Saturday, August 13, 2011

Two growing boys!

Landon is set to start preschool next month, Sam is growing and changing by leaps and bounds every day, and life is ever-changing at home in our house! I wouldn't have it any other way and feel like we're all right where we're supposed to be. Well, minus a few piles of laundry and the dust bunnies in the corner.

Landon's love affair with all things construction and heavy equipment continues. Tonight after we had dinner we all went outside to play in the backyard before bedtime. Landon lined up every single Tonka truck that Mark and Uncle Erik passed along to Landon. When they were all in a row across the patio I asked Landon to count them (total mommy thing to do, I know...always a teaching moment), that kid has no less than fifteen mini loaders, bulldozers, diggers, dump trucks, etc. I pity any fool who tries to scale our fence and parade around our backyard tonight, it's like an obstacle course out there right now. Anytime we're in the car and happen upon what looks like a construction yard Landon declares it his work. Currently he has several locations throughout the East Bay. He's also the helmet police; when he sees anyone riding their bike he lets us know whether or not they're wearing their helmet. If they're not protecting their head he'll tell us that it's not safe and they'd better get a ticket from the police.

Landon wins the prize every time for being the most enthusiastic. About anything. And everything. You would think that his cup of severely watered down juice was being served to him from Mickey Mouse himself or that Sammy waking up was something that happened once each decade. I love watching him experience new things and taking it all in. Recently Uncle John took Landon to the Lawrence Hall of Science. I think Uncle John is trying to make a scientist out of our little guy, and it might be working. Oh, the stories he told us when they returned home. He loved ever single bit of it from the hot chocolate store (Starbucks) on the way to the whale and DNA outside and dinosaurs throughout. Landon still loves his "Drumming Song" (Train's Save Me San Francisco) and now tries to remember the words to any song that comes on the radio. He's also exercising his imagination frequently and makes up the words to his own songs. He named the fake owl outside that Daddy put up on the patio cover in a (silly) attempt to scare the birds away from pooping on the swings.

Each day Landon loves his brother more and more. I don't think there's anything in this world that I love hearing more than the two of them playing. Sam is getting to an age where he's very alert, active and responsive. Currently it seems like Landon's mission in life is to make Sammy laugh, and it doesn't take much for the both of them to get going. Today in the car on the way home from a birthday party there were all kinds of giggles erupting from the back seat; Daddy and I just looked at each other smiling. It's moments like those where my heart is truly happy.

Sam is almost seven months old. He's closer to being a big one year old boy than being my itty bitty baby. I find myself just staring at him trying to soak up each and every moment. He is such a sweet and easy-going baby; it doesn't take much for him to smile, laugh and coo. He's very observant and notices when someone is trying to catch his attention from across the room and often complies with a sweet, toothy grin. Yes, I said toothy. At five and a half months he sprouted his two front bottom teeth, one just a couple of days after the other. This last week brought his front top tooth on the left and the right is not far behind. You would never have known his teeth were coming (well except for the massive amounts of drool, but that's been going on for weeks now) until the night before they break through. That's really the only time he's been tough and hasn't wanted to sleep. Teething is hard work!

Right around five and a half months Sam also started sitting up on his own without assistance. He is loving this new vantage point of the world and took it as an opportunity to start scooting himself. At six and a half months he became a completely mobile baby, crawling, rolling and scooting himself wherever he wants to go. The other day I was sitting across the room from him, he managed to crawl over to me and started to pull himself up onto my lap. Best feeling ever. Seriously. At six months old Sam also got his first taste of real food. These days Sam loves to eat pureed avocado, peaches, mango, peas, sweet potato and apples. We're heading to the farmer's market tomorrow to pick up some green beans and will see how he likes those. If he's anything like both his Daddy and older brother he's going to love them.

Both boys are fast asleep right now and the house is quiet. During the day life is generally loud and hectic around here with no shortage of cuddles, kisses, singing and the occasional time out. Evenings give both Daddy and I a chance to breath for a few minutes and take a little break. Eighteen years from now we're not going to look back and marvel at the clean sink or tidy bathroom. What we will remember are our two silly, smiley growing boys and wish we could have just a little more time with them. For now, those dust bunnies can hang in the corner a little while longer - we're all right where we're supposed to be.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Three Years Old

As a first time parent you do what you can to prepare yourself for the little bundle of baby that is to come. From gear to parenting magazines and books to babyproofing and toys. You hear stories from other parents out there, both new and seasoned. All of this, however, can never prepare you for what is to come. Three years ago I learned exactly this.

