Monday, December 31, 2012


What a year...

Last year was an incredibly difficult year for our family.  We entered the new year with broken hearts, but high hopes.  2012 did not disappoint.

Early in the year, we found out we were expecting a baby.  Shortly after, we found out our baby was a little boy.  The rest of the year was a mixture of anxiety and excitement.  We kept the news very close for a long time.  It was difficult to believe we might meet and hold our son before the end of year.  Now, as the year closes, Colin is curled up on his daddy's chest taking a nap.  Even when I'm holding him, it's hard to believe he's here.

As the year close, it feels like a dream.  A terrifying, wonderful, fantastic dream.  I am so grateful for everything this year has brought.  I'm looking forward to 2013.

I'm so grateful to the friends and family who have supported me, especially the last two years.  Thank you for your love, your patience, your kindness.

May 2013 bring you and your family peace and joy.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Motherhood one month in

I can't believe it's been a month since my little man was born.  The days have flown by and it's been wonderful.

Colin is such a sweetie.  I love that he's becoming more aware and making eye contact more and more. He's grown so much already!  (I have a feeling that's going to be one of the most common feelings I have over the next, oh, 18 years or so).

1 Month
Some things are just as I expected they would be.  Gavin and I trade off responsibilities and tasks pretty seamlessly   The pets are all adapting well and we've had no conflicts or problems with them.  I actually sleep more than I thought and overall my physical recovery has been speedier than I expected.  I can't believe the difference in how I feel from the last weeks of my pregnancy when everything was so uncomfortable and even moving was difficult.  I'm still trying to take it easy and things are not back to 'normal' yet, but overall I'm pleasantly surprised.  I'm looking forward to getting into an exercise routine after my six week check up.

Some things are much different than I expected.  Feeding is going incredibly well and despite our hangups at NICU, we have been exclusively breastfeeding since we've been home.  I thought there was pretty much no possibility of that and it's a pleasant surprise.  Colin is also much more easy going than I was expecting.  We read "Happiest Baby on the Block" (highly recommend it, by the way) at the suggestion of our pediatrician before Colin was born and I was fully expecting hours of an inconsolable baby.  Overall, baby only really cries when he's hungry (which is admittedly quite frequently) and only fusses occasionally and never for long stretches.  He loves to be held, and we love to hold him, so that works out well now although may not be sustainable forever.

I also wasn't expecting that I would be quite so different.  I'm not sure if it's just the hormones or what, but I am much more easy going than I've ever been and I deal with minor setbacks and problems much better than I ever have before.

I also wasn't expecting how necessary help would be, especially in the first few days.  Gavin and I have been incredibly lucky to have family around to take care of us and the things we haven't been able to do for ourselves.  I think we could have done it alone, but it would have been much more stressful and much less fun.  I will always be so grateful for all of the help and love our family has surrounded us with.

I have quickly formed opinions on some baby 'stuff.'  For example, I really wanted this close and cozy co-sleeper play yard.  Baby hates it and rarely sleeps in it.  I was a bit skeptical of wraps, particularly Moby, which I now own and adore and we spend at least an hour in each day.  I had no idea how valuable cloth diapers would be (not for diapering, but for every other thing possible).  I was also quite concerned about not having a stroller, since the Versa hasn't hit the shelves again yet, but we bought a snap and go and it's working great for right now (I'm really looking forward to having a proper stroller though!).  The boppy is great for photos, but I've never used it for feeding the baby.

I look at him and I still can't believe he's here.  It's amazing and slightly terrifying all at once.

I'm most looking forward to getting a bit more of a routine going.  I thrive on routine and while 'feed the baby, hold the baby, sleep' is technically a routine, I'd like to get on a sustainable routine someday soon.  I'm also curious to see how our plans for the new year hold up.  I feel Gavin and I have done a great job of discussing how we'd like things to go and then being incredibly flexible with how they are actually going.

Happy One Month Birthday, Colin!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

The most magical Christmas I could ever imagine.

Our first Christmas with our son.

Filled with love, family, presents, and cuddles.

Merry Christmas, Colin.

