Sunday, December 31, 2017

Looking Back at 2017

This has been a weird year.  On one hand, thanks to the addition of baby Ben, it is the year that my family became complete.  I can't really think of anything more important and special than that. 

On the other hand, this year has not been easy. Joe had two major surgeries with long recoveries. I was pregnant and feeling low-energy the first part of the year. Syd entered her terrible twos. We quickly learned the challenges of caring for two young kids at once.

More than anything, this year has been one where I have learned to appreciate what it means to have a village. I know for certain Joe and I would not have made it through this year without the kindness and love from our neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family.  I am beyond grateful and thankful.  

And now for some memories and pictures!

January: I spent the month hiding my pregnancy from work, which was especially interesting as we had a kick-off weekend in Scottsdale and I had to be a proxy for my boss.  

February: The Patriots won the superbowl.  (I remember this clearly because Joe watched the replay at least 100 times.) Joe had surgery on his neck/back. I took off a week from work and hung with Syd. Little did I know how "easy" this recovery was relative to later in the year. 

Date night at the hospital.
Playdates with Syd!

March-May: Joe continued his recovery with PT, but slowly and sadly realized the surgery hadn't fixed everything.  Meanwhile we worked on home projects, including building a new deck and getting the house ready for baby #2. We took our first overnight trip (together) since Syd was born to celebrate Lauren & Mark's wedding. 

 Midway through the new deck rebuild. 

June: I was supposed to join the entire W family in Cape Cod for Joe & Sally's 50th wedding anniversary. I had been planning on going until the Thursday before we were scheduled to go, but then my doctor told me I shouldn't. I was really upset to miss out and had multiple teary episodes.  But given some complications during Ben's delivery, it was best I didn't risk anything. Instead I stayed home, cleaned the house, caught up with friends, and nested.  At least Syd had fun on the beach!

I continued to get larger and larger.

July: Baby Ben arrives! And my family is complete. 
August: Joe has shoulder surgery. (We thought timing was good since I had 4 months off for maternity leave and the recovery was 12 weeks. I suppose we didn't really have other options, but I would highly advise against doing this when you have a newborn at home.) Syd turns a bit crazy. She crawls out of her crib, stops sleeping, starts rebelling against baby brother... things we probably could have been more prepared for - both physically and mentally.  She starts 3-day-a-week preschool at the end of August. Yes, there were many tears. 
Joe takes a post-surgery selfie which may have captured his last real smile for about 6 weeks. 
Syd on her first day of preschool. 

September: Without Joe's mom, I'm not sure we would have survived. 

October: Syd turns two! We have a fun family party for her birthday, and then take her to Zilker Park for her first trip on the Zilker Zephyr.  She also gets into a better grove at school and develops an obsession with pumpkins and the Ghostbusters theme song. Joe finally gets to move without the shoulder sling.

Syd's (and Ben's) first trip on the Zilker Zephyr
 Preschool = a new found love of painting. 

November: Our third time to host Thanksgiving at the new house, and this time Aunt Laura joins us for the week.  I also head back to work this month, but luckily my boss is incredible and the transition is manageable. (Given Joe's slow recovery, I have extra lee-way to work from home and help out when possible.) Joe also heads back to work this month and learns how to manage two minions on his own. We also started on some of our big yard projects - mainly Operation Children's Dream Yard - which included spreading 18 yards of dirt on one side of the house.

December: Syd has transitioned from all things pumpkins to all things Christmas. It's all Frosty, all the time.  I enjoy a Christmas tree for the second time ever, and Christmas lights for the first time.  December also seems to be the beginning of the Syd+Ben team. She is starting to return his interest and I am catching her being sweet to him more and more.

So... 2017. I can't say I ever want to do it again. (I know Joe doesn't!) Yet I already miss parts of it and want to be sure I remember all the sweetness the year had to offer. I am looking forward to 2018 and all it has to offer too!

Happy new year to all!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Benjamin - Three Months!

As our little buddy nears four months old, I need to get on with posting his three month update!

Overall, Ben is just the sweetest and happiest little guy.  Sure he has moments of fussiness - largely at night, and usually because he is hungry - but otherwise he is generally super chill and full of smiles.

I love this little guy so much!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Happy #2 Birthday Syd!

We recently celebrated Syd's second birthday. How my little baby girl turned into a two year old... I have no idea. She is very much becoming her own independent little person and it's been incredible to watch.  I thought I'd share a few pictures from her #2 birthday as well as some of my favorite current Squiddisms...

