Thursday, May 25, 2017

AJS: Three Months

Ava Jeanne is three months old today!
She loves walks, bath time and cuddling. She smiles constantly, especially when Scott talks to her. She's less fond of Tummy Time and shopping. (Mama is working on that one). She sleeps 3-hour stretches but does an occasional 3.5-4. (Mama would like to work on that one too 😅) She is calm, happy and so relaxed. This month, she was baptized (with all four grandparents, all five uncles and both aunties in attendance!) She's never been out of state but she is preparing for her first trip to Iowa. She has captured the heart of her big brother, who, upon hearing her squawk even minimally will proclaim: "mama, baby Ah-va! Go!!" 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

AJS: Two Months

I'm two months old today! 

I love walks, snuggles with mama and bath time. I weigh 11ish pounds. I eat well and sleep well - "only" waking 3-4 times. I had my first stretch of 4 hours of sleep this month. (#hallelujah). 

I just started smiling! I watch my mom and my brother have dance parties and I can't wait to join in. My dad takes me outside which I love. This month, I celebrated my first Easter Mass, my second trip to the city and my mom introduced me to the fine art of "outlet shopping". 

I can't wait for month three! 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

AJS: One Month

I'm one month old today!

 I love cuddling, bath time and my big brother most of all. I'm not a big fan of having my diaper changed and I hate being cold. I weigh around 8 pounds. I love shopping with my peeps and have been to Target more times than my mom cares to admit. I'm starting to get my days and nights figured out (kinda 😉). This week was extra special because I celebrated my big brother turning two!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Ava Jeanne Special: A Love Story

On Saturday, February 25, Scott and I woke early.  I had primped like crazy, knowing it would be a while before I could do that again.  (Also, not going to lie, there are a lot of downsides to a scheduled cesarean, but being able to prepare is not one of them).

We met my parents in our kitchen, and excitedly said our goodbyes.  They had arrived the night before to watch Jacob while we were in the hospital welcoming our baby.

During my pregnancy, I worked toward a simple vaginal delivery... however, upon the recommendation of my physicians, due to a number of specifics, I accepted the recommendation of a second cesarean.  After some initial disappointment, I made peace with that decision and moved all systems go toward the most important thing - welcoming our second child, and welcoming him or her with joy and peace in my heart.

Let's do this.

Our appointment was at 9AM, but we were to arrive at the hospital by 7AM.  Scott dropped me off at the front door, and parked the car.  We checked in to the nurses station on the Labor floor, and were assigned a wonderful nurse, Natalie, who would calm my nerves and boost my sagging spirits.  I signed a million consent forms ("Cesarean's run a risk of blah blah blah").

9AM came... and 9AM went.  Our doctor was running late.  Around 9:30, the doctor breezed in, and said a few words that I did not want my operating physician to say: "Sorry I'm late... I couldn't get my act together this morning.  So, are we just doing a cesarean or are we doing a tubal as well?"

I'm documenting this because... well... it's laughable.  I couldn't get over it.  It shocked me, and freaked me out.  Not the best bedside manner of the woman who was about to operate and help usher my child in to this world.

I shook off my fears, and was told it was time to go.  I was wheeled- alone - in to the operating room.  (The support person isn't allowed to be present until it's time for surgery to begin).  I will spare the medical graphics, but I was given a spinal block, a few other pre-operative details, and then Scott was allowed to come back.  I threw up - more than once.  (I'm not surprised by this, as I had a similar reaction to the anesthetic during Jacob's birth).  I was covered in blankets (the OR was freezing!) and... it began.

I kept staring at Scott, like... THIS IS HAPPENING.  OUR CHILD IS ABOUT TO BE BORN.   It was surreal and beautiful and terrifying.


The doctor told Scott he could stand up to watch our child breathe their first breath - and he did.

"It's a girl!" which were three of the sweetest words I have ever heard.  (For the record, "It's a boy!" were the other three sweetest I've ever heard).

I began screaming - howling - in joy and relief and happiness.  I would have been thrilled with any healthy baby - ANY BABY - but the chance to mother a son and a daughter is a privilege I won't ever take for granted.

My surgery was completed (with, um... STAPLES OMG... which is another story for another time).  My baby was analyzed and declared "perfect".  She was 6 pounds, 8 ounces and 18 inches long.  And we began the spectacular honor of introducing our baby to her family (including my brother Joe, who flew in on the red eye to surprise me!)

