Sunday, January 16, 2011

Not sure how this happened...

But, alas, it has.
Sammer-Bammer is 1!
Here are highlights of our first year with our special boy. What a treasure and a delight this little man is in our lives. In italics, I shared parts of the journal I keep for him.

January: Sam was born on the 16th. A very easy delivery and only seconds of pushing and there he was- my son, in my arms. Unspeakable joy! 6lbs, 3oz of teeny, tiny perfection. I left the hospital 24 hours after delivery, and couldn't have been more ready to get him HOME! Sam's jaundice worsened within a few days and sent us back to the hospital several times for more testing. I remember watching them try to get a blood sample from his foot for one of them in particular. They had such a hard time filling the little vial and he was screaming the whole time as they squeezed his entire leg and little heel. It didn't work so they had to switch to his other foot and do it all over again. It took over 15 minutes and he seemed like he was being tortured. I cried the whole time, too. Thankfully, his levels were just under what would have forced us to admit him. I have so much respect and admiration for parents who have to endure REAL health issues with their little babies, sometimes for months and months on end...

Eva & Sam's first sibling picture. Isn't it horrible?!!

February: Sam was still waking every couple of hours through the night to eat, and the exhaustion was settling in as adrenaline reserves were running low. But watching him take in the world, smile, and begin to respond to us with a turn of the head kept me going. Eva was beginning to take a liking to her new brother, instead of just ignoring him, which she did for the first two weeks. What a tiny cutie pie!

March: Sam gained 5 lbs in his first 8 weeks. By March, we had already dealt with 2 major storms- at one point we had over 4 feet of snow on the ground. This exacerbated the sleep deprivation because Mike plowed all that snow, which meant days of him being home for only a few hours. The last week of March, Sam teased us by sleeping through the night for 7 days straight- he didn't do that again for many, many months. Eva began to adore her brother this month!
"Daddy and I have loved you since the day we knew you were coming, but that love grows every single day. It's just amazing how deeply I love you, my little angel boy. You are such a precious gift! I am so thankful to be your mama!"
These black and whites are by Lindsay McIntire

April: Sam started medication for reflux this month, but unfortunately, it didn't seem to help his feeding issues. Liquids continued to be a major struggle all the way up to about 9 months. Sam's personality really began to show and the giggles were almost endless- almost always in response to something Eva or Daddy did repetively (once we got him to laugh once, we just kept doing the same thing over and over and the laughter just kept on coming)! 
"You are almost 14 weeks old. These 3 months have been quite a whirlwind. You weigh around 12.5 pounds and are a really chunky little guy (especially compared to Evangeline)! You've got rolls, which is a big deal, and I love it! I can't stop kissing on you- you don't seem to mind so I'm taking advantage of that while I can!"

Sleeping in my arms- it was very often like this for naps for about 5 months.

May: We welcomed 2 cousins exactly 1 week apart at the end of April/beginning of May, so the fun just increased even more. It was my first Mother's Day with 2 kids, and I felt really blessed! Sam's feeding and sleeping issues continued and there seemed to be a time this month that it was all consuming. It's all I thought about, and almost all I prayed for. God gave me supernatural energy to get through each day because my exhaustion was reaching it's threshold with him up every couple of hours still at night. And worse, he seemed to be in pain, but nothing medically could be found.

Sam and Nora (aka Norki)

Sam and Liam

June: Summer began and Sam continued to be an incredible joy, despite the difficulties we had related to his eating and sleeping. He started rolling over, and began infant cereal, but didn't like it too much- Shocking :) I was feeling like a pretty crappy mom at this point...
"I keep telling myself that all of this has to get better (feed/sleep), and I truly believe that it will... I often feel completely inadequate and like you deserve so much better. I am so full of flaws. I lose my temper with the dumbest things, or get irritated with you or Eva when it's not your fault- you're just being a baby and a toddler. I am so sorry for all the times that I fail you. Please forgive me, Samuel. I am praying that God will fill in these gaps with grace and mercy where I fail and leaving a gaping hole. I pray he protects you from any unintentional wounding and that you know I love you desperately."

The kid has like, a million, priceless expressions!

I have lots of pictures like this- Eva trying to hold Sam and him falling out of her arms.

