Christmas morning

This is a post about our first Christmas as a family of 3, but really... I could just write about the breakfast we ate that morning. I love breakfast. So much.


I woke up at 7:15ish on Christmas morning to the sounds of Ralphie rustling in his moses basket next to me. When I rolled over and peered into his basket he gave me the happiest little grin, like, "Hey mom, it's Christmas!" Oh, what a charmer!

We spent our morning listening to Christmas music and opening gifts while Ralph wiggled and kicked on the floor by the tree, completely ignoring the gifts I so carefully chose for him. Lots of toys and blocks and books and dollies were opened for Ralph, and lots of books and socks were opened by the two adults in the room. I gave Ryan a new record player to replace our old broken one, and we're both so excited to listen to our records again!

The rest of the day was full of family and food and both sets of grandparents, and the fun's still not over-- we have two more Christmases to celebrate in the next week. So, I've got some baking to do. Ah, the most wonderful time of the year!


Ralphie's first Christmas Eve.

As it turns out, having a baby at Christmastime is really fun. There's a whole lot of waving of arms and big, blinky stares at the pretty lights on the tree. We had the best time on Christmas Eve. After a little family time at my nephew's first Christmas Eve program (the cutest,) the three of us came home and celebrated with a humble cheese board, Christmas cookies, and a little wine. 

And then the photoshoots began. My inner stage mom  came out, and we set Ralphie all up under the tree with his Christmas jams on and a candy cane in his chubby fist, just like a little sleeping Who from Whoville. (He nailed it.) The child was an angel the whole time, cooing and smiling, even though it was way past his bed time. A Christmas Eve miracle! 

But really, the true miracle was how Ralph slept better than he ever has that night. I think it was his Christmas gift to his poor red eyed and ragged parents, because he hasn't done it again.


Merry Christmas!

Our first family Christmas card-- if you only knew what it took to get this photo.

We're having a very happy Christmas day over here,
and hope all of you are, too!

The Markgrafs


around these parts

Things are quiet around here lately. I'm spending my days slowly checking off items on to-do lists. This Christmas has been declared the 'use-what-i-already-have-or-can-harvest-from-my-backyard' in terms of decorating. My sister Liz gave me bunches of evergreen that she had leftover and I made garlands of cinnamon hearts, so although it may be free, it all sure smells nice. Cabin fever is already settling in and it's barely the middle of December, but I'm having so much fun spending the days inside making a cozy little home for my boys. Even if it is slowly turning my brain into a puddle of mush. Just kidding. But sometimes I feel like I should read a challenging book or do a crossword puzzle just to make sure everything up there is working properly.

In between baking and decorating and Christmas shopping, I'm using up all my free time getting to know my Ralphie. His little personality is finally starting to peek through, which is so fun to see. He loves laying in his crib and looking up at his mobile-- and nothing makes me more proud, because I totally made that thing. Gold star for this mom! He's starting to coo and smile, and he looks just like his Dad when he does, which makes my heart turn all mushy.

So that's whats going on over here-- just a mushy brain and a mushy heart. What's new with you?


A six week progress report

Ralph is six weeks old today, hooray!

So far I've observed that my little boy does NOT like to be swaddled. And darn it! Babies look so cute in swaddles! But no, Ralphie prefers to have his arms free to flail about and wake him suddenly while he's sleeping. You should see how well he can flail those arms when he's angry. Wee!

Guess what else Ralphie prefers: sleeping on his stomach. And darn it again, because there's nothing I worry about more than SIDS. He won't sleep on his back, and I won't let him sleep on his tummy at night, and therefore, our last few weeks have been a little like this: I stay up all night with a semi-sleeping baby on my chest or a crying baby in his bassinet. And during the day, I put the child on his tummy on the couch, and he takes 3 hour marathon naps while I poke him every two minutes to make sure he's still breathing.

I'm not sure where he gets the tummy sleeping preference, as I have always been strictly a back and side sleeper. Ryan thinks Ralph got it from him, but you know I'm the one who sits up all night, and I've observed that Ryan sleeps on his back and breathes big sleepy puffs of cold air at me while I nurse.

Ralph does like his baths, clean diapers, looking at windows, and the soccer ball pacifier from his cousin Lilah. He does not like the hours between 5pm and 8pm. He does, however, like the sound of us shuuushing him back to sleep, so during those witchy evening hours you'll often find one of us pacing the floor, shh shh shh shuushhing, while an exhausted Ralphie bounces along with an open mouth and semi-closed eyes. Last night, in between bouts of some serious crying, Ryan looked at me with wide eyes and whispered, "We're prisoners in our own home." I looked back at him and said, "Yes. We are."