We named our daughter Ava Jeanne.  Ava is a name I've loved for close to 20 years.  In high school, I remember saying that if I ever had a daughter, she'd be named Ava, and I'm glad to have a husband who agreed.  Jeanne is my middle name, and my grandmother's first name, my aunt's first name.  I am thrilled to have another little "Jeanne" in our family.

Our visit was fairly uneventful, and our babies birth was textbook cesarean.  I am delighted to live in a time of medical advances which allowed my children and I to have safe, healthy deliveries and so grateful to welcome little Ava in to our lives.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

No hate, no fear - immigrants are welcome here

As far as I know, the entirety of my family tree came from elsewhere.  England, Ireland.  Eastern Europe.   To my knowledge, I have no indigenous blood running through my veins.  My ancestors came here, to America, seeking refuge, hoping for a better life.   And America was that for them - for so many million of us - a place where we are all invited, where we are all free.  The Statue of Liberty shining in a harbor, emblematic of that welcoming spirit. 

Give me your tired, your poor... your huddled masses yearning to break free.

Today the world was shocked by President Trump's inhumane executive order, which, among other things, banned all people from 7 countries, including Syria, whose citizens were banned indefinitely (and who need our help, desperately).  

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me.

President Trump - you do not speak for me when you say "we do not want them there". I have no hate in my heart, no fear in my head.  We are all immigrants.  I am ashamed that you represent me.   

How can this man (and his supporters) claim to be "pro life" and yet anti-refugee?  Do they see what will happen to these people?  These people are just like our ancestors were, one or two hundred years later.  The hypocrisy is both heartbreaking and enraging.  

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Monday, January 23, 2017

on Barron and the Bully in Cheif

Much was said this weekend about the unkind words written about Barron Trump at his fathers inauguration.   Before I go further, I'd like to state that I believe minor children of elected officials (all minor children, for that matter) should be off limits for analysis or most discussion.  You won't hear me speak unkindly about Barron Trump.  

What I am frustrated about, however, is two fold.  One, the hypocrisy of many people's short memories.  First children have been subject to harsh scrutiny for as long as the press has been around.  Sasha and Malia Obama were subject to many unkind words (and still are- just last week I read a dozen posts asking where Malia was during her fathers final presidential address).  Chelsea Clinton was famously compared to a dog by Rush Limbaugh.  Even the Bush Twins felt the heat of the media (although I'd argue that they were neither minors nor innocent parties as much of their negative attention centered around their underage alcohol consumption).   Presidential children are in the spotlight, rightfully or wrongfully.   This isn't new, and it certainly isn't only when Republicans are in office as some of the commentary I read suggested.  

More importantly, it's bothersome to me how quickly we are to jump on this particular brand of bullying- while we ignore other types.  President Trump himself mocked an autistic reporter.  I wont get in to get in a game of "this bullying is better than this one", but I think we can all agree that mocking someone with disabilities is incredibly low.   This is one example, and there are many: the list of people that President Trump has bullied is long and upsetting.

As a society, if we wish to hold each other to a standard of respect, if we declare that we cannot and will not tolerate bullying, we must start at the top and hold President Trump to the same standard.  

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Baby Special 2.0: 33 Weeks

I have been incredibly remiss in documenting this pregnancy (in fact, the photo below is a month old)!  I can't begin to catch up now, but figure I'd post a few things before this sweetie is born.  Here was 33 weeks with JSS, and below are details about 33 weeks with Baby Special 2.0!

Weeks:  33 weeks!

Baby's Size:  Baby Special is about 4.5 pounds and 17 inches – my precious little pineapple! 

Trimester: THIRD!
Cravings: None really.  Jacob and I ate a pint of strawberries in one day earlier this week :) 

How I'm Feeling: DAMN GOOD for 8 months pregnant with a toddler!  I've definitely had some heartburn lately which I don't recall having (much) with Jacob.  My belly is in the way of tying shoes, or picking J out of his crib.  Overall, I'm feeling fantastic (and lucky and grateful).  Bring on the 9th month!  

