First Amusement Park Trip

About 45 minutes from where we live is a local amusement park that specializes in families and wholesomeness.  I have been there many, many times as a child and always had wonderful memories of the merry-go-round and my first roller coaster ride.  Just good, old fashioned fun.

Chris has never been to this park and neither has Jack, so we figured a beautiful Sunday of 82 degrees and sunny was as good a day as any to venture there.

Considering that I haven’t been there in well over 15 years, it was nostalgia all over again as we drove in the grassy field to park the car.  My father used to ride the rides with us and my mother would be off to the side snapping photos of my sisters and I having the time of our lives.

Jack was told before we left that we were going to a special park which had rides instead of monkey bars and slides and he was intrigued.

When we arrived, we all stopped and ate something as it was lunch time and we needed our strength!  After eating, it was time for Max’s lunch, so we sat on a bench in a shady area so that Max could eat and Chris and Jack were off to ride the rides!

Fireman Jack

Initially, Chris said that Jack wanted to get off the first ride as he was unsure, but after that, he was thrilled!  He loved the cars, the train, firetrucks, everything!  Chris was enjoying himself just as much!  So much so that when my in-laws are in again from California next week, Chris would love to bring them there for the day again.

On the kiddie ferris wheel

Jack has not stopped talking about the rides, especially the helicopters.  He had seen the helicopter ride and had said that he did not want to ride it as the helicopters went into the air.  We spent the day avoiding the ride only to get to the car while Jack cried about not riding the helicopters.  He has since said each day since, “Mommy, are we going to go to the special park to ride the helicopters today?!”  It looks like he will give it another try if we go back again soon.

Captain Jack

We were all overdue for a family day together, so I am glad that we dropped everything and spent this day together!

Oh, and Max was wonderful!  He was happy to be in the carrier and occasionally in the double stroller as we navigated the park.  So well behaved!

Max watching big brother on the rides

I absolutely cherish these family days!

Taking a cruise with Daddy


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

Turning 30

Yesterday (June 13) was my 30th birthday. It was also my sister Lisa’s birthday. She and I are 14 years apart and both of us wanted to welcome this baby to the world on our birthday, but alas, he is content where he is.

It was a bit different waking up in the morning yesterday just knowing that my age now begins with a 3 instead of a 2, but knowing how special my mother made every single birthday feel, it was difficult to remind myself that I wouldn’t be seeing her or hearing her sing “Happy birthday” to me the minute that she woke up in the morning. I really did think about her much of the day, and knowing that I would be doing this, Chris and friends of mine tried to make my day as special as they could and focused on happy and positive things. I am so lucky.

I arrived at work, and my coworkers decorated my office with everything from banners to signs and confetti on everything! The fun continued with a few of my work friends taking me to lunch and surprising me with tiger lilies. I come back from lunch, the staff has a cake for me and then I get an order of a dozen roses from Chris, Jack and Baby G2! It was such a wonderful day at work! Lots of cards, hugs and love to go around.

Chris and the boys also bought me a beautiful pearl necklace that I will cherish forever, and if I ever have a little girl, I will be able to tell her that this was my 30th birthday gift and make it a wonderful heirloom to pass down through the family. 🙂

My friend Jared met us for dinner at Olive Garden, which was wonderful, and we ended the day with Dairy Queen ice cream cake. My sister Kate also joined us for cake! I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Just a wonderful day with the people that I love.

Don’t get me wrong, I still miss my Mom terribly, but I know that she was right alongside me celebrating the day away.

This morning, I wake up with a big smile on my face as I begin the second day of my 30’s with the happiness in my heart leading the way. Lucky doesn’t describe how I feel to have these amazing people in my life. 🙂







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.


Jack right after the bite


With stitches and steri strips


After the stitches came out

It All Happened Over a Deadliest Catch Marathon

It was Good Friday 5 years ago today that I said “Yes!” to one of the most important decisions of my life.  Chris proposed to me in the middle of the living room in front of my mother and my sister.

He had asked for my Mom’s permission a few days beforehand, so she knew that he was trying to plan something special for popping the big question, but in typical Molly fashion, I folied all of his plans and it came down to me eating a pizza bagel in record time after my Mom tricked me into getting my nails done and Chris dropping to one knee on the hardwood floor.

And although it doesn’t sound like the most romantic proposal ever, it is exactly what this quirky couple needed to make it official.

The holiest of holy days mixed with a Deadliest Catch marathon, the best pizza bagel ever and me refusing to eat dinner at home and enjoy the evening with my family in front of a fire all culminated to that moment.

I remember thinking to myself, “What the hell is he doing on the floor” and then when I began coherently understanding what he was saying about loving me forever and that he wanted to grow old with me mixed with my Mom and sister crying as they watched, I too began bawling my eyes out but was able to yell out “YES!!”

And looking back, its not even a thought of he picked me, it is more of a thought that we chose each other.  And 5 years later, I am so glad that we did.

1 year and 1 month later, we made it official!

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




Date Night Well Overdue

This year, Valentine’s Day was very low key in our house. I got out of work late, cooked dinner for my two guys and myself, we gave Jack a bath and Chris went to play soccer. Just a normal everyday night. Chris had gotten me tickets to see Lisa Lampanelli on Saturday night, complete with dinner for two and a babysitter! PERFECTION!

