Justin

Justin

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Cleanup in aisle five

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So there we were in the clearance aisle at Target – you know, the one near the entrance that has a bunch of stuff for a dollar – looking for a few new inexpensive toys to satisfy Brooklyn during this weekend’s five-hour car ride to Ohio. I was perusing the selection, trying to decide what would make a good car ride toy, when I heard trickling water. It took me a minute to realize that we weren’t anywhere near a water fountain or anything else that should have trickling water. I looked at Brooklyn who looked back at me with a sheepish grin and that’s when it hit me; the trickle of water was running down the front of the cart that B was sitting in and I was pushing.

Moments before "the flood"

Horrified, I looked up to see if anyone has noticed the pooling water at my feet. Thankfully, no, or at least they hid it pretty well. So we made a bee-line for the children’s clothing section to pick out the cheapest pair of pants we could find, and it just so happens that one of the things we were there to buy in the first place was new undies for B, which we already had in the cart. We quickly checked out and headed to the bathroom where I changed her into clean undies and pants and then we swiftly walked out of the store hoping to go unnoticed and feeling sorry for whoever gets that cart next.

That was last night’s adventure and it wasn’t B’s fault at all. She has been potty trained for months and does a great job of telling us when she needs to go. She probably told me 20 times while we were in Target that she had to go potty, but I didn’t listen. I was hoping she could hold it until we checked out since they don’t let you take merchandise into the bathrooms. Alas, I pushed the envelope too far and the dam broke.

By now, if you’re reading this, you’ve realized that I’m back. August 11, 2011 was the last time I posted on this site and it’s hard to believe it has been a year and a half since then. But I’ve made the decision to start it up again for a couple of reasons.

For one, a couple of days ago Carrie and I were trying to remember how far along she was when I started the blog a couple of years ago. It was fun looking back at the posts from her pregnancy and the first few months of B’s life. So much has happened in the year and a half since I stopped posting that I wish we had those memories to look back on as well. So basically, I’m starting it up again to serve as a digital journal/scrapbook/photo album of Brooklyn’s life and our job parenting and raising her.

In the backyard

Secondly, through a friend’s link on Facebook, I stumbled across an amazing post about what it means to be a dad and the power a dad has in a child’s life. Apparently it was written in 2010, but it might as well have been written yesterday as I had never seen it before. It’s still perfectly applicable and a good reminder for all dads. Reading through it, as well as other posts on the guy’s site, I realized how much I missed sharing the stories of B growing up and of the joy it is to be parenting her.

As for B, she’s full swing into the questioning stage where everything we say is met with endless “why?”s. Carrie gets tired of it because she hears it all day, everyday. I like it because I can just see the gears spinning in her little mind as she tries to learn and understand new things. My time with her is precious because I only get to see her for a few minutes in the morning, about an hour after work while we eat dinner and then I put her down, and on the weekends when I’m not out of town for work.

She’s also little miss independent, wanting to do everything herself. “I do it?” she always says. She carries her little stool around with her all over the house so she can climb up onto the kitchen chair, reach something on the counter, climb onto the potty by herself, etc.

She’s infatuated with grandma and grandpa (“gamma and gampa”) as she calls them. We’ve been fortunate enough to have seen them quite a bit over the past few months, so she’s getting nice and spoiled. If we forget to pray for them, she always reminds us. We’re going to visit them for Memorial Day, so she has been talking about it all week.

So anyway, that’s where things stand right now. I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting, especially in the next few weeks as I’m finishing up the Michigan football season preview magazine for Lindy’s Sports again, but I’ll try my best. And I don’t think I’ll be going back to the Wheaton Target anytime soon.

Time Flies

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So I said in the post earlier this week that it didn’t seem like two months since I had last updated this blog, but I’ve been so busy the past couple of months I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write. Now that Carrie and Brooklyn are in Michigan on vacation while I had to stay home for work, I’ve had all the time in the world to get you caught up on the latest happenings.

