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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Perfect Travel Companion

Make no bones about it, traveling with a tot is hard work and while you were an absolute trouper on our trip, I was a mess!

I had a melt down at LAX before even boarding the plane. I discovered that I only had five, count 'em, FIVE diapers for the entire trip to Italy. I hadn't taken into account our two hour lay over in Paris followed by our 90 minute flight to Florence. I had planned to take an additional five out of the suitcase before checking it and then promptly completely forgot. After checking one sundries store with no luck, I began to cry. Of course, why on earth would diapers be available for sale at the airport? There are too many sizes and not enough shelf space to hold them all and what kind of mother wouldn't pack enough for an international flight? It's not like forgetting your toothbrush. This ding bat, that's who! Mercifully, we found a package of 10 at a cart vendor, of all places by our gate. Whew! That was a close one. What's so funny now, is that you didn't need more than the original five I had. Oh well, better safe than sorry.

You were great on the flight after you finally settled down. You recently discovered that you can scream, so you did that for about an hour making your dad and I both want to pull our hair out and then crashed and slept the rest of the way, waking up once to eat and then playing for the last 45 minutes or so.

It took you two nightmarish nights to get on the right time zone, but that was to be expected. You were resilient each day, as we bundled you up in your stroller and walked the bumpy cobble-stoned streets of Florence. You'd sleep a little, take in the sights, pose and smile sweetly for photos and flirt shamelessly with anyone that paid any sort of attention to you.

Half way though our trip, the cold that I had been trying to fight off for a week prior to our trip finally got the best of me and landed me in bed for a day and a half. This provided some great bonding time for you and your dad, but nothing but pure misery for me. One does not go to Europe to be sick in a hotel room should be one of the Ten Commandments.

I powered through on our last day and we had a great time taking the train to visit Pisa and the leaning tower and to Lucca, famous for its intact Renaissance-era city walls and home of your great, great grandparents.

The flight home was especially hard on me. Nasal congestion, sinus pressure and body aches don't mix well with altitude and cramped seating. I was in tears as we landed in Paris and then again in LA. My ears still haven't popped. You, on the other hand, aside from the brief screaming outbursts, were once again awesome!

You really were the perfect traveling companion and your dad and I are so grateful. We loved having you in Italy with us. I am also so thankful for your dad's help because without it, I don't know how I would have been able to care for you on my own feeling as crummy as I do. You will be accompanying me to the doctor's office today because my over-the-counter remedies just aren't cutting it.

The best is yet to be and I'm looking forward to feeling better soon.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

I love being in Italy, but I must admit that there is a little part of me that is missing the traditional Thanksgiving feast. I love me some turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and chocolate pie (I have never been a fan of pumpkin pie).

I am also missing the tradition of going around the table and sharing things that I am thankful for this year. I am finding myself a little more thankful this year and here are a few items on my list:
  • The 35 years I had with my parents.
  • A supportive, loving and all around kick ass husband, who also happens to be an amazing father.
  • A happy, healthy and flourishing baby boy.
  • Being able to stay at home and raise my son.
  • Friends and family near and far, old and new, especially my fellow new mommies. I don't know where I'd be without them!
  • Living in Southern California where there is sunshine 360 days a year.
  • This blog, which has proven to be one of the very best things I have ever done for myself.
  • My new iPhone. I love being able to check my e-mail and play Scrabble from anywhere.
  • Extra long foot massages, pajamas, champagne, TiVo and sleep!
  • The ability to travel to far away places, have exciting adventures, meet new people and then return safely home.
I encourage everyone to give thanks and count your blessings every day.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

La Dolce Vita

I love Europe. The thing I enjoy most about being in Europe, aside from the fact that almost everyone you encounter is stunning (especially in Italy...more on that in a moment), the history is rich and the wine is delicious, is the slower pace of life. You can park yourself at a sidewalk cafe and literally watch the world go by for hours on end and be in the company of locals doing the exact same thing. Without a doubt, Europeans place a lot more value on their leisure time than Americans and I have got to tell you, it is so refreshing and more importantly, relaxing to be a part of this lifestyle for a few days.

