Tuesday, December 31, 2013

a fond farewell

There have been many years that I was ready to kick out the door, but 2013 is not one of them.  This year has been good to me, to our family.  There were hard moments, of course, but overall 2013 was most defined by joy.

The first weekend of 2013 we found out we were expecting a much wanted, much loved baby.  As the year progressed, we found out that sweet baby was a boy.  We watched him grow on ultrasounds, then were privileged to welcome him to the world in September.  Since that September morning, we have rocked him, tickled him, kissed his bald head, and become enthralled by him.

2013 saw the twins grow into miniature people.  They started talking, then stringing together two words, three words, whole sentences.  They became steady climbers and jumpers, game players, adorable manipulators, and fun pretenders.

2013 saw our family move to Nashville, a wonderful and exciting move for us.  We end the year closer in proximity to dear family and friends.

And 2013 allowed Andrew and I to celebrate our 7th year of marriage.  Another year of learning to be good, kind spouses, of trying to be the best life partners we can through God's grace.  Another year of falling in love with one another, of doing our best to support one another.

Cheers to you, 2013.  2014 has a lot to live up to.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


It's been a magical week.  Celebrating Christmas, the birth of our Lord, is always the best time of the year.  The time with family, the beautiful music, the delicious food, seeing the joy of children as they discover their new treasures on Christmas morning--there's really nothing like it.  And this year, we were blessed to celebrate from two perspectives.  The twins were Christmas-obsessed this year.  From ho-ho lights, to ho-ho trees, to the ho-ho man himself, B&F have been overflowing with Christmas spirit.  Watching them anticipate the big day, seeing them learn that Christmas is Jesus' birthday, was a new and indescribable experience.  At the same time, though, nothing really compares to a baby's first Christmas.  Sharing my favorite holiday with Shepherd for the first time was such a privilege.  Getting Shepherd's first Christmas ornament, telling him the nativity story for the first time...these are moments I will treasure forever.

As always with three under three, things weren't always picture perfect.  Shepherd managed to poop himself, my dress, and the church floor during communion on Christmas Eve.  While decorating Jesus' birthday cake, B&F decided to eat icing by the handful directly off the cake, leaving the cake looking more like the surface of the moon than a kodak-ready dessert.  There were meltdowns and boo-boos and moments of extreme overstimulation.  But in the midst of it all, this Christmas more than ever before I was struck over and over again by how much God must love us.

We say it so often--God sent his Son to earth--that maybe it loses its power at times.  You see, God sent Jesus here, to our world, to be born as an infant.  Jesus was a newborn.  He was squishy and had that adorable newborn not-quite-cry.  He and Mary had to figure out breastfeeding and sleeping and all the other things new families muddle through.  And God watched all of this.  He saw his little boy, who I realize he already loved fully, as a newborn baby.  And I can't help but imagine that He fell in love with His son just a tiny bit more.  And Jesus was a toddler.  He wobbled as he learned to walk, he bumped his head on everything in sight.  He began uttering words, then stringing words into sentences that probably only his parents could understand.  And God watched...and fell in love a teeny bit more.  God watched his precious Son grow from a tiny baby into a man, all the while knowing his fate.  Through every sweet moment, God knew that Jesus was destined to be killed.

As I watched my three kids this Christmas, nearly paralyzed by my love for them, this fact kept running through my mind.  God sent his precious newborn son to us that first Christmas day knowing how the story would end.  I know the depth of a parent's love.  I know the future I hope for for my little ones.  God must love us so very, very deeply.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

3 months

As of yesterday, my little Shepherd is 3 months old!  It's hard to believe that a quarter of a year has already passed...the months are going so quickly this time.

Shepherd is so very strong and alert.  He loves to look around, and especially loves to watch his brother & sister.  His favorite thing is to lie flat on the couch with either mom or dad looking over him talking to him.  He is already ticklish, and he has graced us with a few sweet giggles, which is pretty much the best sound ever.  When he's happy, he's very happy, beaming with giant gummy smiles.  He is starting to love the play mat, and can even manage to grab the ring toys sometimes.  He is very tolerant of B&F's antics, for which we are very thankful.  And he loves for mom to sing him the itsy bitsy spider.

A week ago, he weighed 12 pounds 7 ounces.  At that point we were able to increase his reflux medication, and that has made such a difference in his demeanor.  He is so much happier!  It is wonderful to know that he is in less pain...seeing him hurt is so very hard on us.

