Evie and Rett’s Birth Story

These two little cuties are more than four months old! wow! Like everyone says, time flies! Especially when you are sleep deprived and just trying to push forward each day… Computer time has been nearly impossible, but I have worked to write down my birth experience as accurately as possible … Enjoy!


After a blood pressure scare on Thursday, July 13th, I woke up at 2:30 am on Sunday morning (July 16th, four weeks before their due date and my twin brothers’ birthday!) to pee and my water broke when I sat up! Travis and I were at NYU Langone Medical Center by 5 am. I was only 4 cm dilated when we arrived, but the contractions were coming fast and steady. I opted for an epidural at the strong suggestion of everyone (due to the risky nature of a twin delivery) and it made the entire birth process pretty easy. Crazy, I know! The time passed extremely quickly — I only found time to listen to a few songs from the Moana soundtrack! — and we were in the operating room to deliver by 10 am. Rett was born at 10:32 am, was crying immediately, and was put on my chest while I continued to birth Evie. She was born 15 minutes later at 10:47. There WAS pain during the birth, but I was a lot less scared than during my birth of Kenneth. I just tried to go with the flow and stay calm. It all happened so fast and I was thrilled once they were both born! The joy was diminished a bit when Evie had to be taken to the NICU for breathing support, but she strengthened quickly and they were both home by Wednesday night.


The lead up…

The end of my pregnancy got very difficult. By 36 weeks, I was extremely swollen and unable to really move around. Even turning over in bed was getting impossible and I was getting up to pee every hour at night. At my 36 week doctor’s appointment on Thursday, July 13th, I had high blood pressure (140/100!) and was checked into the hospital for the evening to be monitored. Thankfully my BP went down quickly, but I went home instructed to monitor it all weekend. My mom was with me for the whole thing and we couldn’t quite decide if I was going to deliver any minute or if I was destined to go full term like she had with her twins. BUT, it seemed like my body was reaching its limit of how much it could take. In my own head, I was determined to make it to 36 weeks (that Saturday) since it is a general benchmark of health for twins… Perhaps my mind is stronger than I realize!

Labor at home…

On Sunday morning, July 16th, at 2:30 am I woke up for one of my many trips to the bathroom, but when I sat up I felt my water break. I was fairly certain about what had happened, but I still felt a little apprehensive about waking Travis or calling the doctor. But more water continued to gush out randomly, so I decided to call the doctor and jump in the shower. The hospital call service said that the doctor would call me back and I wasn’t having very noticeable contractions at first, so I was unsure of how long I had to dilly dally. Contractions did start, but they were really hard to track… I decided to wake Travis up around 3:30. We gathered a few things for our hospital bag, then went downstairs and had a little breakfast. My mom came down because she heard the commotion. Thank goodness she was in town to stay with Ken! That was one of my biggest worries leading up to the birth, how we would take care of Ken. I’m so thankful I could leave him with my mom!

My doctor hadn’t called back and my contractions were getting painful and way more regular (maybe 3 minutes apart), and my mom was getting worried about us making it to the hospital in time, so I called the hospital back. The nurse (?) who answered told me to come in as quickly as we safely could! Travis and I were in the car by 4:30 and were at the hospital (NYU Langone in Manhattan) just before 5 am. I was feeling excited that today was the day! And thankful that we had bought a car.

Labor at the hospital…

I accepted a wheel chair ride up to the Labor and Delivery floor. My attitude was more “let yourself be taken care of” than “prove how strong you are” this time around. The nurses didn’t even make me go to triage since I was their “twin delivery” so I felt special as I got set up in my own labor room. I went to the bathroom, got settled in my hospital gown, and then nurses started coming in to take my vitals and give me my IV. I felt pretty happy and calm, but also excited that it was going to be the twins’ birthday. My contractions were starting to get more painful and I had to sort of stop and concentrate to get through them, but I was doing fine.

The anesthesia medical student (so young and cute!) came in to talk to me about getting an epidural. I think I could have talked them out of it and demanded to do the birth pain-med-free… but my doctors had talked to me so much about how they wanted me to have the epidural to make it easier to transition to surgery if necessary, that I figured I should go with it. Plus, no pain! I felt like it was my opportunity to try an epidural birth, since I’d already done one without. It took a bit of time before the anesthesia doctor came in to help the resident do the procedure. I had been nervous about insertion pain and side effects with an epidural, but all I really felt was some unpleasant pressure down my spine when they put it in. It really wasn’t a big deal. Even staying still during my now very painful contractions was not as bad as I had anticipated.

Overall, the epidural was a fabulous experience. It took a very short time for it to kick in and it really reduced any pain I was feeling. I could still feel the contractions, but there was very little pain. There was some discomfort and I could tell when I was having a particularly strong contraction, but it really made the laboring go extremely smoothly. The nurses remarked at how steady and strong my contractions were and double checked that I was NOT on any pitocin. I guess my body was just ready to get it done! I was in the labor room for about five hours, but it felt like no time at all! I had wanted to listen to the Moana soundtrack (don’t judge!) but only fit in a few songs. We also Facetimed with Ken and my mom, Travis got dressed in scrubs, and then a little before 10am it was time to head to the operating room for delivery.

The birth!

The nurses and doctors all thought I was totally ready to start pushing, but I had to take their word for it. With the epidural, I was experiencing contractions, but nothing urgent. I didn’t really feel a need to push, so I was worried I wouldn’t do a “good job” getting the babies out. But I stayed calm and just went with what everyone was telling me.