Appearances matter in Italy. The Italians live by the code bella figura and it is more than just dressing well. It extends to the aura a person projects too. La bella figura represents the Italian concept that you must always look and act your best in every situation. It translates roughly to “beautiful image” and is a central part of Italian culture.

Regardless of their socioeconomic status, Italians are well-dressed and artfully groomed people, and they also seem to naturally move, stand, and sit in a manner that makes them look their best. A task not easily accomplished by this clumsy, fidgety, frumpy feeling, sneaker wearing, only so much room in her suitcase American.

Italians are extremely expressive communicators. Listening to an Italian, or rather watching an Italian communicate is like watching a cartoon. They are wordy, eloquent, emotional, and demonstrative, often using grand over the top facial and hand gestures to prove their point. It's glorious.

Italians love babies and they are very comfortable touching you, baby talking with you, showering you (us) with compliments and even holding you. In fact, our waiter last night showed you off to other diners. It would seem that you have already tapped into your bella figura and are making new friends left and right.

For all of the wonderful things that Italy is, I am so surprised at how touristy and comercialized it has become. I vaguely remember being here with my parents back in 1983, when my father had to see everything Michelangelo; his birth place, homes, schools, tomb and the famous statues he created alike and with that trip, Florence became one of my dad's favorite cities in the world. I think he'd be quite disappointed in today's Florence. The simple charm that once made this city unique has been replaced by graffiti and high-end retail stores. I am hoping during our last days we can find some of that charm by taking a day trip out of the city to visit Pisa and Lucca.

The best is yet to be.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Arrivederci

We may be glutton for punishment, but we are taking you to Europe for Thanksgiving. This time tomorrow we will be in Florence, Italy, where we will be spending the week and I am so excited for your first trip across the Atlantic.

You have already been on five airplanes visiting your grandparents in the Bay Area and while we are talking about a flight 12 times the length and inevitable jet lag, you have been an excellent traveler so far. For this trip, we have reserved the bulk head seats giving us a little extra room and a hanging bassinet, so my fingers and toes are crossed that you will sleep most of the way.

Although you will never remember this trip, we will take lots of photos and tell you all about it as soon as you are old enough and maybe even bring you back someday!

While we are away, I am going to try to blog as often as I can, but this week is about being on vacation with my family. I wish all of my blog readers a very happy, safe Thanksgiving and a fun and family-filled long weekend. Ciao!

The best is yet to be.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

So Damn Lucky

When I was pregnant, ultrasounds showed that one of your kidneys was bigger than normal and I was told that it wasn't a big deal and in fact, "very common in boys". After you were born, our pediatrician, whom I love, wanted you to have an ultrasound for good measure.

The results were inconclusive and so more tests were ordered and a visit with a urologist was scheduled.

The urologist ordered a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG), a technique for watching a person's urethra and urinary bladder while the person urinates (voids). The technique consists of catheterizing the person, in this case little you, in order to fill the bladder with a contrast liquid. Under fluoroscopy (real time x-rays) the radiologist watches the contrast enter the bladder and looks at the anatomy of the patient. If the contrast moves into the ureters and back into the kidneys, the radiologist makes the diagnosis of vesicoureteral reflux, and gives the degree of severity a score. The exam ends when the person pees (voids) on the table while the radiologist is watching under fluoroscopy. Long story short, you did exactly what you were suppose to and your kidneys appear to be completely fine. We will have a follow-up visit with the urologist in six months.

Now on to the point of my post...

We had to go to Rady Children's Hospital for each of these different appointments, one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country according to Parents magazine and it occurred to me while we were there how lucky your dad and I are to have such a healthy baby.

While in the radiology waiting room, I saw young cancer patients and children walking around in the hallways with what appeared to be oxygen tanks, IVs and other tubes sticking out of their arms and it broke my heart.