We are incredibly thankful for this adorable little man.  He is oh so precious, and we couldn't be more in love.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

our advent art

It's advent.  God tells us that advent is a time of waiting, being still, preparing our hearts for the Lord.  Pinterest and facebook, however, tell a different story.  If you follow many moms on social media, you know that advent has become a peak season in the world of competitive parenting.  Preparing for Christmas is filled with purchasing perfect red outfits, getting the best Santa photo, and of course creating pinterest worthy crafts with our little ones.  After all, it's not Christmas without a handmade felt tree and a perfect reindeer footprint. 

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these activities.  Sharing the magic of Santa as you wait in line to meet him, spending time sitting together and creating a Christmas craft, these are good things.  These are some great moments in parenting.  The problem creeps in when we are too focused on choosing an instagram filter to notice how amazed our toddler is by the texture of cotton balls.  Or even worse, when we fail to even try to make a special moment because we know our effort won't look like anything on our "holiday" pinterest board. 

As a recovering perfectionist, this is one of my struggles: learning that B&F don't need a picture perfect effort, that they are so proud of the result no matter how crazy it looks.  But with three under three, I'm learning to embrace their perspective a bit more.  As advent began this year, I browsed through all the adorable things I had pinned over the year.  And then I returned to real life.  So for our first advent art project, we made cookies.  Slice and bakes, to be exact.  I sliced them onto a cookie sheet and let the twins cover them in store-bought Christmas sprinkles.  And....they loved it!  For the 15 minutes we were decorating those cookies and talking about how we cook things, they thought I was an awesome mom.  Our next advent art was painting ornaments....that I bought at the craft store.  I literally peeled a sticker off each ornament and plopped out some finger paint.  And the twins were AMAZED.  So far, other projects have included decorating paper trees and ornaments from the Target dollar section, coloring pages from our Christmas coloring book, and literally gluing cotton balls onto a purple piece of paper (this was snow art on the day it snowed, and was actually a crowd favorite).  Trust me when I say that none of these would be pin-worthy.  Not even close.  But my kids loved each project.  They loved having me sit at their mini table.  They loved having my full attention.  They loved talking about Christmas and trees and ornaments and Jesus' birthday.  And isn't that the point?  Isn't the point of this season to slow down enough to love our family well, to treasure the gifts God has given us, to take the time to talk to our little ones about precious baby Jesus.

So mommy friends, remember that your kids don't need a pinterest Christmas.  They just need you.  If your reindeer rolo/pretzel creations turn out less than recognizable, who cares!  Kids enjoy the process, not the result, and we would be wise to remember that.  In fact, perhaps we should ban pictures of crafting results, and instead only capture those precious process moments.  The way our little ones look when they are trying to figure out the perfect place for their next spot of glue.  Their pride when they pour sprinkles on their cookies all by themselves.  The way their face lights up when you tell them how much dad will love seeing their latest creation when he gets home from work.   Perhaps there should be a pinterest board for that.

Friday, December 13, 2013


Despite the twins' obsession with all things Santa, they were still terrified to see the big guy in person.  Mom & Dad were forced to be part of this year's picture and we still couldn't manage pleasant faces.  Nonetheless, it was a successful meeting.  Shep thought Santa was super fun, and B&F talked to him a bit from a distance after the picture, telling him they wanted toys and confirming that they like trains and dolls.  And they are loving looking at their "ho ho" picture, so perhaps they enjoyed it more than their faces imply.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

that mom

On Friday, I was that mom.  The one that everyone stares at like she has no clue what she is doing.  Like she has one (or three) too many children.  Like maybe she should just lock herself in her house until her youngest gets to kindergarten.

Shepherd has been more difficult lately.  Over the past several days, his colic/screaming/whatever it is seems to have gotten significantly worse.  On top of that, he is spitting up more than ever.  Fun times.*  B&F, though, still want to go at their usual speed.  Too many days without an out-of-the-house activity results in stir crazy twins.  So Friday they decided they wanted to go out to lunch, which is usually a pretty easy thing to accomplish.  The problem this Friday was that it was cold and pouring rain.  Not the best conditions for getting three children out of a car.  What was my solution?  Go to the mall and park in the garage!  Genius, right?  Apparently everyone else in Nashville had the same idea. 

