Sunday, May 24, 2015

15 years

(Originally written in early April, and I'm only now getting around to posting it.  A casualty of my sweet new life).


I sit in my dark living room, holding my newborn son, as the clock ticks toward midnight. His father is in the next room over, having just turned in after doing the early shift with our 15 day old boy, a child so young that he prefers the comfort of his parents warm arms to his cold crib. 


My life changed in a moment, or more accurately, in a series of moments in March.  Our son was born, and with him, a mother was born of me.  Barely two weeks in,  and I am starting to grasp the significance, only the tip of it perhaps, but the sacred privilege - and the responsibility - weighs heavily on my mind. 

I am lost in thought, about the gravity of it all- who will he be? Who am I? How will his life change mine?


I don't know how to answer those questions, yet, but I know that I'll spend every day I have left working towards them.  I will devote my life to being a good mother - the kind of mother that my sweet Jacob deserves.  I hope the days I have left are numerous, that I dance at his wedding and meet his children and grandchildren.   I will do everything in my power to extend my days on earth, so that I have more time with him.  


Mike Maloney died 15 years ago today, or tomorrow as the clock hasn't quite struck midnight. He died at 52, leaving behind three children, the oldest of whom was only 15.  I do believe that he loved us, in his own way, but he left having never seeing us as adults, never meeting our spouses or holding our children.

He didn't choose to die, exactly, but he didn't work to extend his life, either.  The choices he made rattle me more now than ever before.


I am a new mother, having barely two weeks under my belt, but this disconnect feels raw, painful.  How do you make choices that are so at odds with your children's needs? How do you behave so terribly to the mother of your babies?  These questions frustrate me, because he's not here to ask. 

I turn back toward my son, my beloved, so hoped-for child, and kiss his forehead, in silent thought.  A prayer of love, a pledge of sacred obligation, a familiar pang of remembrance for this baby that has only been in my arms for two weeks.


But there's something else there, too, that I can't put my finger on.  It's not forgiveness, exactly, although I do feel that sometimes.  Acceptance, maybe?  Hope?  Maybe it's just belief that I can - and will - be different than that for my child, and that in this way Mike - and his death -  have taught me something about myself. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

I'm a little late to the game (hashtag new mama) but wanted to post about what a wonderful first Mother's Day I had.  The celebration started early with a package delivered to my doorstep on Thursday - a dozen chocolate covered strawberries from my husband.  (It took all of my willpower not to eat all dozen that day:)

On Friday, I received a second (!!) package - a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my sweet seven week old son.  :) 

I was so touched - both beautiful deliveries, and sweet sentiments that I will cherish forever.  On the actual day of Mother's Day, I treated myself to a mani/pedi (first since Jacob's birth) where I did a bright blue polish in honor of my sweet boy (although, let's be honest, I did a lot of blue nails before he was born too!)

I heard from so many sweet people on Mother's Day - cards from my mama and mother-in-law, a very sweet card (and J bracelet!) from my brother and sister in law, and texts from over a dozen thoughtful friends and relatives.  I've never realized how sweet Mother's Day could be, but it really was - it was so sweet.  Being Jacob's mother is a "job" that I am honored - and overjoyed - to perform.  I am so glad to be his mother.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

JSS: Two Months

Happy two months to my sweet boy, Jacob Steil Special.  I don't know how it's possible, but this second month went by even faster than the first.  It's hard to believe that we've only had him for 61 days - it seems like he's been part of my life forever, and I can hardly remember the time before.
The month zipped by, with lots of lovely visits and cuddles from his grandparents and aunts and uncles (he is so loved!) He met his first Californian (Christine) and went on his first playdate/walk around Park Ridge with his second cousin Charlotte (and her mom - Scott's cousin, Lindsey).  We went on walks nearly every day, and had "adventures" to Target, Old Orchard twice (an awesome outdoor mall - our favorite destination with Grammy), the Pediatrician, an a nearby ice cream shop.  He ventured the furthest away from home that he's ever been (Gurnee Mills, IL - about 30 miles).  

We started Jacob on The Baby Whisperer methodology this month.  The premise of the methodology is a routine - NOT a schedule - consisting of EASY (eat, activity, sleep, you-time).  We have been consistent with it for almost two weeks, and it has already begun to pay dividends.  His schedule has become more predictable, which has benefited all of us, and it's allowed us more flexibility to really enjoy our time with our boy.  We started the routine the day he turned 7 weeks (and if we have more children, we'll start it at 4 weeks).  