I had been bitching about having to take you to these appointments because I felt like they were completely unnecessary. You have none of the signs of kidney failure, but at the end of the day, it is my job as your parent to protect you and make you safe, no matter what, as long as it is within my power to do so and if that means having a few simple tests run, then so be. In other words, it's always better to be safe than sorry and I had absolutely no reason to complain. These were minor tests in the grand scheme of things and although I think I cried more than you did when they inserted the catheter, I realized how blessed we are with good health.

I don't know what the prognosis is for those children I saw at the hospital, but I wish them a speedy recovery and their parents all the strength in the world.

The best is yet to be and let's hope we all stay well.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In Denial

I'm in denial. Although our pediatrician told me not to start feeding you solid food until you were six months old, I think you might be ready now. I read in my baby development books over the weekend that babies can start solids between four and six months, which is exactly where we're at. There are other signs too, such as: the fact that you can hold up your head, you have outgrown the tongue-thrust reflex and you show great interest in what's on my plate.

I also read that a five month old should be introduced to the sippy cup! I'm freaking out. I am not ready for you to be drinking out of a cup, let alone eat real food. We don't even have a high chair yet!

Choosing the perfect high chair aside, there are other decisions to make and things to consider when starting solids, like; should I be making my own baby food and how exactly does one do that or if I don't, which store brand is best? How do I know when it is safe to move on to a new menu item? What if you are allergic to something? Does solid food mean solid poops, and don't get me started on the messes and dishes that come with it all or the logistics of traveling with baby food. Ugh!

I am excited for you to eat, I really am, but honestly a part of me wishes that you could just stay five months old and that I could feed you from a bottle forever. I know that is more than slightly unrealistic and as your dad said, we need to relish these changes and your growth. He's right and I suppose I could try, but I'm going to need to take baby steps. Two days ago, I bought a box of organic baby cereal and it is still sitting unopened on our kitchen counter...stay tuned.

The best is yet to be.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Babyrazzi

I am a such a sucker for celebrity news and gossip, People and Us Weekly magazines and if your dad isn't around, I watch Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight. I especially love seeing the offspring of my favorite stars and watching as celebrity moms get back into pre-baby shape in what seems like the blink of the eye. I like to see how they are dressing their tots and what stroller they are pushing them around in (not that I could ever afford baby couture!) and most of all, what they will name their little bundles of joy.

My favorite celebrity moms are Jennifer Garner (Violet and Seraphnia), Jennie Garth (Luca, Lola, and Fiona), Gwen Stefani (Kingston and Zuma), Sarah Jessica Parker (James Wilkie, twins Loretta and Tabitha), Julia Roberts (twins Hazel, Phinnaeus and Henry), Victoria Beckham (Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz) and of course, Bradgelina (Maddox, Zahara, Pax, Shiloh, twins Knox and Vivienne).

I do feel bad for the celeb who is trying to enjoy an afternoon in the park with their toddler as the paparazzi swarms around them determined to capture a tabloid-worthy photo. They are just people and just because we know their names doesn't mean we know them.

I think it's really wonderful, on the other hand, when celebrities use their notoriety to bring more awareness to certain topics, particularly when the topic is children.

For example, I have an immense amount of respect for Ricki Lake and was heavily influenced by the documentary she and her friend Abby Epstein produced called The Business of Being Born and I read their book, Your Best Birth when I was pregnant. Both were extremely informative, empowering and I believe should be viewed and read by every expecting mother as she chooses what kind of birth she wants.

I love that former Playboy playmate Jenny McCarthy is an activist promoting scientifically unsupported claims that vaccines cause autism and that chelation therapy is effective against autism. As spokesperson for Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), she participates in fundraisers, online chats, and other activities for the non-profit organization to help families affected by autism disorders. Her Belly Laughs and Baby Laughs are also the closet books that I've read that tell it like it really is to be pregnant and a new mom.

Another celebrity mom I admire is Brooke Shields, not only because I think she is beautiful and talented, but I respect her for sharing her own personal experience with postpartum depression in her book, Down Came the Rain. Postpartum depression is a very serious condition and I applaud her for putting a very real face (and name) to it.

