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Laura's Baby Book

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S: A Baby Book for Laura & Kirk

1: Laura & Kirk – Congratulations! We could not be more thrilled & excited for you. Here is some advice and a lullaby that I like – the ‘official version’ and my personal rendition that I tweaked for Jack. Baby Advice: Trust your instincts and trust your baby’s survival instinct. Relish the good moments and endure the sleepless nights. Know that when your baby first smiles, says he loves you, crawls, walks and delights in little things like running water – it will all be worth it. And it keeps getting better and better!!! You and Kirk will be such amazing parents. We can’t wait to meet your little lovebug, see pictures and hear your stories! Love, Christa, Clay, Jack, Emilie & Claire

2: Hush My Little Baby Hush little baby don’t say a word, Mama’s gonna show you a hummingbird If that hummingbird should fly, mama’s gonna show you the evening sky When the nighttime shadows fall, mama’s gonna hear the crickets call While their song drifts from afar, mama’s gonna search for a shooting star When that star has dropped from view, mama’s gonna read a book with you When that story has been read, mamas gonna bring your warm bedspread If that quit begins to wear, mama’s gonna find your teddy bear If that teddy bear won’t hug, mama’s gonna catch you a lighting bug If that lighting bug won’t glow, mama’s gonna play on her own banjo If that banjo is out of tune, mama’s gonna show you the harvest moon As that moon drifts through the sky, mama’s gonna sing you a lullaby

3: And here’s my personal rendition of the song that I tweaked for Jack & he now sings with me to Emilie & Claire :) And yes, I know it's rediculous - that's half the fun! Hush little lovebug don’t say a word, mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird And if that mockingbird don’t sing, mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring And if that diamond ring don’t fit, mama’s gonna buy you a baseball mit And if that baseball mit should wear out, mama’s gonna teach you to fish for trout And if those fishies swim away, mama’s gonna take you out to play And if the rain should start to come down, we are not gonna start to frown And if we run inside oh yes, we can grab a puzzle from the chest And if we’re bored we can call a friend, like Charlie, Sam, Ronan or Ben

4: Dear Laura (and Kirk), Wow! You are about to find out what being a parent is all about! Since it is something Chaitan and I are still figuring out day by day, I'm not in a position to give a lot of advice, but I will say that when times get hard, remember that a baby is truly a miracle and a blessing (one that you waited a long time for!). Each stage of childhood is so short and each brings new wonders and challenges and then it is gone. Cherish it. And write it down. Not just the big milestones, but the everyday things too. It's amazing to go back and see how much they have changed in such a short time. I know you will be amazing parents. We are so happy for you both and hope that this baby brings you all the love and joy and happiness that your hearts can hold. With so much love, Courtney and Chaitan Fahnestock

5: Laura: 10 thoughts and suggestions: 1. Though difficult, parenthood is easier with a strong sense of humor, and wine. 2. Eggs are a perfect meal, for any meal. Cereal works too if you are desperate. 3. Do not hesitate to ask for help, tempting though it may be to do everything yourself. It all works better that way. 4. Spend at least some time when the sun is up doing something for yourself (work doesn't really count here). 5. Try to not point out Kirk's character flaws after the sun goes down. I would note here that though you may not think he has any now, you might later—parenthood will bring these out in both of you. 6. Being a parent is really quite amazing, and funny and hard and exhausting, and worth it. 7. Take pictures, you won't remember the first few months and they will be a good record of your life (and the kid's too). 8. Babysitters = Good. 9. Your definition of “gross” is going to radically change in the next few months and years...consider this amazing rather than scary. 10. Have fun. Many many congratulations! Kate Fritz

8: Two poems for my wonderful daughter, Laura, with lots of love from Mom Notes from the Delivery Room by Linda Pastan Strapped down, victim in an old comic book, I have been here before, this place where pain winces off the walls like too bright light. Bear down a doctor says, foreman to sweating laborer, but this work, this forcing of one life from another is something that I signed for at a moment when I would have signed anything. Babies should grow in fields; common as beets or turnips they should be picked and held root end up, soil spilling from between their toes – and how much easier it would be later, returning them to earth. Bear downbear downthe audience grows restive, and I’m a new magician who can’t produce the rabbit from my swollen hat. She’s crowning, someone says, but there is no one royal here, just me, quite barefoot, greeting my barefoot child.

