summer family visit

Four months was too long between our family visits!! The last time we were all together in one place was back on the family Disney Cruise vacation in March. Now here we were in August finally reuniting and welcoming a new member into our family fold, Mr Henry! Jessie and the littles arrived first on Wednesday night, followed by my parents, and lastly my brother joined the group. We had a week together to connect, share, love, laugh, and explore. It went by in a blink but while we were together is was a perfect visit. Watching the littles play with Henry was heart warming. They were so interested in him. It was clear that they would be even faster friends once Henry is a little older to play with them more. We played hard in the mornings at home and went out on little outings during the day and relaxed together at home at night. It was a sweet visit and I am truly looking forward to our next one in December for Christmas (although, I am sure there will be many Skype sessions in between).

Hanging out in our pjs at home were some of my favorite times. The littles and Henry played, and played and played and the adults watched, joined in, and connected with one another over coffee. It was mellow but exactly what we all needed.

We spent a beautiful evening at a nearby park when the air was cool and crisp and then planned our next day to be spent out at Belkin Family Farm in Natick where we picked nectarines and apples and explored the property together. It was a great excursion for us and the littles who were so interested in picking fruit and tasting it straight off the branch.

 

first hike

Having a baby in the summer is awesome except he cannot be out in the sun for too long. So beach days, walks in the park, and really any outdoor activity has to be calculated perfectly so as not to let his soft baby skin burn or over heat. After a relaxing morning home, David did a quick Google search and found an “adventure” for us to have in the afternoon. We packed Henry up and piled into the car. When I asked David if I needed to program the GPS he smiled and said no. We drove down our block and within 3 minutes we were there. Little did I know that a quiet forested reservation was so close to our house. Having once been carriage routes, the paths were wide and generally flat. We took out the stroller and headed into the cool, shady woods for our first hike as a family. Along the way we talked about how we could come back with the pups too and how in the future it would be so fun to watch Henry toddle and then run about. It was a really nice way to spend the afternoon together so close to home. This may be our new favorite spot.

henry is born

When I envisioned going into labor the scene was always the middle of the night. At 3:40AM on July 2, I woke up feeling some mild contractions. Immediately excited, I tried to tell myself that this could be a false alarm despite my premonitions of a night like this. It became quite apparent within 15 minutes that this was the long-awaited labor. After a week of walking laps around the park, drinking raspberry leaf tea, and finally even trying a castor oil omelet, the little baby was ready to make his debut. I tried not to wake David right away and tried to lay in bed “asleep” for as along as possible.  Obviously labor would be a long process and I wanted to “store up” my energy while I could. By 4:15AM though, any attempt at peacefully reclining in bed was over and David was up and by my side. We drew a tub and I  stayed in there with the shower pouring over my back until our doula arrived. Things happened quickly in the beginning and before I knew it David was calling the midwife and we were being told to head to the hospital. This transition from bathtub to car to hospital was very challenging. I wanted to stay in the tub because I felt like I “understood” the contractions that were occurring there.  They would come, they would go, they crashed over me like waves and in this new space I felt a homeostasis. But, I knew that staying was not an option as the contractions’ strength increased incrementally. I remember thinking between contractions that perhaps that was it, perhaps there would be no following contractions.  Unfortunately, this was not to be true. In the back seat of the car, I begged David to stop driving during a contraction while my mom rubbed my back. My mantra during the labor process was “It’s just a minute.” David and my mom would repeat this line to me throughout the duration of the contraction and I tried to focus on this phrase to get me to the other side. It helped and then it became absolutely essential to each of my contractions.

Once at the hospital, we soon found out that the labor and delivery floor was awash in laboring women. There was no room in the inn for us! Panicked and afraid, I labored in the hallway with David rubbing my back as I leaned over the handrail. This was the moment when I felt my “calm” resolve begin to crumble. How could there be no rooms? We were ushered into a utility-type room to await processing and hopefully to be transferred into a labor room as soon as possible. I don’t know how long we were in there. It was a blur of contractions and being told, “It’s just a minute.” When we arrived finally in our room, it was so hard to sit still as they quickly monitored the baby’s heart rate before letting me up to do whatever internal labor dance would help me through contractions. Somehow despite the overcrowded conditions, we were able to get a room with a jacuzzi bathtub. With the lights turned off, candles lit, and bath drawn, I labored in the water until 10:30AM. It was a wild experience to be in what would otherwise be considered a romantic setting with labor contractions. Between contractions, the warm water would lull me to sleep and I felt my head nod off only to be brought back to reality as the contraction wave started in my back and wrapped around my center. David did his best to keep me calm and focused and poured water over me to help distract and soothe.  At the 7 hour mark, I turned to David and said, “I am lucid right now, and I am telling you I am done. I want an epidural please.” I thought I would have been disappointed asking for a medical intervention, but really it was the best decision I made during the labor process. The pain was almost to the brink of unbearable and the thought of laboring on in this fashion left me feeling as though I would not be mentally present for the birth of my baby since my entire mind and body was consumed by the pain of labor.  I was proud that I made it through 7 hours but I knew I had reached the limit of my pain.