This quote was my mantra for this birth: “Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘you cannot withstand the storm,’ and the warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.'”

The operating room was intense. Lots of lights and equipment. They had a neonatal station and a full team of nurses set up for each of the twins, plus the labor team, my doctor, a resident, and an attending doctor to observe. (The team was ALL WOMEN, which I thought was pretty awesome.) There was also a huge photo mural of the city skyline and Brooklyn Bridge on one wall, which was kind of fun and also a little disorienting. This might be weird, but the worst part of the whole birth might have been the stirrups that they put my legs in. They were massive (sort of like the boots you wear when you break an ankle) and I did not like being strapped in so securely. It sort of felt like being a prisoner in a very vulnerable torture position, but maybe I am being dramatic. Another peek into Rachel’s brain: The huge overhead lights have cylindrical handles that protrude vertically for the doctors to grab to reposition the lights… well, at one point they put a condom type thing on the handle and I *knew* it wasn’t going to be put inside me, but I also just had to ask to make sure. Ha. It was just there to keep the light clean. It is just hard for me to relinquish all control over my body to a team of strangers, but I tried hard to be a good patient.

I believe they turned off the epidural once I was in the delivery room, so I did experience some pain during the birth, but it wasn’t too bad. I basically just pushed when the doctors and nurses told me to. They wanted me to hold my breath for the pushes and count to ten, and I think Travis was helping to support my back, but it is all a bit hard to remember. At the beginning I said something like, “I hope I remember how to do this,” and my doctor said “we are going to be here a while!” She is young and I really think that this was her first ever vaginal twin birth, but some of her remarks were less than encouraging. And she was wrong. Rett was pushed out at 10:32, after just about 20 minutes of pushing! I was actually surprised! Travis said, “Oh wow!” I think we were all surprised it happened so fast. My doctor cut the umbilical cord quickly, which surprised me, but they were being quick and efficient since it was a twin brith. (Side note: I had been curious about whether I would deliver each placenta directly after delivering each baby, or whether they would both come out at the end. We got told both things by different doctors before the birth and I still don’t know exactly what happened.)

They took Rett and cleaned him up a bit and then they put him on my chest while I was still working on pushing out Evie. I really loved seeing him — so little and alert! — and he was a good distraction from the increasing pain. (The nurses helped hold him on my chest, don’t worry.) During this time there was a bit of confusion about Evie. My doctor said she was at a “minus seven” position, which is pretty high up in there, I guess. Maybe my doctor was exaggerating? But she also repeated that we were probably going to be there for a while. And then she made the decision to break Evie’s water… and did it without consulting me or, apparently, the attending physician. They actually argued a bit about it and the attending said that she shouldn’t have done it. I wasn’t totally paying attention, but I remember thinking that their conversation probably should not have been in front of the patient. Thankfully, Evie was born within fifteen minutes at 10:47 am. Unfortunately, they said she swallowed (and maybe inhaled?) a lot of blood and amniotic fluid. She was really messy when she came out. But they cleaned her off (and probably did some suctioning?) and I got to hold her quickly. I was so thrilled that the twins were both here!! Best feeling ever.

The resident physician had been paying close attention to my perineum during the birth (too much info?) and helped support it so that I didn’t have any tearing or trauma. Amazing! That was one of the things I was most dreading about another vaginal birth — recovering from any trauma and stitches after the fact — but since the babies were pretty small it was not an issue. I was really thankful for that. The nurses did have to massage my uterus to deliver the placenta(s?), which was uncomfortable, but really, the time immediately after the births is just a happy blur.

I got to hold both babies, nurse them a bit, take some photos, and just basically be a happy, goofy mama for a few minutes before I was wheeled into a recovery room. I was so amazed that everything had gone so quickly and seemingly perfectly. I know it is the hormones, but the time after birth is just so blissful and magical. I wish I could live in those moments for just a while longer…

Unfortunately, in the recovery room I sort of nonchalantly noticed that Evie’s legs looked a little blue. The nurses quickly came to look at her and took her to examine her. She was working hard to breath (retracting?) and they were concerned. A neo-natal doctor was brought in and she decided that Evie should go to the NICU for breathing support. I was still in my post-birth happy brain bubble and I truly believed that Evie was strong and would be fine, so I felt defiant about her going to the NICU. I was even more concerned when the doctor said that they would have to put her on antibiotics and then that would mean that she would have to stay in the NICU for the full course which would be at least 48 hours. My brain already started calculating about how it would delay her going home and what were we going to do if one baby was home and one was at the hospital?? But, again, I tried to be a good patient and a good mom. I texted my pediatrician brother and he reassured me that it was all protocol. I knew that this is why we birthed our babies at a hospital, so that there were experts there to provide care if anything went wrong, but it is still hard to relinquish all control.

So they took her away.

I was still sort of confused and out of it, plus holding Rett and thinking about him, but I did know that I was very upset about them taking her. Even if it was for the best. She had nursed a little bit right after birth, but all of the lactation consultant stuff about babies never learning to breast feed if they are separated from their mother ran through my head. I already had anxiety about being a good mother to a girl, and I felt like us being separated at the beginning made things even harder. Of course, I was probably being irrational, and I tried to keep my feelings in check, but I don’t think it is ever easy to have your baby taken to intensive care. I think I was pretty calm under the circumstances. Maybe too calm?