I’m sure you know by now, but at the end of May, we moved to the suburbs of Chicago. We were wondering how much we would miss New York, and as the early results trickle in, we’ve found that we don’t really miss it at all. In a sense, our last year in Manhattan acted as a buffer to our exodus, since Washington Heights wasn’t exactly the city we loved for our first few years there.

Since then, we’ve done pretty much everything. We went to my grandma Bush’s 85th birthday party and the annual Potts 4th of July reunion in Ohio, vacation with my family in Edisto Island, SC, back to Ohio to throw a surprise 30th anniversary party for my parents, and now vacation in Michigan (I was there for the weekend, but couldn’t stay the week because of work). Oh, and sandwiched in between all that, I’ve traveled to Charlotte, Denver, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore for work.

In the past two months, Brooklyn has become even more beautiful and continues to show more and more personality. She still won’t take a bottle or a pacifier, but I did get her to eat rice cereal once. Other than that one time, she rejects it. And by that I mean spits it out so it gets all over her face and stuck in her neck rolls.

On vacation in Edisto, we took her to the pool and the beach, and to our surprise, she had absolutely no reaction at all. No laughing, no screaming, nothing. She was just content to be held in the water and even almost fell asleep in our arms. If only she was that chill when we’re trying to put her to sleep.

Carrie & B in the pool in Edisto

She had an ear infection when we got back from vacation, so that messed with her sleep schedule a little bit and now the pediatrician thinks she might be a little bit colicky. I think we were lucky the first few months that she was able to sleep through the night pretty well, but lately she’s been waking up once or twice in the middle of the night.

Like I’ve said before, it’s hard for me to complain because Carrie’s the one that has to endure the most of it. Since Brooklyn still won’t take a bottle, Carrie has to be up with her every time. Because of her GERD, we have to keep her upright for 20 minutes after each feeding, so it’s not as easy as just feeding her and putting her back to sleep. I’m trying to help out as much as possible by getting up for the 5a.m. feeding so Carrie can go back to sleep while I hold Brooklyn up and then put her back down. I really can’t adequately describe how much respect and admiration for her mothering of Brooklyn. I know she’s always exhausted and sometimes frustrated, but watching her raise Brooklyn and take such great care of her is just amazing.

They get home tomorrow, so I can’t wait to spend the weekend with them before more work travel starts up again.

Catching Up

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I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I’ve posted on here. It feels like last week. A lot has happened in the past couple months and I haven’t really had much time to just sit down and write a post. But now I’m home alone for the week while Carrie and Brooklyn are in Michigan with her family, so I might as well get caught up.

More to come in the next few days, but I thought I’d post a few pictures to give you a taste of what’s been going on the past couple months.

First Fathers Day

Four Generations of the Bush side

Four generations of the Potts side

First time in the pool!

First time in the ocean!

Brooklyn Visits the Big House

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Last weekend, Brooklyn got her first taste of Heaven on earth when we stopped in Ann Arbor on our way home from a trip to Ohio. Even though I didn’t actually go to the University of Michigan (although I did get accepted), most of you know I’ve been a die-hard fan my whole life, and my family used to take yearly trips to Ann Arbor for a weekend each fall when I was growing up. I grew to love the university as much as the football team and have been dreaming of the day I could take my kid(s) to visit.

Brooklyn and I at the Big House

It certainly didn’t have the same feel as a college football fall Saturday, but the couple of hours we spent on campus gave Brooklyn (and Carrie, who is a Notre Dame fan) a glimpse of the greatest university in the world.

We started out with lunch at Zingerman’s Deli. It’s an amazing restaurant in the Kerrytown district of ann Arbor with way too many sandwiches to choose from, and lines down the block on college football Saturdays. Carrie was lusting over the the massive amounts of cheese they sell, but she can’t have it because of Brooklyn’s GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). But anyway, the food was amazing as always and Carrie loved it. Brooklyn just slept the whole time.

After Zingerman’s, we drove into central campus and went to Moe’s and MDen to find Brooklyn a floppy hat since it was so hot and sunny. We found a good one and then walked the diag before Brooklyn started to get fussy, so we then went to the Big House to get some pictures. It was Brooklyn and Carrie’s first time seeing the mecca of football stadiums and it was the first time I’ve seen it since the renovations added a new press box and luxury boxes to either side. It looks amazing and the only thing missing was the scoreboards, which are being replaced from the old outdated ones to widescreen HD video boards.