Movement: A ton (especially after the aforementioned strawberries :)

My thoughts: Feeling crazy excited to find out if this is another boy or a little girl.  I would love for Jacob to have a brother (as I never had a sister!) but I'd also love to have a daughter.  It's so nice that I don't get to pick!  Whichever God has chosen for us is going to make our family better, I just know it.  I'm excited and happy and have very few nerves.  Our home is ready and our hearts are ready.  (But stay put for a few more weeks, baby!)  Baby, you are so loved.  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration, 2017

Today Donald Trump becomes president.  I have yet to fully wrap my head about it, but I'm not a denier- as a proud American, he IS now my president, like it or not.  (And to be clear, I do not.  I do not very much).   It's a very strange day.  A very strange time.  

I hope that 4 years from now, that people's lives have gotten better, not worse- in that way I wish him well; I hope his policy changes fail decidedly- in that way I wish him failure. 

I will not be watching the inauguration today.  I do not have to embrace something to accept it.  I will be powering off the TV, closing the browser on CNN and letting my donations do most of the talking today: to Planned Parenthood, to the ACLU, to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.  To the NAACP.  To NARAL Pro-Choice America.  To RAINN.  

President Trump, I am angry.  I’m angry and I’m frustrated and I’m disappointed in you already.  If I have any hope in you at all, then it’s just that you begin giving the sacred office the respect and honor that it deserves.  

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016, a conclusion

2016 started off with a bang, literally, as Scott set off a firework display over the Gulf of Mexico as the clock struck midnight.  We rang in 2016 with champagne, dance parties and too many pina coladas with my parents and siblings (and again with a different kind of bottle 5 hours later when Jacob woke up)!

We rang it in with hope, too, and excitement and optimism.  2015 was a banner year for my family, and it would be tough to beat.  

Our vacation ended and we came back to a snowy Chicago.  Winter turned to spring.  We celebrated Jacobs first Valentine's Day at uncle Matt and aunt Kelly's house (and J celebrated his first bite of donut).    March brought us Jacobs first birthday, and our first anniversary of the profound responsibility of being his parents.   We toasted one year, the gift of JSS and the gift of sleep as he (finally!) began sleeping through the night.  

Spring brought us Easter, a work trip to Scottsdale, and Scott's 31st birthday.  We discovered Jacobs absolute adoration for the park and all things outdoors, and spent more time outside than in my previous 10 years combined.  We enjoyed simple pleasures like watermelon on the porch, squirrel chasing and spraying the garden hose. 

The highlight of our summer was finding out we would be welcoming our second baby!  A joy we discovered on the 4th of July.  Christine's wedding was a highlight of the year- as we got to celebrate a truly solid couple with the 65+ members of my family.

The fall brought the tail end of our two year major renovations (thanks dad and mom!)  It brought amazing baseball and terrible football and a terrible election that I'm still not at peace with- maybe that will be my New Years resolution. (Not holding my breath).

Thanksgiving was spent as it always is- with some of my favorite people at my parents.  We rang in December with more Christmas cheer than I've maybe ever had- Santa and baby Jesus a toddler who was excited about them both. 

2016 was a hard year for a lot of good people (HRC, I'm lookin' at you).  I'm grateful for the profound blessing of a second baby that I learned about in 2016, but I'm otherwise ready to see it go.

I ring in 2017 in a profoundly different place mentally.  Happier than I've maybe ever been, but less optimistic, I think.  It's a weird spot, but it's been a weird year.

2017, lets do this.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

today and tomorrow, for the next four years

I went to bed before the election was called, because with a sick toddler, I wasn't sure what the night would bring for us.

I woke up the one who is sick.  Sick for a nation who could elect this man: misogynistic, racist, sexist, homophobic (not to mention unqualified).  I voted for Hillary Clinton, of course, but I would gratefully take nearly anyone but him.   I've never felt so disconnected from this country- perhaps that's how some felt 4 and 8 years ago.  I'm not sure where to go from here, or even why I feel compelled to post.  I don't discount this election or the results, I believe in democracy and in each persons right to vote.  I believe in the concept of checks and balances, and while I will pray for unity and peace over the next 200+ weeks, I will also pray for strong representatives, who fight for the 50% of us who voted otherwise.

To my beloved friends who are LGBT, of other races, or religions, or women, or simply disagree with Mr. Trump: please know: #imwithher, and today- and for the next four years- I am with you.

It's still dark out- literally and figuratively. But I believe that America is already great.  And I believe that the sun will come out again today, and tomorrow.  And the next four years.  We have a lot of work to do, clearly.  But I believe in the 60M of us who voted as I did, and I know we're up for the task.