We got to the mall and circled the garage, finding absolutely no where to park.  I then tried to convince B&F that Panera was closed and we would have to go to a different restaurant.  They didn't buy it.  When we finally found a spot, we proceeded to have a near tragedy when a guy in an SUV that could seriously hold an elephant almost backed into our stroller (which was currently holding the twins) as I got Shepherd out of the car.  I beat on his window, but he failed to stop or apparently care.  Finally in the safety of the mall, Shepherd began screaming.  And screaming.  And screaming.  I wrangled a double stroller through a single door, ordered food, and located the only available table (which was "conveniently" located in the very middle of the restaurant and not near any large aisles), all while holding a screaming two month old.  And everyone stared.  The entire restaurant was literally glaring at us.

Luckily, a few people did more than stare.  One nice man went to get our food when our buzzer went off.  When B's milk straw broke, thereby causing a true toddler fit, two different ladies got us new straws (the first lady brought the wrong size straw, increasing the volume of the fit).  And upon our exit, which I'm sure everyone was cheering, one couple helped with the door and putting away the trays.  Yes, we had lots of helpers pop up, and I was so very grateful for them.  But more people just stared, not even offering a smile.

Y'all, it was an ugly scene.  At one point, I literally started crying in Panera.  Yes, tears fell down my face and onto my dairy-free baguette.  So what's the point of this story?  The point is that we can all be the helper in this story.  If we are out and see a mom or a dad or an older person who seems a bit frazzled, it takes minimal effort to offer to grab her food for her.  Or ask if you can go to the drink station for her.  Or go get her toddler a new milk straw.  Or, if our own hands are full of our own problems, at least offer her a knowing, "you can do this" sort of smile.  Because sometimes we can all use a little help.  A tiny act of kindness can be just the thing an exhausted mom needs.   

*In all seriousness, we are quite worried about our sweet Shepherd.  I just make light of it because it helps me cope with the constant screaming.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


*Just saw that this failed to go through on Thanksgiving day.*

Things have been a bit stressful for the Shafer family lately. We managed to cram three huge life changes into three short weeks (new baby, new town, new job). We have two houses for sale. We have been living amidst boxes with three tiny people who seemed determined not to let us unpack. It's safe to say that life hasn't exactly felt stable lately.

So sadly, I needed this reminder to stop and be thankful, for even in the craziness my life is insanely blessed. I got to carry and give birth to my beautiful Shepherd this year. I have three amazing, healthy children. I have two-year-olds that make me laugh every single day. I have a devoted, incredible husband who I could never deserve. I have the special opportunity to spend my days with my little ones. I am living in a city and state I love. And above all, I have a good and faithful and stable God.

Yes, I have so very much to be grateful for today and everyday. Sometimes I just need to be reminded.

our child of God

On Saturday, Andrew and I had the privilege of watching as Shepherd was baptized.  It was truly glorious.  We were surrounded by family and dear friends as we formally introduced our son to our faith.  Baptism is a sacrament, an outward and visible sign of God's grace.  Watching as the holy water was poured on his head, seeing our son clothed in pure white, God's grace was both apparent and abundant.  Through Shepherd, God has continued to bless our family beyond our wildest dreams.  It was an honor to recognize, in front of our loved ones, that Shepherd truly belongs to the Lord...we are just lucky enough to parent him here.

Father Joe McMahon, a priest who grew up with Andrew's mom and her family, presided.  Accordingly, the baptism was uniquely personal, with Father Joe including anecdotes from the Coulter family as well as a quote from Emil Shepherd, the man for whom Shepherd is named.  Emil apparently was known to say that "each child brings its own loaf of bread."  Isn't that so true?  Doesn't God somehow provide for each blessed child that is added to our life?  When we don't think we possibly have any more time or heart or money or energy, the addition of another child reveals our hidden reserves.  I know that Shepherd has opened my heart and spirit in new ways, and I thank our God for the gift of this precious child.

getting all dressed up

plotting to disrupt the ceremony

proud parents

the entire shafer family

my sweet sister who flew in just for the baptism

can you tell i love this boy?

the godparents, Will Coulter and Ashley Coulter

"a baby who cries at his baptism will fight for his faith"

barnes was quite friendly during the ceremony

and of course, a party to follow!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

naming our son

Choosing a name is difficult.  For Andrew and me, we strive to choose a name that is unique, yet classic.  We want the name to have meaning, to have a story.  We want our children to be able to understand and be proud of where their names come from, and we choose to honor our family heritage by taking names from our familial line.  We hope that Shepherd Louis will one day understand the meaning of his name and feel connected to the men who inspired it.

