'Muff'in Dome

Mommy, what are you doing?

Mommy, what are you doing?

I love this photo. 🙂

Happy New Year!

We’re taking a little breather after a wonderful rush of holiday celebrations! We have many things to share but only a few moments now to write….

happy Evelyn!

The Muff family wishes each and every one of you a Happy New Year! May 2013 bring many adventures, joy and blessings!

A Most Wonderful Christmas Carol

The Christmas Spirits

After reading what I’m about to write, you might offer a few suggestions: that I see a priest, that I see a psychologist, or that I see a paranormal investigator. You see, on Christmas, three Spirits visited me. This was truly a life-changing experience.

First, the Spirit of Christmas Captain Morgan visited me. He came in the rare form of Hot Buttered Rum. This brought me into the past. In law school, a man from Tennessee conjured up this Spirit, which was the last time I saw it. It’s perfect on a cold winter day. This time, my wife summoned forth this Spirit. Her incantations were as powerful as any Midwesterner. The Good Captain, along with the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla extract is enough to make even the most stoic man nostalgic – and fat.

Second, the Spirit of Christmas Aberlour visited me. This Spirit arose from the Highlands of Scotland in a small but powerful region of Speyside. In 2006, I crossed the River Spey when traveling along the coast of Scotland by train with three friends. I never met this Spirit before, but knowing the sheer, rugged beauty and goodness of its homeland is enough to guarantee its place in the near future of my life. When my parents introduced me to this Spirit, I was not afraid; I was honored. People have enjoyed this Spirit’s company for 186 years. I reckon that I shall see this spirit before my head hits the pillow tonight.

Finally, the Spirit of Christmas Glenrothes visited me. Hailing from the same Speyside region as her older cousin, Aberlour, this Spirit is slightly sweeter, but still has the same gold aura. My brother-in-law – wise and discerning – allowed me the pleasure to test this Spirit, and she was good. Laurel agrees! I imagine our future will include invitations to the Spirit of Glenrothes to grace our Christmas season’s table.

This Christmas, I have learned not to be a Scrooge and to share what I have. Well, these Spirits have not disappeared yet, and I look forward to inviting a few friends over so that I can introduce them and share their splendor. In fact, I should go do that right now!

The Gown

I took a few moments the other day after Evelyn’s bath and redressed her in her baptismal gown. My good friend, Lizzie, who lives on the other side of the country, sent it to her, so I wanted to capture a few close-up shots for her to see and to memorialize my beautiful daughter in this beautiful gown.

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One month!

We’ve reached the one month milestone. It is incredible how much Evelyn has grown each day! Every day her personality is a little more revealed, she becomes slightly more alert and attentive, and comes closer and closer to filling out her bassinet.

Evelyn is completely infatuated with lights. Being born near Christmastime was rather fortuitous as she has plenty of opportunity to catch a glimpse of twinkling lights. We sit for hours every day staring up at the lights sparkling on the Christmas tree. It’s her favorite thing to do at 4 am right now. I’m trying to convince her there are better times of the day to do such things….

She’s recently discovered her tongue and loves to sit with Daddy flicking her tongue in and out of her mouth at him. He responds in kind. She’s also inherited the trait of being able to roll her tongue like a hot dog. 🙂

We’ve taken her on a couple walks but she doesn’t stay awake long once we get moving. I hope she enjoys being outdoors as much as Mommy and Daddy do. I certainly anticipate many hours at the park with her in the future as she loves to MOVE!

I’ve been attempting to coordinate a nap or two of hers with getting a few things done, but she loves to be right alongside Mommy (or Daddy, but he’s at work during the day) at all times. I recently introduced her to the Ergobaby when we’ve been out and about. She was all smiles the first time I put her inside and enjoys the close snuggles. I’m going to try her inside to get a few chores done here soon.

Right now, I’m typing this one-handed as I hold her in the other. (I’m getting better at this every day! ;)) She started off napping right next to me on the couch, but I could only satisfy her with that for so long….

Evelyn is Baptized!

Yesterday was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. That is the day that Catholics remember Mary’s birth and how she was preserved from Original Sin. When the Angel Gabriel appeared to her and said “Hail, full of grace!” the word “full” means bestowed upon. God bestowed His grace upon her, and she never rejected it. What a beautiful day to have our child baptized! God, through baptism, bestowed His grace upon our daughter that day. As Mary was the first Christian (quite literally saying “yes” to Christ, and accepting Him into her life), we pray our daughter looks to her as as model of faith.

Our friends and family joined us at St. Stephen the First Martyr parish in Sacramento for this momentous occasion, when our daughter entered the Church. We are looking forward to watching her grow! Here are some pictures – click on them to see larger versions!

Advent is Here!

Yesterday, my wife and I brought our daughter to Gram and Grandpa Muff’s house. My dad and I wandered into the woods and we chopped down a little Christmas tree for my apartment. Laurel and I brought it home and decorated it tonight. It’s borderline a Charlie Brown tree. It doesn’t matter, though. With lights on the balcony rail and the tree decorated and lit up, our place is ready for the holidays!

With warm Christmas adult-beverages such as Gluhwein and Eggnog (recipes and descriptions to come later), we need to keep in mind the season. Today was the first Sunday of Advent – a penitential season to reflect upon the coming of Christ into the world. Songs such as O Come Emmanuel and Gabriel’s Message remind us to keep in mind how we want Christ to find us when He comes into the world again.

