Jackson Wyatt: 23 Months

Dear Jax,

You’re just over 23 months old now, a little less than 3 weeks from being the infamous 2. Daddy has been calling you 2 since you were 18 months old though, about the time you started asserting your independence in the form of tantrums. I though back then “the terrible twos started early! But they really aren’t that bad.” I jinx it. At 23 months old you have a clear idea of what you want and what you don’t. “No” is your favorite word. You know over 100 different words and are beginning to string them together, making it easier for Daddy and I to understand what you’re trying to convey. But we don’t always understand and sometimes even when we do, the things you desire you can’t have. Like when you want to run in the middle of the busy street, refusing to hold our hands. Or when you want a sip of Daddy’s special “juice”. Or last week when I took away the plastic wrap from the toothpaste you chewed apart as you tried to make it a mid morning snack. You don’t yet understand why we say “no” and that sometimes, most times, when we do it’s for your own safety. But I hope one day you’ll look back and remember all the things we said “YES” to!

IMG_6706I look at you, how fast you’re growing and changing daily, and try to be present each and every day to truly enjoy it. I try to remember, even in the challenging times, that these moments are fleeting and that all too soon I’ll be looking back on them with a smile, wishing for just one more moment of holding your tiny hand in mine, the ability to heal all your ailments with a single hug and of being your best friend.

10530676_10202808647076951_8503905128578151279_nYou are fiercely independent. You rarely want to hold my hand when we’re out on walks which has gotten you into trouble more than once when you sprint up the street or across the parking lot, leaving me in your dust. You may be small but you are FAST. You are kind, sweet and caring. You tell everyone you pass “hi!”, “hello” and recently, “morning!”. You generously use “tank you” and have started to mimic me when we run on the trail telling people “tank you” and “sahwy”. You love to play and while you have an incredible imagination and are able to play independently, you prefer to have company. You constantly ask me, dada or G to sit with you and it breaks my heart when I can’t comply. You love to read. You happily pick out a book and sit down in my lap and listen intently, staring at each page as I read the story aloud. At night, after several bedtime stories, brushing our teeth and PJ changes I let you silently read in your crib for 30 minutes. You sometimes ask for another book and trade me. I love how much you love to absorb the pictures, even if you can’t fully understand the stories yet. You are a sensory kid. Playing in the dirt and rocks is your favorite thing to do, especially barefoot. You love to go on walks and we go out every morning and usually every evening as well (so long as it’s not boiling hot). I long for Autumn so we can spend all day, every day exploring.

20140705_105423 20140730_092009 You are fearless. It both terrifies me and impresses me. You can do most things that kids three times your age can do. You love to trek through mud, stand in it knee deep and don’t bat an eye climbing up the rock climbing wall or going down the steep slides. You laugh with glee. And your laugh is magical. It is one of my favorite sounds in the world and literally makes my heart throb when I hear it.

20140704_163927 20140705_160333 20140730_084240You are confident and I hope that never changes. Sometimes your clothes don’t match, you walk home covered in mud or soaking wet and you still strut your stuff, as you should. You have so much to be confident about. I hope no one ever makes you feel bad for who you are or makes you wish you were different. I hope your innocence in that sense lasts forever. You are so very very loved just the way you are.

IMG_685923 months have flown by. You’ve become a big brother and such a wonderful one at that, always wanting to give brother hugs and kisses and to hold him. I’ve always known you were meant to be a big brother and now that you are one, you’ve surpasses all my expectations. Andrew reminds me how fast time flies and to soak it all in, in all it’s stages. I’ve loved the last 23 months, watching you become your own little person and cannot wait to see what the future holds in store for you. I love you, my baby boy.

IMG_6769IMG_6813Love Always,

Mommy

Captured Moments

It’s been a long time since I’ve plugged the Rebel into a computer and opened up the treasure trove of memories inside. One of the reasons I’m drawn to photography so much is that it serves as a virtual time capsule. Looking back through the hundreds, nay, thousands of pictures on my camera from just the past few months (and those aren’t even counting the ones that I take with my phone much more regularly) brings a smile to my face. I’m instantly transported back in time to those memories of us taking a brand spanking new Andrew out to explore Sandy Pointe State Park

IMG_6482and watching Jackson explore the sand for the first time since last August

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I’m reminded once again how very fast time flies by as I struggle to remember just how little Andrew was not so long ago

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IMG_6656I see these images that capture my boys in a single, fleeting moment and am overwhelmed with love and gratefulness. This is my life.

