Thursday, December 31, 2009

Four Christmases No More

I've had trouble trying to come with a theme or inspiration for my Christmas post. In looking back, I've thought there was nothing really special or significant that happened over our holiday-- except that EVERYTHING was special and significant.

1. It was Drew's last first Christmas. That's definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

2. Grant was at the perfect age to experience the magic of the holiday. His only request for Santa this year was some measly dinosaurs. But Santa delivered that and more. And seeing Grant's expression when he realized he got a air hockey table was priceless.

3. We stayed home on Christmas day for the first time EVER. Up until recently, Danny and I were like Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon making our Four Christmases rounds. And one year we even added a sub-freezing Titan's game in there. This year we stayed in our pajamas all morning, enjoyed opening presents at our leisure, made ham and cheese omelets with toast, and hosted no less than 38 family members at our house for lunch. Yes, THIRTY-EIGHT. It was totally worth it.

4. I got a Flip Video camera. Danny surprised me with this incredible piece of technology that may change this ordinary scrapblog into a state of the art videoblog. Well, I wish.

The weekend before Christmas we were all laid up in bed with a stomach bug and Drew with serum sickness to boot. It was not a pretty sight. It's hard enough to be sick, but to be sick and to take care of two sick children at the same time is just downright awful.

Just a few days after we recovered, I learned that my dear friend's 2 & 1/2 year old niece was diagnosed with cancer. Hearing the news made our sick weekend look like a tiny blip on the radar as compared to their journey. They were and are constantly on my mind.

And that brings me to #5.

5. I am utterly thankful this Christmas for many, many things. We have our health. We have a warm house, jobs, and food in the pantry. We have our parents and siblings. We have many grandparents and as #3 can attest, we have many (MANY) aunts, uncles and cousins.

All making this a very special and significant Christmas.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Craft

I wonder how much Wilton makes on these gingerbread house kits each year. Totally worth it though.

Thanksgiving Memory

With Christmas less than 2 weeks away, I've figured I better get around to my Thanksgiving post.

Favorite memories include:

Lots of casseroles covered in cheese,

Our first time hosting in our new house,

And for a brief moment as guests were arriving, we lost Drew.

I was in the kitchen admiring the cheese covered casseroles when my parents came in asking where he was. I had left him in the living room playing on his belly, and I just assumed someone had picked him up. When we realized nobody had him, we searched around and found him on the other side of the fireplace. He had quietly scooted backwards and around the corner of the room.

We caught him with the cutest little look on his face.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

8 Months (almost)

Those first few weeks after having a baby can be rough. Well, that's how it is for me anyway. It' not all sunshine and rainbows. No new baby high. And no "Oh, my life is complete now" euphoria.

Don't get me wrong. There's this new, precious baby who you have waited 9 months (or in my case 9 & 1/2) to meet. And you already love him more than you ever thought you could. But there also lots of... exhaustion. Your body is trying to recuperate from having just given birth. You are tired and weak. After waking up every 2 to 3 hours, around the clock, you begin to think I-- just-- can't-- do it-- another-- night.

But somehow, you do. The days and nights turn into weeks and the weeks into months. And you begin to see some sunshine through the haze. And what's that you see? It's a tee tiny rainbow.

I remember during the first couple of weeks with Drew. Grant was having a hard time listening to Drew cry. Doing everything in my power to get Drew to stop crying, I told Grant, "It's okay Buddy. He's just learning how to be a baby. He'll be a happier guy in a few more weeks."

It's hard to believe that after 8 short months, this is what you get.

I love it that he thinks Danny and I are the coolest people on the planet and Grant is even cooler. I love it how he likes to play with my hair while he drinks his bottle. I love it how he loves to snuggle and give hugs and kisses (i.e. tasting your face with his tongue). I love it that he's an excellent car rider and an awesome shopper. And I love it that I can lay him in his bed, wide awake, and he will go to sleep with little or no protesting (well, 2 out of 3 times a day anyways).

It's kind of hard to see around here lately with all of the sunshine and rainbows.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Trick or Sleep

Something told me a few weeks ago not to spend $25 on that adorable teddy bear costume for Drew. It turns out my intuition paid off. Still not feeling well from his recent ear infection, he ended up sleeping through trick or treating. We managed to get a few good pictures out of him in his skeleton onesie.