Brooklyn and I at Zingerman's

Before we got back on the road, Carrie had to feed Brooklyn, so we were parked in the Crisler Arena lot right next to the Big House. The next thing we knew, a UofM golf cart pulled up about 50-feet away, right where we had been a few minuets earlier getting pictures, and the basketball coaching staff got out and walked into Crisler. Too bad we weren’t still standing there, or Brooklyn could have met Coach Beilein.

It was a short visit, but I’m glad both Brooklyn got to see campus and the Big House, even though she’ll never remember it. At least I got pictures to show her someday and I got the indoctrination started!

I Need the Darkness, Someone Please Cut the Lights

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In Arcade Fire’s song Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), Regine sings about the conflict between getting sucked into the suburban sprawl and the lure of the city lights. The entire album, which won album of the year in 2010, focuses on the suburbs, but this one song rings true right now since we are moving from the city out to the suburbs.

I grew up in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio and went to college in the middle of the Indiana cornfields, but most of my adult life so far has been in the concrete jungle that is New York City. I reunited with Carrie while she was living here for grad school, and if not for that, I probably wouldn’t have ever lived in a major city. Five years later, I’ve discovered that everything that drew me to the city in the first place has been overshadowed by annoyances.

Five years ago, as a single guy recently out of college, the city was energizing, the subway was exciting, and the diversity was charming. Now, as a married man with a two month old daughter, the city is draining, the subway is taxing, and the diversity is annoying.

The chorus of Sprawl II goes, “Sometimes I wonder if the world’s so small; that we can never get away from the sprawl; Living in the sprawl; Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains; And there’s no end in sight; I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights.”

I think if you’ve always lived in the ‘burbs, it’s easy to take for granted the quietness of your backyard, the ease of hopping in the car and driving to the store, and the community of a small town. But once you’ve lived in the throngs of a major city for a few years, you realize how much you miss those things.

When I worked at the NHL, one of my co-workers had lived his entire life in Manhattan. He had never played soccer on grass and didn’t even have his driver’s license because there was no reason to get one. He was a great guy, but I couldn’t imagine what that childhood must have been like.

I want Brooklyn and my subsequent kids to grow up playing soccer at the local fields on the weekends, learning how to drive when they turn 16, going to the mall with their friends, and doing all the things I used to do. I still hope they are able to grow up well-rounded with a respect for other cultures and types of people, but frankly, I don’t want them to be influenced by the many negative aspects of the city.

Now, I’m not saying that NYC (or any big city for that matter) is the only place that has problems. Every small town, every suburb, has its share of issues as well. But due to the sheer population and hodge-podge of cultures living in such close quarters, there are many more negatives than there are in the ‘burbs.

We loved our time here, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I will always believe that New York is the greatest city on earth and I think everyone should live here for at least a year. As Frank Sinatra sang, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,” and I certainly think that’s true.

After four years on the Upper East Side, we chose to move to Washington Heights last summer in order to save money. We knew we wanted to start trying to have a baby, so we decided it was time to really start saving. In the past year, we got a dog, had a baby, and were able to save a good chunk for an eventual down payment, but it became apparent that city living was no longer for us. As we counted down the months and days to Brooklyn’s arrival, we knew we had to move closer to family. Fortunately, my company was gracious enough to grant my request for a transfer to the main office in Chicago.

I look forward to Brooklyn growing up with her cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents close by; to coaching my kids’ little league teams; to not having to spend every penny of vacation money on trips home to visit family; and to buying a house with a yard so we don’t have to trek to the park for some fresh air.

We will always cherish our time here, the experiences we had together, the friends we made, the preaching of Tim Keller, the amazing food, and the lessons we learned, but now it’s time to close the chapter on New York and begin our journey in suburban Chicago.

