Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ooo La La

Back in the proverbial saddle…made a birthday cake for one cute little girl’s first birthday party, with a sophisticated Parisian theme.  I really love the girly ones.  J

And a smash cake of course!

Happy Birthday, Miss Ella!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Fair and a Milestone

We've had a pretty busy week.  I'm just getting around to posting pictures from last weekend.  As I suggested in my last post, we headed to the Rock Island County Fair.  I forgot how scary fairs are as a kid.  When you're a parent, multiply that fear by about 50.  Wow.  Huge cables everywhere to trip on, rusty rides that make noises they shouldn't, High Voltage boxes marked "DANGER" at every turn, interesting individuals yelling about games...I could go on and on... 

There are some things that you will only see at a fair (case in point, hearing a small child tell his dad he wants to win the "top hat with the green flower on it"...not a green flower, people).  Anyway, Addy had a blast.  She had her first fair food (meat on a stick, cotton candy, and a funnel cake), went to the petting zoo, but most importantly, rode rides!  Jason took her down the slide first.  Sister loved it!  They went down 3 little thrill seeker even had one of the newspapers taking her picture!

Next was the ferris wheel...

After much debate (in other words, Jason and I examining ride operators, restraint systems, and how kids appeared to feel about the ride), we finally decided the ladybug ride would be a good candidate for her first solo flight. 

OK, rusty ladybug with the glasses and operator with the handlebar mustache, we're putting our child's life in your hands here...She seemed a little reluctant.  Then the ride took off with a sudden lurch, and she fell over inside the car.  Mr. Mustache was ready to shut the ride off.  Our hearts dropped to our stomachs as I thought, "Well, the fair is over for us."  I should have known better.  Her head popped back up, and she had a huge grin on her face. 

Then it was all about what rides she could do "by herself!"  She rode in the car with the sick sounding horns, the choo-choo train, and the fighter plane...

She also chose the only animal on the carousel that wasn't a beautiful horse...a rooster.  Our child picks the rooster.  I love it.

Brother Man was rather unimpressed by the whole thing...

These pictures have me thinking back to our first outing with all four of us.  It was a simple trip to the grocery store and to Target.  No big deal right?  To us it was.  Addy acted up.  Cohen cried.  It was about 200 stinking degrees.  We didn't realize we would need more than one cart.  The cashier made a mistake which meant standing at the service desk for what felt like 10 years.  It was a challenge.  Jason and I both were like "Seriously?  How do people do this...especially people with 3 or 4 or more kids?"  I remember thinking every outing would be stressful from now on.  I thought, oh well, a little stress on us is definitely worth letting our kiddos do fun things.  The thing is, the fair wasn't at all stressful.  It was wonderful.  We enjoyed it all (yes, Cohen was sleeping for most of it, but we have had plenty of other outings where he's been awake).  The point is, somehow, “How are we going to do this?” has become "Damn. Look at us. We're doing this." What an awesome feeling.
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Lil' Homie hit the one month mark this week.  Here's a pic of Sister Sue (yet another pet name) with him on his big day...I'm so proud to be their mama.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What's in a name?

That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet…right?
Baby Cohen has collected a rather large catalog of names.  Addy’s favorite to use “Lil’ Homie”…I think it was used once, she loved it, and it’s been repeated ever since.  I think this picture would show that this is a rather fitting name…

Others include Baby Brother, Co-Co, Duuude, Little Man, Coney, Butter (adapted from the baby talk of brother or also a shortened version of another name for him, Butterbean, which was one of Addy’s pet names that she decided to pass on to him)…oh yeah and every once in a while, Cohen.  This poor child is going to have a hard time on the playground.
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend…we’ll be crossing our fingers for some sunshine at the Rock Island County Fair!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

rebel without a cause

So what do you do when you drag your 2-year old and infant out in the heat for an adventure, only to find that the city of Moline has closed Butterworth Park?  You test out the new double stroller and feed the ducks of course!

Miss Addy decided the ducks weren’t the only ones in need of some Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Goodness…

As we watched people go by on boats, blasting music and boozing it up, I couldn’t help but giggle to myself. ..I get my kicks feeding ducks, while standing a foot away from this.  Live it up, my friends.  Rebel. 

Side note - some of you have been kind enough to comment on some of my blog posts in the past.  Please know that these comments don’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.  When I see the little icon appear that indicates someone has commented on a post, I’m like a kid on Christmas.  It’s so nice to know that someone is getting something out of reading our little blog (and not just me).  I’ve tried on multiple occasions to comment in response to several of the comments posted, and apparently I’m too computer illiterate to figure out how to comment on my own blog.  Yeah, that’s as pathetic as it sounds.  So anyway, I just wanted to say thanks and please don’t think I’m a snobby sistah.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

a photo and a poem...because I'm in the mood...