The best gift I've ever been given.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Christmas Spirit

I deal relatively well with adversity.  I dig my heels in and charge ahead.

I don't deal so well with minor setbacks.  Traffic jams, missing keys, and spilled milk have all been known to send me into a minor tailspin and likely ruin my afternoon.  At least they used to.

Today I had a long serious of minor setbacks starting with a necessary, but extremely ill advised, trip to Toys R Us three days before Christmas.  The trip was a failure (including a projectile vomit incident in the carseat/car) and I came home to make the necessary purchase online.  Only to have to call them three times.  After almost two hours dealing with Toys R Us to purchase one item, it's on it's way, but we've been charged the wrong amount and have been billed twice for the same item.  Frustrating.  Exactly the type of setback to ruin my afternoon.

Only it didn't.  I was slightly irritated and it was a bit of a challenge trying to feed Colin and talk on the phone and make an online order all at once, but as I hung up on my last failed phone call I realized I am so incredibly grateful to have a reason to be shopping at Toy R Us, as frustrated as I am with them.  So I wrapped my baby in a Moby wrap and decided to go for a walk.

On my door step was a small package with a note that it was a random act of kindness in memory of one of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, Charlotte Bacon.  Any remaining frustration melted and I hugged my son closer to my chest.  Even with my intentional sheltering from the outside world, it's been impossible not to follow the news of the families in Connecticut.  My heart breaks. 

In the hustle of the last few days before the holidays, I think we could all use a reminder to stop and remember what really matters.  Hug your children close, call your mom and tell her you love her, and let that guy merge in front of you in the mall parking lot.  

Merry nearly Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Gavin and my wedding day was, up until very recently, the happiest day of my life.  I love that man so much and I thought there was no way I could love him more than I did on that day.

I thought that until I saw him put flowers on Taylor's grave for the first time, until I saw him whispering to my belly as our baby grew, until I saw him hold our son.  

One of my fears, which I shared with Gavin, was that after the baby was born, everyone would forget about me and I would bleed out on the operating table (We thought for sure I'd be a C-section) while everyone held the baby.  What I didn't anticipate was that I would completely forget about me but that highly trained doctors would take care of me and baby.  When our son was born, and headed for NICU, I wanted his daddy to go with him.  I think it was a difficult moment for Gavin because he was still worried about me, and he knew I had gone into this afraid. I saw his heart being torn as he tried to figure out what to do.  "Go!" I urged him as the baby entourage rolled out of the delivery room. 

When I arrived in NICU a few hours later and saw Gavin holding our son, my heart swelled.  

I knew Gavin would be a great daddy, but he is even more incredible than I imagined.  In the hospital, he didn't eat, sleep or shower , he was so busy taking care of Colin and me when he could.  Since we've been home, he's taken care of me, done the chores I haven't been able to do, stayed up with the baby at night when I needed sleep, encouraged me when I was feeling frustrated, told me I was beautiful at least once a day, bought flowers, written love notes, and become the task master while I've floated through my new mommy euphoria.  I am so incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful man by my side.  

Thank you, Gavin. I love you. <3

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ronald McDonald House

Colin's arrival into the world was a miracle that I will never forget.  The day of his arrival was a challenge for mommy and baby.  Soon after he was born, he was unexpectedly whisked away to NICU at CHOC hospital and the longest few days of our lives began.

Colin's ride to NICU

We are so incredibly happy and humbled that Colin is home safe and sound and thriving, but those days were still a challenge.  At the hospital we delivered, the Children's hospital is separate from the main hospital.  While I'm sure there are lots of good reasons for this, it makes it very difficult when mom and baby are patients at different hospitals.  The days Colin spent in NICU, I spent racing between his bedside and my hospital room in time for medications and mandatory doctor visits.  Neither Gavin or I ate or slept much and we were tired and becoming increasing frustrated with trying to understand and coordinate Colin's required care.  Up until the minute we signed the release and rolled out of NICU, we weren't sure when he'd be coming home.  