Hospital stay…

Prior to the birth I had told myself to really enjoy my hospital stay and let the nurses take care of me. My time at the hospital with Ken had felt so magical and I had hoped for that experience again. Sadly, it was different since Evie was away from me in the NICU, but I still tried to go with my original plan and try to rest and relax. We declined the $500/night private room option, but I did get the bed by the window. Overall, my hospital stay was lovely and the nurses were all excellent… it was just very difficult to split time between two babies with Evie being away from us.

I had a bad attitude about Evie being in the NICU. Travis had talked to the doctors there and even though I got to pump milk for her and go see her, I felt really out of the loop. I also felt like she was actually fine, and that being separated from me and her twin brother was more detrimental to her health than the initial breathing issues (which I had a feeling were caused by her water being broken too early during her delivery). Not to mention the cPap unit and IVs she was attached to.

Dividing my time between Rett on the Mother & Baby unit and Evie in the NICU was hard. I was never in the NICU at the same time as the doctors, even though I tried to be, which was frustrating because the nurses weren’t allowed to give us all the details. I felt like we got conflicting info about when she might be strong enough to go home. And even though I did get to breastfeed her once while she was there, they didn’t count it as an official feeding since they couldn’t measure it. I pumped some milk for her, but they also wanted to give her formula. I was fine with that (even though the lactation consultants weren’t) as long as it helped her get home faster, but they couldn’t even tell me whether or not they actually gave her any. It was all confusing and overwhelming. I cried hard at the hospital on Tuesday night when I went to see her at 9:30 to feed her, but they said I couldn’t until 10 because that was her schedule. I was so tired and sleep deprived and I just couldn’t believe that I couldn’t be in charge of when she ate. Especially since it was only a half hour difference! I really started to get upset. If it was up to me, I think I would have refused care and demanded that we take her home at that point, but thankfully Travis was there to be the rational one.

I know that the NICU provides amazing care and I am so thankful that Evie’s issues were extremely small compared to many of the babies in the unit. I am just not very good at not being in control. Plus, it was MY BABY! I just felt like I knew she was strong enough and that she should be with her family. But, in the end, it was just three short days…

Going home…

Rett and I spent Sunday and Monday night in the hospital. Travis, Ken, and my mom came to visit both days and brought me donuts and cute teddy bears for the babies. Rett passed all his tests and we got discharged on Tuesday. We actually drove from the hospital to pick up Aunt Chelsea at the airport. She had planned her trip to help me with the end of my pregnancy, but got to come see the babies instead!

We had some dinner with everyone that night, but then headed back to the hospital to be with Evie. I was not in good shape. I was so tired and stressed. And this was the night that the NICU nurse told me I couldn’t breastfeed Evie and I just lost it. I cried and cried and we decided we would just go home and leave Evie in the care of the nurses. I felt like everything was totally out of my control, especially since they couldn’t really tell us when she might get to go home.

BUT when we called the NICU on Wednesday morning, they told us she had been moved back to the Mother & Baby unit! She just had to pass a few more tests (hearing and car seat) and then we could take her home. We took Rett back to the hospital with us (since I had to feed him) and basically took the day getting Evie discharged. One thing that I am glad we did at the hospital was have the Bella Baby photographers do a photoshoot. They are the only professional photos I have of my kids. We were tired, but thrilled, when we got to leave with both babies.

Life with twins…

Oof. Life with twins is hard. We had lots of family in town to help for the first two months, which made a huge difference in how much time we were able to spend with Kenneth one-on-one. Travis has been able to take a good amount of time off work, which is vital. Three car seats DO fit in the back seat of a Subaru Outback. And I am just tying to soldier on and go with the flow. But I haven’t had a full night of sleep since early in my pregnancy. I am breastfeeding exclusively and I can’t even tell you if it is a good idea. I am just stubborn and I did it for Ken, so I feel like I need to do it for the twins, too.

Evie and Rett are very fun and pretty easy babies, but I am tired. I need to get them on a more consistent nap and feeding schedule. After the holidays we are going to start sleep training and introducing some solid food, so that should help. I am trying not to wish these early days away, but even when I try to enjoy them I have a feeling my tired brain isn’t going to remember them anyway. I am glad that I am taking a lot of photos!

Other than the extreme fatigue, we have been in pretty good spirits. But I have been emotional about two things:

1) I don’t want Kenneth’s life to be “ruined” by having to split attention with the twins. I am sad to say that my relationship with him has suffered a bit and he is now closer to his dad. But I also know that he will love having siblings in the long run and it will be fun to have a big family.

2) Carrying and birthing these sweet twins is probably the coolest thing I will ever do in my life. I do NOT wish to be pregnant again, but I do get emotional when I think that this epic, cool event is over and done. And my body is wrecked. But I just need to refocus… raising these three kids will be the coolest thing I’ll ever do! We send our love into the future with them. It is a magical type of time travel.


View our full Twins’ Birth Story photo gallery here.

Read about my entire pregnancy experience here.

Read Kenneth’s Birth Story here.


Kenneth has a super big announcement….

He is going to be a BIG BROTHER! ……times TWO!

I am pregnant with twins!! It just might be the biggest surprise of our life. And we just found out at the ultrasound yesterday that we are having a boy and a girl! The babies are due in early August.