The Brooklyn Bridge, The End of the World, and a Nosy Lady

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With the impending move, we felt like we needed one last romp around the city, to remember what we will be leaving, and especially to show Brooklyn what this amazing city is like outside of the little Washington Heights bubble she has lived in for her first two months of existence. While it was a little sad to know we may never see these sights again, we realized just how right the decision to move is at this point in our lives, and we gained a new appreciation for the handicapped and those with small children who live their lives in the city.

In Central Park

My good friend from college, Jon (Snake, for those of you from Taylor) was in town for work, so we met up with him for lunch at Shake Shack on the Upper West Side. We ate on the benches outside the Museum of Natural History (yes, I somehow made it five years in NYC without going to a single museum…sad, I know). Brooklyn was pretty good up until this point, but was starting to get fussy, so we walked into Central Park and walked all the way across to our old neighborhood, the Upper East Side.

After a quick Starbucks visit (always a must), we got some pics at the reservoir in Central Park, and then walked back through our old haunts. Luckily, our favorite bartender in the city, Jara, was working at Bullpen, our favorite sports bar on the UES, so we went in to say goodbye and introduce her to Brooklyn. She served us many a drink and meal on college football Saturdays the past few years when Michigan and Notre Dame were playing at the same time and we were forced to go to a bar to watch.

We then got on the train and went down to the Brooklyn Bridge because Brooklyn can’t leave NYC without ever seeing the famous bridge she’s (not really) named after. We walked halfway across, got some good pics, and walked back. By that time, Carrie had to feed Brooklyn again, so we stopped at some benches at the foot of the bridge. A guy nearby started counting down, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1….” and surprise! the clock struck 6pm and the world didn’t end today after all. Who knew?

We walked over to the 2/3 train and took it up the west side to our favorite Thai place, Land. When we got off the train, to our amazement, the ground was soaked and people were just folding up their umbrellas. It had been perfectly sunny the entire day up until that point, and somehow, for the 30 minutes we were on the train, it stormed like crazy, but was done by the time we came back above ground.

Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Bridge

The train was a pain in and of itself, as Brooklyn wasn’t feeling her stroller, so Carrie was carrying her in the Moby wrap and I was holding the stroller on the PACKED train, feeling the dirty looks burning holes right through me as people were forced to contort their bodies around the stroller (that wasn’t even holding a baby) to hold onto the poles.

Dinner at Land was amazing as always, except that Brooklyn always has this knack for waking up and getting fussy right when the food comes. I mean, there are certain things you can count on in this world, like the sun coming up, the wold not ending on May 21, 2011, and Brooklyn not letting us eat peacefully.

After dinner is where things got really interesting, as if God was confirming to us that it was indeed time to leave this city. We left Land, which is at 82nd & Amsterdam, and walked across to try to catch the A train on Central Park West. We carried the stroller down the subway stairs only to realize that the A was running express from 59th to 125th, so we would either have to take the downtown A to 59th and transfer to the uptown, or walk across to the 1 at 86th & Broadway.

Brooklyn enjoying her first trip to the Brooklyn Bridge

We didn’t really want to go back downtown, so we walked across to the 1. We got down the stairs just as a 3 train was pulling away. Hmmm, that’s weird, the 3 train shouldn’t be stopping here. Apparently the 1 train was skipping that stop today. The 2 and 3 go to the Bronx, not anywhere near our place, so we have to take the 1. So we got on the next train that came by, a 2 train, and took it to 96th and transfered to the 1. Then, we found out that the 1 was only going to 168th (we go to 191st) due to construction. Great. It’s 9:30, we’ve been out all day, Brooklyn is so tired, and we don’t want to get off at 168th because it’s not a great neighborhood and hard to catch cabs there.

We decided we would take the 1 to 125th and transfer to the A. Unfortunately, that involved carrying Brooklyn and the stroller down a huge set of stairs from the 1 train, and then walking a few blocks across a dicey neighborhood at night and then down more stairs to the A.