Wired baby
The distance between the 2nd and 5th floor of Mission Hospital felt like a million miles when I was on one and he was on the other, the thought of coming home without him, and trying to feed him and care for him from here was more than daunting.

Very tired momma
One day, one of the NICU doctor's comforted me by explaining that if Colin's stay were extended, I would be likely be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald Room to continue to be close to him.  Knowing that I wouldn't have to leave him meant the world to me and brought me so much comfort and peace during a very stressful time.

In the Children's Hospital, there is a Ronald McDonald House hospitality room for patient's families.  One of the few things I ate during my stay was a muffin from one of the RMDH volunteers.  While I had limited interactions with them, they were always incredibly positive, helpful and friendly.  

I know there are tons of fantastic charities out there, but if you are looking for a place to donate this Christmas, please consider Ronald McDonald House.  I think prior to our hospital stay, I had an idea of what they did, but I had no idea what a valuable service they were providing to families facing what is likely some of their darkest days. 

Thank you to Ronald McDonald House for helping keep families together.  I hope we never need to experience your kindness again.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sparkling Clean Baby

Bath time has long been a favorite part of the day at our house.  I know it's going to be a favorite part of Colin's day, too.  Right now we are stuck with sponge baths until his tummy is better, but they are still fun.

Colin's First Bath:

Hey! Who let the cat in here??

Speaking of cats, the animals have shown a remarkable lack of interest in all things baby, despite the photo above.  Particularly when I'm holding the baby, they tend to stay away.  He's been sniffed a few times, but that's it.  No one is acting up and we've had no major problems.  I think Penny is feeling a little left out, but she's had lots of attention from our visitors and seems to be happy in our new 'routine' (lets be honest, we have a 2 1/2 week old baby, there is no routine here).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Merry Christmas, Santa!

Gavin and I decided to brave the mall to meet Santa!  We went early on a week day (an entirely different crowd than my former mall visitation time) and had a great time.

And we met Santa!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Beautiful Daze

We are having way too much fun with our son.  Gavin and I spend most of our time these days smiling at each other or the perfect baby boy we can still hardly believe is ours.

I think Colin and I, and Gavin to a lesser extent, are all coming out of our newborn daze.  The rush and lack of sleep at NICU followed by the joy of a healthy, happy homecoming, and just healing from birth has left us all exhausted.  We are so incredibly lucky to have loving, caring grandparents who were here to take care of all of us and keep us fed and hydrated while we bonded as a new family.  Now, as we settle into a routine on our own (for a few days before more visitors arrive!)  I am thrilled to report that the days are still beautiful and wonderful.

Some things are just like I thought they'd be and others have caught me completely off guard.  I didn't expect things to feel so natural most of the time.  I expected to struggle a bit more with the idea of my role as a parent.  I didn't expect I'd be nearly as crunchy as I seem to be tending towards...

Today we ventured into the 'real world' a bit.  I'd made a few short outings, but today was a big one: Our first trip to the Mall and Target.  It felt a bit odd, like trying to ice skate for the first time.  Navigating the world for the first time with a stroller was a bit disorienting.  Still, even with a few *ahem* messy surprises, we had a great time.

So here's today our beautiful daze giving way to beautiful days!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Everything has Changed.

On November 27th, 2012 at 9:23 pm, my life changed forever.

My son Colin Elijah was born.

Nothing could prepare me for that moment.  In a second, a flash, everything changed.

The last two years have been the hardest years of my life.  Losing the children we desperately wanted to meet and hold and raise shocked our marriage, our beliefs, and our very lives to the core.  There were many days I didn't think I'd survive.  There were times I didn't think Gavin and I would make it.  There are still many days I refuse to speak to or acknowledge my God.

During my pregnancy, several people made comments about Colin healing the hurts of the last two years and I angrily refuted the possibility.  Nothing can replace those we have lost.  On December 6th, we attended the annual memorial at the cemetery where our children are buried and as we sat in the candle light and held our miracle, I reaffirmed that nothing can replace them.  But I also learned that Colin has brought healing to a part of my heart I didn't think could heal.