July: Sam's first vacation! We went to the outer banks with Mike's side of our family for the 3rd year and had a blast. Sam LOVED the pool (took an entire nap with me holding him in it one day), but he was wishy-washy about the ocean. It was a VERY hot week and we found it difficult to keep him cool. Feeding an infant on the beach proved, once again, to be a very difficult task (we did the same trip with Eva when she was the same age). I took his pacifier away in a moment of frustration this month (I had re-plugged him about 6 times during a nap). It never returned and I regretted my decision. There began very small improvements in the eating (pureed solids were going very well) and sleeping, but still things were not great. During times NOT related to sleep or eating, Sam was almost always incredibly joyous- laughing and smiling all the time. This month he transitioned out of a swaddle, but it was tough, sat up on his own, and got his first 2 teeth!
"We are loving this time with you. Despite the challenges we have faced, you have brought us great joy and have made our lives so much richer and fuller! And, you are so stinking adorable I cannot even take it!"

This is one of my favorite pictures of Sam. He is with one of Mike's sister, his beautiful Aunt Lauren.

August: Sam was constantly giggling this month and became quite the expert jumper. He absolutely loved his jumper thingee! He started trying to crawl, but it was more of a scootch/creep. He also started drinking from a cup :)

September: This month Eva started school and that meant more time for me to spend with Samuel, just the two of us. Many days he napped, but we still always had some time where it was just us. I treasure that time with him; I became very aware of how hard it is to give each child their own time when you have more than one :) September was a beautiful month and we spent a TON of time outside- going to Longwood Gardens, the park, or just at the neighborhood playground. We started a new sleep technique with Sam, and committed to NOT feeding him overnight. It worked when we were consistent. Isn't that true about almost everything?? Sam also started crawling (the real deal- on all 4s) this month- a big milestone! I was still feeling like a pretty crappy mom many days...
"I can't believe it's been 2 months since I have written to you. I had planned to do better. Plans, plans, plans. Ah, how much I have learned about MY plans lately! God has used you to teach me to rely on Him and trust Him and His timing instead of making so many freaking plans all the time... The past 2 months have been crazy. I have been crazy...I can blame it on lack of sleep, but ultimately, I am responsible for what I say and do and I have allowed myself to lose focus and have lost perspective. You deserve better and I am so sorry for that, Samuel. Please forgive me! I wish you could forgive me. I suppose you can- your smile and affection for me speak volumes even when you can't say it. Thank you, sweet boy!"
I simply adore this picture of him. It captures the wonder of a child. He was looking at a waterfall.

He absolutely loves to swing.

October: Sam was a champion crawler by this month- he could move SO fast. I think it's hysterical to follow him and watch how his little tush sways back and forth as he furiously moves his legs to go faster and faster. He literally chases after Eva or anyone else that is nearby. He had his first Halloween and dressed as an adorable little tiger. We carried him around for awhile as Eva went trick-or-treating, but it was FREEZING, so daddy took him home before we ended the night. He was also dedicated at Providence Church this month, where we publicly committed and surrendered his precious life to Jesus.
His personality had really come out at the point and it was clear he was a VERY social baby. Babbling and smiling at everyone in sight. Having said that, I should also say that if one of the 3 of us are not around- he pretty much screams hysterically. At this point, we had not made it for more than a few minutes before the nursery workers at church called us back because he was inconsolable. (By the way, this continues to be an issue. What can I say? The kid loves his mama, daddy, and sister.) BIG NEWS: Started sleeping through the night!!!!
"Hi Sweet Angel! I really have to get to bed, but I just HAD to tell you how amazing you are! You have consistently slept through the night for a solid week! You wake up at the CRACK OF DAWN- for real, like 5am- but, you aren't waking up all night long anymore so this is a very big deal in our house! I'm like a whole new person! Good job, Sammer-Bammer!"

Sam absolutely loves the bath and has since early on. He splashes like a crazy man and seriously soaks us and the bathroom. Eva is not a fan of the splashing because she doesn't like water in her face (puh-leeze)!!!
Look at that smile. Makes me melt :)

Look at those beautiful blue eyes, too. This kid is seriously photogenic, in my opinion :)

We took the kids to the farm to "practice" dressing up mid-October.