9: Ode by Elizabeth Alexander I love all the mom bodies at this beach, the tummies, the one-piece bathing suits, the bosoms that slope, the wide nice bottoms, thigh flesh shirred as gentle wind shirrs a pond. So many sensible haircuts and ponytails! These bodes show they have grown babies, then nourished them, woken to their cries, fretted at their fevers. Biceps have lifted and toted the babies now printed on their mothers. “If you lined up a hundred vaginas, I could tell you which ones have borne children,” the midwife says. In the secret place or in sunlight at the beach, our bodies say This is who we are, no, This is what we have done and continue to do. We labor in love. We do it. We mother.

10: Laura dear, You have all you need everyday to be a wonderful mother... LOVE, I am deeply grateful and overjoyed with the arrival of my new grandson, Beau. God bless each of you. Much love to all, Susie

11: Something from Jeannine & David: Author unknown: “A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, the bankroll smaller, a home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for.”

12: "On Being a Mom" by Anna Quindlen If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black-button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin. All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past. Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach, T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations -- what they taught me was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all. Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One boy is toilet trained at 3, his brother at 2. When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.

13: I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month-old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too. Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons...What was I thinking? But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less. Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

16: 10 Tips I hope you find helpful (but if you don't, please disregard!) 1.Welcome to your new life. On weekend mornings, 7:00 a.m. is the new 11:00 a.m., and you will spend more time talking about poop than you would ever have thought possible. Accept it. Its going to happen. 2.Forget everything you thought you knew about babies and parenthood. Baby F and you will both be learning from scratch (but he doesn’t know that so whatever you say, goes!). It’s a fun, crazy adventure and a wild ride, and you will soon start to understand, as I am, why it is that parents worry incessantly and just can’t let go, no matter how old their children are. Its like learning to live all over again as a new person in a new life! 3.Despite being new at this, trust your instincts. You will know your baby better than anyone else. 4.Baby sleep is totally mysterious. They need a lot of it, and yet they are not good at it. They have to actually learn how, which is so strange. Single, twin or however many there are, I am a huge proponent of getting babies on a schedule as soon as possible. “Feeding on demand” is important when they are first born, but then you can start to work on a schedule so that you have some sanity, you know when your breaks are, and Baby gets into a routine. 5.Turn off the phone and forget about email until you’re ready. And when you are ready, call me first (kidding!), and definitely accept any and all offers from your visitors/ neighbors to bring food, do laundry, hold the baby while you shower, etc. 6.Babies cry. That’s what they do. Its their only means of communication for a long time, and they only have 0 and 60 mph. Everything will sound like a life threatening emergency, when really, its probably just a tiny bit of gas, or perhaps a wrinkle in the fabric of his undershirt that is slightly bothersome.

17: 7.Moms cry too. A lot in some cases (yours truly). Crying, feeling overwhelmed and feeling scared is all totally normal. I promise we’ve all been there. If it reaches a point where its getting in the way of taking care of yourself or the baby, call someone. 8.After experiencing pregnancy (especially your pregnancy!) you might believe that you understand the meaning of the word “tired” but you don’t. Not even close. However, the same is true of the words “joy,” “awestruck” and “adoration” all of which have magical powers to combat tiredness somehow. 9.Prepare to love Kirk even more when you see him as a father than you did on your wedding day. Also prepare to get more annoyed and frustrated with him, beyond reason, when he does something differently than you would, or God forbid, has an idea about how things should be done. 10.With regards to #8, bite your tongue whenever you can and let him establish his own way of taking care of the baby. This can be incredibly challenging to do, but the more micromanaging you do of his parenting, the less involved he will be. You are going to be a wonderful mother, Laura! Your love and some form of nourishment (boob, bottle, whatever) is all Baby F needs, and he is a lucky little guy. I can not wait to meet him. Call me anytime if there is any way that I can be helpful. Even if the question sounds ridiculous, believe me, I’ve asked the same one, or worse. I won’t necessarily have an answer, and I am clearly no expert by any stretch, but I might have muddled my way through whatever it is, or more likely gotten advice from some other parent who went before me! The phrase “this too shall pass” is never so true as it is for parents, especially first-time parents. No matter what, the tough moments/nights will pass and you’ll be left with a beautiful baby who lights up your life. I love you! XOXO - Christine