Jacob's favorite thing is... his ceiling fan.  I am not even kidding!  It sounds hilarious, but it's true.  It's black, and is against a stark white ceiling, and he just LOVES to stare at it.  It's pretty funny :)  He also loves stroller rides, and being outside (although he doesn't sleep through his walks as consistently as he did in his first month).  He likes to be active and kick his legs.  He has excellent head and neck control... and this month he began rolling over in earnest - typically when we practice Tummy Time.  (I caught it on video, and it's the cutest thing ever).    
At the pediatrician on 5/15 (six days shy of two months) he weighed 12 pounds 7 ounces (an increase of 2.5 pounds since his one-month visit).  His doctor was thrilled with his growth, impressed with his head and neck control during tummy time, and agreed that he was very alert.  Jacob is a happy, thriving boy!   

Jacob loves his parents, his ceiling fan (see above) and loves to hang out on his changing table.  He likes to snuggle with his mama, and his daddy can quiet him down like no other.  He still likes to be in the action, but he's getting more and more grown up by the day - he's begun being content with playing independently in his swing or Boppy Lounger (while mama throws in a load of laundry or unloads the dishwasher).  He sleeps mostly in his own room, but occasionally naps in the swing in the living room.   He doesn't mind diaper changes at all anymore, and still loves baths in the kitchen sink.  Much to his mom's chagrin, he likes when Grammy sings him the Hokey Pokey :)  He learned to smile this month - and while he is still using it somewhat sparingly, I can tell that big smiles are just around the corner!  

He is a JOY in our life - a happy, loving little two-month old who has taught me more than I thought possible in just two months.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from the second month of JSS! 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Scenes From A Week: May 17

We had another great week!  The week zipped by - Jacob and I have both been getting stronger and healthier and more autonomous - he slept for 4 hours straight one night this weekend!  My parents were here this weekend, and Scott and my dad made insane progress on the basement - my dad spent between 30-40 hours down there over two and a half days!  It was intense - and we are so grateful for it!  While he was cranking on the basement, my mom and I were working on stuff upstairs... we made some returns, did a massive Target run, went to the grocery store, and did all of my weekend errands.  I love spending time with my parents!

I was changing his outfit, and propped him up to grab a different
shirt, and quickly snapped this - I can't get over how big my
little boy has gotten!

first time using the Boppy to spread

shopping saturdays

my sweetie woke me up for some food, and then promptly
fell back asleep on his changing table.  LOL.

Uncle Matt giving J a bottle (and then he successfully put
him down for the night!)

Jacob loves his Grammy and Gramps!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Scenes From A Week: May 10

I sound like a broken record, but it was another wonderful week.  Jacob brings so much fun to our lives... a lot of work, but a ton of fun.  :)

This week we had a lot of fun - we were visited by my cousin Christine, Jacob was babysat by my Aunt Barb, and we celebrated my first Mother's Day.  My boys really spoiled me.  Scott sent me chocolate covered strawberries, and Jacob sent me flowers.  :)  I also snuck out on Mother's Day to get my nails done... blue for my sweet boy, naturally.  It was a wonderful week!

snuggle bunnies

sweet hubby

strolling - J is wearing one of my favorite of his outfits

we have a smiler! :)

scott made breakfast treats which I've been eating all week!

blue nails!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Scenes From A Week: May 3

Jacob's six weeks old - yesterday!  This week was another good one - it feels good to be starting to feel like myself again (well, myself with 5 hours of non-consecutive sleep :).  Jacob is growing and changing... and thriving.  He's a precious and precocious little boy, and he makes every day more fun.
This week we took walks every day - including two in one day on a few occasions.  The weather was phenomenal - topping out at 75 degrees one day and starting to really feel like Spring/Summer (my favorite time of year).  My parents came this weekend to make further progress on "THE PROJECT" (our basement reno) and sneak in a few Jacob snuggles in between :)  I love having them here - my mom did the early morning shift each morning, allowing Scott and me to catch some extra ZZZs.

While my dad and Scott were cranking in the basement, my mom and I tackled my to-do list.  We reorganized Jacob's closet, planted flowers in my planter out front, worked on my baby book, and made big meals (read: lots of leftovers!) each day.  I love having them here!

cutest hands ever
obsessed with his pants
look at those little piggies
strolling on a beautiful Thursday afternoon
cute outfit from a girlfriend of mine
reclining (cute onesie from his Grandma Special)
obsessed with this weather forecast (well, minus the rain)

gramps "taking a break" by being on baby duty

enjoying some delicious vino with the Steils and Maloneys on Saturday night

bright eyed boy
a 5am wake up call never felt so good
Grammy (aka baby whisperer)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Scenes From A Week: April 26

Jacob's fifth week of life was another beautiful one.  Our family of three has settled in to a nice routine... which has allowed all of us to feel a little more normal.  We're getting more sleep (knock on wood), and our lives have settled in to a comfortable pattern.  These 12 weeks of our lives are different than any other will ever be - and I'm trying to savor each day.