Grant, on the other hand, could not be more excited. He was thrilled to hang out with his big cousins Autumn and Peyton. Although, he could hardly keep up with them. As they skated from house to house, he ran after them with his bucket bouncing around, his cape flying behind him and saying-- "Hey, wait for me. My shoes don't have wheels!"

To top off the night, they ended up spending the night with us. Grant was almost as happy as Christmas morning.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

Grant can read, write, and do math. Actually, he can sound out some words. He can write all of his uppercase letters and most lowercase letters. And he's working on addition, counting by tens, and learning about decimals.

He wanted to help me make the grocery list the other day. Not bad for a 4 year old if I do say so myself.

Well, he'll be 5 in less than three months. Crazy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Double Take

It's fun to pull out Grant's old baby clothes and toys and remember when.

Like in this picture of Grant, I remember the chaos of my house in the background after having just moved.

And here we are with boy #2 after having just moved again. Somehow, the chaos manage to not make it in the picture this day. But oh, it's there.

I remember here with Grant he didn't know quite what to think of the swimming pool.

And here with Drew, on our recent trip to Tampa, he was about ready to jump in after a few minutes.

As much as I keep comparing the two, they are even better together.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Strangers were riffling through our stuff today... baby clothes, swings, blankets, car seats and more. As I began to get excited about the cash that was being handed to me, I also felt a lump in my throat as I let go of our stuff. The clothes that I spent hours and hours organizing as I nested in my final weeks of my pregnancy. The swing that rocked my babies to sleep for countless naps. The car seat that we brought both our boys home in. Gone.

"I guess this means you're done having kids," most people are saying.

Definitely -- maybe. The truth is, I don't know for sure if we're done having kids.

Right now, I would say maybe. Because, right now, it's pretty easy. Drew is the epitome of baby. He flashes his smile if you so much as just look at him. His favorite pastime is eating his feet. And he's perfectly happy with his non-mobile self.

But, in my mind, I can already hear Grant screaming because Drew is eating one of his hotwheel cars. I know those 18 month old tantrums are just around the corner. Potty training?..... oh, don't get me started. And after having a child with a congenital heart defect, it's needless to say, I don't take having a baby lightly.

So, today, I kept a pile of my favorite baby clothes, and the car seat, well, it didn't actually sell. I guess you can say, the jury's still out. I think we'll know for sure within the next couple of years. But since our move, I have the need to purge excess stuff more than I have the need to have another baby.

Monday, September 21, 2009


The other day Grant found a dandelion. As he proceeded to blow the seeds away, I told him to make a wish.

"Okay," he said. Without even hesitating, he closed his eyes and blew with all of his four year old might and said, "I wish Daddy could stay home with me everyday."

"Me too, buddy. Me too."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

5 Months

I think Drew is enjoying this baby human thing. As long as he's fed and well rested, he's all smiles and laughs. He continues to amaze us with his... healthiness. At his last check up he weighed in at 19 lbs. 1 oz. 95% on the growth chart. He has more rolls than I care to count. He has cellulite on his shins. And, he has some 12 month onesies that he has nearly outgrown. Healthy baby, indeed.

His pediatrician actually told me to give him water or dilute some formula if he wakes up during the night. Excuse me? Did you just say give my baby water? Reason being that he is big enough, and he doesn't need to be snacking during the night.

Luckily, he continues to sleep through the night most of the time.

He is nearly sitting up and can wiggle around a bit when on his belly. He has copped with our move better than any of us. Of course, all he has to do is sit in his bouncy chair and take a few naps hear and there as we are slaving a way getting the house in order.

Grant has done wonderfully as well. Although, I keep waiting for him to say he wants "to go home."

But, we already are.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School

Grant's first day of school last week was not so easy for him. He did great the days leading up to it. And even that morning he was very cooperative and ready to go. He did fine the whole way there and made it into school on his own free will. But as I was signing him in, I looked down to see him with his hand over his face trying not to cry. I quickly tried to console him and ensure him that I would back soon to pick him up. Well, he ended up screaming "but I don't want to go!!!!" and clinging to my leg.

After threatening to take ALL of his toys away if he pulled something like that again, he was good to go the rest of the week including today. I even got a "goody, goody, goody" out of him today as I reminded him it was a school day!

I think he likes his new schedule (mainly his abbreviated rest time), and he likes being considered one of the big kids this year.