We are really happy and excited… and overwhelmed. This weekend we are moving to a bigger house in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. It has all been a whirlwind, but Kenneth is taking it in stride. We know he is going to be a wonderful big brother.

Kenneth at 18 months…


As usual, Kenneth has been growing and learning at an amazing rate! …and I am continuing to do a less than stellar job documenting it all. I recently got out his baby book to try to do some scrapbooking, but then Ken woke up from his nap and the book has been sitting on my desk ever since. Someday I’ll get it all done!


For now, here are some fun facts about Kenneth at 18 months:

  • Ken recently had his 18 month doctor check up. He weighed 25.5 lbs and is 35.5 inches tall. He has caught up to the same height that Travis was at 18 months! But he is three pounds lighter – eek!
  • 18monthken4

  • He absolutely is obsessed with balls, his stuffed rabbit, and Buzz Lightyear. He wants to watch Toy Story any time we will let him. He just asks for “buuuuz?”
  • He has all of his front teeth and his molars. He basically eats whatever we are eating and has been avoiding baby food packets. He is sometimes picky, but he usually loves bananas, strawberries, cheese, pickles, muffins, yogurt, eggs, milk, and juice. Juice is his favorite treat! Well, other than actual treats. He knows how to say donut and loves ice cream!
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  • He is babbling all the time lately. His favorite phrase seems to be “douga douga douga do.” We don’t know what it means… yet. He has also recently learned to say “more,” which has come in handy. He often wants “more milk!” He attempts to repeat all sorts of words, but multiple syllables are still tricky. He also seems to get frustrated more often when he can’t communicate what he wants. He has been doing a lot of forceful pointing!
  • He is eager to read books with us before bedtime, and even “reads” to us sometimes. He is learning his colors and can point them out when asked (most of the time). He also pretends to count things. He doesn’t know the numbers, but points at things and makes them up. Very cute.
  • He loves running, climbing, and hanging. He climbs on the furniture now, and can even climb up ladders at the playground all by himself.
  • 18monthkenhanging

  • The week of his actual 18 month “birthday,” Kenneth’s Aunt Chelsea and Uncle Myles came to visit. They stayed with us and Ken had a great time showing them around the city. He especially loved our trip to the Natural History Museum.
  • Last week we were in Portland visiting Kenneth’s cousin Ela. He loved her and wanted to give her a lot of hugs. Tomorrow we leave for Kansas to meet his cousin Emmett!


Ken is turning into a boy right before our eyes! It is such a fun journey, but I just wish I could remember and capture very moment. (Well, except for maybe the post-travel nap fights…) I love this fun boy so much!!


Kenneth at ONE YEAR!


Happy birthday, Kenneth!! One year ago my sweet, funny, determined, cute, wild, magical baby boy was born. It was the best day of my life. Now he is a one-year-old. I am excited, but emotional. I am sad that one whole year of our time together has passed. I’ve loved having him as my little baby.


Fun Facts about Kenneth at one:

  • Ken is often a serious boy, especially when tired, but he is loosening up and finding his sense of humor. He loves being chased, caught, and tickled. He loves feeding food to Crusher. It cracks him up every time. He still likes peek-a-boo and doing pop-ups behind the coffee table. He likes his toys, especially his new ones. And, he loves throwing around balls with dad and Crusher.
  • Ken absolutely adores music. He does a little bouncy dance whenever he hears music, and he wants to play ukuleles with his dad every day. Hoot n Nanny (grandma and grandpa Johnson) gave Ken a child’s guitar/ukulele for his birthday and he already knows how to hold it and strum it. We re-enrolled in the winter session of Moozika class and he enjoys all the familiar songs and new instruments to play.
  • Ken is walking! Sort of. He has been taking unsupported steps for over a month now, and can do quite a few steps in a row… but he still much prefers crawling. I want to encourage him to become a true walker, but he is stubborn when prompted to walk on command. He seems to only walk in significant amounts when he is playing on his own and isn’t really thinking about it too much.
  • Ken can climb stairs! He even climbs up many of the stairs up to our apartment, and feels quite proud of himself when he does.
  • Ken’s favorite books right now are the “Pat the Bunny” series. I keep them on the nightstand in our bedroom and he crawls in there at least once a day to pull them out and play with them. He thinks all books should be interactive and is disappointed when they aren’t. Travis and I got him “Pat the Christmas Bunny” and “Pat the Birthday Bunny” for the respective holidays.
  • I’ve started the weaning process with Ken. I am really surprised I made it a full year with breastfeeding, but now that it is easier and more convenient, I am surprised at how reluctant I am to let it go. Like all things related to being a mom, there was a lot of pressure to breast feed. Now, I feel like there is a lot of pressure to get him weaned asap. I think I could do it really quickly, if I wanted, but for now I’m taking it slow and trying not to cause him too much distress. He is down to 1-2 feedings a day, so we are getting there.
  • He loves giving and receiving kisses, as seen below. We are working on teaching him how to blow a kiss.


Ken’s Birthday Party:

We traveled to Kansas City for Christmas and New Years, and we decided to stay an extra week so that we could celebrate Kenneth’s first birthday with family. The party was a success! We decorated Hoot n Nanny’s house, brought in some barbecue, and I even made a #1-shaped cake! Lots of family came to celebrate, which was wonderful, but it also overwhelmed Ken a bit. He did really well, but it was hard to get any photos of him smiling.