We made it just as a train was pulling in. Whew, finally some luck, we thought. Nope. As soon as we got on, Brooklyn lost it. Screaming as if we had just ripped off her arm. We were trying to calm her down, but she was tired and hungry and overstimulated from a long day, and nothing was working. It’s hard enough being “those people” with a screaming baby on the subway, annoying everyone else. But then, this lady gets up and comes over to us and has the following exchange with Carrie:

Lady: “What’s wrong with her?”

Carrie: “She’s hungry and tired.”

Lady: “Well why don’t you give her a bottle?”

Carrie: “She’s breastfed.”

Lady: “Well you’re supposed to pump so you have bottles.”

Carrie: “Yes, but she won’t take a bottle.”

Lady: “She won’t take a bottle? Well what about a pacifier?”

Carrie: “She won’t take that either.”

Lady: “Well do you have one?”

Carrie: “No, we don’t have one with us because she refuses them.”

Lady: “Well shouldn’t you hold her?”

Carrie: “We’re getting off soon, so I’ll just have to put her right back in the stroller.”

Lady: “How far are you going?”

Carrie: “To 190th Street.”

So then the lady goes back and sits down and says to her friends, “It’s okay, they’re getting off in a couple stops.”

It took everything in me not to punch the lady, and it infuriated Carrie as well. She handled it amazingly, but was really upset because she was already horrified that her daughter was screaming on the subway and there was nothing we could do about it at that point, but then this nosy, meddling lady pretty much made her feel like the worst mother ever in front of a train full of people.

It was a great day overall and some of the places really made us sad to leave the city, but the difficulty of taking a baby in a stroller through the city, and having strangers who always think they know better tell you how to handle your kid really made us glad we’re moving out to the suburbs. We realized how hard it must be for handicapped people in this city because it’s really not designed for them at all. Most of the subway stations don’t have elevators, MTA service has gotten continually worse over the past five years while prices have continually risen, and sidewalks are so packed with people rushing past that it’s hard enough to push a stroller, let alone a wheelchair or anything like that.

We lived the city life for five or six years and loved it, but now that we have a family, and life is about more than just having a good time together, it’s time to go.

Brooklyn Two Month Update

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It has been way too long since we have posted anything and I’m sure you’re wondering if we fell off the face of the earth. The past five weeks since the last post have been very busy and filled with smiles, squeals, and lots of crying.

Through the first few weeks, Carrie had been having some trouble with breastfeeding and getting a good latch. I’ll let her get more into that later, but she hired a consultant to come in and help her out and since then, things have been great. The only problem is that it’s working so well that we’re having trouble getting Brooklyn to take a bottle now. She just won’t do it.

This is her new favorite way to sit during her awake time

Sleeping has been good and bad. I guess it depends on the day. She’s starting to sleep longer at night and some nights she goes 6-7 hours, eats, goes right back to sleep, and all is grand. But last night, we put her to bed around 9pm, she slept until 3:30am, and wouldn’t go back to sleep until almost 6am. Carrie & I took turns trying to rock, bounce, and will her to sleep and it was pretty frustrating. So we’re trying to find the right balance of sleep and awake time throughout the day.

During her awake time, we are really starting to see more of her personality emerge every day. She smiles and squeals a lot and she’s just on the verge of laughing. Carrie heard her laugh once in the middle of her sleep, and now we can tell she tries to laugh but can’t quite figure out how just yet. I think within the next couple weeks she will be laughing.

A week ago, I had to go to Chicago for work, so we decided to do a pre-move and drive from NYC to Chicago by way of Ohio. We left Friday night after work and made it 3-4 hours before stopping for the night. On Saturday, we drove to my parents’ house in Tipp City, Ohio, where we went to dinner with them and then went to their new church (www.thebridgetippcity.com) for the first time. They got to show their granddaughter off to their friends. On Sunday, we went the rest of the way to Nana and Pappy’s house in Winfield, Illinois, where we spent the week.

Brooklyn with her cousins, Gavin, James, and Eldon

It was Brooklyn’s first road trip, and she did really well. She only screamed a couple of times. One was when we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper construction traffic on I-80 for about 45 minutes and she screamed the entire time. The other time she screamed for more than a minute or two was while driving through Columbus. I kid you not. Further proof that she’s a Michigan fan. All-in-all, she did great, and so did Buddy, who came along as well.