  • The nickname Squid / Squiddy still remains supreme. But we also call her Squiddy Bear, Baby Bearface, Squidlepants, and so many more
  • While she took a little longer than some of her peers to start speaking, she talks all the time now.  Joe and I lost count of the number of words she knows (yes at one point we did actually list them out) and now we are amazed at the new things she says daily. Some favorites: hummy (hummus), mo honey peez (more honey please), moo ham (move Sam), no thank you, how do you do (from the finger song)
  • Speaking of words, she is putting them to use in song. She's a little singing machine, always singing in the car, the stroller, the bathtub, while playing, etc... Some favorites: Six little ducks, Row row row your boat, Baby Shark, the Finger Song, Little Bunny Foo Foo, and of course Wheels on the Bus. She knows all the hand motions and words, and we often catch her randomly going "up and down" or "wha wha wha" when her brother cries
  • Other things Syd loves: drawing in the driveway with chalk, coloring, painting in school, playing chase, playing hide and go seek, going on walks, anything that involves her grandparents
  • Our "eat everything" little girl is now much pickier, giving up milk and often requesting everything to be covered in ketchup, hummus, or honey. She, not surprisingly, goes nuts for icecream and cake
  • Syd decided at 22 months to crawl out of her crib prompting us to convert it to the toddler bed. Sleep has been... um... interesting
  • The fun part of putting Syd to bed is rocking with her ("wok") and then tucking her in, touching fingers E.T. style, and kissing her forehead
  • Ask Syd who her best friend is - the answer is "Ennnn!" We're training her that she loves her baby brother! After a month of being pretty testy, she seems to have embraced him and does everything to help us take care of him (gets his diapers, sings him songs, gets his bottle, puts his pacifier back in, etc.)
  • Syd is in preschool MWF and it's certainly been an adjustment. I can't say that she loves it, but I know it's really good for her
  • She doesn't do this much anymore, but one of our favorite Syd sayings was "I see Daddy"- made Joe's heart melt every time
  • She likes to play "scowl and smile" at the dinner table
  • a few other favorite games are "hase" (chase), "hide" for hide and seek, and "ace" for racing us into her room or kitchen
  • since getting a trampoline she loves to hop on thins, including the cement foor, and thinks the world is her trampoline

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Benjamin is here!

It seems like just yesterday I was writing a similar post welcoming tiny baby Sydney to our family...

And yet, ~21 months later, Joe and I are thrilled to introduce Mr. Benjamin William to the world.

After fighting dropping platelet counts for the latter part of my pregnancy, I was getting increasingly anxious to deliver as soon as possible; otherwise I risked not getting an epidural. My doctor's office kept trying to get me into the hospital for an induction, but I didn't get the official go ahead until Wednesday afternoon.  It's pretty crazy to get a call that says, "You're on the calendar. See you at 7am tomorrow to have your baby."

Luckily I was able to get a good night's sleep, and Joe's mom (who has been staying with us to help with Syd) saw us off bright and early.  Here I am before we headed out.
Joe and I arrived at the hospital on Thursday a bit before 7am, and by 8:30am I was all hooked up and receiving the first dose of Pitocin. My platelets had dropped again, and I was just on the cutoff for getting the epidural. I had a four hour window to get the epidural before they retested my blood, so the anesthesiologist hooked me up by 11:00am. This meant I never really felt a contraction for the entire labor.  (So much different than labor with Syd!)

Long story short, the induction process took the full day, and I was finally ready to push by ~9:30pm. They say your second labor is easier, and that's so true! After pushing through 4 contractions (~12 pushes total), he was out! He did give us a bit of a scare because the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and he didn't cry much... but luckily he was a-ok!  To be fair, I apparently gave everyone a scare too thanks to a postpartum hemorrhage and a case of shivering for an hour, but we all got through it.

The stats: Born at 9:42pm, 8lbs 6 oz, 21.5".  He was still "baby boy" until Friday night, when Joe & I officially settled on the name Benjamin.

The hospital was crazy crowded, so we spent the night in the delivery room.  Joe and I were able to get some rest thanks to our awesome nurse who took care of Ben's diapers and the fact that Ben was amazingly calm.  Whenever he made noise, Joe would rest his hand on him and Ben would go right back to sleep.

The next morning, Joe's parents brought Syd to meet her baby brother. She was cute as can be and took to her brother immediately, hugging him and trying to give him treats (mainly off my breakfast tray). I can't say she fully understands what he means in her life, but so far she's very proud to squeal and point at herself whenever we say "who's the big sister."

The rest of Joe's family and my friend Chris visited on Friday.  That afternoon, we moved to the postpartum section of the hospital, had another great night with Ben, and checked out Saturday afternoon. Syd was great when we came home and immediately wanted to hug and hold him.

So far everything is going great. (I fully recognize the help of our family and friends + the fact that we're actually in our house this time around is making a huge difference!)

I'm just so in love with this little guy, and I am so happy to be a family of four! 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sydfix: 18 months

I can't believe my tiny baby girl is 1.5 years old! Syd is in full blown toddler mode.  She's a walking, squawking, giggly, sweet girl.  She loves reading, getting chased by her dad, dancing, being outside, picking up acorns, going down the slide, eating just about everything, and being around her family.

 I mean, could this girl have any more personality? She's just the best!