Monday, December 25, 2017

Ava Jeanne is 🔟 months old today!

Ava Jeanne is 10 months old today! She continues to be the sweetest and best natured little girl. She loves solid food, especially green beans, carrots and meat. She is incredibly entertained by her older brother, and smiles nearly all day. She has started sleeping much better, typically waking only once or twice per night. She LOVES swimming- the pool and bath are huge fun. She has two teeth, her hair has started coming in in earnest, and says five words. Ava, you are a joy! #avajeannespecial

Saturday, November 25, 2017

AJS: Nine Months

Happy 9️⃣ months to sweet Ava Jeanne! She continues to be the absolute sweetest and easiest baby. She loves bath time, “singing” and jumping. She loves music, especially the music class she attends with her big brother. She absolutely loves solid foods - her favorites are green beans and carrots although she demolished a meatball this Thanksgiving weekend. She continues to prefer being awake to sleeping (#sendcoffee) but she is literally never cranky. This month, she celebrated her first Halloween and Thanksgiving and started standing alllll the time (with assistance). She says “mama”, “dada” and “Choo Choo” 😂 Happy 9 months, Ava girl! We love you more than words! @ Park Ridge, Illinois

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Three generations!

Three generations. (My 34th consecutive Thanksgiving with my mom, and Ava’s first Thanksgiving ever. Feeling very thankful).

Sunday, November 19, 2017

C'mon April

Overjoyed to be able to share the news- Jacob and Ava are going to be cousins! Cannot wait for Matt and Kelly... and all of us who love their baby so much. C'mon April

Sunday, November 5, 2017

My heart is heavy. Vegas was 35 days ago. 35.

My heart is heavy. Vegas was 35 days ago. 35.
Tonight, my thoughts and prayers ARE with the 26 innocent victims, and tomorrow, my actions will follow as I call my representatives demanding gun control now. When will the madness end?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

AJS: 8 Months

Happy 8️⃣ months to sweet Ava. She continues to be a true delight- so many people remark upon what a happy and easygoing baby she is. No hair, no teeth, no problem. 😜 
Ava doesn’t feel any rush to crawl- she’s content cuddling and being held. She loves to play with her brother’s trucks (when he’s not looking of course 😉 and she loves her cuddle doll, Chloe. Ava loves bath time, jumping and solid foods (especially green beans and rice teething biscuits). She loves her big brother most of all and is constantly reaching for him. 
We love you more than words can say. Happy 8 months, Ava girl! #avajeannespecial Scott Special

Friday, October 13, 2017

A powerful read, and an important one, and one that I agree with wholeheartedly.

"History has been littered with horrible people who did terrible things with power, because too many good people remained silent. And since my fear is that we are surely entering one of those periods in our story, I wanted to make sure that I was recorded for posterity"
A powerful read, and an important one, and one that I agree with wholeheartedly. (H/T to Nancy for sharing it).

Sunday, October 1, 2017

My grandma Phyllis would have been 100 years old today!

My grandma Phyllis would have been 100 years old today.
She was born before women had the right to vote, and died in 1994 at the age of 77. She modeled strength and tenacity- but also and weakness and human-ness. She had, of course, deeply unconditional love for her son, my biological father, despite his demons.
Phyllis was ahead of her time. She was a strong single mother in a time where that was unacceptable, and her influence is alive 23 years after her death. I am proud to be part of her lineage.
I like to think she would have been amused and adored by my babies. Her legacy and generosity has touched their lives, even though they are too young to realize it. I also like to think she had a heavenly role in sending my "step" dad to our family and influencing the next phase of our lives.
My life intersected with hers for less than ten years - but her memory is alive. May we all be remembered with love, by happy and grateful grandchildren, more than two decades after we are gone.
Happy 100, PDM. You are missed.

Monday, September 25, 2017

AJS: Seven Months!

Ava Jeanne is seven months old!
Ava continues to be a sweet and happy baby. She loves green beans, sweet potatoes and oatmeal but isn't yet a fan of fruit. She sits unassisted (but topples occasionally!) and loves jumping in the jumperoo.
This month, she slept through the night for the first time (last night, praise Jesus and Ava girl!). She loves bath time, and watches everything Jacob does. She's smiley and lovely and exactly what we needed. We love you more than words can say! #avajeannespecial

Friday, August 25, 2017

AJS: Six Months, 1/2 way to a year Baby!!!

Ava Jeanne is six months old! She continues to be truly delightful- happy, sweet and with the most darling smile. I don't remember the last time she cried (maybe her shots a month ago?). Ava loves her mama, laughs the biggest with her daddy and gets loved on constantly from her big brother.
Ava Jeanne weighs around 16 pounds and sits up with help. She has rolled in both directions but is pretty content chilling and watching the action (Jacob). She sleeps in her own crib, but has FOMO and would rather party (she gets that from daddy;). She loves "sitting at the table", bath time and getting head massages (she gets THAT from mommy). This month, she visited her third state (Indiana), tried her first taste of "food", and gave us her first 7 hour stretch of sleep...once. 😅
Ava, you are a true delight. Happy half birthday, Ava girl!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

AJS: Five Months!!!

Our baby girl is FIVE months old today! Ava continues to be incredibly happy, calm and chill. (Can we pretend she gets that from me? 😉😉). She loves watching Jacob, and her daddy discovered that she laughs hysterically when you smooch her cheeks. She "talks", loves dancing and music and still isn't a big fan of sleep at night. This month, she went swimming, celebrated her first Fourth and went on her first picnic! #avajeannespecial @ Park Ridge, Illinois

Sunday, June 25, 2017

AJS: Four Months

I'm four months old today! I'm a calm, happy and chill baby who is content wherever I go. I love walks with my family, dancing and laying on my playmat with Jacob.
This month, I attended my first wedding (#planifer) spent two nights in a hotel and moved to my own bedroom. I'm still a perfectly sized little peanut, weighing about 14.5 pounds.
I sleep 2-4 hour stretches (my mom says "send coffee 😂) but I'm so cute that no one is complaining... much.
I am a true delight! #avajeannespecial

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.