I made him a little “smash cake” of his own to try. He was sort of interested in it, but didn’t do a full-on smash with it. I probably took it away from him too early, but his grandma was really worried about him eating too much. He also got to try some ice cream and chocolate. He loved them both!


Kenneth received so many fun toys for his birthday and Christmas, including an awesome drum set, a mini guitar, a new puffy coat, and so much more! He is a lucky boy. We were able to bring much of his new loot home and it hasn’t quite pushed us out of our apartment yet…


After twelve months of publishing these updates, I know I am getting repetitive, but it is such a privilege to watch this new, little human figure out the world and grow up. Nearly everyday — even through the crying and poop and carrying the stroller up endless stairs — I am thankful that parenthood is part of my life experience. It isn’t easy at all. Staying home with an energetic, inquisitive, nonverbal entity nearly 24-hours a day can be monotonous and overwhelming sometimes, but I enjoy it. My love for this little person has transformed my life. I look forward to all of our future years together.


Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, Kenneth at five months, Kenneth at six months, Kenneth at seven months, Kenneth at eight months, Kenneth at nine months, Kenneth at ten months, and Kenneth at eleven months.

Kenneth at 11 months…


Kenneth is getting so close to being a one-year-old! He passed the eleven month milestone a week ago. It is hard to articulate, but he is feeling and looking like such an older boy these days. I can catch glimpses of what he will look like as an older kid, even a teenager at times. Over the last month he has been so much fun. I used to be worried about him being too serious, but he has gotten a lot more goofy and fun-loving lately. He is still slightly stingy with his big grins and belly laughs, but they seem to be happening more frequently. He loves surprises and tickles and going down slides. He really is an awesome baby and I am so glad we get to spend so much time together.


Fun Facts about Kenneth at 11 months:

  • Ken got a bad head cold last week which came with a wonky eye infection. His right eye got puffy and red, so I took him to the doctor and she gave him antibiotics. You can see his red eyes in the photo above, our first of two photo shoot attempts this month.
  • Kenneth has his own room! We moved him into the office room of the apartment over the Thanksgiving break with the help of his uncle Seth. I was really surprised at how easily he took to sleeping alone in the room. He really didn’t fuss about it at all. And we are all getting better sleep. He sleeps up to 12 hours a night!
  • Even though it is sort of against the parenting rules, Ken keeps some stuffed animals in his crib. He plays with them before going to bed and after waking up. It is really cute. He hardly fusses at all when we put him down for naps or the night, and he can entertain himself.
  • Ken has six teeth! Four up top and two on the bottom. He can bite off pieces of food (like bagels!) and chews food, too. He also loves to give a toothy, scrunched nose grin.
  • Kenneth is still working on walking. He is so very close! He can stand unassisted, and will take one or two little steps on his own, but then he decides to skillfully squat down and start crawling instead. I think he is just being cautious. I am fighting my Type A drive to push him to walk more before he is ready. He will get there at his own pace. Plus, he gets around fast enough as it is!
  • Crusher and Kenneth play with each other just about every day, chasing each other around the apartment. They both love it. Crusher has been much sweeter and more patient with him lately.
  • He attended his last Moozika class of the fall session today. He loves the class and always gets right up in front to pound on the big drum. We are going to take the class again during winter session. He still loves music and is obsessed with his dad’s guitars.
  • Kenneth is also obsessed with the Pat the Bunny books. He gets them out on his own and is still fascinated by them even though we read them many times a day. But now he wants all books to be interactive and is disappointed when they aren’t.
  • Ken is making many more sounds lately. He seems to be saying “yes” and “mmmmamama” pretty consistently. He tries to repeat a lot of things we say (but I don’t know if he really understands it, just repeats sounds) and he is always singing and babbling to himself.


I know I say this every time, but taking baby portraits is so hard! We did two different days of photo shoots this month and I wasn’t really happy with either. Ken is just a busy guy! And he likes to be in charge of anything he can hold in his hand, like the pen, comb, and tape seen above. I am just hoping I can get a few really good shots next month to celebrate one year!



Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, Kenneth at five months, Kenneth at six months, Kenneth at seven months, Kenneth at eight months, Kenneth at nine months, and Kenneth at ten months.

Kenneth at 10 months…


My sweet, little guy is 10 months old! Well, actually right now he is 10 and a half months old… we were traveling during the actual milestone. Fitting in picture taking and blogging is never easy, not to mention when you have just gotten home from a big trip! And, getting this baby to pose for his portraits was nearly impossible. He just wants to stand and move and climb! But I guess that is perfectly representative of his current stage, so we’ll just go with it. We do the best we can and call it good.


Kenneth is a big boy now! He acts like he is totally independent and not in need of parents any more… well, except for all the diaper changing and food providing. But he barely has time for those boring things anyway! He loves playing and exploring. He wants to inspect and deconstruct anything new to him, like the trash can, dog food bowl, file cabinets, laundry hampers, etc. He is a curious guy who gets really excited about his new discoveries. It is fun to watch him investigate and conquer his world!


