Sunday, May 31, 2015

Scenes From A Week: May 31

This was a special and unusual week!  Jacob experienced many "firsts" - his first road trip, first time in Iowa, first time in Minnesota, first night in a hotel, first bridal shower!

We started the weekend by my mom arriving in Park Ridge late on Thursday night.  She had spent the week in Indianapolis for a conference, and was going home in Iowa via our house.  She returned her rental car, and hopped in the car with us on Friday morning - Iowa bound.  We made a fun pitstop in the Quad Cities, introducing Jacob to his great-grandparents and then continued on to my home town.   The next  morning, we left early with my parents in route to Minneapolis, stopping to pick up Kelly from the airport before heading to a bridal shower for my cousin Anne (who was one of my maids of honor!)

The bridal shower was lovely of course, and it was so nice catching up with so many relatives whom I rarely get to see.  Our family is spread across the country (literally from coast to coast) and it's so nice to have a few occasions per year where we get together.  Anne's wedding will be another such occasion in July!

On Sunday morning, we dropped Kelly off at the airport, and drove back to Iowa.  Monday morning we were on the road again, stopping in the Quad Cities for another quick visit with my grandparents, before making our way home once again.  Whew!  It was a jam packed few days, and it was so nice to introduce my son to so many of my relatives.  I was nervous about how the drive would go - four hours to my hometown, another 5 to Minneapolis... and repeat for the reverse!  It went fabulously, though.  Jacob was a dream travel companion, and truly only fussed once or twice when he was simply over it.  (By that time, I was pretty over it too :)  I can't wait for more adventures with my little boy!
selfies with my boy (cute onesie from Scott's cousin Allison)

wearing his bridal shower finest - a RL Polo onesie!
(found at TJ Maxx for $10 - woot)
Grammy and Jakey chillin' in Iowa

got my hair colored for the second time in a year!
first time in a hotel!

bridal shower
technology is insane: FaceTiming with Joe from the road..
while he was in The Bahamas!
snuggling in CR

Monday, May 25, 2015

Scenes From A Week: May 25

It was another wonderful week!  One of the things we've really tried to (re)incorporate in to our daily lives is FUN.  For the past two months, we've been focused on SURVIVAL - truly.  Getting a new rhythm down, learning to be parents, trying to get a few hours of sleep :)  Fun has been pretty low on the list of priorities.  But with my confidence - and Jacob's predictability - increasing, I decided now was the time to start having some fun and making some memories with our family.  So!  That was one of the focuses of this week.

The week started with a Sunday evening family walk... to the local ice cream shop :)  It was a beautiful and warm night, and we all liked getting out of the house and ending the weekend on such a sweet note (pun intended:)

The week was also a good one - Jacob and I spent a LOT of time outside (two two-hour walks on Thursday!) enjoying the fresh air and beautiful weather.  We even went to the Brookfield Zoo on Friday afternoon with a few Special relatives.

The weekend was a GLORIOUS one.  We started it with going out to brunch and getting a car wash.  When we got home, we worked on tackling the endless to-do list.  I sorted through all of Jacob's clothes, and packed away his too-small newborn items (sob).  I took out his 3-6 month size gear, and washed it all.  I deep-cleaned the inside of our house, and Scott tackled the outside.  (Jacob cooperated by taking a 90-minute nap - score).  We ended Saturday by taking a family walk - it was 72 degrees at 8pm!   Sunday was spent running errands as a family, spending time working outside, and a visit from the Maloneys (which included a bath for Jacob and a cold Summer Shandy for me).  On Memorial Day Monday we traveled to Grayslake to visit my dear friend Sam and her sweet family.  She has a son who is seven months older than Jacob, and it was amazing to see how much development happens during that time.

Man, I love summer.

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)