Along with our other reflections this season, it is time for remembrance of our blessings. This year is my first Christmas with Laurel as my wife. Last year, we were very busy preparing for our upcoming wedding in February. This year, we get to relax. Well, a little bit. Someone else joined us. Evelyn is here! I’m not sure how much relaxing we’ll get, but it’s nice nonetheless. My wife and my daughter are my two greatest blessings this year. I am looking forward to each moment I get to spend with them this season.

3 Weeks!

We have made it through 3 wonderful, although mostly sleepless, weeks with little Evey. In just 3 weeks, she’s developed and grown in great leaps and strides right before our very eyes.

On Thanksgiving morning, I laid her on her stomach for some tummy time and she decided she liked it better on her back. Yep, she’s already done her first roll-over. We have to keep an eye on that girl.

She’s very strong. She practices lifting her head every chance she can get. I caught her staring into Daddy’s eyes while lying on his chest the other day. We have to be on guard though because she also likes to throw her head into the side of yours, which can be rather painful for both parties.

We made an extra trip to the doctor this week because I was concerned about how her bellybutton was healing. Her cord fell off last Thursday, but it wasn’t drying out as quickly  as I thought it should. The doctor placed a bit of sodium nitrate inside which is supposed to desiccate it. While we were there, they took her measurements and she had gained a full pound since her visit the week before. Needless to say, she is a very healthy eater. 🙂

She’s beginning to focus and look more intently at things, especially our faces. I wish I knew what was going on inside her little brain. She seems to think very deeply about things.

Evelyn’s birth-day

 

 

It has been difficult to find a few spare moments to write.The feedings, changings, and sleeplessness have contributed, but I must confess, the hardest part of finding time is resisting the desire to sit and watch her peaceful — or, oftentimes, expressive! — face as she sleeps. And the waking hours (minutes, right now) I can never put her down or pull myself away. It is true; I am smitten with my daughter.

Although probably the hardest thing I’ve accomplished in my life, I thank God for the fairly smooth delivery of our baby, Evelyn Rose. After several instances of false labor starts, true labor began about 10 pm on Thursday, November 8th with contractions about every 10 minutes apart. On the coldest evening of the season yet, we tested out its authenticity taking a brisk walk outside. They remained consistent.

Thinking we had some time, we decided to go to bed with me attempting to sleep through as much of it as I could. Shortly before midnight, however, I was brought out of my sleep rather abruptly, noticing contractions were 2-5 minutes apart. I awoke Stephen who, wisely, insisted we head to the hospital, while I protested that we were supposed to wait for 2 hours before we headed over. (Only when they remain at 5 minutes!) As we drove down the quiet streets, passing empty shops on the way to the hospital, I kept thinking, I can’t believe we’re finally here, finally at the point we’re going to meet our daughter!

I was hooked up to the monitors and checked right away after our arrival. Only 2 centimeters and about 50 % effaced. We still had a ways to go. About 3:30 in the morning, my doctor came in and I was at 3 centimeters. She decided to break my water to move the process along. It certainly did the trick. Contractions were constant, nearly unbearable. Although we had aimed for a drug-free birth, I decided to get a bit of Fentanyl put in my IV in order to take the edge off and give me a little reprieve before transition.

Somewhere between 6 and 7 in the morning, I announced that I was giving up and needed the epidural. They began setting things up and contacting the anesthesiologist. I started to feel this urge to use the toilet. I asked the nurses for some assistance in getting up and they suddenly became excited, and began turning on the lights and calling other nurses into my room. Little did I know, I had reached transition. Too late for the epidural. Time to push.

I had a wonderful team of nurses and my doctor coaching me through each contraction, telling me how and when to push. You’d think it is pretty straightforward, but I found a little coordination was involved and with each contraction I became a little more effective. After about an hour, my beautiful, healthy baby girl was placed in my arms by my husband where she happily stayed for two hours until the nurse came to measure and bathe her.

Although we were greatly blessed with an excellent staff during labor & delivery and recovery time, my greatest ally during the whole process (before and beyond) was my husband. He coached me through each contraction, even holding us up when I was standing every time a wave of pain overcame me. He stayed constantly by my side, praying with me. He helped me focus on breathing well and bringing her further down with each contraction. Even when I rapidly changed my mind from one moment to the next about what I needed, he was patient and worked through it with me. I could not have done it without him and I’m certain his support contributed to my relatively short labor.

Turning the Page!

Laurel is still carrying the baby, but this time, IN HER ARMS! On November 9th, Laurel gave birth to a beautiful 7-pound-11-ounce, 20-and-a-half-inch Evelyn Rose Muff. It’s been a while since the last post, but now you know why. The tiny little girl made us both too exhausted to write, but what a blessing! I am finally regaining enough energy to communicate and attempting to return to work tomorrow.

We chose the name Evelyn because it’s the name of one of my all-time favorite people. My grandmother. Evelyn Pervier passed away last year after a long struggle. Before the health issues arose, she was the funniest woman, full of spunk and life. Let me tell you – our little Evelyn is probably going to be quite similar! This will be a grand adventure and Laurel and I are looking forward to every minute.

What a whirlwind! After all that, in short, Laurel and I are doing well. God has blessed us abundantly and we have much to be thankful for this season other than turkey and pumpkin pie.

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