18: Laura, je te felicite pour tout le bonheur et la joie, bravo a toute ta petite famille. J'espere te revoir tres bientot !! - Amicalement, Gigi ********** Everyone says how different your life will be when the baby comes, but no one can possibly describe how complete and wonderful it will be. Diane Dark Lewis ********** Everyone will give you their opinion on what's best for your child. Listen but disregard most of it. You are the only one who understands your child's needs better than anyone. Trust your judgement and know you are doing the right thing. Motherhood is the most rewarding job you will ever have. Lots of love. Suzie xx

19: Ik wil nog een kusje voor de nacht en een lief gezicht dat naar me lacht. Ook nog even kriebelen als dat kan want daar word ik lekker rozig van. Ik wil nog een kusje voor de nacht en dat je met weggaan even wacht. Als ik dan lekker in mijn bedje lig hou ik van jou met mijn ogen dicht. Met liefs uit Holland Amanda & Patrick xoxo

20: Laura and Kirk, You will be wonderful parents and we can't wait to meet the little one! Parenting advice: Take it one day at a time as each one will present itself with its own challenges. Nap when the baby sleeps as you will need the rest and the cleaning and other stuff can wait. Enjoy every moment as they go by fast and they get big quickly. We love you!! Hugs and kisses, Tara, Dave, Ryan & Aiden

21: Advice for Laura: Follow your heart...you and only you knows what is going on with your little bundle. You may doubt yourself, that is normal, but just listen and it will come to you. Hold it as much as possible, talk to him/her plenty. Too much is never enough! Good luck! It is a tough road but it gets better by the second. I attach a picture in case you are doing pictures.... Thanks again, Dolly ********** A long way since our time in Amsterdam and our awesome trip to Provence...you'll be a great mom. Hopefully I'll make it back to the visit sometime soon to tell you in person. In in Hong Kong now if you ever fancy a trip to Asia. All the very best to you and Kirk, lots of love, Trace xx

22: May, 2011 Dear Laura, I am so happy for you during this exciting time of expecting your first child. I miss being closer to you where we could just chat and talk about motherhood. You were “there” for me when I had Trevor and I wish I could be with you now in return. You and Kirk are going to be such loving parents, your baby is so lucky! I feel the two of you together will provide him the support, encouragement, discipline, and experiences to become an amazing human being – just like the two of you! As far as advice, I recommend going easy on Kirk if he heads to the bathroom instead of the nursery in the middle of the night when your son is crying! In all seriousness, early parenthood - which is all I can speak of so far - has so many ups and downs, and it changes all the time. When you get to a bottom, remember you are going to go back up really soon. Now that I have the twins I live by reminding myself of this. As soon as you think you are at your wits end, your child may amaze, humble, or astonish you (in a good way)! And I haven’t used this yet with Trevor, but I intend to soon – it strikes me as a very special bedtime ritual to share with a child, it’s The Five Finger Prayer. Speaking of prayers, I pray you have a healthy delivery and a smooth transition into mommy-hood. You are going to be great! Big Hugs and love your way, Meghan McLaughlin

23: The Five Finger Prayer 1. Your thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a 'sweet duty.' 2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers. 3. The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God's guidance. 4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them. 5. And lastly comes our little finger - the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, 'The least shall be the greatest among you.' Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs Meghan McLaughlin