Emil Shepherd Davis
Emil Shepherd Davis was Andrew's maternal great-grandfather.  Emil was quiet and stern, but kind. He was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on November 27, 1894.  He was very involved in his Catholic parish, starting the Knights of Columbus there and collecting "pew rent."  He was a manager at Standard Coosa Thatcher textile mill, and that job took him to Cuba quite often.  Accordingly, he loved a good cigar.

During his lifetime, he had 18 grandkids living in Chattanooga (including Andrew's mother Anne). Each Easter he would hide eggs all over his yard, and the grandchild who was lucky enough to find the golden egg received a dollar from Emil.  His grandkids called him "grandpa."  He and his wife, Katherine, often took Anne and one of her brothers on drives to give her parents a bit of a break.

Though Emil Shepherd Davis was the source of the name, Shepherd also has beautiful spiritual significance.  Shepherds are ever-present in the history of both the Christian and Jewish faith. Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David were all described as shepherds.  Moreover, on that magnificent night when Jesus entered this world as an infant, his birth was first announced to the shepherds in fields nearby.  And what was their response?  They went immediately to find Jesus, then told others all they had seen, and finally returned to their home glorifying and praising God (Luke 2:8-20).  I cannot think of a better example for our son.

Louis Shafer
 Louis Shafer was Jeff's dad, Andrew's grandfather.  Like his son, Louis was a talker with lots of personality.  People loved being around him.  He had a wonderful sense of humor and could find the fun in people and situations.

Louis worked in publishing, and he worked on all kinds of books, but spent a large portion of time working on Bibles.  Although he himself was Jewish, he was a student of the Bible and knew it very well.  Louis was quite artistic.  He designed many book covers, and he loved to paint.  He painted with oils and signed all of his works "Luigi" in one corner, and he painted a red rose in the other corner.

Louis loved food.  Every night he asked his wife what was for dessert, as he needed "something cool to push down dinner."  He enjoyed playing and watching golf, loving it most when he was able to play with Jeff.

More than anything else, though, Louis loved his family.  He was a devoted father.  At Jeff and Anne's wedding he served as best man, because he was truly Jeff's best friend.  We pray that Louis's devotion to his family will serve as a guidepost for Shepherd throughout his life.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

incredibly average

Great news, my friends!  Shepherd is average!  I know that's not something we often strive to be, but getting an "average grade" at Shep's two month appointment made this mommy feel oh so proud.  At two months, Shepherd is 22.75 inches long (50th percentile) and weighs 11 pounds 2.5 ounces (50th percentile).  I just love hearing that my baby boy is healthy and strong and growing!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Shepherd will be 8 weeks old tomorrow, but we are definitely still in that newborn haze.  So it wasn't surprising when I woke up this morning and, instead of accompanying Andrew and the twins to church, decided to stay home for some special mommy/baby time.

But while cuddling and feeding my sweet boy, something felt different.  It felt like more than exhaustion tugging at my heart.  When Shepherd fell asleep on my shoulder, instead of putting him down like usual to get a few things accomplished I just kept holding him.  When the hauntingly beautiful song "Hallelujah" came on Sunday Morning, the involuntary tears felt like more than nursing hormones.  And then it hit me....three years ago today was the beginning of the end of our third pregnancy.  It was the day I got my third abysmal initial blood test result.

I recently received a text from a dear friend.  While she has a beautiful daughter, the text was about her other little one--the one she never met.  It was the anniversary of the due date of her first pregnancy, and no matter how much joy her little girl brings every day, that specific day brought its own brand of sadness.  A mommy's heart never forgets.  While I'm sure that dads feel and remember each lost child in their own ways, it's different for moms.  The babies we didn't get to meet live with us always.  Even when we aren't seeking to remember, we cannot forget their short but important lives.  They were part of us, part of our bodies, for days or weeks or months, and their memories and milestones are imprinted on our souls.

Any parent can attest that our living children aren't always easy.  While they bring us so much joy, they also bring their fair share of hard days and impossible moments.  The children we lose are in many ways the same, just reversed a bit.  Most of my memories of them are difficult, bringing pain and unanswerable questions.  But somehow they also manage to sometimes bring a sense of joy and peace. This morning, as I remembered the implications of this day, I felt the same longings I always do.  But as I stared into Shepherd's sleeping face, I also found light.  Remembering the third child I lost reminded me of just how amazing it is that I can cuddle my third living child.  Out of the darkness of loss I was brought to the fullness of family.  Hallelujah, my friends.  Hallelujah.

