Willow will be one month old tomorrow, so we thought we would post a quick update on what we’ve been up to now that we’re a family of three and share some of our favorite photos from the first 30 days of her little life.
But first…My wife is a rock star. I knew from day one she would be a natural when it came to motherhood, but seeing her care for Willow this past month has given me a much deeper love and appreciation for her. I promise you’ll hear more from me on this around Mother’s Day, but I just had to get that off my chest! Okay…now for the updates:
Brittany and I both wanted Willow to be comfortable sleeping in her crib in her nursery from day one, so as we stood over her that first night we were home from the hospital I wrapped Brittany up in my arms and we both cried. The feelings of joy, exhaustion, uncertainty, and a multitude of other emotions all hit us at the same time, but more than anything I think it was an overwhelming sense of gratefulness that God answered our prayers and entrusted to us the responsibility of raising Willow.
Fortunately, Willow’s nursery is in the room right next to ours, so we’ve been able to turn the volume all the way down on her monitor and we rely on her cries (but thankfully not those little whimpers) to wake us up when she needs to be fed. And speaking of getting fed, this girl is eating like a horse and growing SOOOO fast!
As for other daily routines, Willow is in a pretty consistent routine of eating, sleeping and pooping. We’ve done some belly time and go on walks around the neighborhood whenever we can, but other than that, we’re just spending a ton of time snuggling our little peanut!
The Dogs’ Reactions
We were a bit worried about how the dogs would react to the new family addition. Our two dogs are sweet and fairly well-behaved, but they can be a handful at times so before Willow and Brittany were released from the hospital, I came home to pick up a few things and brought one of Willow’s blankets with me so the dogs would be able to pick up on her scent.
We’ve been having some behavior issues with Rook lately (he’s our 13 year-old lab mix), so we were expecting him to act out and make a mess in her nursery, but as it turns out he has been so precious with Willow. In fact, his favorite place to sleep when we put Willow down has been right in front of her crib!
Runner (our 3 year-old Golden Retriever) has been less interested in the baby, but we can tell that she gets a little jealous of all the attention Willow receives so she has not missed an opportunity to put her head directly under our hands as a reminder that she needs to be pet.
All in all, the dogs have done well, and with Brittany being home with them all summer long, our pups will definitely receive plenty of love and affection.
Back to Work
I returned to work a week after Willow was born. I didn’t know what to expect when I pulled out of the driveway the first time that Monday morning, but y’all…it was ROUGH. Now four weeks in, I find myself thinking often about what my girls are up to at home and can’t wait until I get the next photo or video text from Brittany. I am very thankful that I love my job and have such great coworkers, otherwise I would be going insane being away all day. It also helped a TON that Brittany’s Mom came to stay with us for several days that week; she did so much to help Brittany and made a delicious dinner for us every evening. We’re definitely hoping for more family visits like that in the future!
Getting home from work is always the best part of my weekday. The past few weeks Brittany has tried to have Willow fed and content around the time I walk through the door, so she typically hands her off to me so she can make dinner and do a few things around the house. I have my first out-of-town / overnight work trip this week, so it will be interesting to see how that goes. I hate the thought of leaving Brittany without help, but the good news is the trip is only one night so it will be a good trial run since I have another work trip out of state in June that will keep me away for almost a week.
Willow has already had a few significant milestones that made this Mom and Dad proud. Her very first outing besides the doctor’s office and walks in our neighborhood was to Harry’s, a wonderful restaurant that is dangerously close to our home.
Our little girl was also able to enjoy another fun restaurant experience after we were invited by our dear friends Matt and Kelsey to celebrate their wedding anniversary with them at Tony’s. Our friend and server, Chris, took such great care of us and the food was absolutely incredible (as always)!
Willow’s third big outing was to Keeneland! I had a work event in the Keeneland Room (also known as the “Queen’s Room”) which sits high atop the famed race course, so once our guests left Brittany and Willow were able to come up and enjoy the spectacular views and beautiful spring weather. She also got to meet a few of my co-workers!
And since I somehow keep coming back to food in this blog post, over the past few weeks, Brittany, Willow and I have been blessed by many friends and neighbors who have gone out of their way to care for us by bringing the most delicious meals to our home! We may have gained a few extra pounds in the process, but we loved the fact that so many close to us were able to meet Willow. Lauren and Kelsey, thank you SO much for coordinating the meal train for us!
Last but not least, our church had a baby dedication service and it was a very special time for us with some dear friends. After Brittany and I got married, we prayed for God to connect us with other young married couples to do life with. He answered that prayer, and we were so encouraged by our new community of friends that we decided to volunteer as life group facilitators so we could help other young married couples get connected as well. During the baby dedication service, several of the couples from those life groups were there with their own babies in tow, and Brittany and I just sat in the back of the room and cried as we held Willow and thanked God for how He continues to bless us with incredible friendships that are rooted in Him (and these are just the friends from those groups who had babies recently!). We are grateful for Southland Christian Church helping make this answered prayer possible, and we look forward to helping more couples connect and grow closer to Jesus. ???? And if you can’t tell by the picture, we have officially entered the stage of life when no matter how many photos are taken, not a single one will be perfect because…kids!
The past month has been simply amazing. Willow is such a sweetheart and we are loving life as new parents. We’re trying our best to treasure every little moment with our precious baby girl, and one of the best gifts to help us remember this special time was a newborn photo shoot with the one and only Kelsey Malicote.
Kelsey, we know we can never repay you for capturing these incredible images of Willow, but we will sure try our best to let you know how much you (and your amazing family) mean to us!
So enough with the words, right?! We know you really came to see more photos of Willow so here you go!