24: Laura - This is a popular Polish lullaby that my mom used to sing to me. Perhaps this will be useful to you. Enjoy motherhood. You and Kirk will be wonderful parents. Love, Marta A-a-a, kotki dwa Lullaby (Polish) A-a-a, a-a-a, byly sobie kotki dwa. A-a-a, kotki dwa, szarobure, szarobure obydwa. Ach, spij, kochanie, jesli gwiazdke z nieba chcesz - dostaniesz. Wszystkie dzieci, nawet zle, pograzone sa we snie, a ty jedna tylko nie. A-a-a, a-a-a, byly sobie kotki dwa. A-a-a, kotki dwa, szarobure, szarobure obydwa. Ach, spij, bo wlasnie ksiezyc ziewa i za chwile zasnie. A gdy rano przyjdzie swit ksiezycowi bedzie wstyd, ze on zasnal, a nie ty.

25: Lullaby Ah-Ah-Ah, Two Little Kittens (English) Ah-ah-ah*, ah-ah-ah, There were once two little kittens. Ah-ah-ah, two little kittens, They were both grayish-brown. Oh, sleep, my darling, If you'd like a star from the sky I'll give you one. All children, even the bad ones, Are already asleep, Only you are not. Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah, There were once two little kittens. Ah-ah-ah, two little kittens, They were both grayish-brown. Oh, sleep, because The moon is yawning and he will soon fall asleep. And when the morning comes He will be really ashamed, That he fell asleep and you did not. P.S. It sounds much cuter and better in Polish. LOL

28: Dear Laura, I am so excited for you to meet your baby boy. You are going to be a wonderful mother. Look at all that you have already done for him to make sure he arrives in this world safe and healthy! What a lucky boy he is. I found this poem in a book called "Twice Alive: A Spiritual Guide to Mothering Through Pregnancy and the Child's First Year, and thought you might like it: He is the most perfect expression of my body's yearnings. He is the spring of my disillusioned and cold winter. He is a cool rainstorm to my hot and weary soul. He is my faith that this world has a chance at not destructing by the foils of human hands. He is my belief that I am a strong and worthy tigress, lamb and seahorse to ride him through his childhood and guide him through the brambles. He is my ancient mariner rousing me to continue the fiery hunt. Wonder ye then why I love him so? Much love, Amy ********** Laura, Try not to worry too much about cleaning the house while parenting. I've found it's best to either give up caring about how clean the house is or to invest in a housecleaner! (If you do get someone to help with the housework, spare yourself the trouble of cleaning up before they come :-))" Thanks! Melissa ********** Dear Laura May the Dear LORD bless you, Kirk and your beautiful baby! I'm very excited for you and wish you all the best in raising an amazing child who will have all your gifts, talents and Kirk's good looks! Kiss the sweet little baby every night and hold the sweet one close to your heart. Keep smiling and the baby will too. Mommy and Daddy are the most precious in the first 35 years of the baby's life :) All the best Love Marie Ffolkes

29: On Becoming a Parent for the First Time: pieces of advice concerning the good, the bad and the ugly :) in reverse order... * Not everyone feels the joy of 'motherhood' as soon as they hold their baby for the first time. This is a new person who needs to get to know you, and you him before love truly blooms. Give it time. * Stay in the hospital for as long as you can and let the baby sleep in the nursery. They'll bring the baby in when he's hungry, and you'll be taking him home FOR-E-VER soon enough, but while you have the help, indulge in your own rest! * Taking the baby home. Oh my... your hormones are running wild and you will likely lose it a bit that first night at home, fully responsible for that little guy. The hormone surges (resulting in an irrational fear that something awful will happen in the middle of the night) will pass with the night sweats. * No one mentioned the night sweats? I hadn't a clue, either. For about two weeks, you're going to shed a small ocean at night while you sleep. * Warning: you will now cry at the drop of the hat, especially in reaction to anything dicey involving children. Avoid the news and start tuning in to Sesame Street. Better yet, stick with music. * "The first two months are just about survival." The pediatrician shared this with me while I was still pregnant. While it seemed like a 'downer' then - all happy, pregnant and full of joy - those words kept me sane for the first four weeks. * Q: Your baby is sleeping and you're hungry and tired. What do you do? A: SLEEP! The answer is always SLEEP. You can eat while your new baby is awake, but will be harder to come by. * Kegels? Whatever... Sex can and will be great again regardless. * Babies, toddlers, kids, teens... they're all hard work. In all stages of life. They'll break your heart, they'll break your china, but you will never, ever love someone as much as you will love that little person. Enjoy and welcome to the wild, wonderful and crazy ride that is Parenthood. Love, Kelly Annis