Fun Facts about Kenneth at 10 months:

  • Ken has five teeth! His top right lateral incisor is poking out and the left one is just about ready to erupt. He likes his teeth and often does a funny open-mouth grin to show them off.
  • Kenneth can stand on his own! He has been walking and standing while holding onto things (furniture, walker toys, mom or dad) for a while, but now he often “free stands” without holding onto anything. He seems to be doing it just for fun sometimes and can balance for quite a while on his own, but still choses to squat down and start crawling instead of taking any unsupported steps yet. Crawling is still faster and more efficient for him than walking. But we’ll see how long that lasts…
  • I think Kenneth is using language! He DEFINITELY says “dada” in reference to Travis. He also seems to say “dog” when Crusher is around. And I swear he says “hi” back to me and “ya” in response to my questions. Of course, he also babbles a lot, and squeals, and laughs, and grunts and reaches for things he wants.
  • He basically eats anything. He really likes berries and yogurt and cheese, but he gets a taste of nearly everything I eat. He can drink from a straw and often shares a smoothie with me. (I also still breastfeed him four times a day.)
  • Kenneth has gotten into a fairly set routine. He wakes up around 6-7, naps at about 9 until 11-12, naps again around 3 until 4-5, and then goes to sleep around 7-8. He doesn’t HAVE to have both naps everyday, but he is in a better mood if he does!
  • Kenneth still LOVES: music, Crusher, other babies, and playgrounds. He also LOVES when his dad gets home each day. He excitedly crawls to meet him as soon as he walks in the door and reaches to be picked up. It is very sweet.


Traveling with a 10-month-old:

Earlier this month we took an eleven day trip to Hawaii and Los Angeles. We went to Hawaii with more than a dozen of our Brooklyn friends for Brian and Jeanette’s wedding. It took 13 hours of travel to get there. I can’t tell you that I wasn’t nervous about bringing a baby on flights that long, but it was actually ok. I tried not to get anxious about it and I think treating it like no big deal rubbed off on Ken. He was perfectly fine, if really fidgety and NOT sleepy, on the flights there. Travis had upgraded our seats to the bulk head area with extra room and I had packed a bunch of toys and books, but I don’t think either was necessary. Ken basically just loved exploring the plane stuff and playing Peek-a-boo Barn on my phone the best. Snacks (for everyone involved) were a necessity. Also necessary were our own car seat and stroller, which we checked (for free!) on the flights.

We stayed with 13 friends in an Air BnB house for the first five nights in Hawaii. It went really well. I was worried about Ken crying and keeping people awake, but we just tried to not let him cry much. The huge time zone change messed us all up somewhat, so we basically just ended up waking up really early. But that meant that Ken got in his good morning nap before much activity started each day. The house came with a high chair and pack-n-play, which was really handy. For the additional two nights in Hawaii, we switched to a hotel. They also had a crib for us to use and even provided nice baby toiletries and some new toys!

Ken liked swimming in the ocean and pools. He was enthralled by the luau at the wedding reception. He was a real trooper and happily tagged along on all of our sight seeing around the Big Island. Getting him in and out of his car seat was a hassle, but otherwise, it was fun having him around and not too much of an inconvenience. I hope our friends felt the same way. Travis and I each did one solo adventure (surfing for him, snorkeling with manta rays for me) while the other stayed with Ken, which worked out well.

By the time we were on our way to LA, Ken was just chronically tired. He didn’t do as well on the flight there. He cried a lot and Travis stood and held him for much of the flight. I was stressed. Thank goodness that plane was nearly empty. No one seemed perturbed by him at all.

It was great for Ken to meet his family and friends in California. We spent a whole day with his great aunt Carol and great uncles John and Glenn. He got in some good naps, but he was still tired and totally out of his routine and time zone. On our final day we took him to Disneyland! It was really fun for Travis and me, but Ken could barely stay awake at the park! He fell asleep DURING the Haunted Mansion ride. The entire trip had finally worn him out.

All in all, traveling with a baby is totally doable. Even fun! Of course, it is way easier to travel without a baby… but traveling with one is still much more fun than staying home!


Travis took this photo of Ken in a hammock in Hawaii right after his 10-month “birthday.” I think he looks so old in it. I am so glad we’ve gotten to share so many experiences and adventures with him already. I look forward to a life time of many more!


Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, Kenneth at five months, Kenneth at six months, Kenneth at seven months, Kenneth at eight months, and Kenneth at nine months.

big weekend highlights


Halloween! King Kong and crew. (More photos.)


NYC Marathon! Travis ran the city for his second time (10th overall marathon!) and Kenneth and I cheered for him at two spots. Such a fun and exhausting day in NYC. (Kenneth needs to work on his marathon cheer training.) (More photos)


World Series! So, we didn’t actually watch all of the final game because we were too exhausted… but we are so excited for the Royals! Ken saw both teams play at their respective stadiums this year and predicted the Series weeks ago.

This week, we are off to Hawaii and then the holiday season starts… This little family stays busy!

Kenneth at eight months…


Kenneth is growing up so fast and learning so many things! As of yesterday, he is eight months old. It is amazing, but also a little scary. He no longer seems like a baby. He does things. He has plans and goals. He goes and gets what he wants. He is so fun right now and I love him so much. I keep wishing I could freeze time. But I also feel guilty saying that because I never wanted to be a parent who didn’t want their kids to grow up. I want him to have a full, fun, long life, but I just wish I could keep revisiting these moments with him as an 8-month-old forever.


