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

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Max’s Baptism

On Sunday, August 5, we took our sweet boy over to St. Ignatius Church with our family and friends to have him baptized.

As it was a 90+ degree day with exceptionally high humidity, a few scattered rain showers and thunderstorms popped up, but never took away the humidity.

It was so wonderful for my family to drive in from New Jersey to celebrate with us!  It was also their first time to meet Max and to see Jack for the first time in a few months, so there was a lot of catching up to be had.

As Max was 6 weeks old, he had a growth spurt this past week and was eating more and a little bit more fussy than usual, but the day of the baptism, he woke up with a smile on his face and was happy all day long.

Our friend Father Kelly returned from his vacation to come down to his old parish to baptize Max.

Max wore the heirloom christening gown that my mother, uncles, cousins, sisters, Jack and I wore.  The beautiful Irish linen gown is close to 100 years old and is extremely delicate, so we opted to dress him at the church.

His Godmother, Colleen and I dressed him, which brought back many memories of my mother dressing Jack in the gown two and a half years prior.

As we were waiting for a few other people to arrive at the church, we decided to take all of the pictures with the family, etc… ahead of time.  Max’s Godfather, Jeff and Colleen posed for pictures and we also made sure to get the whole family together for one big family shot for the first time in a long time.

Jack loved playing and sitting with his cousins and we were all very glad to spend time together and laugh.

Max was very good during the baptism, and when it came time for Father Kelly to pour the water over his head, he literally moved his head side to side in delight as he poured the water.  Looks like we may have another water baby on our hands!

Following the baptism, we all headed back to my mother’s house for a little luncheon.  We enjoyed lunch and of course, the children were anxious to get to the cake.

Two friends of mine so graciously offered to spend the Friday of the baptism weekend to bake a cake from scratch and to make my Aunt’s famous icing for our celebration.  As I do not have one cooking or baking bone in my body, I was absolutely nervous, but we did a fabulous job!  My Aunt who makes the famous icing also had some of the cake and said that we hit the nail on the head and that it was delicious!  We were thrilled!

It was a lovely day and a wonderful little celebration for our Max!  May God bless him always.

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.

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

June 14th Nightmare

I took a much needed vacation day on June 14th so that I could catch up on some last minute things before the baby arrived.  My plans were simple: Clean the house, get the car washed, and pick up Jack early from school and spend some one-on-one time with him at the park before dinner, etc…

The day began as normal as any other and although I was tired enough to nap for 5 hours straight, I got up early and got to work as I knew my in-laws would be arriving the following day.

Cut to me arriving at Jack’s school around 3pm to pick him up and bring him to the park.  After speaking with the school director for a bit and joking that this is the everlasting pregnancy, we agreed that the weekend was a perfect time to have the baby.  Jack’s teacher applied more sunscreen to him so that we could be prepared for the hot sun at the park and off we went.  Walking outside of the school door, Jack walked over to the car and as I was walking with him, I tripped over the sidewalk and fell flat on my belly.

Immediately my eyes filled with tears as my worst nightmare was seemingly a reality.  My mind raced as I thought about whether or not my water broke, whether or not the baby survived the fall and where Jack was in a busy school parking lot.  I was sobbing and yelling for help.  Jack came to my rescue and so did two very nice landscapers who just so happened to be planting some shrubs in front of the school.  Jack began crying and I could see that he was terrified to see that his Mommy fell and was crying too.

One of the teachers came running outside to retrieve Jack so as not to scare him and another landscaper called 911 and my husband for me.  Chris showed up on the scene before the ambulance even arrived.  Calm as anything, he held my hand and assured me that the almost 40 weeks gestation baby was going to be fine. God, I love that man.

I remember poking my belly praying for the little one inside to poke back, move or show some sign that he was alright.  Cue the ambulance.

This was my first time riding in an ambulance and as terrified as I was, all I remember is Chris following us by car, praying my head off that everything would be ok and for us to arrive at the hospital ASAP.  It was the absolute longest 10 minutes of my entire life.  My eyes were focused on Chris driving behind us to gauge his reaction to the situation.  There was a time when he looked a bit worried and I felt it.  Almost simultaneously, I began feeling strong contractions that were a few minutes apart.

As the ambulance pulls up to the Emergency bay of the hospital, I feel the baby move a little bit.  My glimmer of hope is strong that this baby will be alright.  They rush me into the trauma unit as a level 2 trauma.  Literally, 20 people come rushing at me hooking me up to monitors, taking off my clothes, asking me questions and taking about 8 vials of blood while calling the hospital for an ultrasound machine and an ultrasound tech.  This experience was terrifying and I begged for them to let Chris come back with me.  The doctors explained that the policy doesn’t allow anyone back there, but he would see what he could do.

Meanwhile, Chris parked the car and was escorted into a private room away from the waiting area where he waited for any sort of news.

