The End is Approaching

Yes, my blissful maternity leave is almost over.  In a little less than a month, I will be back to work full time with both boys spending a full day in day care.  However, the director at the daycare said a week or so ago that Jack was demonstrating readiness to move to the Preschool program from the older toddler room this fall.  She said he has hit the milestones and would be great to move up with the other children!  We are so proud of him!

So much has changed since Jack was an infant and started in daycare.  No more glass bottles (we use Coddlelife glass bottles as we feel they are safest for our children), only sleep sacks, no blankets and the list goes on and on.  Jack never used a sleep sack, so we just bought one from Baby Gap that was on sale with an extra 40% off!  Go me!  And yes, I bought the 6-12 month one to get the most use out of it.

I have so enjoyed my maternity leave with my little ones.  We were really able to spend the time together that was desperately needed.  Jack has been able to spend more one on one time with me and Max has gotten to know his Mommy and his brother, as well as his Daddy.

Some of my projects that I have been working on have been completed or almost completed while I have been home.  The cleanout?  Well, that is an animal all in itself, but it is getting done.  The dumpster will arrive Labor day weekend and many of the weekends in September will be spent cleaning everything out of the garage, attic and basement, as well as other areas.

One project for me that was very important was to create a photo book of all of the pictures with my Mom and Jack so that Jack can have that and look at it to remember her.  That should be completed and ordered sometime this week from Shutterfly, and I just got a free photo book code, so it is a win-win!

Many of my days these past few weeks have been spent choosing things for our new house; tile, plumbing fixtures, granite, cabinets, siding, shingles, stone for the front, shutters, and the list goes on.  Trying to get as much done as possible before I go back to work full time as I know that we will only have the weekends to get any major planning done as I will not have any vacation time left for the remainder of 2012.

The house is coming together and we should be going to settlement next week!  We can’t wait!

Although I am going to miss all of this extra time with the boys, I know that working will allow me to be able to provide for them and also allow us to build and live in this beautiful house.

So, for now, I am cuddling with my little Max and enjoying some extra time with Jack while playing with cars and trucks.  These are the moments that are most important for me.

Jack’s First Swimming Lesson

After taking Jack swimming at a friend’s pool a few weeks ago, Jack developed gills that day and swam alone, jumped into the pool, went underwater and began using his arms to move while kicking his legs.  I mentioned to Chris that I thought that it was time for swim lessons to help develop his skills.  Chris agreed.

So, off we went to our local community pool and registered Jack for his first solo swim lessons.  In the two weeks since registering, we have been talking about it and Jack has told everyone he sees that he is a big boy who is going to have swimming lessons.

This morning, I feed Max, pack up the bag and drive the boys over to the pool where several anxious children are waiting for their lessons.  Jack is excited and his looking forward to getting in the pool.  I am looking forward to leafing through my J.Crew catalogue and reading my Parents magazine during the 45 minute lesson.

When the lifeguard came over, Jack was a little apprehensive about going with her, but she was friendly and I assured him that I wouldn’t be far away.  Cue Jack freaking out that I am not getting in the pool and the hysteria begins.  So, for the 45 minute lesson, I stand on the steps in the pool, holding his hand, assuring him that all is ok and that I was right there with him.

Every now and then, the lifeguard got him into the pool and got him to blow bubbles, do ice cream scoops and kick his legs, but he lost it at the end and as begging to go home.  Fine, kid.  You win.

But we go back on Wednesday, Friday and Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week too.  So, maybe…I win.  🙂

Learning to kick (And yes, Jack refuses at any point to not wear shoes. Even in the house)

Kicking on the steps

Ice cream scoops!

 

 

Watching Over Us

Jack has been mentioning my mother a lot recently.  Not that he never speaks of her, but not as often as he has recently.  He gets excited when we mention that we will be building and living in a new house, where he almost immediately follows it up with “Mom will live there too.”  I explain now that Mom is in heaven with God, but she is always watching him and will continue to watch over him in the new house.