"It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah."  -Leonard Cohen

Thursday, November 7, 2013

we love fall

watching tennessee football.  we have to entertain ourselves since the team isn't too great.

playing in the leaves.

staying cozy in my bear hat.

spending lots of time outside.

helping dad with chores.

taking tummy time to the outdoors.

learning to hold baby brother.

figuring out "smiling" for the camera.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

happy halloween

Our little m&ms/ skeletons hope you had a wonderful Halloween!  While Shepherd wasn't too into the action yet, Barnes & Frances got pretty excited about trick-or-treating and candy.  They were jumping and dancing and spinning until 7:00...way past their normal bedtime!  Hope your day was as sweet and fun as ours.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

good, but not always easy

"Is he a good baby?"

Why do we do this to one another? Why do we ask questions to which an honest answer may make the parent feel inadequate?

Much like the common "how are you," to which the only expected/accepted response is "fine," people love to ask new parents if their baby is "good."  In fairness, they mean no harm.  I'm fairly certain they mean something akin to easy...does he not cry too much and eat and sleep appropriately.  Yet when they phrase it this way, when they use the word "good," it feels wrong to not answer in the affirmative.

My friends, Shepherd is good.  He is good in that he is a sweet, tiny, adorable person who embodies the miracle of life.  He is good in that he is a beloved child of God, a gift from our Heavenly Father.  He is good in that we love him more than life itself.  But as good as he is, he hasn't proven to be the easiest baby.

For about 10 days, he pretty much slept, ate, and screamed.  The days felt long, with never enough time or arms to comfort him and give the twins the attention they crave.  It was hard.  It didn't feel "good."  Luckily, after some dietary changes, he is much more content and even inching closer to easy.  He still likes to be held pretty much all of the time, which is challenging when you're also chasing two 2-year-olds, but the screaming has seriously decreased.  Definitely closer to easy.

So because I can't be the only one with a good baby who is less than easy, maybe we should rephrase the small talk we make with new parents.  Perhaps we can ask a more general "how are you" or "how's the baby," a question that allows the parent to reveal as much or little about their new life as they desire without feeling like a fibber.  Maybe we can even throw in a "newborns can be quite difficult," making it easier to admit that caring for their precious child sometimes feels impossible.  And hopefully, however they choose to answer, we can truly listen.  Listen and encourage.  Because all babies are good.  But parents sometimes need the space to share that even good babies aren't always easy.

my good little Shepherd

Monday, October 14, 2013

the first real week

Between paternity leave and moving, Andrew had three full weeks off for Shepherd's birth.  They may have been crazy weeks, but they were glorious nonetheless.  Three entire weeks of two parents at home.  For the most part, we split up kid duty--one parent took the twins, the other took Shep.  But that all ended last Monday.  It was time for dad to go to work.

Last week was my first official week as a stay-at-home mom of three children under three.  It was both better and worse than I expected.  There were moments of bliss...really.  There were times when the big kids were great and the little guy was great all at once. There were 5 minute periods when all three were asleep at the same time.  There were precious moments of sneaking up on the twins just staring at their new brother.  But there were also times when I thought I must have lost my mind.  The first afternoon, we decided to take a walk once dad got home and locked ourselves out of the house...only to figure out how to break into the basement and call to cancel the locksmith...only to figure out we were still locked out of the main floor and have to recall the locksmith....only to realize the front door had been unlocked for four days and re-cancel the locksmith.  There was the next day, when I literally locked my three week old in the house (thank goodness dad works just minutes away).  There were many moments when all three were screaming, or when the twins were seconds from breaking some valuable piece of baby equipment, or when I needed desperately to pump but had no way to wrangle three kids while attaching myself to my lovely yellow machine.

Despite all the crazy, we made it.  That's what matters.  We figured out how to get out of the house with three kids (and we got of the house a lot).  We figured out the best times for mom to pump.  We found our new library and a few parks that we like.  And somehow mom even managed to shower each day.  We made it, and we are learning to love it collectively as much as we love each of these little ones individually.

Here a few phone pictures from our first official week:
lots of cuddling
art time

first lunch at panera
hello little brother

started week two off well with a trip to donut den

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Expectations.  They get us every time.  Shepherd was supposed to be my full-term baby who nursed like a dream.  I was so looking forward to needing nothing but myself to feed him, to having those sweet moments with him.  Yesterday, though, those expectations had to be adjusted.