Brooklyn got to meet her three cousins, Gavin, Eldon, and James, and they all loved her. Gavin was so proud that he got to hold her all by himself and he couldn’t quite figure out how old she was when we told him she was seven weeks. “She’s seven?” said Gavin.

It was a great week, and we left Buddy with Nana and Pappy while we returned to NY for our last three weeks here. Now, we’re trying to pack and get everything ready for the big move. We’re also trying to take in all the fun things (and restaurants) we love about NY before we go. This Tuesday is our three year anniversary, so we’re looking forward to celebrating that!

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Feeling Blessed after 3 Weeks

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Brooklyn is now a little over three weeks young and she couldn’t be more amazing. She’s not very talkative (haha) but she’s the best daughter we could have possibly asked for. For the first week or two, she slept on and off and we established a feeding schedule of every two hours. Those first couple weeks were exclusively breastfeeding.

Around the end of the second week, she began sleeping a little longer during the night and we adjusted the feeding schedule to every two hours during the day, and then whenever she wakes up hungry during the night. Lately, we’ve been getting three to four hours in between each night feeding, and last night we even got a five hour break.

Of course, this is much harder for Carrie than me, since she’s the one tasked with feeding her. It takes between 30 minutes and an hour each time, which means if there are two hours in between feedings, Carrie only gets a one to one-and-a-half hour break. Throughout the night, I wake up each time to change her diaper either before or after the feeding and then put her back to sleep afterward. I might be speaking for myself on this one, but I feel like we have been very lucky (and blessed) so far, since she’s not colicky and sleeps fairly well.

In the first few days, we didn’t think that would be the case. We started out trying to get her to sleep in her pack-and-play (we don’t have an actual crib yet), but she wouldn’t sleep laying on her back. Then we tried her swing, but again, that wasn’t working. Finally, we tried the car seat, and bingo! So she now sleeps in her car seat on top of the pack-and-play, right next to our bed.

One of the funny side effects of new parenthood (which I’m sure happens to every new parent) is that we have become so paranoid that it affects our sleep. Whichever one of us is laying on the side of the bed right next to her, looks up every time she makes a noise, to make sure she’s ok. When she’s sleeping, going in and out of REM sleep, she makes a lot of little sighs, grunts, whines, and yes, farts. She’s perfectly fine, but when we’re laying there trying to fall asleep, we have to keep reminding ourselves of that, or else we’ll go crazy sitting up and checking her every time she makes a peep.

The other part of that is waking up thinking she’s in the bed with us. We have never had her sleep in the bed with us, but sometimes Carrie feeds her in the bed. On different occasions, we have both woken up and searched frantically through the sheets and covers for her, as if she was smothered underneath. Of course, we finally realize that she’s safe and sound in her car seat next to the bed. The other night, Carrie was already asleep, and so was Brooklyn, by the time I came to bed. I got in bed and tried to hug Carrie, but she pushed me away, and in her sleep, said, “Don’t; you’ll break the latch.” When I told her she said that the next day, she had no recollection of it.  Apparently, she subconsciously thought she was feeding Brooklyn in her sleep.

Despite the paranoia, things are going well. In the past few days, Brooklyn has started taking a bottle and sucking on a pacifier. When we first tried both, she rejected them, but now, both are able to calm her down if she’s crying, which she really hardly ever does unless she’s hungry.

We have also been fortunate enough to have plenty of help. Carrie’s mom came for about 10 days right after we got home from the hospital. Carrie’s dad also came out for a day and Carrie’s sister, Lisanne, came for a few days this past week. My parents are coming next weekend to see their very first grandchild. We are very blessed and can’t wait for the rest of you to meet her!

She was so tiny when she was born (five pounds eight ounces) and then went down to five pounds two ounces after a couple of days, but she regained her birth weight by the first appointment with the pediatrician three days after birth. The next time we went, a week later, she was already up to six pounds three ounces, and I think she’s even bigger now, though she’s nowhere near the size of the baby boy that some good friends of mine just had (nine pounds one ounce). Congrats to Jared and Mandy!