He still calls her on his play phones and carries on conversations with her while on the phone.  His new, and funny phrase is, “Hey Mom.  What’s up?!” when he answers the phone.

Yesterday, Chris was driving Jack home from school, and unprompted, he says to Chris, “Mom sleeps with me at night.”  Chris tried to probe for more and he said that he sees Mom when he is sleeping and that he misses her.  To be honest, I don’t doubt it.  One of her wishes was that Jack would be big enough and that she would feel good enough to have Jack stay with her overnight like my sisters and I used to do with our grandmother.  Unfortunately, she never had that chance in life, but maybe now she is having this chance now.

When Chris told me the story when he got home, I had chills and was immediately immersed in a sense of comfort and peace.  Maybe the young really do have a better sense for these things.  Either way, it makes my heart smile to know that he misses her and that he believes her to be with him always.

Bath Time!

Max had his first sponge bath a few weeks ago followed by his first real bath a few days later.  Although I was diligent with putting the alcohol around the cord stump, Max held onto his for about 2 1/2 weeks after he was born.  A part of me is always a little sad when the umbilical stump falls off but a larger part of me is thrilled to be able to submerge them in water and give them a good cleaning.

Although the following pictures are of Max screaming and crying, I can assure you that he now loves his bath and is cooing and happy throughout when it is time for another bath.

Jack gets in to help

Someone is not happy

Almost done

All wrapped up!

 

 

 

Max is Two Weeks Old

I’m a little behind on my posts, but Max has had a busy two weeks of life! Lots of visitors and lost sleep, but all are wonderful little things to anticipate with a new baby.

Max has been phenominal with eating, sleeping and truly doesn’t cry unless he’s not happy with something. We are just praying that he stays this wonderful!

Transitioning from one child to two hasn’t been too difficult so far, but it can be very trying when I am nursing Max and Jack decides to roam the house or that he needs me to play with him that minute. Jack has been pretty understanding about me having to sit and feed Max and I will usually ask Jack to bring some books that we can read together while he eats.

A typical morning will be me waking around 6:00am or so, showering, Jack will then get up, diapering everyone, nursing Max for about an hour, cooking breakfast for Jack, getting the kids dressed, and then it is usually around 10:30am and I am already ready for a nap! But then, before we can go anywhere, Max is starving again and I am nursing him for another hour. The lunch, naps and me cleaning the house and doing chores while the littles nap. I laugh when Chris comes home and asks me about my day and what had happened.

Planning anything in the coming weeks will take a lot of skill and patience, however I’m sure it will be easier with Chris home to help get the boys dressed, etc… My promptness for arriving on time will probably be challenged a bit with the two littles and all that comes with having a newborn. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. 🙂

This past week, I took both boys to the pediatrician for their checkups. Max went for a weight check and Jack for his two and a half year checkup. Below is the information for both of them:

Max’s stats:

21.5 inches long (Can we say holy growth spurt?!)

7lbs, 13oz (He has been losing weight and I nurse him every 2-3 hours, so we have to supplement a bit until we get his weight up)

He still has the beautiful dark blue newborn eyes, dark hair and beautiful coloring to his skin. I could just eat him!

Considering all that has been happening, he is such a sweet and easy going baby. He only cries when hungry or when he wants to be held. Dirty diapers don’t phase him and he just enjoys being with people. Such a good baby!

As far as clothing goes, he has me packing away his newborn clothes, and some 0-3 months Kissy Kissy sleepers already! He’s definitely not as chubby as Jack was. He is going more for long beanpole at this point. I’m sure he will be packing on the pounds in no time. 😉

Jack’s stats:

37 inches long (He’s already the size of a 3 year old!)

30.2 pounds (Growing strong)

He is healthy as can be and still keeps his long and lean frame.

The doctor said that he doesn’t need to see him again until December for his three year checkup other than a quick visit for a flu shot in the fall.