For the remainder of the week, I looked forward to an evening alone with my love over a nice dinner followed by the Lisa Lampanelli show. (If you don’t know who Lisa Lampanelli is, immediately stop reading and type her name into Google. You’re welcome)

Saturday finally came and after running errands, cleaning and doing endless loads of wash, we dropped Jack off with the babysitter and off we went.

It was so wonderful to be able to talk to Chris, eat dinner while it was hot and not have to rush the bill because we were trying to beat it home for bedtime. I savored every bite of my caesar salad, pasta and the strawberry creme brulee. It was truly a wonderful night, and that was only dinner!!! Note to self: we need to do this more often!

The highlight of the night though, especially after the last few weeks of sadness, was seeing Lisa Lampanelli perform. Her side-splitting humor, delivery of jokes and her ability to say things in a way that are totally wrong was exactly what the doctor ordered. I laughed and laughed until I didn’t think that I could laugh any more. She put on such a wonderful show, and truly, if she is coming to a town near you, do yourself a favor and buy tickets. Our seats were 5 rows from the stage, and close enough to have spotlights on our row for her to see us, but a few rows far back enough that she wasn’t picking on us. It was wonderful!

I am so thankful for Chris for recognizing that we needed a night off and out to ourselves. He has always had a keen sense of when I needed something and I appreciate him so much for that. God must have been looking out for us the night that we met to ensure that I was lucky enough to have one of the wonderful guys.

Below is a photo of Lisa Lampanelli performing, which again was really the highlight of the night! Thank goodness for date night!



It’s true!  All of these symptoms, old wives tales, everything were dead wrong!  We are having a beautiful, healthy baby boy!

We went in a few days early for our ultrasound and on our way in, Chris was still completely convinced that we would be finding out that we were having a girl.  I told him that I really didn’t have a feeling either way, but that we would see in a few minutes.

Our little baby boy was happy to be tucked tightly between my uterus and the placenta, which made it extremely difficult to get measurements, pictures or to see everything.  Anything that we tried; walking, coughing, laying on my side, etc…, he was just so happy to be laying there.

We listened to his wonderful, strong heartbeat, which was 144 beats per minute, which was my first thought that we were going to have a boy.  Jack’s heartbeat was in the 140’s as well.

As the tech silently bargained with our little guy to move and he would give us some more pictures, I began imagining life at home with two boys.

Two sons.  Two little boys who love their parents.  Two boys who will be playing with trucks on the floor, talking about Thomas the Tank Engine, and showing us every bus, truck and digger that drives down the highway.

We are not finished with growing our family by any means, but the thought of having two wonderful brothers who will be great buddies makes my heart sing!

After we found out, we called our parents and told them.  My Mom said how wonderful it was to have another boy, but was too weak to say much more than that.  Everyone is absolutely thrilled!  And so begins the search for some nice new summer outfits for our new little one!

This news is absolutely something that is bringing happiness into our life, especially during this difficult time.

(Ultrasound photos to follow, once I scan them in. :))

Sunday Mornings

Weekend mornings are nothing short of the best.  We sleep in until 7am, and spend a few extra hours in jammies while we play with trucks, cars and snuggle on the couch.  I don’t even mind not sleeping in as I enjoy every second with my family on these mornings.

Winter weekends mean hot oatmeal, hot chocolate and extra cuddles under blankets while watching a movie.  I would never give these mornings up for anything.  I wait all week for these mornings!

On Sundays, we usually turn on CBS Sunday Morning around 9:30am before we head out the door to mass and then back for lunch.  Sunday seems to go quicker than Saturday in our house.

Since my job is usually crazy, our weekends are always spent grocery shopping for the week, doing laundry, cleaning, ironing, running errands and visiting with my mother, which doesn’t leave time for much else.  Maybe that is why I love these mornings so much.  They are our time to slow down and relax before the day really begins.

Drinking some hot chocolate (check out those eyelashes!)


Jack loves his Daddy



Chatty Jack

We have a parrot in the house.  Jack is literally repeating everything that we say.  Everything.

When Chris yells down from upstairs: “Babes, did you start the wash?”  A little 2 year old voice then runs into the laundry home asking “Babes, start wash yet?”  Yes, Jack is beginning to call me Babes, so I asked Chris to curb it on the “Babes” while he is in this repetition stage.

Yesterday, we went to the grocery store, and as always, we are walking through the aisles and Jack is telling me what each fruit is, what color and counting with me as we put the cucumbers in the bag and it hit me.  He is growing up.  He is a little intelligent toddler who can now count to 11 on his own, identify the majority of colors and tries to sing along to the ABC’s with his Mommy.

He talks about his friends at school, tells us what he wants to eat and can respond and follow simple directions.

My only issue is that sometimes he can’t control his emotions when he is told “no” or can’t do something that we don’t want him to do.  We have been trying the Time Out method on the steps with 2 minutes (for his age), but he didn’t seem to understand.  We did the diverting attnetion thing, but he would usually go right back to doing what he wanted to do.

So, Jack’s teacher gave us the Turtle Technique.  God, I love this.  When they are frustrated and freaking out, you mention starting the Turtle, and Jack stops, hugs himself with his arms and takes a few deep breaths.  Once he has calmed down a bit, he is supposed to say why he was upset and the parent explains the wrongdoing.  Ours is typically for when he doesn’t pay attention, hits, or says no to us.  This seems to be working for us, and we will do it as long as it works.

We like this technique because it tries to reiterate the fact that Jack has to use his words to communicate and let us know why he is upset.  I figured that I would share because if it works for us, it may work for someone else.