IMG_6627 IMG_6769 IMG_6813 IMG_6823Some images might be out of focus. Some tiny subjects might be too wiggly to capture and only half might end up looking at the camera. But even those images, I treasure.

IMG_6870 IMG_6871 IMG_6872I’m reminded once again how much I love photography, how grateful I am that memories can be captured in pictures and to cherish every, fleeting moment.

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Half Marathon Training

I’m smack dab in the middle of training for my second half marathon. My first I ran with my husband when Jackson was 7 months old. We began training at 3 weeks post partum and did almost all our training runs together (save for a 2 week long business trip). We began our first half together and finished hand in hand. I loved every minute of it and got the racing itch which led us to registering for HM #2. We were supposed to run it last October but were wonderfully blessed with a growing Andrew as soon as we started TTC#2. By October I was still in the trenches of debilitating morning sickness and exhaustion and we ended up deferring our race to this October. Unfortunately Bry began training for work (firefighting) and decided to forgo the race to train in his career instead. As disappointed as I am to not race with him again, I’m also embracing this opportunity to push myself and see what I’m made of. Mentally I know it’ll definitely be challenging.

With brys work and training schedule I’ve had to do most of my training runs solo with the double BOB. Mix that with it being the middle of a hot, humid summer and I’m definitely getting challenged. Right now I’ve found a good plan. I run 2 short runs during the week with the double BOB that range between 3-4 miles right now and I run my long runs on the weekend solo while Bry watches the boys. I’ve run half my long runs with the double BOB though and literally blew myself away when I ran 7 miles on Friday with both boys without taking a single walking break. I was quite proud of myself. I have a few goals in mind for the half but my biggest is to just start and complete it despite doing it by myself. I’ve also been consistently taking one body pump class a week at my gym and love it! I wish I could go twice a week but childcare schedules won’t allow it.

Here’s what last weeks training looked like:

Monday: REST

Tuesday: 3.5mi run with double BOB @ 9:38/pace + 1mi walk

Wednesday: 3mi run with double BOB @ 9:00/pace + 2mi walk

Thursday: 60min body pump class

Friday: 7mi run with double BOB @ 9:26/pace + 1.5mi walk

Saturday: 60min hike with Andrew in the ergo

Sunday: REST

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Andrew Weston: 3 Months Old

Drew bear,

I’m currently typing this while you’re cuddled up in my arms. Your little hand is resting gently on my chest and the weight of it rakes my breath away. It reminds me that despite how incredible, gorgeous and amazing you are, you’re real! I keep waiting to wake up and realize it’s all a dream because life seems just too good to be true.

This space has become more important this week as someone broke into our house Thursday night and stole my laptop before Lily scared them away. I couldn’t care less about an inanimate object, grateful that we are ok and things weren’t worse. But I do wish I could get back the thousands of pictures on there of you and your brother and the countless journal entries I wrote from before you were even born. The cliff note version is that up you were loved beyond words before you even entered the world :)

You’ve started cooing and almost talking so much this month! You coo at me with an intense look in your eyes and I coo back. You respond with a giant gummy smile that melts my heart. You smile and laugh in your sleep a lot and I wonder what you could possibly be dreaming of. Probably Jackson or nursing. Yesterday for the first time you laughed while awake! I tickled you and you let out the most adorable giggle. It melted my heart.

You have the absolute most amazing personality. You’re sweet as can be, extremely easygoing and happy 99% of the time. You’re completely content strolling along on my runs, watching me cook from your rock n play, playing on your activity mat watching big brother jump around dangerously close to your head and being Ergo-ed around town running errands, going to big boy play dates and exploring local parks. I can’t get over how adaptable you are.

We spend most of big brothers nap times on the living room chair. I prop you up on my legs and we spend half of naptime making faces at one another, smiling and singing. Your favorite song is “Twinkle Twinkle” and it never fails to make you smile. It makes me wonder if you have a hearing problem ;) the other half of nap time you snooze off in my arms, usually nursing. I always swear to nap while both of you are down but instead get lost staring at your little body wrapped around my torso, gently snoring. I love it. In this crazy life that flies by far too fast, where you grow in the blink of an eye, I’m trying desperately to cherish these fleeting moments as best I can. Before I know it you’ll be too big and too busy to cuddle.