He certainly is.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Once upon a time--

there was a girl named Lesley. One day back in Junior High School, she spotted a cute boy in the gym. He had big blue glasses and stonewashed jeans. She had braces and a perm. It was 7th grade. His name was Danny. He had a girlfriend. Her heart was crushed.

They had music class together in 9th grade. One day, he spoke to her. Her heart was thrilled.

In 11th grade, her best friend started dating his best friend. Danny had, yet, another girlfriend. Her heart was sad.

A short while later, he broke up with his girlfriend and asked Lesley out. Her heart was ecstatic.

Two proms, four years of college, one wedding, two trips to Hawaii, three houses, six jobs, two kids, and ten anniversaries later, her heart is FULL.

They are still together. And always will be.

I love you, baby. Happy Anniversary.

Another Mile Stone

Drew had his first taste of cereal (last week to be exact). His initial look was complete disgust and confusion. But after a few bites, he acted like he'd been eating from a spoon his whole life.

Yummy. Yummy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day 30

I did it. 30 post in, well, almost 30 days. I can't believe so much has happened over the past month. Just to recap:

Drew learned to roll over.
We put a contract on a new house and put ours on the market.
At 4 & 1/2 years old, Grant's mouth does not stop, and he's a great big brother.
Drew began sleeping through the night and turned 4 months old.

I've learned I should definately be blogging more often. With our up and coming move, the boys getting bigger everyday, and a certain couple's 10 year anniversary just around the corner, there's so much to look forward to.

I can't wait to blog about it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Day 29

I am not one those moms who just adores breastfeeding. Some women love the bonding experience. Others love the ease. But, you bond with your baby whatever way you feed him. And in the beginning, it is ANYTHING but easy.

But, this time around I kept at it. And it did get easier as the days went on. When I noticed Drew's rolls start to get a little bit bigger, I began to be proud of what I had accomplished-- Not only did I give birth to him, but I was keeping him alive. I told myself I would keep at it as long as it was easier than preparing formula and bottles. And it was.

That was until last week. To make a long story short, for reasons beyond my control, my production greatly decreased. Now, I know there are ways to increase production, but that would be more difficult than preparing bottles and formula.

So my nursing days are soon to be over. But to be honest, I can't believe I've single handily kept my BIG guy alive for this long.

At least now I have some helpers.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 28

Drew, 4 months

Grant was exactly this age when he had open heart surgery.

He could only have clear liquids the night before and nothing after 2:am. I woke him up at 1:00am and gave him pedialyte in a bottle.

We arrived at Vanderbilt at 5:30am. I remember we were so worried that he would be hysterical from hunger. Much to our surprise, he was just fine. After filling out our paperwork and anxiously waiting, we left him with the nurses and anesthesiologist at about 7:00am.

Grant was put under anesthesia and intubated. His body temperature was cooled. He was placed on a heart-lung bypass machine as his heart was stopped for the operation.

Dr. Karla Christian repaired the whole between the two bottom chambers of his heart, corrected his overriding aorta, and relieved some of his pulmonary stenosis.

Seven hours later, the surgery was complete. Grant's body temperature was warmed back to normal. His heart was restarted. He was in stable but critical condition and was kept unconscious and intubated for about the next 36 hours. I got to hold him again (very carefully) 3 days after that.

The recovery time in the hospital had a lot of ups and downs. Grant pulled through like a CHAMP. He was discharged just 7 days after his surgery.

I write this because Drew is now 4 months old, and it brings back vivid memories.

I write this because after spending time at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, you realize there are so many sick children there. There are some that will have lifelong struggles that I cannot even comprehend. There are some that will never get to leave. We were the lucky ones, and I don't take that for granted for one second.

I write this because we are so blessed that Grant is healthy. We don't know what the future holds, but currently, he has no complications.  Our only reminders of his heart defect is the scar down his chest and yearly check-ups with his cardiologist.

I write this because someday I want Grant to know what a trooper he was. He was smiling a few days after the surgery. He hardly cried. And when we brought him home, he only needed tylenol a few times for pain.
I write this because someday I want him to know what he went through and how extraordinary he is.

I love you sweet boy. You are my hero.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 27

Another fabulous night of sleep. Drew slept until 5:15 this morning. I nursed him, and then he went back to sleep until Grant woke us up at 6:40.