So blessed that both of them are happy and healthy!

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Max’s Birth Story

On Monday, June 18 at 9:30am, we were admitted to Labor & Delivery after a whirlwind of events from the week prior.

The nurse escorted us down the hall to room 341 and asked me to get into the gown, get settled and that another nurse would be in shortly to do our admissions paperwork, start an IV and check to see how I am progressing.

Chris and I decide that it is probably smart for him to rush home, repack my bag and come back to the hospital with all of the supplies that we will need for the next few days.  He leaves and I sit in the bed thinking about everything to come and soaking it all in.

Our nurse, who was actually a midwife was phenominal.  She remembered hearing my story from the previous week and was very caring and reassuring that all would be perfect.

My doctor came back at 10:30am and broke my water.  No meconium or issues that he could see, but he did say that I had a tremendous amount of amniotic fluid, which probably came in handy when I fell.

Around 11:30am, he began the pitocin drip and emphasized to the nurse that I went quickly last time and that he expected the same this time.  He also asked to be alerted to any changes with my progression and that I could have my epidural whenever I felt that I needed it.

Around this time, I was contracting about every 3-4 minutes and the contractions were increasing in their intensity.  Chris came back to the hospital around 11:45am and was shocked to hear that I was at 4cm and 90% effaced and progressing very quickly.

My nurse asked me in between contractions that I had been breathing through if I wanted my epidural.  I said that I was still doing well with breathing and that I was hesitant because of possibly stalling labor so early in the process.  She reassured me that it would be fine and that she would call the anesthesiologist to come in and get me set up.

The anesthesiologist was wonderful!  She was calm, caring, funny and sweet and I am so thrilled that I was able to have her.  Unlike my previous delivery where Chris was my support while getting my epidural with Jack, they had Chris exit the room and the nurse midwife was my support while they hooked up my epidural.

Once I was comfortable, I laid back and waited for labor to continue to progress.  About 15 minutes go by, and some alarms begin going off.  The baby’s heart rate was dropping.  Hy heart was in my throat as my thoughts traveled to an unforeseen issue with the baby from the fall.  The nurses turned me on my side and his heart rate came back up.  Thank God.  The deceleration of his heart rate happened every so often after that, but was always remediated when I moved a different way.

Around 3pm, the nurse checked me and said that I was about 8cm dilated and that it shouldn’t be long now.  The nurses also changed shifts at 3pm, so my wonderful nurse midwife left and another great nurse came in.  My doctor called for an update and announced that he would be back around 4pm to check me again.

As I had transitioned quickly in my last labor, I knew that I would never make it to 4pm.  Coincidentally, I began feeling every contraction, pain- just everything and was practically climbing the walls in pain.  It was almost as if the epidural just completely stopped working.  The nurse saw the amount of pain that I was in as I clutched the rails on the side of the bed, breathed and let the tears continually run down my cheeks.  Word could not escape my mouth and I felt as if the baby was going to come at any minute.  Our nurse called the anesthesiologist, who was also new due to the shift change and was beside himself when he saw the pain that I was in.  He nervously poked me with a sharp popsicle stick and continued to try and ask me questions as I breathed heavily and continued to let the tears fall.  He said that he would give me a bola (sp?) to help with the additional pain that I was in.  Chris was smart and said to the nurse that she may want to check me again as this was similar to my previous labor.  She checked me and immediately called my doctor to come and deliver.

When my doctor arrived a few minutes later, he said that he wanted to see how I had progressed and when he looked, he asked me to wait so that he could put on his coat for delivery.  He announced that he could already see the baby’s head and that this was going to be quick.  Other nurses and the pediatrician flooded the room and he said to start pushing.

With only two pushes, our sweet and beautiful baby boy was here!  Max Russell came into the world on Monday, June 18 at 3:50pm.  He was 8lbs, 9oz and healthy as could be.  He received 9’s on his APGARS and was absolutely perfect!  I felt my mother in the room the moment he was born.  She was there watching over all of us and ensuring that this wonderful and beautiful boy was safe.