30: Hey Sweetstuff J I'm not a mom (yet?!) so can't really share any words of wisdom (although in my head it was only yesterday that I was a kid myself, and therefore expertly qualified to instruct and advise...), but want you to know that I am thinking of you, as I do so often - wishing I could be there to share your shower day, see your baby boy fresh out of the oven, and generally chit chat and giggle. Hopefully he won't have learned to talk and walk before I get to meet him and see you again! What I AM able to do is promise to: not gift any toys that make tooooo much noise; ooh and aah over every photo and video clip you send (and you’d BETTER send them!!); and make sure that your son has PLENTY of orange clothing (especially every second year when there is a (real) football competition!). And just wait until P&I decide he needs to start learning Dutch! Finally, Roxy wishes she could be there too to roll all over all the new baby clothes and presents and decorate them specially for you in cream and orange fluff J Love you and Kirk v much, can’t wait to get the family portrait with all 4 of you (Middie is of course your first ‘baby’ together ;) Big big hugs Manda xoxoxo OH!! I just remembered I overheard some advice at the hairdresser – when a new baby won’t stop crying, try turning the hairdryer on low nearby (not blowing on the baby). They like the gentle constant low noise as it reminds them of being inside the womb apparently. Yay – I advised J!!

31: Dear Laura, Kirk, and Baby Boy, Laura, I have always loved you like a sister and am so grateful to have had you as a huge part of my life since second grade. You have celebrated my happiest moments with me, such as my marriage to Doug and the birth of my beautiful boy, Zach. You were also there for me during my darkest times as well, always calling me or sending a simple card. Because you are so very thoughtful and you love your friends, I know that I am always in your thoughts even when you are many, many miles away in another country or embarking on a new degree, vacation, or career move. Thank you for always making me feel so special to you. Now, I am able to watch everything come together for you so beautifully and you deserve every bit of happiness and joy headed your way. You have found a kind, loving, husband who will take care of you always. Kirk is such a fantastic man, the epitome of what a husband, father, and friend should be. Your son will learn to be as wonderful a man since he has such a great role-model. Congratulations on two gifts in your life that I know you do not take for granted. You and Kirk should spend as much time as you can with your baby and enjoy his growth, since it goes fast! Take photos (I know you do!) and write down the funny things he will say and do (I know you will!) Of course, try to breastfeed :), but do not beat yourself up about it, and watch the world through his eyes since it is all so new. I can't wait to see your boy and love him! (Wow, I'm crying now...) You will be the best mommy ever! XOXOXOX Suz

32: NEVER wake a sleeping baby! (after birth weight is regained) For some reason, some books actually suggest otherwise. Those are evil books. It won’t seem it right now, but your instincts are actually good. Go with them. Or txt a mom friend. We all love to help. Do not read blogs. Babies can sleep through the night at 10 pounds. Um, in theory. If your baby is sleeping through the night, do not set your alarm to pump. And def dont do it twice. Yes you are getting advice from a one-time moron here. I am a die-hard fan of the ergo baby carrier. Had the bjorn. The ergo will change your life. I also love my 2nd umbrella/car stroller - the peg perego si. It reclines, it blocks out the sun. It is very light. It is the mac daddy. The snap n go is a must for the first year. On planes, always get the seat for the kid while you have infant car seat and snap n go. Always. Dont be ridiculous. Enjoy every waking minute! Snuggle often. With all this advice and the rest you are about to get remember that whatever works for you and your baby is what you should do. Whatever works. And habits that are easily formed are easily broken so dont sweat it. Everything takes about 3 days too (this wont come in handy til sleep training). You are embarking on the most wonderful, rewarding, amazing, confusing and exhausting journey and I am so so happy for you! It only gets better! Lots of love and happiness to you all always, Serena