Finally, the doctor allowed Chris into the trauma unit and the ultrasound tech was doing an ultrasound to look for bleeding and to see if the baby was doing ok.  She checked around for about a half hour and the monitors were showing that my contractions were getting stronger and closer together, so off to Labor and Delivery I went.

My doctor met me in my room when I arrived by wheelchair and tried to cut the tension by saying “What the heck happened, klutz!?”  I explained the story and he said that they would be keeping me at least until 9pm as they performed more tests and monitored my contractions.

My stay became an overnight stay for more monitoring and more tests as they found that some of the baby’s blood had mixed with my blood due to the blunt force of the fall.  Immediately, my doctor is trying to rule out placental abruption, which could be fatal to the baby and cause many other complications.  I swear that my parents and God were looking out for me because even though I was still very worried about losing the baby, I felt a comfort and a nonverbal reassurance that all would be ok.

They kept me until late Saturday where they were able to rule out placental abruption.  So, after 18 needle picks, IV’s, countless ultrasounds and pages of contractions and fetal heart monitoring, the doctor was convinced that the baby was fine and that I was fine.

So, in the meantime, why not break my water, start pitocin or just send me to the OR suite to have a c-section?  The doctor said that breaking my water and starting pitocin, especially if there was a placental abruption, would cause much more harm than good.  So, my contractions continued, would strengthen and then often dissipate.  Often, the contractions would be pretty strong and about 3-4 minutes apart.

Why not a c-section?  The doctor did say that we could head down the hall and get it all over with, but he was almost certain that all would be alright and that I would be able to deliver vaginally when the baby was ready.

After I left, I came home, spent some time with my family and was told that I was on cervical rest and that I would need to return to the L&D unit the following morning for another non-stress test.

Sunday morning, Father’s Day, I went in at 7:30am for my NST, which showed that I was still having contractions, but there was no change.

Monday morning, my doctor asked me to come in for an ultrasound, another NST and to be checked.  The NST showed that I was having strong contractions that were 5 minutes apart (I didn’t need the machine to tell me this- I felt every last one!).  The ultrasound showed that the baby was about 9lbs, 1oz and was healthy as could be.  Thank God!

The doctor calls me in to be checked, and Chris and I had already mentally prepared ourselves for no cervical change and had already planned the rest of our day with his parents and Jack.  The doctor checks me and announces that I was 3cm and 80% effaced.  Other than almost falling off of the exam table, I was in shock.  He asked me to head directly to L&D and that he would be up in a bit to break my water and start pitocin.  I kindly said that I still hadn’t repacked my bag from my previous hospital stay and that I would run home quickly and come right back.  He responded, “I just said that you are in labor.  Get upstairs to L&D!”

Chris and I walked into the unit, announced that we were in labor and that my doctor had sent us.

(Continued in the birth story)

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. 🙂

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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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Coming to an Agreement

After about a month of negotiations, changes, blueprint reviews and a whirlwind of emotions and decisions, Chris and I are finally coming to terms and are agreeing with our builder enough to sign on the dotted line.

We have made several changes, mostly making the house bigger by bumping out the walls, eliminating tray ceilings, the garden tub, the sunporch and creating a different style of deck space.

So far, this has been the most difficult and time consuming part of the process, but we are finally getting the house that we want to raise our family in.  I’m glad that we haven’t been shy about asking for what we want and standing up for what we want when our builder comes back with a different suggestion.

And to be honest, I truly thought that Chris and I wouldn’t always come to an agreement on the house and everything that we wished to do, but we truthfully have the same taste and vision for the house.  I couldn’t be happier.

As of now, we are scheduled to close on the land next week, provided that I don’t go into labor before then, but I’m so glad that we can finally get this process underway.

This should be a very close layout and design of what our house will look like with several changes to our house, but close enough:

 

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

Memorial Day Weekend 2012

We tried to keep this weekend as low key as possible and were pretty successful, I might add.  However, the central air in my Mom’s house went on Friday (it was 90 degrees + each day with tons of humidity) and I was ready to jump off a cliff.  Everyone that we knew with a pool was either away or hadn’t opened their pool yet.  But we survived.  Barely.

It’s funny how quickly you are thankful for the little things in life when you no longer have them.

We spent much of the weekend playing in the backyard, working on the yard, remembering the fallen soldiers, and we went and put flowers on my father’s grave.  Not much, but just enough to make the most out of a long, relaxing weekend.

Monday morning, we went and watched our local Memorial Day parade and cheered on our Veterans.

A special thank you goes out to my Dad (Air Force), my father-in-law (Marines) and brother-in-law (Marines) for their service.  Without your selflessness, we would not have what we have- including (fixed) central air.  Thank you!

Waiting for the parade to start

So excited!

In between picking up candy

Watching the parade with Daddy