in this post...

From October 2008
Jude's first real smile for the camera...

From October 2008
At Fred and Alison's wedding...

From October 2008

Jude's favorite new game is to spit out the pacifier and then pick it up again...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Only Living Boy in New York

Last minute planning and unwarranted optimism led us to drag our dear child across the country to the fair state of New York on a family visit to round out our September. Jude was a perfect baby for both flights back and forth to JFK. He visited the traffic in Manhattan, the many-routed roads of Long Island, and the wilds of Easthampton. We even made a couple of trips through the Holland Tunnel - so check New Jersey off the list. Jude slept through it all.

Jude was a perfect gentleman to the flight attendants, the pilot, and everyone we met. He's such a charmer!

This was one of our best visits to the Big Apple, although we saw very few apples on this trip. It was kind of a whirlwind visit for crossing paths with family, enjoying the cool fall weather, and for E Ben to play a lot of golf.

Four generations - Jude! If only you had been a girl!
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Jude - Week 4

This week we started to get a schedule established. Jude likes to take a long nap in the middle of the day, but he is awake for most of the morning and the evening. We're learning to rest during his quiet time, because he is becoming more demanding when he is awake! The books say that babies reach their peak fussiness at the age of six weeks, and we're noticing that our boy seems to be becoming more needy as he approaches that milestone.
Eating continues to be a challenge. The good news is that he gained seven ounces last week. This week, though, he only gained three ounces in six days, which is on the low end of acceptable. We're trying a few new tricks to get him to eat better, but it's taking a lot of time and effort.
Jude continues to charm us with his many expressions and the beginnings of smiles. He's a really cute little guy, even when he's screaming his head off (which seems to happen more and more these days).
See below for some photos and comments from E Ben.

Jude is definitely letting us know a bit more about his personality. We have finally made all of the social rounds with friends and family, so now we are working out our schedule and domestic life.

Linden needs more down time, E Ben needs more action, and Jude is a mixture of us both (duh!). Actually he's just happy if someone is holding him and he gets enough to eat.

E Ben and Jude almost made it to the Pirate festival this weekend. Almost.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jude - Week 3

Well, we had a little trouble this week at Jude Central. We went in for our two-week visit with the pediatrician, and Jude only gained three ounces in ten days, and was not back up to his birth weight. It seems that the baby is not demanding enough when it comes to eating. Since milk production works on a supply and demand system, my body responded by making less milk, and it was kind of a downward spiral from there. So, we've had to start supplementing his diet with 4-6 ounces of extra milk a day. In the meantime, I've been using the pump to try to increase my supply so that eventually we can stop supplementing. It was pretty upsetting for me to realize that we have not been feeding our baby enough, and giving him the first bottle was pretty difficult. However, he loved it and immediately fell asleep afterwards. We think that some of his fussiness has been due to hunger. He has seemed happier in the past week, and gained three ounces between Monday and Thursday. We go back in tomorrow to do another weight check, and hopefully he'll be up another four ounces or more.

We had some fun social events this week. On Thursday, we drove out to Hood River to see Jude's great-grandmother Cornett. We had a nice visit with her, and learned that Oma's great-grandfather was named "Judson". She wondered if we'd named our baby after him. Since we didn't even know he existed, we couldn't claim that we had, but it does make a good story!

From Jude, September 2008

On Friday, Jude met his second-cousin Justus. Craig and Julie and Justus came over for pizza and salads, and the boys had their first play-date. Both babies did really well that night, and it was fun to see them together for the first time. Jude has some work to do before he catches up to his cousin in size, though!

From Jude, September 2008

Saturday, Jude invited some friends over for beers on the deck. Aunt Kathy and Uncle Steve also came over to meet the baby for the first time. Jude had the honor of being the first baby that Chippy has ever held! She was sitting in his rocking chair, so she really had no choice.

From Jude, September 2008

From Jude, September 2008

Sunday we spent the day in Vancouver, first visiting Greg and Elizabeth, then spending the afternoon with Grandma Terry. A few of the Miller family came over to meet the baby while I got in a nice nap and managed to read for a few minutes. E Ben dressed him in a "golf shirt" onesie and everyone got a kick out of that!

From Jude, September 2008

From Jude, September 2008

In case you didn't figure it out already, our September photos are posted here.

The baby is doing well. He seems generally happy and healthy, and we're getting used to being parents. We have had a few challenging nights, but generally he's a really good sleeper and goes back down after eating during the night. I'm feeling good, although I would always like to have more sleep! That's all I can think of for this week...