Fun Facts about Kenneth at Eight Months:

  • You guys! Kenneth can high five! I worked on it with him for one day and now he can pretty much do it on command. It is really cute. He will also usually give you a kiss when you ask for one.
  • We did an at-home measurement, and Kenneth seems to be at least 30 inches tall. He is catching up to his dad!
  • He crawls at top speed and can make it all over the apartment in minutes. He grabs and reaches for EVERYTHING! He has really put my cleaning to the test. I vacuum everyday just so that he doesn’t find anything gross on the ground.
  • He can easily pull himself up to standing all on his own now. And he does it as often as possible. He seems determined to practice standing at every opportunity. He has even been doing a bit of cruising, walking along the couch while holding on. I think he is going to walk soon, which is crazy!
  • This baby LOVES music! He only pays attention to the tv when there is music playing and he loves carrying around my phone when it is playing music. He’ll dance along by wiggling his body. SO cute! I took him to two group sing-a-longs at a local toy store this month and he adores them. He pays attention the whole time and uses the instruments. I sing (poorly) to him every day, but I feel guilty for not doing more music activities with him previously.
  • I only nurse Ken 4-5 times a day now. A few months ago, I thought it would be impossible to feed him so few times a day, but the solid food transition seems to be happening naturally.
  • I’ve been really, um, not strict (relaxed?) with giving him all sorts of solid food. He feeds himself tiny pieces of fruits, veggies, bread, meat, cheese, cereal, etc. He has had peanut butter, eggs, and strawberries without having any reactions, so there’s no evidence of food allergies at this point. His favorite foods seem to be avocado, plums, and plain yogurt. He LOVES yogurt! He doesn’t like cucumbers or pureed baby food containing meat.
  • Kenneth is still very passionate about cords and he has developed an extreme interest in the vacuum. Which is good, since I have it out every day to clean up his food messes.
  • Ken got his first stomach bug this month. He had a slight fever, lower appetite, and lots of icky diapers. I took him to the doctor even though I probably didn’t need to. He got over it in a few days.
  • He has the bluest eyes and lots of blonde hair growing in… I can’t be objective, I think he is cutest baby in the world. I know I am losing my mind a bit and I’m not being rational, but he seems perfect to me.


Thoughts on parenthood…

A friend of mine from grad school lost her six-year-old daughter this month to cancer. I have cried many tears over the last weeks just considering the loss she and her husband are experiencing. I truly can’t imagine what they are actually going through. I think about them every day. Add on the heart-breaking refugee crisis in the news and the recent death of a childhood friend, and it has been an emotional month.

Being a parent is scary. The love is so intense and the heart-stopping fear of losing your child is ever-present. At least for me. But I am trying to be brave. I won’t allow fear to rule my life. Or Kenneth’s. Because being a parent is also so fun! More fun than I ever pictured. The first few months were tough for me, for sure, but now I am so happy. It surprises me. There are still personal things that aren’t perfect (I still can’t really run, I’ve been sick with a terrible cough, my weight loss has slowed/stopped, etc) but being a mom to Ken trumps all of it. In my pre-mom life I dreaded the thought of parenthood taking over all of my interests and hobbies, and I still hope to never lose my self, but parenthood feels good. It is difficult, it is emotional, and it is tiring, but it has brought me a lot of peace. I’m not trying to evangelize, I promise. I am just sort of amazed. The really crazy part? I am having thoughts about having a second one!! Ahhh!


Kenneth’s original flickr album has gotten way too large (with 7,000+ photos) and now I can’t load it or edit it. Eek. So I started a new one for 8-12 months. Check it out.


Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, Kenneth at five months, Kenneth at six months, and Kenneth at seven months.

Kenneth at seven months…



Kenneth is seven months old!! Wow. Specifically, he is 31 weeks old today. He has become such a little BOY lately. He is very mobile and loves exploring everything. Which includes grabbing everything and tasting everything. This is very good for his development, but not so good for accomplishing his monthly photo shoot. He could not resist his sticker this month. I was frustrated that we couldn’t get the “perfect” photo, but Travis reminded me that he is just a baby. Oh, right. Maybe I expect too much from him, but he always seems to roll with everything we subject him to. He goes into the city on the subway, checks out museums and parks, goes for hours of rides in his jog stroller, and even flew (on a red eye) to and from Oregon last month without much trouble. He is a cooperative and fun boy!


Fun facts about Kenneth at 7 months:

  • Big news! Ken’s first tooth started poking through on July 28th! It is his bottom left tooth and he seems quite proud of it, even letting me touch it and take photos. Ha! Since then his second bottom tooth has poked through.
  • I’m not sure of Ken’s official height and weight, but he is definitely a big boy! We are now dressing him in mostly 9-12 month clothes. I only buy 12-month or larger nowadays.
  • At the suggestion of our pediatrician, we have been giving Ken some water to drink out of a sippy cup. He amazed me by catching onto holding and drinking from the cup right away. Wow!
  • He has also been eating a lot more solid (“human”) foods, including his first Cherrios. Yum! He can feed himself from the baby food pouches and he eats in his high chair with us at nearly every meal. In addition to the usual fruits and veggies, he has had bread, smoothies, and a little cheese. Last week he had his first taste of animal: chicken! And yesterday, he had his first little taste of a Shake Shack burger!! He loved it and wanted more.
  • He loves grabbing ANYTHING… and promptly putting it in his mouth or throwing in on the ground.
  • Kenneth’s greatest passion of late is cords. He loves cords. He can somehow find and propel himself toward any and all cords in the house. Which isn’t good because they aren’t exactly safe baby toys. We are keeping an eye on him.
  • He isn’t technically crawling yet — just spending a lot of time wiggling around on all fours — but he is scooting, army crawling, rolling, planking, and pushing himself all over. He spends a lot of time playing on the living room floor. He also likes trying to climb things and standing up while hanging onto the coffee table. He can pull himself up to standing from sitting, but it is still really tough and wobbly for him. He works especially hard at trying to throw his body off the changing able at every diaper change, which I am trying hard to discourage.
  • He is definitely exploring his voice and loves squealing and saying “dada” over and over. He also seems to say things like “hi” and “hey” in response to us, but I can’t be sure if he is really trying to use language or just making noise. I think we still have some time before he officially says a first word.
  • Kenneth is very interested in Crusher and other kids. He loves to pet Crusher, but Crusher has to be bribed with treats to allow it to happen. We’ve taken Ken to a few parks, but I need to get him enrolled in some sort of class so that he can interact with other babies.
  • On August 2nd, Kenneth went to his first Mets game. He has now been to four baseball games at four different MLB stadiums… and has game balls from each to prove it!