Once the epidural was administered, I could feel my mind return to me. Calm washed over and I felt truly present in the experience.  Our midwife, Tali, closed the shades and set us up for a nice long nap. Knowing I would need my strength for the pushing since I was only half way there, she ensured us that napping would be the best we could do to prepare. The rest of the afternoon we spent in and out of a few naps, chatting together about the wildness of what we were experiencing, and chatting with our medical team. We all shared family stories, jokes, and talked about what the pushing phase would be like. My favorite part of this time was sharing how David and I met, dated, and married. It was so special to be able to go over these happy memories with our midwife and doula before we welcomed our son into our lives and became a trio. Then finally at 7:30PM we were told it was time to start pushing to meet our son. While the epidural still took the pain away the pressure was quite intense. I remember shaking and crying that I could not do it. David held me close the whole time and reassured me that I was doing a great job. With each round of pushing, I would break down into hysterics and hyperventilation. But, with David there helping to catch my breath, I was able to regain control just in time for another push. A little into this part the midwife announced, “I think we will have this baby by 10PM.”  I was deliriously excited by this news and looked over to the clock and asked, “Is it 9:45PM?”  David had to break the news to me that no in fact it was only 8:45PM. Digging somewhere deep down inside of myself I knew that I could not make it to 10PM and I bore down. David and our Doula coached me, encouraged me, and said that I was making progress. I had to believe them I told myself because otherwise I would not have the stamina to continue. At 8:58PM Henry was born and we met our son. To say this was emotional is an understatement. We had created this little life from scratch and here he was all warm and pink and sweet lying on my stomach as we were encircled in David’s arms. It is by far the most amazing moment of my life. My little family was born that evening and we are so blessed to have one another.

Since Henry was born at 9lbs 12oz, he needed to have his blood sugar monitored during his first hours of life. He was also born with a slight fever so soon after his birth, Henry and David had to go to NICU for some blood work and brief monitoring. Despite these little challenges, I loved the birth of our baby and it was so miraculous to be together as a family. We stayed in the hospital for three nights and finally came home on Saturday. Breastfeeding has its challenges but with the help of my lactation consultant, David, we have problem solved some of the issues and seem to be settling into a nice easy routine with our little one. If this first week home with Henry is any indication of what life will be like with our little boy, we made the best decision ever to become a family. He is so tiny and yet he is so lovable. He is challenging when he is fussy and we don’t know how to comfort him (yet) but he is also the most charming little darling. We will learn so very much from this little man in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. I love him and his daddy so very much and am so happy Henry made me a mommy.

nursery tour

With only a few weeks to go until the little man makes his arrival, we finally have our nursery completed. It is one of my favorite spaces in our home, which is probably a good thing since I imagine we will be spending a lot of time there comforting, playing, feeding, and cuddling the little baby. In the beginning, the little man will sleep in our room in a bassinet next to  our bed. It will just be easier to have him close during that time when his sleep and eating habits will be more unpredictable and on demand. But, even though he won’t be sleeping in his darling little crib, I am sure we will be in his room to change him, to play on the elephant mat together, and to rock him. All of his little things are sweet and precious and I find myself going into the room to sit down and just exist in that quiet space (which will very shortly not be a quiet space any more!). Everything in there smells like baby and feels so warm and welcoming. It is amazing to think that we get not to only meet him soon but love him and parent him! It is truly surreal.  Bella and Buster have started to spend some time in the room too. We want them to be familiar with all of the stuff before the baby arrives. Of course, we monitor them while they explore his toys, the chair, and try desperately to chew on his elephant stuffed animals. It will be hard for them to restrain themselves from just thrashing the stuffies to bits but David has been working on it and there seems to be progress.  They can now go into the room and just hang out without frantically going after the toys = progress! I am sure things will change once the little man arrives and piques their curiosity but I am excited to watch them sniff, love, and protect him. It will be fun watching the little man grow up with the pups and romp around the house and yard. So even if the beginning months are challenging balancing all of the family needs, it will be well worth it I am sure.

When we started to put the room together we had one wood dresser. It had been our first home purchase when we moved in together in Boston. It is funny how when you buy a large item for one purpose you cannot image how it will be used in the future. We moved David’s clothes out of this particular dresser and moved it into the baby’s room. Since this piece was an oak color we decided that instead of painting it, we would stick to furniture of a similar hue and add color through linens, paints, and details. The major colors in the room are: blue, grey, and yellow. We wanted the room to be soothing on the eyes but not cold and I think we were able to meet that with our choices.