He's still not cooperating very well for his naps, but hopefully persistence will pay off within the next couple of days.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 26

Drew woke me up in the middle of the night last night. I grab my glasses in my groggy state so I could see what time it was. Thoughts run through my mind--- When did he eat last? Is it time for him to nurse again? As I come to consciousness, I notice it's 4:06am. I'm still trying to figure out my plan of action, when suddenly I realize this was the first time he had woken me up all night.

I climb out of bed, but I don't hear anything. I wait. I still don't hear anything. I realize he didn't wake me up at all. My bladder did.

I use the bathroom and rush back to bed. I wonder how many minutes I will lay here before he's up. I drift off to sleep.

The next thing I know, I hear him "oooohing" and "aaaahing" in his bed. It was 6:15am.

And that was the first night Drew slept through the night.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 25

For about the first two weeks of an infant's life, they pretty much sleep "like a baby." They fall asleep after each feeding. They stay asleep fairly easily. And they will pretty much sleep wherever you put them.

But after about 2 weeks, something happens. I don't know what it is, but---THEY WAKE UP. And they STAY awake. However, the only time you need them to stay awake, is they time they pass out in a breastfeeding coma. The second you think they're done feeding, they wake up and want to nurse for an entire two more seconds. And after those two seconds, they are passed out again. But as soon as you think, okay this time he's definitely asleep, he wakes up AGAIN and wants to nurse for another two seconds. Then when he finally is done and full, he's WIDE AWAKE.

So you play with him and cuddle him and sing songs to him. After about an hour of this, he starts to get fussy, and after a few more minutes, he's pissed.

Now he's screaming. But why? He has a full tummy. He has a dry diaper. I just burped him. Could he be tired? He's only been awake for an hour. If he's sleepy, he would just go to sleep. Right?


This is when it pays off to be a second time mom. I was prepared this time. This time I knew that newborns can only stay awake for about an hour. This time I knew that they don't just go to sleep on their own. This time I knew they've just spent the past nine months cuddled and rocked upside down in a noisy, nice warm womb. They're not trying to sleep alone...on their back... in a flat, still, quiet and sterile bed.

And so the swaddle blanket, the swing, the paci, and the white noise were used so we all could get some much needed rest.

Now he's outgrown his blanket and swing. He wakes up in the middle of the night because his paci has fallen out of his mouth. The exhaustion is starting to set in again. He's not an infant anymore. We are moving on to the next phase.

Sleep Training. He's learning how to fall asleep in his bed and stay asleep on his own. Yes, there's crying involved. But in my opinion, a few hours worth of crying (no, not consecutive hours, but a few hours total) now is worth it to have a wonderfully independent sleeper for the many years to come.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 24

I cannot

stop taking

pictures of these two.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day 23

Today Grant helped Daddy wash his car.

Then he proceeded to wash his Big Wheel.Mommy washed some laudry and more baseboards.

And Drew got his cracks and rolls washed.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 22

How many sleep props does it take to get Drew to take a nap?

#1 swing


#2 paci


#3 classical music


#4 swaddle blanket


#5 lovey


I think I see some sleep training in his very near future.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 21

For a guy who doesn't talk much unless he knows you, Grant's mouth does not stop when he's at home.

No matter what I am doing, I can always hear him in the background. Usually, he is narrating his NASCAR, monster truck races, or whatever else he can make race. And it's not enough that I can hear him, but he has to come and tell me who won his race... and who got second and third and fourth.... and who crashed. AND, as if that's not enough, he has to show me the replay of who won his race... and who got second and third and fourth... and who crashed and how they crashed, etc. etc. etc.

It's funny. He knows all of his NASCAR driver's name and can recognize their numbers. But he doesn't quite know that 24 is twenty-four or that 48 is forty-eight. He's almost got it figured out, but not quite yet.

The other day I was busy in the kitchen listening to Grant in the background when all of the sudden, there was silence. I stopped, knowing that something was different, but I didn't know what yet. I realized Grant was quiet, and nowhere to be seen.

I called out his name. After getting no response, I went looking for him. Bathroom? No. Bedroom? No. Upstairs? No. Our closet with the door closed? Yes.

I noticed he was chewing on something. I asked what he was eating. As he was chomping, his response was "nuttin." I asked again. "What are you eating?" He admitted he had found a tootsie roll in his backpack.

And just like that Grant had told his first white lie.