Max was cleaned up a bit and handed over to me where he almost immediately wanted to nurse.  We bonded as Chris and I soaked up every minute of our secind son’s first hour of life as he nursed and cuddled us in the hospital.

How lucky and fortunate we are to be blessed with this wonderful little baby.  🙂

Max Russell

Jack- 2.5 Years Old

Yesterday, my first born turned two and a half. Yep, inching ever so closely to childhood and out of toddlerhood.

Other than testing the boundaries recently and trying to assert himself, I do have to say that we have a pretty amazing child. He is very easy going, but extremely active all of the time. Here are some of the things that he is doing:

Speaking in full sentences and is able to use his words to convey what he wants

Follows simple directions

Sings songs- Wheels on the Bus, ABC’s, Twinkle Twinkle, Rain, Rain Go Away, and a few others from school

Eating with utensils 100% of the time

Has entered the “helper” stage where he wants to help Mommy fold clothes, empty the dishwasher, help Daddy mow the lawn, etc…

He is also telling us what he did at school and remembers all of the names of his classmates, and if one misbehaves, Jack can’t wait to tell us about it

Semi-regularly using the potty (especially at school)

Hi favorite toys are still cars and trucks- hands down. Thomas the train is also another toy that he is really beginning to enjoy. We swear that if we never bought him another toy that he would be perfectly fine with that. He enjoys playing with other children and is pretty decent about sharing his toys and other items.

We are so blessed to have such a wonderful little boy. I can not wait to see how he reacts to his little brother, who is hopefully coming any day now!

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Crazy Two Weeks

From the fall, to giving birth, it was already a pretty momentous week when Max was born.

Of course my story doesn’t end there. Sunday morning, Max begins to fuss a bit around 6:00am, so I wake up and bring him downstairs as not to wake anyone else so I can feed him and hopefully get him back to sleep to get some more shut eye myself.

I came down and got Max situated on the changing table and began to unfasten his diaper. being that it is 6:00am and we had woken several times to nurse, I was a bit delerious, but I noticed that his entire diaper was dark and somewhat appeared to be a large bowel movement. Thankfully, I turned on the light to get a better look and to clean him up. Once the light turned on, I looked down and saw that the diaper was actually filled with blood and Max was bleeding from his penis. Immediately, I screamed for Chris to come down and help. He came running down and we both went into shock. He was still bleeding profusely from his penis and was now crying to boot.

I rushed him to the ER after we applied pressure to stop the bleeding and the physician’s assistant checked him over, said to continue to apply Vaseline until the would healed and to follow up with my pediatrician in a few days. They never sent a doctor down or anything. Turns out that the late bleed was due to an artery close to the skin. What a mess.

A few days later, I stopped by a friend’s house with both boys for a visit and she called to tell me that she was picking up steaks and we could all just have dinner together at her place. A excuse for not cooking? Count me in. Chris came over and we began preparing dinner. I washed all of the steaks and my friend prepared the sides to be cooked. Meanwhile, Max had a dirty diaper, so I went to change him and Jack went out in their backyard with the babysitter to play. Chris went to fire up the grill and realized that the tank was empty, so he was off to get a new tank.

In a split second, Jack was walking back in the house as I was finishing Max’s diaper change and all I hear is a dog growl and Jack scream a blood curdling scream. My heart absolutely stopped and I came running. My friend reached Jack first and when I looked at Jack’s face, he was covered in blood. I tried to remain as calm as possible, but was slowly losing it. We called Chris to come home and rushed Jack to the plastic surgeon for stitches. Chris in true Chris fashion remained calm, cool and collected. I passed Max off to someone in the house and jumped in the back seat of the car to apply pressure to the bleeding on our drive to the surgeon’s office.