Love 'em or hate 'em, celebrities and the tabloids they appear in seem to be here to stay and they will continue to have babies so I'll continue to be entertained and sometimes informed.

The best is yet to be.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Last Will And Testament

No one likes to talk about death, but it's inevitable. It is going to happen, it's just a matter of when. People aren't comfortable with the notion of not being here and it's very strange thinking about and especially talking out loud about your own mortality and what your wishes are after you are gone, but it is completely necessary.

I am so thankful that my parents had the forethought to create a Will and although it was very dated, it served as a helpful road map to my sister and I as we settled their estate.

Your dad and I are in the process of creating a Living Trust should something happen to either or both of us and while you and I were in the Bay Area last week, I met with our attorney. He had me hand write my Last Will and Testament, which immediately protects you and names your guardian. It was a totally surreal exercise, but I know more than most, how life can turn on a dime, so I feel an enormous sense of comfort just knowing that this piece of paper now exists.

I urge my small audience here to encourage their parents, if still living to face the difficult task of developing a their Wills and also to start thinking about their own desires. Better late than never, as they say and I believe that this legal declaration is one of the most important ones we have to make.

The best is yet to be.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk

A year ago next weekend, your aunt Leah and I participated in the San Diego Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I was 12 weeks pregnant with you and had to get special permission from my doctor to participate.

The Breast Cancer 3-Day is an amazing 60-mile journey that helps mothers, sisters, spouses and friends get one step closer to a world without breast cancer. It is three very inspirational, very grueling, very powerful days and it was my pleasure to be a part of it.

Together, Leah and I raised over $5000 and were two among almost 4000 walkers (597 were men!). The money we raised helped to save lives.

I had walked in the event previously in 2001, so I had a a pretty good idea of what to expect...muscle aches and pains, blisters between your toes, long lines for the showers that were in trucks?!, cold nights on the hard ground in bright pink tents as far as your eye could see, entire neighborhoods urging you to take one more step by clapping and providing entertainment and snacks as you walked by and lots of heartfelt emotion.

Nothing could compare though to walking with my sister. She had every ailment in the book; from blisters and sore muscles to a strange rash all over her feet and ankles and the wrong size sports bra, but she never let any of it get her down and all the while making me laugh mile after mile after mile. It was one of the best weekends we have spent together.

This weekend, Leah is serving as a volunteer crew member in the Phoenix 3-Day Walk and I am very proud of her. We were both so motivated by the cheering and enthusiastic staff along the route as walkers, that I know having gone through it, she'll be great being on the other side. I can't wait to hear about her experience. Way to go, Leah!

The best is yet to be and I'm thankful that I still don't know anyone that has had breast cancer!

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The Art of Marraige

Although we just got home from four days in the Bay Area where we were visiting your grandparents, we are off tonight to Arizona to attend a wedding. You are already a jet setter and you aren't even six months old yet! I appreciate how good you have been with all of the traveling and new faces.

My dear friend Karin has asked me to read the following at her wedding tomorrow. I am honored and thankful for the reminder of what marriage is and isn't.

When you enter into marriage, you enter into life’s most important relationship. It is a gift given to bring comfort when there is sorrow, peace when there is unrest, laughter when there is happiness, and love when it is shared.

A successful marriage is not something that just happens. It takes work, it takes understanding, and it takes time. Most importantly, it takes a commitment from both of you – a commitment to do whatever it takes to make your relationship thrive and not just simply survive. A good marriage must be nurtured. Listen to these “words of wisdom” on how to create a successful marriage from a little book entitled The Art of Marriage by Wilferd A. Peterson:

The little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say I love you at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all ages.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives; it is facing the world together.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have wings of an angel.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding, and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is the common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing of a relationship in which independence is equal, the dependence is mutual, and the obligation is reciprocal.
And finally, it is not only marrying the right person, it is being the right person.


The best is yet to be and I promise that we will lay low all next week.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sweet Dreams

You're a pretty good sleeper, in that once you get tired and have had your last bottle for the day, we can lay you in your crib wide awake or slightly drowsy and you will gently fall asleep on your own. You've been able to do this since before you were moved into your own room at 12 weeks. It's a gift and I know how lucky we are to have it.