She has definitely become more alert, animated, and vocal over the course of the last three weeks. Sometimes during the day she’ll just sit in her car seat and make noises, flail her arms, and look around. It’s hard to picture her older and bigger, but I can’t wait to see how she grows and develops in the coming months! Stay tuned.

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What’s in a Name?

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Brooklyn {Mae}

Many of you have asked us about the story behind the name, so here you go. Contrary to popular belief, we did not name her after David Beckham’s son or the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model who’s married to tennis star Andy Roddick. The truth is, Carrie and I have both always liked the name Brooklyn for a girl.

Early on in our marriage when we talked about future kids names, we came up with two boys names (which we will continue to keep secret) and one girl name, Brooklyn. Hopefully our next kid is a boy.

Despite some of the celebrities that share the name, we felt that Brooklyn is still fairly uncommon for a kid’s name at this point, as opposed to Emily or Sarah or Hannah or something like that (not that those are bad names at all, but we wanted something that was at least a little bit different). Apparently, it’s 37th on the list of top girl names as of May 2010 according to the Social Security Administration.

Secondly, while it’s a little bit cheesy right now to have a girl that shares the name of a borough while we’re living in New York, we know we won’t be living here forever, and we feel like it represents an important stage in our lives together. When Carrie first moved to New York for grad school right after college, she lived in Brooklyn for a year. It wasn’t long after she moved into an apartment in Manhattan when I re-met her and we started dating. Since all of our dating/engaged/married years have been in New York, we thought Brooklyn would always be a good representation of that, especially since she was born here. And we didn’t think Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, or Long Island would fit very well.

While we decided on the first name pretty easily, the middle name took a lot more time. We were trying to figure out what went well in between Brooklyn and Potts and originally had thought Marie. But we weren’t completely sold on it and it had no significance to either of us. Then, I found out that my grandmother’s middle name was Mae, and we decided that would be the perfect conjunction for Brooklyn and Potts. It was similar to Marie and flows with the rest of the name perfectly, plus it honors an amazing woman who had a profound impact on my life.

I wish Carrie had gotten to spend more time with grandma, and I really wish she was still around to meet Brooklyn, but Carrie knows through the stories I’ve told what she meant to me, and now our daughter will be able to carry on her legacy at least in name. I can only hope and pray she grows up to be the woman grandma was.

A Look Back at Week One

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A few days ago, I posted the birth story and promised that Carrie’s version would follow. Well, it’s still on it’s way, but she hasn’t had much time to write it in the past week in between feeding Brooklyn and trying to get some sleep. So while we wait for that, I’ve decided to give a one-week update.

Brooklyn was born a little over a week ago and I can’t believe she’s growing up so fast! She’s going to be going away to college and dating guys before we know it. But seriously, she does feel like she has grown a little bit since last Friday (or maybe my arms and chest are just getting more and more tired from holding her). We won’t know for sure until next Sunday, the 27th, when we have our next appointment with the pediatrician.

Brooklyn's first cab ride

The past week has been both challenging and rewarding. We left the hospital on Sunday and Brooklyn got her first cab ride (welcome to NYC, where you don’t bring your baby home from the hospital in her car seat in your car; you either strap her car seat into a cab or take her on the subway). Bringing her home was pretty amazing. We both couldn’t believe the hospital actually let us bring this little thing home by ourselves. The first thing she got to do was meet Buddy. I was really interested in seeing how Buddy would react since he’s been used to being the center of attention the past eight months.

I had taken a class at the hospital on dogs and kids, so I learned that the best way to introduce them when you first get home is to have one person go in first, greet the dog, and let him settle down, and then the other person come in with the baby, sit down on the couch and let the dog come up to her on his own. So that’s what we did. Buddy didn’t quite know what was going on or what this little moving thing was, but he started licking her feet and was really curious. The first time she started crying, he didn’t know what to do, so he kept barking.