Here are some of the nursery room details

The changing table is part of the Kendall Collection from pottery barn. We picked it because we felt it was almost a match to the dresser we already had in our home. We were not huge fans of the knobs that came with the dresser though. So we headed to Anthropologie and found these little owls to replace them. The prints on the wall above the changing table are from Aldari Art on etsy.We wanted to add a little bit of color but didn’t want the room to become to overstimulated. Her animal prints are just so cute. They are one of my favorite details! His little hamper with the raccoon bandit is from the Container Store (one of the best stores! I could get lost in there for hours). And, on top of the dresser that we already had, we placed a  basket we received from our baby shower filled with burp cloths and bibs and a little dumbo and his mother stuffy. My mom and dad gave us the dumbo toy. When I was little my nanny would pretend to be Dumbo’s mother and her arm would be the trunk. My brother and I would sit on her arm and she would swing us back and forth singing the mother’s song. This toy is a beautiful reminder of my nanny and how lucky I was to have her in my life when I was growing up and until just last year. Though she will not meet our little one, I know she is still with us.

The yellow bookcase was a recent purchase. We started to receive all these great board books from family and friends and did not have anywhere to put them. We didn’t want to add another piece of heavy furniture to the room and then found this quirky bookcase “manger” from Land of Nod.

When the little man’s crib arrived, David and I would go into the room and ask, “And who will be sleeping here?” Seriously, how is it that we have a whole room set up for someone we don’t know yet? I still cannot believe we will be having a baby!  But, the crib is definitely proof that BIG changes are coming to our family. And if you couldn’t tell already, the baby’s room has an elephant theme. From sheets, to mobile, to stuffies, to quilt, he will be surrounded by his elephants while he is ushered to dream world (where he hopefully stays during full nights of sleep, fingers crossed!)

Ah, and then we get to my absolute favorite piece in the nursery!! I just LOVE this glider from Target. We were on the fence for awhile about whether or not we needed a glider.  Obviously it would be great to have to rock him to sleep, but there was no guarantee that he would (a) like it or (b) use it for very long. Despite these doubts we pulled the trigger and invested in these two pieces if for no other reason than to have a place to put your feet up after a long day! And with the chair we added an ottoman pouf from Aletafae on etsy. It just arrived today and it is AMAZING!

So now we wait, and wait, and wait. This is by far the hardest part.  The pregnancy has been easy but this waiting for the last few weeks and waiting until he is ready to join us is so difficult. I know that the longer he stays put and stays closer to his due date the better, but I just want to meet him and kiss him SO badly. I already love this little person who I haven’t met yet! At least now, while we experience this wait we can relax a little in his room!

3 years together

What!?!  How has it been three years since David and I walked down the aisle and said “I do!” I guess the old cliche is right: time flies when you are having fun. I seriously love this guy. He has challenged me, inspired me, loved me, supported me, and made me laugh each and everyday. In these short three years, we have built a family and a home together and I am so incredibly grateful to have such a fabulous husband (Of course, I am a pretty fun wife too!). Our little twosome is about to be a threesome but I am really happy to have had these three years together. It has been an adventure and promises to continue to be. Thankfully I will have this lovely guy by my side to keep it all interesting!

When it became official: The Kiss

 

 

yard work: phase II

Today we can happily announce that phase II of the backyard remodeling project is complete!  Unlike last year’s phase I, this year’s project was smooth and completed within the time frame that the contractor originally noted. Last year, we built the great wall. What was supposed to be a three week project turned into a three month nightmare of fighting with the contractor, begging him to come to work, and praying that the whole ordeal would end with the wall being completed. The contractor was slippery to say the least. Of course, this left David and I exhausted, feeling abused, and incredibly nervous about embarking on any future projects in which a contractor would be called in.

Thankfully our friends recommended a fence distributor who very quickly and easily provided a reasonable quote, set up time to install the fence, and then installed the fence.  It is the small things like doing one’s job which now greatly impresses us!! Who knew a house project could be so simple. Whew! With the baby just a few weeks away, it feels so good to have this yard project complete.  Now Buster and Bella can enjoy the yard fully. I was SO scared opening the back door to the house this afternoon to just “let them out.” A part of me wanted to still have them on the leash despite the fence. But, David assured me that the whole point of the fence was to give the pups the freedom to run and play in the yard uninhibited. They raced out of the door (I was surprised they didn’t hesitate at all, clearly they would just run away from us in general!), and immediately started barking and chasing each other. It was so great seeing them instantly excited about their new yard experience. I can just see us all now sitting out back for a cookout and just relaxing together as a family. This will definitely change how we all experience the summer and I am just so excited to be outside more with the pups! We even bought two new zero gravity chairs to “christen” the new space.

Phase III of the “never ending” yard remodel will be to plant arborvitae trees along the back of our property to increase some of our privacy and to plant hydrangea bushes in front of these trees to add some color and depth to our backyard garden. Ah!  After this successful phase, I am REALLY looking forward to phase III next Spring.