Three years ago today my life changed forever. Landon Douglas made his grand entrance into this world and made me a mommy. In those three years life has been completely transformed. Sleeping in is a thing of the past, I kiss owies, dance to silence, tend to others' needs before my own, I now keep milk in the refrigerator at all times, leave dishes in the sink longer, have a load of laundry in the washer or dryer all the stinking time, get mad if the phone rings after 8pm and can tell you where every single park within a five mile radius is from our house. I can't remember what life was like before parenthood began and I'm not sure it matters.

Not only has my life changed completely but Landon has gone from a tiny, squishy newborn to a teetering, babbling toddler to now an articulate little preschooler that makes my heart swell with pride and smears a smile across my face. He speaks in full, complete sentances and has a crazy vocabulary. He will try just about anything you put on his plate and asked for the broccoli off my plate when he finished his at dinner the other night. He's quick to give a hug if one of his friends is feeling sad or hurt. He loves to help in the kitchen cooking dinner or baking treats (his favorite job is licking the beater). He's great at using his manners and will start with "please may I..." and end with, "thank you..." almost every time. His smile engages his entire face and his belly laughs are magical. He cries with his entire body but very rarely throws tantrums; when he does they are doozies. He is inquisitive and careful but brave and stubborn with toddler style selective hearing. His excitement and enthusiasm is fantastic and I wish it could be bottled. Landon loves to be outside and will spend hours in his sandbox. Such a huge difference is the 30 pound guy of today from that six pound ten ounce little wonder of a baby three short years ago.

Landon really understands birthdays this year and is SO excited to have his own special day and party. I asked Landon what he wanted to do on his birthday this year to make the day special. He wants to, "go pick cherries off of the trees and go for a BART train ride." I love that kid. I asked him what he wanted to eat for his special birthday dinner, he wants, "soup." What kind of soup, you ask? "One with LOTS of noodles! And ralaolies (raviolis)." Cake too, I asked him what kind of cake he wanted..."green cake." What should it taste like? "Apples." He definitely knows what he wants.

Landon, thank you from the bottom of my swollen heart for shaping me into the person I am today. Because of you I'm more patient, compassionate, inquisitve, nurturing, helpful and silly. You have taught me to savor moments that I probably wouldn't have given a second thought to before, to love without borders or conditions, to trust my intuition, to leave the dishes in the sink in favor of more playtime and cherish snuggles and eskimo kisses. Thank you for the abundant joy and craziness you have brought to our lives. May you continue to sparkle, to ask questions and soak up the world around you. If I could keep you like this forever I might consider it if I weren't so excited to continue to watch you grow and learn and become even more fabulous.

I love you SO much! How much is so? Way, way more than you know.

Happy birthday, my son!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Grelish - Relish
Larms - Arms. As in, "the larms went down over the train tracks."
Dinosaur is pronounced like "din"ner with the short "i"
Bar-ca-you - Barbecue
Flumper - Bambi's rabbit sidekick, Thumper.
Chickey - Chicken
Squeezers - Tweezers
Chocolate is pronounced with a really long "o" in the middle, choc-o-late
If Landon doesn't like something he says he "can't like it," while shaking his head and scrunching his face up
He's decided he doesn't like anything that's "bitey" (crunchy). So, according to Landon, "I can't like bitey tacos."
Noonles - Noodles
Lawnmowerbacuum - Lawn mower. Because the lawn mower mows the lawn and "bacuums" up all the clippings.
I was baking some chicken the other day when Landon wandered into the kitchen and announced that it smelled, "deeee-licious!"
Atatoes - Potatoes
After dinner every night Landon gets fruit for dessert, sometimes with some yogurt mixed in. He loves his fruit and will sometimes tell us he is "all full of dinner but empty for dessert."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Boys

The boys are growing and changing before our eyes. It's exciting, fun and crazy with a twinge of sadness in there too. I wish I could bottle them up right now, maybe stop time for a while and savor every moment with them just as they are right now.

Landon is almost three years old. It sounds so strange to me to say that. He'll be closer to school age than baby. Crazy! He's still the sweet boy he's always been but has definitely been testing the waters lately. Bedtimes have been tough, and I sit here past 9:30 at night typing away and he's not asleep yet. Even with the challenges that come with these days he's definitely goofy and fun and full of imagination. Toddler speak is making way for big boy words and thoughts.