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

- e. e. cummings

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This blog has been a long time (3 weeks to be exact) coming.  So yeah…children are exhausting…and we only have two.  It’s pretty easy to lose your cool when you’ve got an infant wailing and squirting poo on the living room carpet and another in the bathroom trying to poo on the toilet (unsuccessfully).  There have been some sleepless nights.  There have been some tears from a confused two year old (and yes, sometimes an overwhelmed mama).  The thing is, somehow, we’re figuring it all out.  I’m realizing how true it is that there’s no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.  I’m doing what I can.  We’re taking it one day at a time, giving our two amazing littles our best attempt at “perfect.”  We’re already over three weeks in to this adventure and I’m reminded of how quickly nights turn into weeks, and I’m painfully aware of how quickly weeks turn into years.  This…

is going to fade away so quickly.  I know I’ll continue to worry if I’m doing the right thing, but for the most part, I’m trying harder to trust my instincts and just enjoy where we are.  Give me the poo on the carpet and on the bathroom floor because someday, I know I’m going to miss it.  And yes, children are exhausting, but oh so incredibly wonderful and worth every bit of exhuastion. 
We’re finally getting on a schedule, so I should be posting more frequently from here on out.  Hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

June 26, 2011

Forgive me for this post taking so long, for it being all over the place, for leaving things out, and for being too graphic, but I want to document the story, our Cohen’s birth story…
On Sunday, June 26th in the late morning, I started having contractions.  By noon we decided to time them.  For about two hours they were 3 to 5 minutes apart, and although they weren’t painful, we decided to call the doctor.  She suggested we head to the hospital to see if I was making any progress.  So I finished packing my bag, and we headed out.  As we drove toward the hospital, Addy informed us that we were going to the park and that it was “gonna be great!” (she was right about it being great and we were actually on the road we would normally take to go the park…). 
We arrived at the hospital around 3 pm.  We walked the halls with a restless Addy (who was very upset to be walking into a place that reminded her of her doctor’s office).  My nurse commented that she didn’t think it was time because I was “just too smiley”.  When she checked me at 5 pm, I had dilated another centimeter (to a whopping 3 cm), so they decided to admit me.  I changed into the “hospital gown” I purchased online for Addy’s birth (the idea that they could put me in a gown that some person had died in the day before is enough to send me over the edge).  My step-dad, Dan, came to take the soon-to-be big sister for the night.  My mom, Jason’s mom, her fiancĂ©, and my best friends, Molly and Lauren, arrived and the excitement started to really build.  This was the day that he was really going to join us.

An hour or so later, the doctor came to check me.  As she was telling me that I was dilated to 4 cm and that my “bag of water was bulging”, my water broke!  Eeek!  This is when things got serious with Addy…they broke my water at 5 pm, and I had her at 6:30 pm.  I was expecting to see him soon because I had heard over and over that the second birth is usually more quick.  The contractions were instantly stronger, longer, and more close together.  I sat on a birthing ball at the edge of my bed and drifted in and out of the cheerful conversation in the room.  I realized he definitely wasn’t going to make an arrival quite like Addy did.  I got in the shower for a bit as the contractions got to the point that I couldn’t simply breathe through them.  After the shower, around 9 pm, the doctor checked me and gave me a 5 or a 6.  I remember thinking, are you freaking kidding me…shouldn’t I have had him by now?!  I started to fear that things weren’t going exactly as they should when the nurse had me get in different positions, like on all fours, while shaking my hips back and forth (I know now that he wasn’t descending into my pelvis…I told them he was big!).  I can’t really describe the pain I was feeling at this point…the kind of pain that makes you want to claw out of your own skin but that you know is working to give you something you want so badly...the kind of pain that makes you question the natural childbirth you thought you wanted.  The nurse I had for both births was exceptional (yes, I was lucky enough to get the same nurse 2 years later).  She helped me moan through contractions.  She talked me through the ones I thought I couldn’t handle.  She told me to envision him at my breast, which I did and was comforted.  My epidural = a nurse named Janel.    
Sometime after 10:30, I let them know that I was feeling a lot of pressure.  This time the nurse checked me, gave me a 7, and said the doctor was wrong before when she gave me a 5 or a 6.  I was infuriated.  This is when I “turned off” the rest of the room.  I vaguely remember hearing someone say “it’s just a number” or at least that’s what I think I heard.  I started telling myself over and over, “it’s just a number…you know your body.”  So even though they didn’t think I was ready to push because I wasn’t a 10, I started pushing.  I didn’t push enough to actually deliver him, just enough to not fight what my body was telling me.  When the doctor came to check on me 2 contractions later, she took one look and turned to the nurse, shocked and said, “You said she was a 7!  That’s his head!”  Chaos ensued, lights came down from the ceiling, nurses ran around, the doctor threw on her blue paper suit.  The first real push, with my feet in the stirrups, got the top half of his head out.  This is when I realized yet again, things weren’t going as planned.  They started telling me I had to get him out (Jason says it looked like the nurse was ready to jump on top of me and push him out herself). They made me take a few breaths through an oxygen mask.  I was so scared.  They didn’t do that with Addy.  Why was this different than Addy?  He was out in one more contraction (2 pushes), but instead of putting him on my chest like they did with her, they took him straight to the warmer.  He cried and seemed fine to everyone else, but I knew different.  As everyone crowded in around him to take pictures, I asked the doctor, “Is something wrong?”  “Babies just don’t like to come out that fast, honey.  His heart rate dropped a bit as you were pushing, but he’s beautiful.  His face is going to be very bruised and we want to clear his airways as much as possible.”  That was all I needed to hear.  He was beautiful.

