Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Letter to my First-Born son, Hogan.

A letter to my first-born son, Hogan.

My sweet, handsome, little man.  I can't begin to put into words the love I have for you.  You will hear that same saying throughout your life when parents are referring to their own children, just know it's true.  You will learn this one day if you ever have children of your own.  I would start off by telling you about all of the countless, sleepless nights that your dad and I had while trying to get you to go to sleep, but the truth is, you love to sleep!  You've fallen asleep on your own at nap time and bedtime since you were a couple of months old.  There have only been a handful of those sleepless nights that I mentioned, but they are now cherished memories that neither of us will ever forget.  I will tell you that one of those nights was the first night we brought you home from the hospital.  You cried all night.  All.  Night.  Your dad did most of the comforting and consoling of you, as I was still recovering from your birth, so it is him you need to thank for getting us through those first, few nights.  (You really  need to thank him.)  Now, he may or may not have asked in a firm, but loving voice, "What is wrong with you?!," but now that is also a cherished memory and we still love to laugh about that first night at home with you as new parents.  Just know that we consider ourselves pros now, as I'm sure most second-time parents do, so Watson may not have any of those funny memories like that.  I'm sure he will have his moments though.

I think about these last sixteen months and cannot believe how you have changed from the 8.9 lb baby that we brought home to the 31 lb boy that loves to give sugars and hugs without even being asked.  I'm proud of your dad and myself for making it through your first year without any disagreements about major things when it concerned you.  He was and still is very supportive of every decision I make for you as your mother and I need to thank him more for that.  You have the kind of dad that lots of kids dream of having.  I'm not just saying that for you to read and forget, I'm telling you because you need to know how much your dad loves you.

Mama's Ear:

One of the first things I noticed about you when you were born is the tiny point you have on your right ear.  It is subtle, but definitely there.  It is sweet to me that you have that distinctive characteristic and I hope you know that I find it utterly adorable.  I think about when you're older, much, much older, and you are dating. I'm sure someday, some other girl will fall in love with everything about you and she will love your pointy ear as much as I love it.  


I hope you never grow out of your sweet, loving self.  I hope you always want to give your dad and I a kiss and hug when we leave.  I hope you always smile that huge smile when we get home and you see us for the first time.  I hope you always love us the way you love us now.  I can't tell you how great you make us feel when you show affection to us when we are least expecting it.  Never lose that quality.  You have one of the sweetest hearts I've ever seen and I hope you keep it forever.  Never let the world change who you are.


I hope that you always have the compassion and love for animals that you show towards Bogey.  He's been your best friend since day one and he will be your best friend until his doggy time on Earth is finished.  You smile and laugh more for and at Bogey than you do for anyone else.  You take care of him and give him treats better than anyone!  He loves you more than anyone.  He may run when you have a golf club in your hand, but we all do.  You are dangerous with those clubs sometimes.  Bogey will always be your first pet and I hope you never forget him, although I don't think that's possible.

We Love You: 

Today is my due date.  We will more than likely have baby Watson tomorrow.  This is your last night as an only child.  I hope your first sixteen months have been marvelous and I hope that you will love your new brother as soon as you see him.  I love you both very much and can't wait to watch the two of you grow up together.  It may take a while for you to get used to him, but it will happen.  You will have fights and you will argue, that's what brothers do.  He will break your Ninja Turtle when he gets mad at you, that's also what brothers do.  He will sneak in your room in the middle of the night to sleep with you because he's scared of the monsters in his room.  He will tell you all of his secrets.  You will tell him all of yours.  He will wear your new shirt before you get to wear it and you will get mad at him, you may even punch him.  You are his big brother.  You are the one that will have to threaten to "beat up" whoever is being mean to him.  You will always take up for him.  There will be plenty of laughter and tears between the two of you throughout the years, but you will always have a life-long best friend in each other.  Always love him.  You are both my little boys and I can't wait to watch the two of you grow up into fine, young men.

I love you, Hogan.  You're my first-born son, the one that taught me how to be a mom, the one that showed me what loving a child of your own really feels like.  You're my baby boy.  I love you and having another baby will never change that, it just makes me love you more!  


Monday, November 25, 2013

Preparing Your Dog for a New Baby

 Preparing Your Dog for a New Baby

This was Bogey about a week before
we knew we were pregnant!
There are so many things to worry about when you're expecting a child.  If you have a dog, that's just one more thing to add to the list.  "How will my dog react to a baby being in the home?"  I remember when I was expecting Hogan and I would get asked, "Are you getting rid of your dog?" or "You're going to have to get rid of your dog!"  Ummm, NO!!!  I had no intentions of getting 'rid' of Bogey.  Wes and I got him about a month after we got married and had only had him for about three months when we found out we were expecting.  Bogey was still very much a baby and he needed a lot of our attention.  I was planning on giving him all of the attention we could spare until we had Hogan.  Here is how we chose to prepare and introduce our dog, Bogey, to Hogan, our first baby.

During the Pregnancy:

I have tons and tons of pictures of Bogey laying on my stomach while I was pregnant with Hogan.  He had never shown any interest in laying on my belly until after we knew I was pregnant.  He did it the whole nine months.  This confirmed to me that he knew there was something coming.  I really do believe in 'dog senses' after seeing how Bogey handles pregnancy.

Three Months Pregnant
Four Months Pregnant
Five Months Pregnant
Six Months Pregnant
Seven Months Pregnant
Eight Months Pregnant
Two Weeks Before Hogan was Born
Two Days before Hogan was Born

As you can see, Bogey loved Hogan before he was even born.  I love how he would lay on my belly any chance he would get and I never got mad at him for doing it.  It was his way of bonding with the new baby and I didn't want to interfere with that.  I definitely think this helped Bogey prepare for what was to come and to know that we still loved him even though we were bringing home 'another' baby.