In conclusion, I've never slept less in my life and I'm not totally sure if any of this makes sense. 

But oh man, I don't care, because the past six weeks have been the best of my life. I've got a cute husband and a cute baby and I don't care if I never sleep again as long as I can keep hanging out with them.


NYC honeymoon

Two years ago, Ryan and I were on our honeymoon! In New York City! Let me tell you what I think about honeymoons, okay?

My favorite piece of advice to give to freshly engaged couples is to go on a honeymoon. I say skip the fancy dinner that you won't even get to eat, refrain from hiring the irritating dj, do your own hair-- save your pennies and splurge on a honeymoon. Because once you survive the stressful final weeks of wedding planning, the best thing you can do with your new spouse is to get the heck out of town and spend a full week together having fun and doing fancy things. AND YOU WON'T EVEN HAVE TO CALL YOUR MOM OR YOUR EMPLOYER OR ANYONE! Because you're on your honeymoon and everyone will leave you alone! Unless you want to call your mom. I did.


Ryan and I are the first to admit that our wedding day wasn't our favorite day ever. I know, it sounds so unromantic! Don't get me wrong-- we loved becoming husband and wife. But neither of us are that big on parties or small talk with Great Aunt Edna or dancing the night away (unless it's in the kitchen and no one is watching) ((you guys should see Ryan's Swayze impersonation.)) But the day after our wedding? When we flew to NYC? Now that day was our favorite! We woke up as husband and wife, had breakfast together, and drove to the airport. It was exciting! Other than a booked hotel room and a few touristy must-sees, we didn't really have a plan. We packed two suitcases and our cheapie camera and bought a map at a Duane Reade when we got there. The freedom was glorious! During our five day stay we saw Lady Liberty (and not a single celebrity!) ate lots of sandwiches and bagels, viewed the Christmas window displays going up, devoured giant bowls of pasta in Little Italy on Thanksgiving day, and went all the way to the top of the Empire State Building (If you go during the T. day parade, the wait is zero minutes!)

We still talk about our honeymoon-- it was one of our happiest weeks. And we're dying to go back to New York. Except the next time around we'll have a baby and a better camera and I'll hopefully have a better wardrobe (no more college student budget!)

So now you know what I think about honeymoons. I think they're AWESOME. I'd like to go on a thousand honeymoons!

And now, here are some pictures from one of the best weeks of my life:

The subway was my favorite. The end.


2 years

The faces of two kids after being declared husband and wife.

It's our anniversary today! We're Cincinnati bound, and will be spending most of the day in the car with a four-week-old. So romantic! Oh wedded bliss! If I'm lucky, maybe my dreamboat of a husband will let us stop at Wendy's for a fancy meal? With a frosty? ;)

Truly though, I love car rides with Ryan. It should be fun. We've got a car packed with baby things, and I brought enough magazines, peppermint Joe Joes, and Christmas tunes to keep us all happy.

Happy Anniversary to my love-- the most wonderful husband and father I could have ever hoped for. I love you, Ryan!

And Happy almost Thanksgiving to all of you! Turkey!


a walk in the park

These photos are from a little family walk we took last Saturday. Even though most of the leaves have fallen and changed to a crispy brown color, the temperature was in the high 60's and we were happy for an opportunity to get outside with Ralph and soak up some fresh air. We're lucky enough to live just a block from a cute little park-- when we bought the house we constantly talked about how excited we were to take the baby over there to play. And now we have a baby! He can't play yet, but we can stroll him around and talk about how cute he is. It's fun for us at least.

Buuuuuut don't let the happy, carefree photos fool you, because this week was just about anything but a walk in the park. Ralph's growth spurt continues, the nights are sleepless, and I'm pretty sure I've cried three times since yesterday. We're tired. So tired, in fact, that the other night when I asked Ryan to change Ralph's 2am diaper, he rolled over and opened the window shades instead. It's bad, guys. Real bad.

It's a good thing we love this little boy so much. His little grunts and sneezes and short, sweet moments of awake time send us over the moon. So cry all you want, Ralphie. We're keeping you anyway.



Remember how I told you I was going to write a post about Ralphie's birthday?

I planned on writing it over the weekend. And Ralph said, HA! He had other plans, most of which involve eating and not sleeping. The boy is going through his first little growth spurt, and is a hungry hungry hippo for milk. Every hour, on the hour, it seems.