At two weeks old, Shepherd has lost 10 ounces.  Our pediatrician gave us a few things to try to attempt to find the problem.  After offering a bottle and pumping post feeding, it was obvious that Shepherd just wasn't eating from the breast.  For the past two weeks, he's been taking in enough to stay hydrated but not enough to grow.  For two weeks now, he's been nursing all the time but not actually eating.  To get him healthy and growing, then, his days at the breast are most likely over.  I'm pumping...again.  I swore I wouldn't pump again, but I want to give this little guy the best possible nutrition.  I know I won't be able to keep up with his demand, but I'll try my best for as long as it works.

Last night and this morning I was seriously depressed.  This was not the plan.  But then I saw that my sweet baby boy is happier because he is not so hungry.  And then I remembered the yearning I felt last fall and winter--the yearning for a baby, not the yearning to breastfeed.  Sure, it would be great to breastfeed my little boy...but I have a little boy.  Shepherd is perfect and healthy and here.  And that was the dream.  Whether he's fed by breast or pumped milk or formula, he is the dream.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

milk and friends

Ugh.  Making milk is complicated.  Despite the "naturalness" of breastfeeding, it doesn't always come so naturally. 

We started strong.  In the hospital, little Shepherd was latching and eating like a champ.  Then the problems started.....extreme overproduction, which led to constant engorgement, which led to clogged ducts, which led to mastitis, with some cracking thrown in along the way.  To add insult to injury, after a week of painful feeds, Shepherd gained zero ounces.  Awesome.  It's getting better.  The antibiotics have definitely helped, and we are figuring out ways to cope, but it's still not exactly great.  Once we get going, though, and I look down at my sweet son, I love it.  That's why we're still trying.  I love feeding Shepherd.

In the midst of the breastfeeding conundrum, I've been lucky to have different kinds of support.  Friends who research potential solutions and spend as much time trying to figure it all out as I do.  Friends who tell me to send Andrew to the store for a bottle of formula.  Friends who encourage me to keep pushing.  Friends who tell me it's okay to stop pushing.  Isn't that what we need in life?  Friends that remind us that we are okay.  That we are enough, that we are trying hard enough.  As my friends support me in their own unique ways, I am reminded of one of my great wishes for my children.  I pray that, as they grow, they find a community of friends to love and encourage them.  That they have friends they can call when life is just too much.  Even more, I pray that they are those friends to others.  That they always choose kindness and compassion and encouragement. 

And at this exact moment, I pray that Shepherd and I get the nursing thing under control.

Monday, September 23, 2013

one week

Shepherd is one week old today.  We've had this precious little soul in our family for one whole week.

Life as a family of five is a little crazy.  Barnes & Frances have been particularly rambunctious.  I think their status upgrade to big brother/sister has gone to their heads a bit, as they've been making jokes, purposely rolling head first off beds, asking for popsicles before God is awake, and generally being sassier and funnier than ever.  Despite the nuttiness, we are loving this new version of our family.

Shepherd is just perfect.  He has the most adorable face.  He loves to be cuddled.  He really enjoys mealtime.  He tolerates his brother and sister's loud noises, as well as his crazy dogs' barking.  He looks so, so much like his brother did as a baby.  He smells amazing.  Of course, he has his quirks.  He despises diaper changes.  He would prefer to never have his clothes changed.  He wants to be held most of the time, which isn't always great at night.  Nonetheless, he is still perfect.  And he is perfectly ours.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

shepherd louis shafer

We are thrilled to announce that Shepherd Louis Shafer was born on Monday, September 16th at 8:04 am.  He weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces, was 19.25 inches long, and came into the world with an off the chart head at 14.5 in.  He made sure we knew that his lungs were working for his first 30 minutes or so of life, but since then has been the sweetest, best baby.  We are so in love.

I will never be able to describe how magical his birthday was for me.  From the moment we checked into the hospital, everything was bliss.  The team in the delivery room made sure all of my wishes were known and respected, including taking photos of him actually being born, getting to touch him while he was still gooey, and never having my arms strapped down so I could stroke his beautiful face.  Andrew never had to leave his side, sticking with him through the OR, recovery, and first bath.  I was able to nurse within his first hour of life.  It was beautiful and amazing and everything a birthday should be.  I feel so humbled to have had this experience with him. 

Three healthy children.  We could not be more blessed.