I am reminded multiple times a day that Colin's presence is a miracle.  His tiny hands and prefect features a precious gift. And as I stare at him, learning his features, his sounds, his scent, I know that I am a different, better person because I am his mother.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Nursery at Night.

One of my favorite things about our house is that we have recessed light in all of our ceilings.  In most of the rooms they are on a dimmer which allows us to adjust the lighting to suit the mood.  I especially love it in the nursery.

Low light photography is not really my forte, but the nursery in the evenings has been my favorite place to spend time with our little guy while we wait for him to make his official appearance and I want to capture a few shots of it before it's new resident arrives full time!

Baby has a mattress!  He won't need it for a while...

Where we spend our time talking most evenings

A closet full of clean clothes!
I love these color changing night lights.  We also have one in the hall.  
Baby's special book from Ms. Sara!  (Very cute, I highly recommend it) and jungle cross night light from Grandma.
See baby?  Everything's ready for you, so feel free to show up anytime!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bobby and Heather's Wedding!

Last weekend Gavin and I were in a wedding for our friends Bobby and Heather.

As always, it was an adventure!  The night before the wedding I had almost an hour of contractions about 5-7 minutes apart... turned out to be false labor, but it was still a bit scary being 2 hours from the hospital and wondering 'is this it?'  It never felt bad enough to be it it, but I think we were both a little more nervous that we were letting on.

I was fine the next morning and we headed off for the wedding!

Sadly, I didn't get very many photos.  I was busy during the ceremony and I was a bit more tired than I anticipated during the reception and spent my time stuffing my face full of candy instead of taking pictures!

Still, I got a few I like.  I REALLY need to get some photo editing software.  I also need to stop being quite so lazy about framing my shots and adjusting my camera settings.  It's been ages since I've played with my camera and it feels like a stranger.  That needs to change quickly!!

The Bride and Groom!

These fancy people were there!

My Husband
I know he probably won't love this picture, but I like this picture of Gavin.  This was the first wedding we've attended since our wedding, and weddings are different when you are married.  I am so excited for Bobby for Heather, and at the same time, I am so excited for Gavin and me!  Several times during the wedding, I was reminded of our wedding day of our vows to each other. I am so lucky to have him by my side and I am so excited for our new adventure starting any day!!

I looked slightly like Violet from Willy Wonka, but here's a photo so you can judge for yourself!  The dress fit!!

Congratulations to Bobby and Heather!  Welcome to wedded bliss!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


It was Halloween!

I'm so late in posting.  Time seems to just slip away from me!  

Laid back at our house complete with full sized candy for trick-or-treaters.  Better updates coming... maybe. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baby Giraffe

The day before yesterday, I learned about a little baby giraffe who was going to be born any day.  Since then he's been born, and I've checked on him periodically.

I think giraffe's are amazing.  I had lunch with one at the Living Desert back in February and he's been by phone screen saver ever since.  When we started thinking about a nursery, it was giraffes (as well as Planet Earth) that finally pushed us to decide to go with a jungle theme.  

The last few days have been pretty stressful and emotionally challenging for me.  Watching this little guy has been such a relaxing way to refocus.

The giraffe baby is a boy and is named Kiko.  I hope the keep the videos up for a while, I think I'm in love!

For now you can watch him here:  

There is more information about him on the zoos website.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Showered with love

A few weeks ago my sister, mom, and Jen had a baby shower for me.

I was a little hesitant.  Some part of me wanted to continue 'not cursing' this. Somehow too much excitement or outward shows of it, at least, could cause the whole thing to come crashing down, right??

I'm so glad we did it!  It was amazing to have people around me so filled with excitement.  It was contagious.  It definitely helped shift my mindset to a more positive place.  (I've not been in a horribly negative place, just in a very private place.)  It was fun talking about baby and thinking about baby and having everyone excited to meet him.

I didn't take a single picture, but I have a few from my mom.  In other news, I feel like I look pretty good in person, but the camera sure isn't very kind to me!  Oh well.

The Pictures don't really do how cute it was justice, and my rather short narrative hasn't described all of the fun, but I've already put it off long enough!