The week started with Jacob having a doctor's appointment on Monday.  He did beautifully... though he did not much care for his shot :(  On Tuesday he turned one month - the fastest month EVER! We hosted Scott's parents and siblings on Wednesday night so they could spend some time with Jacob.  The rest of the week was filled with sunny afternoon walks (our record was 2.5 hours!), a Target run and time spent snuggling with Jacob at our house. The week concluding with a calm and nice Spring weekend!  It's always more fun on the weekend, when Scott is home from work and everything is a little more leisurely!

love means leaving your wife half an avocado and two peeled clementines :)
one month <3
stylish little man
J received a very fun (and fashionable) package from his Grammy/Gramps!
ready to stroll (hilarious - he is freshly bathed, and stylin' in a killer outfit...
and his mother was un-showered and wearing spit-up stained leggings.  #motherhood!
i love this face
working on his baby book during naptime - my goal is to have it up-to-date before
the end of my maternity leave
HH - first time trying Grapefruit Shandy and I lovedddd it

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

JSS: One Month

Happy one month to my sweet boy, Jacob Steil Special.  We've had a wonderful and busy first month together, and it's been better than I ever imagined that it would be.  The month started rather dramatically, with Jacob being born just after 10pm on a Saturday night (like his daddy, he didn't want to miss a Saturday night!)

We checked out of the hospital three days later, and began our life at home.  My parents - Jacob's Grammy and Gramps - were with us for the first two weeks of his life, helping Scott and me to get settled in to our "new normal".  They took the graveyard shift each night, and helped do all of the heavy lifting (literally, as I wasn't supposed to lift anything heavier than Jacob).  After cleaning our house and stocking our fridge, they left on Easter Sunday, and our new life as a family of three set in.

Jacob has been sleeping very well (for a baby:).  Our typical day includes me going to bed around 8pm, and Scott hanging out with him - and Jacob sleeping intermittently - from 8-11pm.  At 11, Scott will do the late feeding, and change his diaper, and then bring him in to our room.  Jacob prefers sleeping at a slight incline (many infants do!) so he's enjoyed some QT in the Mamaroo (h/t to Jacob's second cousins G&E for the Mamaroo loan).   Jacob wakes up around 2, and again around 5 to eat and be changed.  He'll usually go back to sleep for another 1-3 hours, and then he's up in earnest.  I usually get up by 7a and get our day started.  I throw in some laundry, tidy our house, or do other things on my to-do list (chores, blogging, email, etc).  Sometimes I nap while Jacob does during the day, and sometimes I work on items to keep our household afloat.

Jacob loves riding in his stroller - he usually falls asleep within one block:)  We started walking when Jacob was one week old (and I was finally able to walk semi-comfortably) and we walk almost every day for about an hour.  The fresh air is good for us both!  He is a great car-rider, and has been to Target four times, Nordstrom once, Aldi three times, and the Pediatrician twice. 

Speaking of the pediatrician, Jacob weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces at birth.  He was 7 pounds 8 ounces at his one week appointment, and 9 pounds 15 ounces at his one month appointment.  (And yes, I take most of the credit for that :)  He was 19.5 inches at birth, and 21 inches at one month.  He shows incredible head and neck strength!  He loves to kick his legs and is very alert.  I predict that he'll be ahead on his physical milestones over the next few years.  

This month, Jacob met his parents (haha!) as well as both sets of grandparents, his uncles Matt, Joe and Ryan, and his aunts Kelly and Katie.  He's met several of his great aunts/uncles.  He's also met a handful of our cousins, and a few of our friends.  He's been a great sport meeting so many new people!

Jacob loves to snuggle on his mama, to do tummy time with his dad.  He loves when his Grammy gives him a bath (he's lukewarm on when his mama bathes him - I'm not very fast:)  He likes to be in the action - if there are people talking by our kitchen peninsula, he isn't content with chilling across the room.  (I think he'll be a social butterfly like his dad).  He HATES getting his diaper changed, which is unfortunate because it's changed about 10-14 times per day.  (Poor lil guy).  He wears a lot of onesies and "gowns" and is quickly outgrowing NB size clothes and diapers - he's still in both of those, but I can tell it's almost time for the next size up.

We mostly call him Jacob, but occasionally Jake (or Jakey).  I also call him Boo, Bugaboo, Snerks, Angel, Friend, and Lovebug.  (Snerks is kind of random, but it's a nickname that Scott had for me while we were dating).  

  He is a joy in our life (even when he wants to eat every hour from 5-10pm most nights).  To be honest, it feels like he's been with us forever... even though it's only been a month.  So much has changed over the past month - including the fact that I changed my first diaper!  (Sorry, Jacob, I think you'll be my "guinea pig" in so many things in your life!)

Jacob is one of the great loves of my life, and I feel so lucky to be his mother.   Below are some of my favorite pictures from the first month of JSS!