Mama Thoughts:

Overall, I am feeling extremely happy with being a stay-at-home mom these days. Ken is a lot of fun and I am so glad I get to spend time with him. My only complaint is that I REALLY WISH I could get more non-mom tasks accomplished. I have so much on my Swap-bot to do list! I haven’t figured out child care yet, but we have actually booked our first babysitter for tomorrow night, so we will see how that goes.

Breastfeeding is actually becoming comfortable, which is really nice. With all of his extra solid food consumption, Ken seems to be nursing less. It makes me hopeful that the weaning process will happen naturally over the next few months. I still stand by my many previous statements that I won’t miss breast feeding, but it does feels a little sad to know that he is growing up and won’t need me for food for much longer.

I didn’t think I would be a very sentimental mom, but I have found myself crying on more than one night when thinking about him growing up. He already pushes my hand away when I try to wipe his face. He will be a boy soon. And he will be embarrassed of me and tell me not to talk to him at school. Then he will be a man, and get married, and move away, and never need me again. But I guess that is actually the best case scenario and I shouldn’t dread it. I am just really glad that I get to experience him and his development. Certainly, having kids is not for everyone, but I am enjoying being a parent even more than I thought I would. I am just grateful that it is part of my life experience.

Kenneth is awesome.



We have taken SO MANY photos of Ken! Check out all of mine in my Kenneth Gunner Johnson Flickr photo album. Nearly 7,000 photos at 7 months old, that seems about right, right? (Travis has also taken a few photos of his son… view them on his Flickr.)

Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, Kenneth at five months, and Kenneth at six months.

Family Time in Portland


July was a big month for travel! After our trip to Maine, we had less that a week at home before heading out again to Portland, Oregon. Travis had a conference to attend there for work and Kenneth and I came along to visit with my brother, sister-in-law, and parents. It was a great combo trip!


Kenneth got to meet his my brother, Adam, and his wife, Nina, for the first time. He liked them both, but Nina could really get him to smile! Nina and Adam are both completing their Oncology/Hematology fellowships at OHSU. They work really hard. I’m impressed by their dedication!


Travis and I have been to Portland many times (most recently two years ago) and we had to check out a few of our favorite places (like Papa Haydn’s and Dutch Bros), but we also did a few new things this time…

My favorite things to see/eat/do in Portland, Oregon:

  • Screen Door – Our first restaurant stop! We did brunch on Sunday and I had the praline bacon waffle. It reminded me of New Orleans.
  • portlandscreendoor

  • Ava Gene’s – Delicious, fancy restaurant from the people who make Stumptown coffee.
  • Sizzle Pie – Creative pizza with lots of hipster, vegan, gluten free, etc options.
  • Blue Star Donuts – So much better than Voodoo Doughnuts.
  • Salt & Straw – Amazing ice cream (with the long lines to prove it).
  • Lan Su Chinese Garden – A pretty oasis in downtown. We had tea and moon cakes in the tea house. So lovely.
  • portlandgarden2

  • Powell’s Books – ALL the books. I couldn’t resist buying Ken four new kids books.
  • Multnomah Falls – This was my first time visiting and the falls were quite impressive. We ate at the lodge restaurant and Adam and I climbed the uphill mile to the top.
  • portlandfalls2

  • Haystack Rock – At Cannon Beach on the coast west of Portland. Some of the scenes from Goonies were filmed there!
  • portlandhaystack

In addition to meeting his aunt and uncle for the first time, Kenneth got to spend a lot of time with his grandparents… and he loved it! They spent a lot of time holding him, playing with him, and strolling him. They babysat him while Travis and I went out on a double date with Adam and Nina to Ava Gene’s. Very nice!


While Travis, Adam, and Nina were doing work stuff, Ken and I got to go with Grandma and Grandpa to Haystack Rock on the coast west of Portland. It was Ken’s first time touching the Pacific Ocean! We also did some sight seeing and walking around the city, including checking out Powell’s and the Chinese Garden.


Once Travis was finished with his conference, our little Johnson family had a nice day of walking around downtown Portland. We shopped, I drank too much Stumptown coffee, and we went to check out the Timbers’ arena.


I love Portland. I think it is such a fun, cool, easy city with great food and a lot to see. I really think anyone would love visiting this lovely Pacific Northwest hot spot. Bonus points if you also get to spend quality time with family while you are there!!


Check out all of my photos from the trip in my Portland 2015 Flickr Album.