At Springton Manor farm with mama

All dressed up for his dedication

Halloween night

November: Sam's first Thanksgiving was this month. I had been anticipating how fun it would be to spend the holiday season with my TWO kids this year. I am so incredibly blessed to have them in my life. What a treasure to be entrusted with the gift of raising and nurturing them- sometimes, when I really let that soak in, it takes my breath away...
Sam decided this month that he loved the piano- he'll sit there as long as you will let him and bang away on the keys. Sleeping and eating continue to improve in small increments- every baby step makes a difference!

With Papa at Eva's "Thankful feast" performance. Another one of my favorites of him.

What does that expression say exactly? He does it constantly for as long as he'll get a good reaction from us. It's accompanied by a lovely snorting sound and really is hilarious.

The cold glass feels simply delightful :)

This is his constant expression during bathtime. He loves it THAT much. And, he cries everytime we take him out. That is getting really old. Crying is actually not an accurate description- it's pretty much the baby version of outrage- "how dare you take me out of there!"

Freaking scrumptious, right???

December: Christmas with kids is just so much fun. Most of it was lost on Sam this year, but I know next year he will understand much more. He didn't really open any presents and just watched all the chaos, but he had fun and it was amazing to see him stare in wonderment! By this time, Sam was sleeping even better, not waking most mornings until at least 6:00. His naps also began to improve- he was consistently taking at least one 1.5 hour nap per day (at least 4 days of the week). He still won't eat any finger foods except "puffs" that dissolve in his mouth right away, but his issues with liquid feedings had completely resolved by this month! A HUGE praise! He does great with pureed foods, but gags and vomits on anything solid (besides the puffs).

First Hess truck

His eyes look so dark in this picture. I love his expression. This is on Christmas morning.

January: This brings me to today, Samuel's first birthday. I can't quite find the words to describe how I feel today. My heart is just filled to overflowing. I never knew I could love quite like I love my kids. I never knew that it was possible to look down at a little, tiny sleeping person and burst into tears because the love in my heart is so huge and the responsibility so looming that tears are the only language I have to express it. I am blessed beyond measure to have had 365 days with this little angel. Oh, how I long to have thousands upon thousands more with him. I'll end this the way it began: What a treasure and a delight this little man is in our lives. Happy, happy Birthday, Sammer-Bammer!

Always laughing :)

Did I mention that I think he's pretty photogenic??


Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Mike and Lauren - what a beautiful way to remember his 1st year forever! You will cherish that you did this. Beautifully written and I love each photo. Yes, he is super photogenic! So are all of you! I love your family shot at the beach. I never saw a photo of Mike's sister before she is gorgeous! No suprise there.

I pray that this year with Sam brings you even great joy and that all of his eating issues and sleepless nights are forever gone!

Blessings and love,

Andrew and Brooks said...

Lauren - Felt like I was reading my own journal/constant inner thoughts with this post! Asher is a little over 25months old and still doesn't sleep through the night regularly! It has been so hard many, many days, and yet I am bowled over with the joy he brings my heart and to others! God is gracious to us both!

Can't believe Sam is 1 yr. already! This year will bring even more incredible joy and blessing I am sure! Children really are a blessing straight from the Lord...a refiner's fire but a blessing too :)

PS. This is random, but one of my friend's son had food/stomach issues and although the Dr.'s didn't recommend it she decided to remove gluten from her diet when he was about 4mnths old and she was nursing. (the Dr.'s weren't against it, they just didn't think it was the problem) He is now almost 2yr and doesn't do any gluten but hasn't had any food issues since...I am sure you have tried everything, but thought I would mention it.....


We're the Wells family. We currently consist of Michael (husband and daddy), Lauren (wife and mama), Evangeline (daughter and princess), and Samuel (son and prince). We live a pretty simple life loving the many blessings that God grants us each and every day.
Mike is a genius carpenter/contractor and works throughout neighboring counties. Lauren stays at home with Eva and Sam most of the time, but works a few days a week as a therapist.
More than anything else, we love being together as a family- trips to the gardens, swimming at Grammie and Papa's house, and bike rides & walks are probably our most frequent activities. We're surrounded by our family (siblings and parents); they all live within 30 minutes of us!
That's us in a nut shell.
We're thankful you dropped by our site!