Mickey Mouse still reigns but has been joined by Handy Manny, Jake and the "Netherland Parts" (Jake and the Never Land Pirates) and Babar. Landon loves to read books, his favorites are Mr. Bell's Fixit Shop, Funny Farm and Five Little Monkeys. He's a great eater most of the time and will try anything unless it's tomatoes or eggs, he'll tell you very matter-of-factly that he does NOT like tomatoes or eggs no matter how much ketchup you dump on them. Speaking of ketchup, the other day we had hot dogs for lunch. Landon informed me that he wanted ketchup, mustard and grelish on his hot dog. I probably should correct him but instead I told him I'd be happy to put some grelish on his hot dog. Landon loves music and has made friends with the neighbor kids next door since they have a drum set in their garage. Anytime he hears Jack playing the drums he stops what he's doing and convinces us to take him next door to play with Jack. Uncle John is very excited about this and is looking forward to setting up one of his drum sets for Landon's upcoming birthday party. Landon's current favorite toy is the sandbox. He'll literally spend hours playing in the sand. He'll also turn his buckets upside down, set them up like a drum set and wail on them like a rock star. In the car he demands to hear the "drumming song," Train's "Save Me San Francisco." He rocks out drumming on his legs, dancing in his seat and singing along.

Landon is very excited to start preschool in the fall and often talks about his new school. His imagination it at work quite a bit these days, he frequently talks about his work. Since Daddy works in public works and has all the backhoes and bulldozers at work every time Landon sees a construction site or yard with heavy equipment nearby he excitedly tells us that we found his work. All roads lead to Landon's work.

Sam is four months old. We've been blessed with such an easygoing baby who more often than not sleeps through the night. I joke that he's such a good baby he's going to trick us into having another one. Sam is smiley and giggly and ticklish. He's strong and determined. He started rolling from his back to his tummy at three and a half months old, and though he doesn't like being on his tummy he's figured out that it gives him the best vantage point to see everything. He's held his head up very well for over a month now and would be able to sit on his own if he had the balance thing down. Sam is snuggley and sweet and doles his smiles out to anyone who wants one. I have a feeling he's going to be a funny little guy and while I can't wait to see who he grows up to be I want him to stay just like this forever. Sam loves being outside going for walks, swinging on the patio swing or just sitting on the front steps watching Landon play in the grass or ride his bike. His big blue eyes melt my heart every time I see them and his sweet gummy smile make way for the most kissable cheeks ever. I'll sometimes hold him while he naps so that I can memorize every inch of his face.

We are so blessed, our little family of four, and even though I'm outnumbered three to one I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my boys and cannot imagine life without them.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Time flies when you're having fun!

That's what we're calling it these days, fun, because it is. I think we've all finally settled into our groove and are loving life as a family of four. Of course we all have our moments, but we all had our moments as a family of three and a family of two, etc. so I guess you could say that doesn't really count.

Landon is such a sweetie with Sam. When he wakes up each morning the first thing he does is wander out of his room and into Sam's room. If Sam isn't in his room he asks where he is and immediately sets out to find him and give him a kiss and a pat. The other day Sam was in his room in his swing, Landon had a sippy cup of water and as I rounded the corner out of Landon's room and into Sam's Landon stuck the sippy into Sam's mouth. When I told him not to put his sippy in baby Sam's mouth he was so excited, telling me, "Mommy, I share with baby Sam!" How can you scold that?

I seem to use the word "bittersweet" a lot these days. It's bittersweet (see?), but Sam is growing out of that newborn, sleepy, squishy stage and is pretty much a baby at this point. He's waking up and spending more and more time with his bright blue eyes (where did those come from?!?) focusing on lights, reacting to sounds and noticing anything remotely interesting. He doles out smiles in the morning and belly laughed in his sleep the other day. He's starting to lose his hair like a little old man and his eyebrows and lashes are so light and blond that I'm sure he'll be a blondie just like his big brother. Sam loves snuggles, loves to be held upright and is soothed when you "shsh" in his ear and pat him on the back. His cries sound just like Landon's did when he was a baby. He's a really great baby, we're pretty spoiled by him and I'm so grateful he's such a good sleeper. Generally he'll go down for the night between 8 and 10 and I'll wake him between 3 and 4 to eat and he'll go right back to sleep until between 7 and 8 when he wants to eat again and is awake and smiley.