Last week we visited your great aunt and uncle at their amazing land in virginia. You went through a growth spurt while there and I swear you doubled in size. Your grandma has been in Italy for the past 2 weeks and gets back tonight. She’s not going to recognize you!  In other news you went to the gym daycare for the first time this week so I could try to get back into body pump. You were a champ, as always and slept the entire time. I love how easy it is for you to coordinate schedules no matter how frequently they change. I fed you and we cuddled and played until right before class began and then you happily slept in your car seat for the hour I was gone. I missed you the entire time but it was so nice to feel the burn again and get in some much needed strength training. I still have a hard time leaving you. You’re still so little.

Your eyes are still a mix of steely blue and this amazing gold color around your pupils. It’s electrifying. I have a feeling you may be a little brown eyed baby one day and I couldn’t be happier. I love you just the way you are.

In all, I’m still in awe of you and cannot believe I’m the lucky woman to be your mommy and watch you grow every day. You’re such a blessing. I love you more than words could ever express.

love,

mommy

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Andrew Weston: One Month

This has been the fastest month of our lives. I could blame it on the fact that it’s pretty much been one continuous day with very little sleep (partly to blame by the fact that every time you are sleeping (which is during the day and much less at night) I spend the time I should be sleeping staring at your sweet face and touching your baby smooth skin). This month has been filled by more love than I ever thought possible, more happiness than I could ever have hoped for and more smiles & laughter than I knew existed.

IMG_6459You have the sweetest disposition and are happy as long as you’re in my arms or sleeping on my chest (or daddy’s). You love to nurse and eat and get very angry, showing off your strong lungs, whenever I try to pry my boob away from you even once you’re asleep. I spend 99% of my time literally attached to you. I kind of love it. I can’t believe how fast you’re growing up & filling out. It feels like yesterday daddy and I were waddling into the hospital in the crisp Spring air wondering if this was it. Spoiler: it was. Life before you seems like a distant memory and I am so glad you’re here. You complete our family in ways I didn’t know were missing.

IMG_6518Your eyes are getting lighter and you explore the world a bit more each day. They’re currently a steely blue and absolutely gorgeous. I get lost in them and love the moments we make eye contact and the world seems to stand still for a moment as we just stare at one another. Your peach fuzz is my favorite! It’s dark brown and so soft. I like to give you a baby combover when it’s messy and I blowdry it after baths so it sticks up in all directions. The cuteness is too much.

IMG_6554You’re still unsure about big brother though he adores you. He’s constantly asking to hold “tete”, pointing at you with a huge smile, and climbing up next to us in any chair we’re in to plaster your face with kisses. He is so in love with you and I look forward to the day you two are running in the backyard, throwing a ball back and forth and generally being crazy brothers. You’re going to be insane together, but so close. I am reminded again how lucky we are to have you both, and that you’re so close in age. I hope you have an unbreakable bond, though I know you will.

IMG_6431As much as I wish I could will time to slow down, I’m excited as you come more into yourself with each passing day. Your personality, your smile, just everything about you is so much fun and a new layer I can’t wait to explore.

IMG_6522You’re our baby boy, loved beyond comprehension. Words really can’t express how much you mean to us. We love you.

Always,
Mommy

For fun: You vs. Jackson at exactly 1 month old (same 0-3month size onesie too!)

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Andrew’s Birth Story

At 22 weeks pregnant I started having preterm labor signs presenting as mild contractions. I spent a night at the hospital to make sure things wouldn’t progress and was put on limited activity. I wasn’t allowed to run but I could still do yoga, walk, swim and do light weight lifting. So I did! I fell in love with the water again and reached my goal of swimming a mile straight while pregnant. I felt incredible. But at 27 weeks pregnant, as I walked into the aquatic center to swim I was hit with the most painful contractions of my life. I sat on a bench and tried to wait for them to pass but each one left me out of breath. In tears I called Bryan to come get me, but they worsened quickly and I honestly felt like I was about to give birth in the lobby. So I called 911 and was taken to the hospital once more. I was given a shot to prevent preterm labor and put on bedrest. No swimming, no running, no real lifting of Jackson. It was hard.

Once I reached 36 weeks pregnant I was allowed off bed rest. With the weather finally beginning to feel like spring, a hyperactive toddler and a family of 3 with a bad case of cabin fever, we took advantage. Unfortunately right at 36 weeks I caught the norovirus from Bryan and ended up in High Risk Perinatal Center (HRPC) for the night with severe dehydration that brought on contractions. Once we were feeling better we began going for daily walks to the playground.