As the days went on and he learned that she’s here to stay, and that her crying from time to time is normal, he got used to it and is now the protective older “brother.” When we’re holding her on the couch, he loves to come up and lick her feet or hands, and see what she’s doing. When she’s sleeping in her swing in the living room, he lays right at the foot of it. When Carrie is feeding her in the bedroom, he lays at her feet. I’ve been amazed at the way he has handled this change. He gets that something is different and that he’s not the center of attention anymore. I have tried to play with him, take him to the park, and pet him as much as possible to make sure he still feels loved and important, and I think that has really helped as well.

Buddy and Brooklyn

As for Brooklyn, she obviously has no idea who or what he is, but by the time she’s able to crawl and talk, she’ll be used to him since having him around is all she has known.

We took Brooklyn to the pediatrician on Monday for the post-hospital check-up. He’s an old Jewish guy in his 70s named Dr. Gordon and came highly recommended by our doula, Tanya. His office was straight out of the 60s with a big wooden baby scale that uses the little weights to measure instead of digital. But he was very nice and we really liked him. He said he was a physicist before becoming a doctor, so he comes about everything through well thought out reasoning. Carrie described him as very non-alarmist. For every worry we had, he gave us a long reason for why we shouldn’t worry or what it meant. He did all the tests on Brooklyn and basically said everything looks great so far.

Carrie’s mom has been here since Sunday evening and has been a HUGE help. She has cooked us some great meals, helped us keep the apartment clean, helped take out Buddy, and best of all, helped take care of Brooklyn so we could get a little sleep. Since Carrie is breastfeeding, we have been sticking to an every two hours schedule during the day and stretching it to every three hours at night. So that means that Carrie has to wake up every two to three hours and spend 30-45 minutes each time feeding Brooklyn. She definitely has it worse off than I do, so I won’t even try to make my plight sound bad.

I’ve been taking the late night shift with Brooklyn since March Madness games usually go to about midnight. She sleeps on my chest or in my arms as I watch the games, upload the day’s photos or work on stuff on the computer, while Carrie sleeps. Once we get to the after midnight feedings, we put Brooklyn in her crib, or in her swing seat inside her crib, and I try to sleep. Brooklyn doesn’t like sleeping on her back in her crib yet, so that’s why we have improvised by using her swing seat inside the crib, since it vibrates and keeps her a little bit upright. Even so, she stirs a lot throughout the night, so I sleep with one eye and ear open during those hours. By 5 or 6am, Mrs. Barnes wakes up and takes the morning shift while I get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Brooklyn meets Nana and Pappy

She’s going home in a few days, and it will be just Carrie and I, and then I go back to work next Monday, the 28th, so we’ll have to figure out how to manage without her taking the morning shift, but I think we’ll be able to handle it. Carrie has been amazing performing the most important role of all – feeding Brooklyn. She sometimes reflects that life is passing her by while all she does is feeds and sleeps, but this won’t last forever and she’s doing such a good job of it. She’s sustaining our child while all I can do is hold her.

Carrie’s dad came for a one-day visit to meet Brooklyn, so that was fun. I’m glad he got to meet his first granddaughter (he already has three grandsons) this soon. Brooklyn has now gotten to meet Nana and Pappy. I can’t wait until she meets my parents in a few weeks!

Another big highlight of the week was letting Brooklyn make her March Madness picks. I laid her on her back and held up two fists in front of her and said “Duke or Hampton” and whichever hand she touched first was her pick. I did that for every game and she ended up picking Michigan over BYU in the finals. I honestly didn’t cheat or make it up…it just goes to show that she’s a Michigan fan already.

This week flew by, but it has been so amazing to hold and comfort and sustain this little girl. She’s seriously the most beautiful little thing ever and some of the faces she makes are priceless. I wish you could all see them…pictures and videos don’t do her justice. If anyone has Skype and wants to meet her that way, let me know. I’m jpotts424. We already Skyped with Aunt Jenny all the way from Dublin, Ireland, as well as my parents and Aunt Jandi in Ohio.

This past week has been amazing and I’m so thankful for work allowing paternity leave so I can take this time to comfort her and get to know her and welcome her to this world. I look forward to all of you meeting her soon. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.

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