I'm not sure why you aren't yet sleeping through the night, but I'm not too worried about it. We get close and then could the fact that I up and take you out of town and out of your comfortable crib and familiar home and thrust you into a new environment have anything to do with it? It's during these trips that you revert back to waking up every two to three hours. You don't always need to eat when you wake up, but you definitely stir and need comforting. Or, could it be that you aren't eating enough during the day and it's time to start solid foods? Ugh! See yesterday's post Got Milk? Whatever the case, I know that you'll do it on your time and that works for me.

Every night, without fail I have peeked in on you at least once. Sometimes, I want to make sure you are still breathing. Sometimes, I want to cover you up so you don't get cold. Sometimes, most times, I just want one last look at you before I turn in myself. Your room is quiet, dark and smells like you and the sound and sight of you sleeping warms my heart every single time.

I hope you are having sweet dreams of your mommy and daddy's smiling faces, warm sunny days and a world of endless possibilities.

The best is yet to be.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grandparents

My mother, your grandmother would have been 60 years young today. I'm sorry she didn't live long enough to meet you. She would have been head over heels for you and an amazing grandmother. I find comfort in knowing that she and my dad are watching over us from wherever their spirits may be acting as our guardian angels. Every time I look at you, I see them and I hope you are are able to feel their spirit too. Rest In Peace, Mommy.

This week, we are in the Bay Area visiting your daddy's parents and they give you enough love for four grandparents and then some! They are wonderful to you and you have definitely added an extra twinkle in their eyes. With that in mind, here are some quotes about the beauty, love and importance of grandparents:

"Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting." - Author Unknown

"What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies." - Rudolph Giuliani

"There's no place like home except Grandma's." - Author Unknown

"Grandchildren don't stay young forever, which is good because Pop-pops have only so many horsey rides in them." - Gene Perret

"Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete." - Marcy DeMaree

"Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation." - Lois Wyse

"It is as grandmothers that our mothers come into the fullness of their grace." - Christopher Morley

"Sometimes our grandmas and grandpas are like grand-angels." - Lexie Saige

"To become a grandparent is to enjoy one of the few pleasures in life for which the consequences have already been paid." - Robert Braul

"If becoming a grandmother was only a matter of choice, I should advise every one of you straight away to become one. There is no fun for old people like it!" - Hannah Whithall Smith

"It's such a grand thing to be a mother of a mother - that's why the world calls her grandmother." - Author Unknown

"A mother becomes a true grandmother the day she stops noticing the terrible things her children do because she is so enchanted with the wonderful things her grandchildren do." - Lois Wyse

"Grandparents are there to help the child get into mischief they haven't thought of yet." - Gene Perret

"If your baby is "beautiful and perfect, never cries or fusses, sleeps on schedule and burps on demand, an angel all the time," you're the grandma." - Teresa Bloomingdale

"Grandparents are similar to a piece of string - handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of their grandchildren." - Author Unknown

"What is it about grandparents that is so lovely? I'd like to say that grandparents are God's gifts to children. And if they can but see, hear and feel what these people have to give, they can mature at a fast rate." - Bill Cosby

"You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was." - Irish Saying

"A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance." - Author Unknown

"No cowboy was ever faster on the draw than a grandparent pulling a baby picture out of a wallet." - Author Unknown

My personal favorite:

"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children." - Alex Haley

The best is yet to be.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Got Milk?

I have always enjoyed drinking a nice tall glass of ice cold milk, but lately I feel like my life has been consumed by the stuff! I spend an inordinate amount of my day dealing with milk or more appropriately, formula. Formula is nasty! It is sticky, stinky and gross, but boy, does my baby love it.