At my last sono appointment the sonographer discovered that one of Andrew’s kidneys appeared polycystic. After completely normal sonos and a healthy pregnancy, something was wrong. We were told to follow up with a specialist for another sono and on March 31st we had our next sono. The doctor determined that what looked polycystic was actually dilation of the ureter possibly due to a blockage that caused severe dilation of the kidney. My amniotic fluid was great though so something was working. They had a hard time finding the left kidney but thought they could see it behind other organs. We were told to come back in 3 days and if things were worse they’d have to induce. I broke down knowing something was wrong with our son and feeling completely helpless. I wanted to make it all okay but knew the best thing for him would be to come out so they could figure out what was wrong and help him. 

April 1st I had my 37 week OB appointment. The weather was nice so we decided to walk to it as it’s only a mile away. I had the usual checks. I was still 1cm dilated as I’d been the week before. We walked back home and ran some errands. In the afternoon we took Jackson to the park. By 3pm I started having contractions. I was pretty sure they were just another round of the infamous Braxton Hicks. I even avoided my contraction app in fear that I’d jinx myself. At the park I started walking in circles and I could feel the pain coming in waves. The walking made it worse making me think that maybe they were real. All weekend Andrew felt really low and as I walked it felt like he was going to fall out. I kept thinking if this wasn’t it, I wasn’t going to walk again until he was out. I checked my fitbit for the day and we’d covered over 8 miles! Including a run up 5 stories of stairs in an effort to get Andrew to progress.

When we got home we had dinner and put Jackson to bed. Bry played on his computer as I laid down in bed still feeling the waves. We began tracking them and they’d come about every 7-10 minutes. Bry asked if it was labor. I told him I had no idea. He asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. I’d had barely any sleep the past 2 nights and didn’t want to end up at labor and delivery for a few hours to be sent home not in labor, sleepless and with a 5am wake up from our crazy toddler the next morning. By this point it was 7pm and I’d been contracting for 4 hours. I told Bry I’d call the OB at 8. We played around on our computers and at 8:01 I called my OB. The doctor on call told me to come in. So we threw a few last minute things into the hospital bag, got dressed and asked my mom if she could watch Jackson but that we may come home still pregnant. She congratulated me, hugged me and Jackson started to cry. I was so glad. I picked him up, gave him the biggest hug and snuggle and shared a special moment with my first born. It was especially meaningful knowing it may be my last time to hold him as an only child. With a kiss and a hug, I put him back down and we headed out the door.

We got to labor and delivery and I rocked back and forth bouncing a little bit to help things progress in case this was it. We registered and i kept thinking there was a good chance we’d be heading home. We were called back to triage where I explained I’d been contracting for 5 hours. I was put on the monitors and determined I was contracting every 2-4 minutes. The nurse checked me and I was 4cm dilated, 80% effaced, -2 station. “You’re being admitted” she announced and Bryan and I just looked at each other and laughed. 

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We walked over to the labor and delivery room and settled in. Bry kept asking if there was a chance we could still be sent home. “Not now, there’s no going back.” I started to get freaked out remembering that the hard part was still ahead. I forgot how you get the baby out ;) my contractions began picking up and getting stronger. The monitors showed they were every minute or two with no break in between. I started to worry that I’d miss the opportunity to get an epidural and did not want to progress to the point of no medication. At 11pm we called our parents and let them know we were in labor, and it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke :) At midnight I asked for the epidural  and within 15 minutes the anesthesiologist arrived. It took about 15 minutes to insert the epidural during which my contractions were strong and steady. I kept trying to keep my mind away from what was going on as he inserted the needle. I forgot how intense the entire experience was with Jackson but it felt much worse this time. Bryan held my hand and I kept my eyes shut, trying to mentally disappear. Once the epidural was in, I laid back down and let the medicine numb the contractions. Bry and I talked, he read a bit and I tried to get some sleep knowing I’d need my energy soon. I was already starving by this point but wasn’t allowed any food. Bry snuck me a GU chomp and I devoured it.