I felt frustrated by it this morning. My body is finally starting to get back to normal-- I can walk at a quick pace, climbing the stairs no longer makes me gasp for breath, and I can bend over without my eyes bulging out of my head. Now that I feel good, I want to get going! I want to clean and decorate and work on little projects. I'm tired of feeling glued to the couch.

But my sweet little Ralph needed his momma today. Once we hit 2pm and we were still in our pajamas, I gave up on getting much done and gave in to snuggling and rocking and feeding my baby. It ended up being a happy little day. And it snowed, too!

So instead of a birth story, you're getting this post and a picture of old man Ralphie taking a bath. It could be worse, right?

I'll be back when Ralph decides to nap for more than 15 minutes at a time. Wish me luck.


Ralphstagrams:: baby's first 18 days in iphone photos

Ralphie is a dream baby, and that's all there is to it.

He seems to have gotten his Dad's laid back personality, and I am ever so thankful! With the exception of short bouts of irritability when he's hungry (also a trait of his father's) ((and his mother's, who am I kidding)) he's the sweetest little sleepy boy I've ever known. 

Our transition from hospital to home was easy and happy. We were so glad to get out of there! No more nurses' opinions, no more bright lights in the middle of the night, no more poking and prodding, hooray! Ralph did show signs of jaundice, and had to wear a billi blanket for a few days. Not a big deal, but the multiple trips to the doctor and the 3 days of trying to nurse a glowing baby attached to a tube in the middle of the night did take its toll. We just wanted to snuggle our newborn! Thankfully, it didn't last long and by the time he was one week old he was as healthy as a horse, and as hungry as one too.

We've had 18 days to get to know this baby of ours, and this is what we have observed so far:
  • He likes his baths, as long as he doesn't.get.cold.at.all.
  • He can handle a diaper change as long as he doesn't.get.cold.at.all. Those wipes are chilly, man!
  • He has three little strawberry birthmarks. One on his thigh, one on his tummy, and one on his right cheek, which is in the most perfect spot for kissing.
  • He was born with black, feathery hair. It has since lightened to a dark brown, and arranges itself into a natural baby mohawk after a bath.
  • He's already going through a growth spurt, and has been eating non-stop for the last day and a half. I'm a milk machine! And he's finally fitting into some of his clothes.
  • Ryan discovered that he'll momentarily stop fussing when he's being taken up or down the stairs. Last night during a bout of screaming, Ryan got out of bed and walked him up and down the stairs once. Voila! Silence.
  • He will only take that darned ugly green hospital passy. None of those cute colorful ones Mom bought! He's already teaching me that I can't control him. Waah.
  • He's ridiculously cute and snuggly and so so sweet. Obviously.
And now he's waking up from his short nap to eat again, so I guess I'll catch ya later, guys!

Come back on Monday for his little birthday story! I promise I'll leave out all the gory details as well as all labor photos, because as much as I tried to look cute, I was just a sweaty mess. And it shows in the pictures. Even when I turn them black and white. Shoot.

See ya Monday!


world, meet Ralph.

:: Ralph Robert Markgraf ::
arrived on October 22nd, 2012.

7lbs 13oz
21 1/4 inches 
(a good chuck of that length was cone head, I'm sure)

Every inch of him is wonderful and perfect and precious, right down to his hairy little ears.
And his mysteriously long, girly thumbnails.

We waited so long for him,
and we prayed so hard for him,
and now he's here!
We're so thankful we get to keep him.

I can't wait to tell you all about his birthday and his first week of life.
Be back soon, friends!



39 weeks. (and 2 days.)

Still no baby, friends. Still no baby.

We went to the doctor on Monday afternoon. All signs pointed to a baby coming, and soon! Baby's head is down, I'm dilated over 2cm, and my belly is tight as a drum. I made an appointment for next Tuesday, and before my doctor left the room he said with a wink, "I bet I'll see you before then."

And guys, he totally shouldn't have said that.

Because Ryan and I scurried home and finished every little thing we needed to do to prepare for this kid. And now we're just waiting. And we're kind of bored. Every night before bed we get all sorts of excited, thinking it might be the night! And every morning I wake up, feeling as normal and un-laborish as can be. I must have made a pretty cozy nest in my belly, because this child is hanging on by his umbilical cord.

Happily, though, I don't feel too uncomfortable, and I've slept better the past couple nights than I have since July. (Oh, bless you, sleep.) And while we're waiting, we're having lots of fun making guesses at what he'll be like. We already know he gets the hiccups about 5 times a day. So there's that. 

Come on, sweet baby! We're ready for you!