34: Frere Jacques Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques, Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous? Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines Ding dang dong, ding dang dong. English version Are you sleeping, are you sleeping? Brother John, Brother John? Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing Ding dang dong, ding dang dong ********** Rock-a-bye baby Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree top When the wind blows, the cradle will rock When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall And down will come baby, cradle and all ********

35: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky! When the blazing sun is gone, When he nothing shines upon, Then you show your little light, Twinkle, twinkle, all the night. Then the traveller in the dark, Thanks you for your tiny spark, He could not see which way to go, If you did not twinkle so. In the dark blue sky you keep, And often through my curtains peep, For you never shut your eye, Till the sun is in the sky. As your bright and tiny spark, Lights the traveller in the dark, Though I know not what you are, Twinkle, twinkle,little star.

36: From Robin - " I always think of these when thinking of my childhood. Little Boy Blue by Eugene Field (1850-1895) The little toy dog is covered with dust, But sturdy and stanch he stands; And the little toy soldier is red with rust, And his musket moulds in his hands. Time was when the little toy dog was new, And the soldier was passing fair; And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue Kissed them and put them there. "Now, don't you go till I come," he said, "And don't you make any noise!" So, toddling off to his trundle-bed, He dreamt of the pretty toys; And, as he was dreaming, an angel song Awakened our Little Boy Blue--- Oh! the years are many, the years are long, But the little toy friends are true! Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand, Each in the same old place--- Awaiting the touch of a little hand, The smile of a little face; And they wonder, as waiting the long years through In the dust of that little chair, What has become of our Little Boy Blue, Since he kissed them and put them there.

37: YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE: You Are My Sunshine My only sunshine. You make me happy When skies are grey. You'll never know, dear, How much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away The other nite, dear, As I lay sleeping I dreamed I held you in my arms. When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken And I hung my head and cried. You are my sunshine, My only sunshine. You make me happy When skies are grey. You'll never know, dear, How much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away. You told me once, dear You really loved me And no one else could come between But now you've left me And love another You have shattered all my dreams; You are my sunshine, My only sunshine. You make me happy When skies are grey. You'll never know, dear, How much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away.

38: Adventures abound

40: Grandmom would sing this song to her grandkids... Sing a Song of SixPence a Pocket full of Rye Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye, Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. When the pie was opened the birds began to sing, Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king? The king was in his counting house counting out his money, The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes, When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose! With much love, Aunt and Great Aunt Marian 05/24/2011

41: Laura: Nothing in my life has made me happier than being a mother. Even in the wee hours when you are tired and want to sleep you will push on for this new, little person. Rick and I could not be more excited for you and Kirk and the love that you will get to experience together. Now, the REAL advice. Sleep when he/she sleeps-this means no laundry, no cleaning and no re-wallpapering the kitchen. Looking forward to seeing you and the new little Fronckiewicz! Love, Lisa, Rick, Bergen and Drew

43: Laura: I have included one of my favorite lullaby-type songs below. It is an old folk tune that my sister and I play. Thanks! Kristin Hobo's Lullaby Words and Music by Goebel Reeves Recorded version by The Hansen Sisters forthcoming! Go to sleep you weary hobo Let the towns drift slowly by Can't you hear the steel rails hummin' That's the hobo's lullaby I know your clothes are torn and ragged And your hair is turning gray Lift your head and smile at trouble You'll find peace and rest someday Now don't you worry 'bout tomorrow Let tomorrow come and go Tonight you're in a nice warm boxcar Safe from all that wind and snow I know the police cause you trouble They cause trouble everywhere But when you die and go to Heaven You'll find no policemen there So go to sleep you weary hobo Let the towns drift slowly by Listen to the steel rails hummin' That's a hobo's lullaby