The Nursery & Bogey

Some people say that the nursery should be off-limits for the dog.  We never made our nursery 'off-limits' because we never wanted Bogey to feel like he was being left out of anything.  He loves going in the nursery and being the first one to see Hogan when he wakes up in the mornings and Hogan is always watching the door for Bogey after I walk in the room.  If Bogey isn't following me, he starts saying his name wondering why Bogey didn't come greet him.  It really is the sweetest thing.  Bogey would go in the nursery and just walk around in it even before Hogan was born.  Here are some pictures of us putting Hogan's furniture up in his room.  Bogey had to be right in the middle of all of the action.  We moved in the middle of my pregnancy, so that's why the nursery looks different in the last picture.

Unpacking the furniture!
Watching Wes intently.
Who's this handsome fella?
Won't leave Wes' side.
Almost done!
Just waiting on the baby now.......

Bringing Home Baby:

This was a little different for us because we were living in Birmingham when Hogan was born, but we decided to have him in Florence so that our family could all be there and help us out.  So when we brought Hogan 'home,' it was to Wes' mom's house for the first three weeks.  Wes' grandparents were keeping Bogey for us at the time.  So when Hogan came home, Bogey was still staying at a different house.  On his second day home, Wes' grandad brought Bogey over to meet Hogan for the first time.

The first time they met was funny.  We just held Bogey in front of him and let him sniff out what this whole baby thing was all about.  Bogey was very interested in Hogan, but Hogan just wanted to be left alone!  Too funny!  I guess Hogan's first impression of Bogey wasn't too great!

Their first time seeing each other!

When we finally went home three weeks after Hogan's birth, we had already decided to let Bogey get as close to Hogan as he wanted, as long as he was just sniffing of him.  We just wanted him to get used to the smell of Hogan and know that it was ok to go near him.  We never wanted him to feel like he was going to be in trouble for exploring Hogan.  He was just a curious dog wanting to know who this new person was that was now taking up all of his cuddle time!

This was how Bogey rode the whole way from Florence to Birmingham.  He could not wait to get home so he could check Hogan out some more.

I want to see him!!
As soon as we got home, I took Hogan and Bogey both in the nursery and we all sat in the glider.  I was just reaffirming to Bogey that is was still ok to go in the nursery.

My two, baby boys.
Bogey and Hogan love each other and have had a special bond since I was pregnant with him.  Here are several pictures of them throughout Hogan's first few months.

Always protecting him while he sleeps.
They always wanted to be in my lap at the same time.
"I'm watching you."
"I'm still watching you."
Nap time in Mom's lap.
Sleeping buddies.
Nap time on the couch with Dad.
He would always smile at Bogey no matter what.
Little Brother & Big Brother
Dad's boys.
As you can see, they have always loved each other and that love grows stronger each day.  I love watching them play all day.  It is a pleasure to witness such sweetness.


Now, don't get me wrong, Bogey loves Hogan, but there is a little jealousy.  He never got jealous about us holding Hogan or paying him more attention than Bogey.  He would get jealous of Hogan's toys and baby gear.  So he did what any jealous sibling would do, he took it and used it.  

The first thing he became jealous over was the paci.  He quickly found out that he was not allowed to chew up every paci that Hogan had!

He rolls over and plays dead when he gets caught doing something bad.
The next thing was the stuffed animals!

Bad Bogey
Then it was the blanky.

so comfy.
Then is was the Boppy.  This was the big one.  Anytime the Boppy was out and Hogan wasn't using it, Bogey was occupying it.  He loved it.  We let him enjoy the Boppy because it was harmless, but I think he enjoyed it a little too much!

Baby Number 2:

We are currently expecting our second baby, another boy, Watson.  Bogey has taken up the role of laying on my stomach nonstop again and is just as attached to Watson as he was to Hogan.  Here are some pictures.

They both still love being in my lap at the same time.  I don't know if there is room for three!


After I noticed the bond that Hogan and Bogey shared, I came across a website for dog lovers and I shared some pictures with them.  They loved the two of them so much that they asked me to send pictures of the two of them together whenever I could.  So I would occasionally send them pictures of Hogan and Bogey.  They featured this article on them back in September.  

Go check it out and take a look at their website if you're a dog lover!


I video Hogan and Bogey all of the time.  Here are some of my favorite videos!

This one was when Hogan was about six months old.  He had just started cackling and we could hardly ever get him to do it for us.  Leave it to Bogey to make him laugh better than anyone!

Bogey does not eat 'human' food.  He is strictly on a dog food and treats diet.  Well, Hogan doesn't seem to care.  He thinks Bogey deserves some snacks!

He loves giving Bogey sugars!!


I don't really have a 'list' of things that you should do to help get your dog ready for a baby, but hopefully our experience with Bogey and Hogan will help you out.  Every article or blog that I read while I was pregnant and trying to decide what to do, would always say, "Never let your dog go in the nursery" or "Never let your dog lick the baby" or "Never this, Never that."  It was always just never, never, never.  It made me nervous, but we decided to do things the way we wanted and it has turned out great.  I just hope Watson loves Bogey as much as Hogan loves him.  I'm sure there will be plenty of fights between them on whose room Bogey gets to sleep in when they get older!

My favorite picture of the two of them.

Thanks for stopping by!
xoxo - Andee