Several stitches later and lots of screaming heard from the waiting room (they don’t allow the parents to go back to the OR), Jack came out bandaged and swollen, but happy to see us.

We found out afterwards that when Jack was coming into the house from the backyard, the dog had secretly grabbed one of the raw steaks from the counter that I had washed and was eating it in his cage when Jack stopped to scold him for eating the food on his way into the house. That is when the dog attacked him.

We finally had the stitches out, but it has been a long week of not going outside, not swimming, no bathing, and playing as many quiet games as possible to ensure that Jack’s face healed.

The plastic surgeon told us that it is too early to tell whether or not he will have scarring, but we have all of the lotions and potions to try and avoid scarring as much as possible.

When I brought him home from getting his stitches out (he was so brave!), he felt very hot and over the 2 days before that had developed a wet cough. I took his temp, which was 101.4. Off to the pediatrician again. He has a right ear infection and a cold and is now on Amoxicillin for 10 days with a follow up appointment to discuss tubes in his ears. The poor kid can not catch a break.

That has been my 2 weeks in a nutshell, but I am so thankful that both boys are ok and on the mend.

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Jack right after the bite

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With stitches and steri strips

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After the stitches came out

St. Patrick’s Day 2012

St. Patrick’s Day Parade weekend is the holiest of holy days for my family.  It all began with my mother who would dress us head to toe in green, kilts, Irish sweaters and blinking pins and send us on our way to walk the parade route with our father, who was a Friendly Son of St. Patrick.  This year has been exceptionally hard because I did not get the usual phone call early in the morning, which usually went something like this, “Top of the morning to you, Molly.”  To which I would reply, “And the rest of the day to yourself, Mom.”

My Mom always had a knack for making it an even bigger holiday than it really is; shamrock shakes, green bagels, green beer (for her) and ensuring that we knew every word to every Irish song that the band would play in the bar after the parade.

This year, Chris, who is also a Friendly Son of St. Patrick, proudly marched the parade route with Jack in his stroller.  He beamed with pride and so did I to see my son partake in the wonderful tradition that I was able to experience as a child myself.

We enjoyed the after-party and as usual, it was nice to catch up with friends and watch Jack marvel in the provate bagpiper and drum band performance in our party room.

So proud of my Irish lads!

The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick

 

Chris and Jack marching ❤

 

Irish lads marching

 

My sweet little lad

 

Chris, me, my sister Lisa and Jack after the parade

 

Watching the rest of the parade

 

Bagpipers!!!!

 

High-Tech Milk Maid

Even though I had so many issues with breastfeeding Jack, I still plan on breastfeeding this new baby and due to the fact that I will be returning to work a mere 12 weeks after having him, I will need a solid and reliable breast pump.

I never took the plunge with buying a pump the last time because I truly didn’t care for many of the pumps and options available.  I rented one from the hospital for a while, which was bulky, difficult to travel with and not something that I was happy with.  However, I did appreciate some of the features of the hospital grade pump that was not offered with other standard pumps: varied suction settings and the fact that it was sanitary amongst users.

A major issue was pumping when Jack was not around.  I had no issue running to the mall on my lunch break at work and while perusing the Baby Gap racks, a baby would begin to cry and my shirt would be soaked.

Being the researcher that I am, even after I was finished with nursing Jack, I began learning about the Hygeia EnJoye breast pumps.  I knew immediately that I wanted one.  They have every feature that I have been looking for: portable, quiet, varied settings for suction, you can record your baby’s cry to help with letdown and the best part?  It is a green product and can also be used by other people.

The Baby Guy, from www.babyguygearguide.com is giving away a brand new Hygeia pump!!  I am dying to win this!  And if I don’t win, I am stalking Zulily on Twitter to see if they will go on flash sale on their site anytime soon, but I would love to win one!  Anyone can enter, so be sure to throw your name in the hat if you would love this pump.  To read more about the pump, click here.

Good luck!