44: Josh’s Favorite Lullabies 1. Hush a bye, don’t you cry, go to sleepy little baby When you wake you shall have all the pretty little horses. Blacks and bays, dapple and grays Coach and six little horses. Hush a bye, don’t you cry, go to sleepy little baby. [What a baby is going to do with a coach and all these horses has always escaped me...] 2. There were three ravens sat on a tree Down a down hey down a down There were three ravens sat on a tree, with a down There were three ravens sat on tree, they were as black as black could be with a down, derry derry down down. Then one of them said to his make [mate] Down a down hey down hey down Then one of them said to his make with a down Then one of them said to his make, where shall we our breakfast take With down, derry derry down down. In yonder green thorny field Down a down hey down a down In yonder green thorny field with a down In yonder green thorny field There lies a knight slain ‘neath his shield With a down, derry derry down down. [well, rock a bye baby is not too cheerful, either! It’s the singing that counts. Usually, they can’t understand the words for a year or so.] I’ll teach you the melodies any time you wish! Love, barbara

45: Laura- We've been best friends since high school. I am always Befri and you are always Stend. Now we both are married with children. What??? I remember when we came over last Christmas and Leah was only a year old. You held her in your arms, pregnant, and I knew you would be the most wonderful mother ever. Here we are. We graduated in 1990 and now we are old people with children. It is all worth it. Children are the most wonderful gift that god can give us. I know that seems crazy coming from crazy Jodie theater girl. But its true. Here is a picture of Leah on Christmas at your house. Some of the fondest memories we will ever share. I love you and hopefully this summer I can hold your little man in my arms. FYI- I know how to swaddle, cradle and care for a newborn. You have a wonderful road ahead I love you with all my heart. And Kirk as well. Love forever, Stend, aka Jodie

46: My Randomness: 1) Buy and Read this book: Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions - You will not have much brain for reading, but this is hands down one of the most entertaining books you can read about the first year of having a baby 2) Blow Dryer: Our dutch nurse passed along this secret, babies love the sound of a blow dryer cause it sounds like the womb. So, sounds crazy, but after the bath, we turn it on and use it to help dry (clearly far enough away not to burn them, don't want a crazy USA lawsuit). 3) White Noise: Keeping with the theme of a blow dryer, download "baby white noise" and play it when you're trying to get them to sleep. Again, blow dryer noise seems to work wonders. And play it loud! 4) Swaddle: Sure you've heard this a ton, but we swear by it. You may think they hate it cause they will fuss when going in, but it works. We've tried all the blankets and the BEST one is literally like a straight jacket and seems cruel, but use it. Called "Miracle Blanket". Which reminds me, I need to buy another one as back up. 5) Mom/Dad Time outs: When you're ready to yank all your hair out (or the babies) cause he won't stop crying or you're sleep deprived and getting in a fight with each other about taking the trash out, set the baby down and go in the other room. Crying won't kill him and sometimes being able to take a deep breath and regroup is the best thing you can do. Or just be glad you're not octomom. 6) Enjoy: And then one day you'll be looking into the eyes of your teenage boy wondering where the time went ... so enjoy this baby/toddler phase ... everyday is a new amazing adventure ... laugh, have fun, and be grateful! Much love on your new life as 3! xo- Stef

47: Three items: Make your marriage first, your children are additions to your family so don't forget to get back to date night as soon as possible...and try to get dressed everyday so you feel good about yourself. I wore lame sweatsuits everyday for a year, it was pathetic. Use all the mother networks possible, no question is too silly or embarrassing to ask once you have had a child, trust me. Poop talk will become a norm :) Sleep train at 12 weeks and get your sleep back, you will be a better mother and wife. Please call me for help! Tava Miyata Mother of twins Canter & Lucy 3 1/2 ********** A poem from Marie: M-a-m-a ...D-a-d-a... These are probably the first words you'll hear From your baby Especially when they shed a tear And your touch to soothe him Will bring the most beautiful smile That will light up your life And make you hold him dear I love you my baby