Sam has some issues with his kidneys still and moved from being diagnosed with pelviectasis to hydronephrosis. He had a voiding hystogram done and although it came back normal the Urologist wants to get some further tests done to check the function of his kidneys. She has a few concerns; the size of his kidneys as they're on the larger end of abnormal, that it took him so long to pee after he was born, and that the doctor had a hard time getting the catheter in during the voiding hystogram. I know in the long run he'll be fine and we hope this is something he'll eventually grow out of without needing surgery to correct anything, but no parent ever likes to hear that there's anything wrong with their child no matter how big or small the problem is. It also feels like we're one step closer to needing surgery to correct things, and while he certainly wouldn't be the first baby to undergo surgery he'd be MY first baby to undergo surgery and that's a scary thought. One step at a time though, I keep telling myself that if this is the worst thing we're faced with as parents then it isn't so bad, and that he will be just fine.

Having a baby in the house now makes me realize just what a big boy Landon is and will continue to be. Putting on his socks before Sam was born his feet seemed so small. Now, those little feet are ginormous compared to Sam's tiny tootsies. We've been pulling out all of Landon's old clothes and it just seems crazy to me that Landon used to fit into these little onesies, especially since I so vividly remember him in them and have pictures to prove it.

As time continues to fly I'm continually trying to live in each moment, being grateful for the time I have with both of my boys. They're only this small once and these moments are fleeting. As cliche as I know it is, I know I'm going to look back at this time when they're in elementary school, when they're playing high school sports, when we pack them for college and all of those milestones in life and wish for these early days with them again.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The early days

Settling in as a family of four has had its challenges as well as those easy moments where you feel like you've been doing this your whole life. The easiest transition is watching Sam and Landon together, it's so sweet, and Landon is such a good big brother. He loves to hold Sam, he loves to share his blankie with Sam, he wants to help whenever and wherever he can and will excitedly run to grab a diaper and exclaim all the way back to you what a big helper he is. Landon loves his little brother and loves to tell everyone what a great big brother he is. For the record, Spongebob and Patrick are still in his tummy and Santa and Mickey have joined them in there. He says the doctors haven't helped him take them out yet.

I think I'm now realizing just what a tough time and how much of a toll it took on me when Landon was itty bitty. Between the feeding issues, his weight issues and reflux I guess I didn't realize until now just how much all of that pressed on me and has made Sam's early days a little more stressful than I would have liked them to be. Sam and Landon are two totally different babies, their pregnancies and labors and deliveries completely different. Landon was in preemie and newborn clothes for the first few months of his life while Sam skipped right over newborn diapers and went straight to size ones in the hospital. I know this, I really do. The anxiety is still there with Sam though, and is something I have to reconcile with myself somehow.

At his two week checkup on Monday he was just an ounce and a half away from birth weight. His pediatrician was and is totally fine with this, and I really needed to hear it from the doctor. I can't tell you how big of a weight was lifted off my shoulders to hear him tell me that he is fine and that he didn't need to see us again for six weeks or so unless I felt the need to come back sooner. Feeding a baby is stressful. I have more milk this time and we got Sam's tongue clipped to correct his tongue tie when he was a week old, but still not knowing for sure that your baby is getting enough food is nerve wracking. I'm starting to ease up a little, but it's hard. And those postpartum hormones mixed in with the uncertainty and the guilt about possibly not breastfeeding and making sure Landon gets enough attention as well is plenty for a new mommy to deal with. I will be forever grateful for our fabulous family and friends for stepping in to make sure we were fed and had plenty of support during these first few weeks.

Also on Monday Sam had his follow-up ultrasound on his kidneys. Dr. Lande called yesterday with the results and it looks like both kidneys are moderately enlarged. They're sending a referral over for us to see a specialist in Oakland next week. I know everything will be fine, I know that Sam is healthy and thriving overall, but as a mom you just can't help but feel cruddy that something is "wrong" with your baby.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our family has grown by two feet!

Samuel John is here! Landon is officially a big brother, and doing a great job too! It's been a whirlwind two weeks; our family has grown, our hearts are swollen with love, and our eyes are tired with a newborn and toddler running around the house but I wouldn't trade them for anything.

I had another doctor appointment and non-stress test on Friday, January 14th with my regular doctor. One of her partner doctors had already scheduled an induction for January 21st if Sam wasn't here by then but Dr. Mancuso had other plans. Things were still looking great, my blood pressure was fine, Sam was fine, my heart was fine, everything was fine, but according to Dr. Mancuso she just had a funny little feeling that we were done and it was time for Sam to join us on this side of the womb. It was strange coming from her since she'd been very anti induction throughout the pregnancy. It honestly freaked me out a little bit. After calling over to the hospital she told me to call the hospital on Saturday, January 15th at 5pm for our marching orders.