It was a lovely day and I can't thank Jen, Cheryl and mom enough.  Love you all!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  Last weekend, Gavin and I participated in the OC Walk To Remember.

It's a painful and horrible truth that not every pregnancy results in a baby, and not every delivery in a bouncing baby.  Miscarriage is much more common than most people are aware and for many it's a devastating and life changing loss.  Our family will never be the same without the children we lost.

While I can't even put into words the joy I feel at the baby who's comforting me even now with his kicks and wiggles, it is not his job, and he will never, replace what we've lost.  As we look forward with hope and as much optimism as we can muster, we will always remember the path to get here and the miracles we never had the opportunity to meet face to face.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Review: The Dark Tower Series and Street Gang

If it seems like I've been doing nothing but reading lately, that's a little bit true.

I'm still working, but when I get home, I often need a break to cool down and relax (and sometimes nap).  Plus, my audio books are my commute friends when I don't carpool.  I don't mind my commute, but at 50 minutes each way, that's some serious listening time!

Yesterday I finished both the book I was reading and the audio book!  The book is a slightly bigger deal as it was the last book of Stephen King's The Dark Tower Series.

I started the books because I was bored and they were in Gavin's kindle library.  I have read lots of Stephen King books over the years, but the covers of the books and Gavin's descriptions made me think they might be a little too Science Fiction for me.  Of course, I've since decided that I adore science fiction (and I actually like quite a few fantasy novels as well).  My problem with starting a series is that I hate to NOT finish books (or series) so if I start, I want to finish and that's quite a commitment to make!  The Dark Tower books didn't take me too long to read and overall I enjoyed them.  There was apparently a chronological gap in when they were written and I thought there was a corresponding style, flow and plot gap, but even with that I enjoyed the series.

I was slightly annoyed at King's faux ending.  King writes the alleged end of book, then a chapter about why you should stop reading and leave it at that and then writes the end of the book.  I suppose it makes sense given his roll in the plot, although I won't spoiler those who haven't read the books.

As I finished the book and read the epilogue, I found myself remembering my very brief (22 day actually) stint as an 'author'.  The creative process is fascinating to me and I half wish I could participate in NaNoWriMo this year as well and likely will again at some time in the future.  I had a fun thought experiment where I imagined what my stories characters would be doing now as I'd created a premise and then left the story, possibly never to be touched again. I also found myself fascinated by King and the way his life's story affected his story and his writing.

The Dark Tower books aren't horror books, although King's propensity for horror does sneak in occasionally.  And I can't say that he matches the imagination and magic of Tolkien's world in the Lord of the Rings books as he set out to do (although to be honest, it was such a major book early in my literary explorations that I don't think I'd accept a book even if it had).  I'd still recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure to set off on for a while.

For the record, the book did made me cry, although during the same day I also cried during my listening to Street Gang as well as while watching an episode of Animal Planet's "Fatal Attraction" so it could have been a pregnancy hormone issue!

The Audio book "Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael David probably wasn't suppose to be a tear jerker (although there are a lot of deaths over the course of the history).

I listened to the Audio book read by Carroll Spinney.  I was not a fan of the reader.  I didn't recognize his voice as that of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.  I tend to be a bit picky about my readers.  He was very compelling, my problem was that he seemed to speed up and slow down in odd places and occasionally his lack of pauses left me confused.  Unfortunately the Overdrive app on my phone doesn't allow for each 10 second recall, so I just kinda moved on.  I'm sure it's partially my fault as well.  Most audio books rarely get my full and undivided attention.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the book is a story more of the creators of the series that the characters in the series.  I was just expecting to hear more about the evolution and history of the characters, which was certainly covered a small amount, more than the lives of those involved in their creation.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and it brought back memories of watching Sesame Street.  I also enjoyed hearing a little bit about the cast and creation of Avenue Q which I'm still hoping to eventually see based on my enjoyment of the soundtrack.

I don't know what I'll read next.  I imagine I have at least a few more weeks before my reading time is greatly decreased.  I should probably be reading educational parenting books, but it's just not working for me yet!  Oh well!