IMG_0365At 3am I was checked again. Despite having constant contractions I hadn’t progressed at all. In fact the epidural had caused the contractions to spread out. If things didn’t change soon they’d start pitocin to speed things along. At 6am things hadn’t changed. I had a lot of bloody show but my bag of waters was in tact. At 6:30am more bloody show. In the past 3.5 hours I’d dilated another half cm bringing me up to 4.5. Contractions had spread out from every minute to every 5-8 minutes. At 6:45am they began pitocin, increasing the dose every half hour. At 7am we had our second nurse shift change and met Kim who would be our final nurse. Bryan continued to feed me GU chomps as my stomach growled and exhaustion overtook me. I tried to sleep but couldn’t. At 9am we met our delivery doctor who ironically was our OB! He asked what happened since I’d had my regular 37 week prenatal check with him that morning and was only 1cm dilated. He checked me again and I was still 4.5cm. I felt defeated and starving hoping Andrew would hurry up so I could eat. The NICU doctor came in and told us they were all on board with Andrew’s situation. She told us they’d be at the delivery to make sure everything went well but they wouldn’t have to take him away. We thanked her for coming in and got back to laboring.

In the meantime Bryan made frequent visits to the cafe downstairs for copious amounts of coffee. As breakfast and eventually lunch passed I forced him to go eat. Then I made him recount exactly what he had so I could live vicariously through him.

At 11am I started feeling like death. The pitocin was making me nauseous but the meds they gave me for it made me extremely hot and nauseous. I kept thinking there was no way I could push. They’d have to cut this kid out of me. I wanted to puke. Bryan said I looked horrible. I was pale but flushed. Bryan found me a fan a few minutes later and blasted it on my face. It was a miracle. I started to feel better and more alive. It literally saved me. I laid in bed with the fan directly at my face while perusing the cafeteria menu, drooling over everything I wasn’t allowed to eat.

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The doctor from NICU came back in and told us shed spoken to the specialist who’d done Andrews sono. It was worse than she thought and they’d have to not only be at delivery but would be taking Andrew to NICU afterward. I felt terrible. I hadn’t even brought my son into the world yet and they were already ready to take him away. I nodded, knowing it was what was best for him and tried to refocus on getting my son safely out.

At 12:30pm i still hadn’t progressed so dr. kleinman broke my water. At 1:35pm I was checked again and at 5cm! As soon as the nurse, Elizabeth, who was covering for Kim while she was with her other patient, finished checking me I felt a ton of pressure. I told her, thinking it was just from being checked. Immediately Dr. k walked in and went to check me. “Woah the heads right there” he said. After 22 hours of labor And being stuck at 4cm for hours I’d gone from 5 to 10 and +3 station in a minute. Everything happened suddenly as nurses and doctors from nicu rushed in. The bed was broken down and I got into position. We waited in silence for another contraction to begin and with the pressure I began to push. I bared down, focusing on the pressure for 10 seconds, took another breath and pushed again and with that Andrew entered the world. It was completely surreal.

IMG_03746lbs 13oz born at 1:46pm with a head full of fuzzy dark brown hair and strong lungs. I began to cry and shake, in disbelief he was finally here. As the cord stopped pulsing, Bryan cut it and I was finally able to hold my youngest son. I nursed him and stared into his gorgeous blue eyes as he looked up at me. I soaked it all in, knowing too well how fast it all flies by. I kept thinking I always knew he’d have dark hair and relieved that he was finally here and safe. After an hour the nicu doctors returned and told me it was time, they had to take him. I kissed his forehead, told him I loved him and just an hour after being born I had to say goodbye. I wondered my whole pregnancy if I could love anyone as much as I love Jackson. Then I met my youngest son and realized my heart and arms had been waiting for this precious little boy all my life and that same unconditional love was instantaneous once again.

IMG_0404As for Andrew a renal sonogram after birth confirmed hydronephrosis of his right kidney. They couldn’t find his left kidney on the sonogram. We meet with a specialist at Children’s Hospital at the end of May for further testing to determine if he in fact has only one kidney and whether the right one is caused by a blockage, will have fixed itself or will require surgery. We’re praying they find his left one and by some miracle the right one heals itself before May. In the meantime because of the vulnerability of his kidney and working under the belief it’s his only one we have to keep him away from germs and infections since an infection could be detrimental to him. It’s been incredibly scary and trying but we’re hoping for the best and soaking up every moment of this sweet boys snuggles in the meantime. I wish I could make it all go away, to cure him, give him a kidney and make it all better but he’s a strong little boy and I know we’ll get through this. He deserves a full, healthy life and I’m praying we’ll be able to give him one soon.

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