I spent the rest of the day in a fog, I was already anticipating the 21st as our induction date if labor didn't start on its own by then. A million thoughts were swirling through my head and now the anticipation was going to do me in. This was my last little bit of time with Landon, I wasn't sure if I was ready to give him up as my "baby" yet, and while I of course was excited to meet Sam I also couldn't help but nurse some sad feelings for Landon. His world was about to be turned upside down and he had no idea. I'd spent the last few months at home full time with him, able to focus on him and spend lots of special, quality time with him. A blessing for sure, but it was starting to make this transition to a family of four a little more difficult than I had imagined. I left the doctor's office, called Mark to let him know plans had changed and started off on what I thought would be a day full of errands. I got to my first stop, a good friend's cafe, and decided to cancel my lunch date and the rest of my errands. Dang those hormones, I was too overwhelmed. I sat in her cafe for probably three or four hours and just absorbed the last several months. Happy, excited, elated, ready to give birth, ready to meet Sam, ready to introduce Landon to his baby brother, scared of the induction, nervous, ready not to be pregnant. I was swollen with feelings.

After gathering my thoughts and inhaling a sandwich I left to pick up Landon early from daycare. We spent the rest of the afternoon and the following day, Sam's due date, just hanging out as a family, packing our bags and getting last minute details ready for Sam's arrival. Sam's due date also happened to be Grandma Jean's birthday, so we met up with the rest of the family for a celebratory dinner. It was 5pm in the middle of dinner so I called over to the hospital and was told to eat a light dinner and be there at 7pm. Granddad met us back at the house after dinner for a slumber party with Landon, I kissed my baby boy for the last time before leaving for the hospital and we were out the door and on our way.

All the papers were signed, we were assigned to our room and the doctor came in to go over the game plan. They drew labs to ensure I wouldn't need to be given any magnesium since I'd been spilling a little bit of protein for the last couple of weeks and checked my cervix. I was dilated to 3cm already and having small but regular contractions. The lab work came back fine so the doctor transferred care to a midwife and started pitocin at about 11pm. It was a party in the delivery room at that point, Mark, my mom, Katie, Emily and John were all there and planned on hanging in the waiting room once active labor started. I was starting to breathe through the contractions while the peanut gallery was joking around in the background. John cracked some joke about pixies living in the contraction monitors that had everyone in the room laughing. I was mortified when I thought I'd peed myself so I told everyone to go out to the waiting room and buzzed the nurse. Turns out my water broke; thanks pixies. I spent the next few hours trying to rest and breathing through the contractions.

It was about 3am when I finally buzzed the nurse and told her I'd like to talk pain management. Pitocin contractions are no joke, and while I was breathing through them I knew I wasn't relaxing enough to make them as effective as possible. The anesthesiologist was in a c-section and wasn't available for half an hour so she offered me a shot of fentanyl in the meantime. I almost didn't take it, but the contractions went from tolerable to not in a matter of minutes, that was a strange feeling. The midwife checked me and I was still only 3cm dilated. I took the fentanyl and it took the edge off until the anesthesiologist literally walked in.

The epidural made me comfortable enough to rest so I spent some time dozing in and out of sleep. The peanut gallery brought Gatorade and 7up and checked on us a few times between overtaking the waiting room down the hall. The nurses interrupted my rest a few times as Sam wasn't cooperating and would move and fall off his monitor. At one point the nurse came rushing in because his heart rate took a big drop, all the lights in the room came on and I won an oxygen mask for the rest of labor and delivery. Sam's heart rate recovered and they placed an internal monitor on his head. An hour and a half after the nice man gave me that epidural the midwife came in to check my progress. I'd gone from 3cm to 9cm since now resting through those contractions. She left and came back half an hour later, it was time to push. Sam was coming! I started pushing at 7am, pushed through three contractions, and out he came at 7:08am on Sunday, January 16th.

I will never forget the feeling of them laying him on my stomach after he was born. This warm, wet little being crying and looking around. It was amazing and nothing short of a miracle. They let me hold him for a minute while Mark cut the umbilical cord and then took him over to the warmer to clean him up and suction out his lungs. There was a little concern he'd swallowed some meconium as well as some blood. Maybe Dr. Mancuso was right, it needed to happen when it did, my placenta started to abrupt right before Sam was born. The midwife told me that I'd lost "more blood than the average bear." She was sweet, I really liked her a lot, but I had to laugh at her comment. She stitched me up, handed me my sweet bundle of Sam, announced that he was 8 pounds 11 ounces and 22 inches long, and left us to get to know each other.