The doctor delivered the placenta and the fear started again.  As her face changed, she asked, “Did you have any problems with this pregnancy?”  “No, I don’t think so, why?”  She explained that I had a double placenta.  She showed me them, connected by a blood vessel.  The nurses all wanted to see it.  I felt like I was some sort of medical oddity.  Jason jokes that they took it in a jar to the Putnam Museum.  Anyway, she was concerned that the ultrasounds hadn’t uncovered it and surprised that I had had no complications.  I didn’t realize how big of a deal the double placenta was until later, when the doctor explained it in greater detail.  Either the pregnancy started with twins and one didn’t survive, or the placenta inexplicably developed two lobes.  It’s probably best that I’ll never know which the case was.  Apparently c-sections are usually required when there are two placentas as the connecting blood vessel or one of the placentas often is too close to the cervix.  This is called Vasa Previa.  When the cervix dilates or the water breaks, the vessel can tear, causing rapid blood loss to the baby.  The pressure of the descending baby can also put pressure on the placenta, cutting off the blood flow to the baby.  I made the mistake of doing some additional research later and sobbed as I read that this occurs once in every 2,000 to 3,000 births, and the fetal mortality rate is 95%.  Even typing that makes me feel as though I’m going to be ill.  To think that the pregnancy may have started out with two beautiful babies is difficult, but the idea that Cohen might not be sleeping soundly next to me today is absolutely unbearable.  I have to bring myself back to reality...The reality is, we’re so extremely blessed to have two beautiful, perfect children.  Moving on before the emotions overcome me again…
The double placenta could also explain some of his large size.  He was most likely getting extra nutrients.  At 38 and a half weeks, he was born weighing 8 lbs, 12.6 oz, measuring 20 inches long.  I remember feeling alone and empty while they delivered the placenta and stitched me up.  I was jealous that everyone was getting to see him.  I remember thinking, if they let someone else hold him before I get to; they’re going to see me flip out.  They didn’t.  They handed him to me, a piece of my soul that I didn’t know I was missing until it was back in my arms.  As he lay on my chest, I drank him in.  I nursed him and memorized his face.  It didn’t look bruised to me then, it looked…breath-taking.  Honestly, it didn’t look bruised to me until I looked back at photos.

We spent the night alone with him and then anxiously awaited Addy’s arrival the next day.  When she came walking shyly into the room, carrying a gift for her new baby brother, I felt like my heart would burst.  I was completely overcome looking at her and Cohen and a proud Jason.  Could I be any more lucky?  She tried to feed Cohen her Fritos.  She told us that her baby brother is “soo cuuute.”  She sang him Happy Birthday. 

Jason took her home that night, and I stayed at the hospital with Cohen by myself.  It felt so odd to be apart from them.  I spent a lot of the night watching him sleep, crying tears of joy over this little guy, completing our family.   
Let the fun begin…   

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Every time I start to write the blog for Cohen’s birth story, I either get interrupted by the sounds of one of my littles or I’m so emotional that I can barely type.  I’m going to continue working on it, but I couldn’t wait to share some awesome pictures from before his birth.  Check out some of Miss Addy’s two year pictures…

And the last pictures of us as a family of three (these were taken exactly two weeks before he arrived)…

Seriously, the picture of her little hand on my belly?  Love it.  Anyway, I’m dying to get the CD from the photographer, so can order some prints!  Thanks so much for beautiful pictures, yet again, Miss Ann Steward.  Check out her website below…

Cohen’s birth story to come soon…I promise!