48: To Laura as you await the arrival of your little one Some thoughts on the delivery: Don't try to overplan the delivery. Some of the books talk about writing birth plans. Nothing goes according to plan and anything can happen. Trying to remember to breathe is a good place to start Kirk is going to see parts of you in ways you never imagined, as is a roomful of doctors and nurses. Oh well Epidurals are not cure-alls, but they are useful No matter what, that baby is coming out, so there is always an end in sight, even if you are 4 hours into pushing You just had a baby. Holy cow Batman, you and Kirk created this child, it's an awe-inspiring moment (especially after the fact : )) Think about all the people you know that have had kids. If they can do it, you certainly can The baby does not come with an instruction manual, but it's ok, you'll figure it out If the hospital offers nursing and baby care classes after you have delivered, take them. Learning to swaddle is key (I swaddled my kids for months) If you decide to nurse and your little one cooperates, go for it, and get a good pump and freeze as much as possible Once you have the baby and they take him for the tests that they need to do and your favorite TV show comes on and you've ordered dinner, unless he is hungry, it is ok to have him stay with the nurses until the show is over (Season 4 of 24 was on when Sophia was born, with only 3 hours left!) All you really need when you leave the hospital is a car seat, some newborn diapers and some onsies. Take as much as you can from the hospital (the hospital nose-sucker-outer is better than any store-bought, and their wipes are great for the first few weeks) An epidural may not be a panacea but Aquaphor is. We still use it on everything and the girls are 4.5 and 6 Some thoughts on the first few months: Just write off the first 6-8 weeks. You won't remember much of them and you are going to be exhausted and wondering what the hell you got yourself into. It is ALL worth it. The Happiest Baby on the Block has some good tips. Dr. Sears is your friend. It's all about tummy time with Daddy. The mustard seed looking poops are completely normal. You will spend years talking about your kid's poop, in fact. You can get rid of pacifiers, you can't get rid of your child's thumbs so go for the pacifier. Babies make a lot of noise while they sleep (grunting and snorting and such). After several months, it is OK to let them cry a bit From what I've heard, boys pee all over the place pretty much every time you change their diapers

49: Cut his fingernails while he is sleeping Baby Bjorns and Ergos rock Nap when he is napping. This is easier said than done, because you'll want to do all the stuff around the house that you couldn't while he was up, but try to sleep Watching him will be more absorbing and interesting than anything on TV Don't be shy about asking for help When it is time for solid foods, rice cereal tastes like wallpaper paste. If you put fruit into from the start, it's not going to harm your child. Always try what you feed your baby, then you'll understand why he spits it out sometimes You can't start reading to your baby soon enough Babies can sleep anywhere. You are good going to grown-up restaurants with him until he is 5-6 months old. The background noise puts them to sleep You will find yourself rocking back and forth from side to side at times when you are not holding the baby Some favorite lullabies (yeah, yeah, OK, I was a little non-traditional): Sound of Silence (for some reason this was one of the only songs I could remember all the words to and I sang it to both girls all the time) Friend of the Devil (again, questionable topic, but if you slow it way down, it works really well as a lullaby Southern Cross Closer to Fine Uncle John's Band Sugar Magnolia (slowed down again) Humming Brahms lullaby Being a mom is wonderful, intimidating, fascinating, overwhelming, enriching, challenging, rewarding and generally exhausting. They learn so quickly and grow so quickly. Before you know it they are funny, clever, beautiful little people that you can only hope you guide to be great adults. You are going to be a great mom and you and Kirk are going to be wonderful parents. As I mentioned earlier, it is ALL so worth it. Lots of love, Ally

50: Dear Laura, So glad we are having babies in almost the same month and year. Wish I could be there to hold your hand and you mine. I am so excited and can’t wait to see you and your little bundle of joy. I wanted to share something with you that a friend explained to me. I asked her what it is like to be a new Mum. She told me. Once your baby is born, the love you feel is overwhelming. I asked her “what does it feel like”, she said – Remember the first time you ever fell in love, well times it by a million, and you’re not even close - where your heart skips a beat every time they smile at you, goose bumps all that jazz – that’s what love for you baby feels like. Much Love – Bobbi-Jo

51: First this... | Then this... | And now this... | So looking forward to seeing you again, this time also with our little ones... Ileana.

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  • By: Christa A.
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  • Title: Laura's Baby Book
  • baby book for laura and kirk
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