Several times a day, I scoop powder out of a purple canister that has become a permanent fixture on our kitchen counter to make bottles of milk. I make three eight oz. bottles at a time, chill them and then feed them to you almost every three and a half to four hours. While feeding, I dab milk off your chin and try to catch it before it rolls into the tiny cracks and crevasses of your neck. Talk about stinky and gross. I wipe milk residue off my shoulders, sleeves, toes (!), couch and even floor. It's true what they say about not having anything nice anymore once you have a child....spit up, drool and your basic baby muck get everywhere! I shutter at the thought of the Cheerios stage and nearly break out in hives thinking about chicken tenders, bananas, and macaroni and cheese ground up into our carpets. I know it'll happen sooner rather than later.

I also spend an obscene amount of time washing bottles in scalding hot water. So much so that I can't even wear my wedding or engagement rings because my ring finger is so irritated by all the water.

Does having teeth now mean I have to start feeding my baby real food? I'm clearly over the milk stage, but not quite ready to start solids. I honestly don't think I can handle the mess yet.

The best is yet to be? Hmmm...as long as I've got my Dyson and a can of carpet and upholstery cleaner on hand.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Day You Were Born

I have been working on this post since I first started this blog and it has been edited and reedited so many times that I just need to hit "PUBLISH"!

You were born on Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 1:18 am.

On Friday, June 5, I was almost 39 weeks pregnant and eight days from your due date. The day was like many days of my pregnancy; I met my friend Rachel and her then eight month old, Lilee for a walk and lunch. We walked 3+ miles up and down Swami’s Beach in Encinitas and for much of the way I pushed Lilee in her BOB stroller. It was one of the last pieces of baby gear that your dad and I were researching and I wanted to give it a test drive. I got very winded pushing it up the ramp at the Cardiff Camp Ground, but other than that, I felt great! And as you know, fell in love with the stroller.

After walking for almost an hour, we had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Luxus 101 Bistro, where I had the same thing I always have there: a grilled chicken sandwich with sliced apples, Havarti cheese and tomatoes. It was a good visit and a yummy lunch. I even managed, despite my swollen belly to hold Lilee for a while. She is an adorable baby with a smile that lights up a room. I remember thinking how much I had been enjoying getting to know her and her mom and had appreciated all of the new mommy advice she had been giving me.

After lunch, I went home, checked my e-mail and Facebook page and changed my “status” from “walking on the beach” to: “I’m ready!”. It’s ironic now to think that in some way I was putting it out there into the universe that I was ready to have you. I had not felt that way until that week.

The day before, I had a routine doctor’s appointment (NST fetal heart monitoring and an ultrasound) and you were weighting in at roughly seven pounds, six ounces, you were facing down, assuming the position. Typically after my doctor’s visits, I ran errands; usually to Babies R Us to return, exchange, or check out products. But after Thursday's appointment, I didn’t have anything I necessarily needed to do. All of your furniture had arrived and been put together, your room was completed, clothes were washed and put away, we had attended all of the classes, had a short list of our top five favorite names, the car seat was installed and my hospital bag was more or less packed. We were ready for you! The last thing on my "Before Baby To Do List" was to discuss my birth plan with our doula*. I had sent it to her earlier in the week, but had yet to review it with her. We had been playing phone tag all day trying to schedule a time to get together so that we could also meet our back up doula, in the event that she would be unavailable on the big day.

Back to June 5…

After playing on the computer for a while, I showered and got ready for a “date night” with your dad, I started to feel stronger than usual Braxton Hicks contractions but didn’t really think anything of them, after all I was almost a week away from my due date and I had pushed the stroller up that big hill. Maybe I had overdone it that day, I thought.

That night, we were going to another one of my favorite restaurants in Encinitas, Via Italia, which not only serves wonderful Italian food, it also holds very significant meaning to us. It is the restaurant that catered our August, 2007 wedding and it was also the location where I told your dad we were pregnant. We hadn’t been back since that night!

On the way to dinner, I declared that I was going to have a glass of wine and I enjoyed every sip of it through our appetizer, salad, main course and dessert. Our conversation was light and although I can't remember any specifics now, I know we talked about you and your impending arrival. Your due date was so close, that we talked about you a lot! All the while, I was having contractions and thinking nothing of them. I mentioned them to your dad, but in a very off handed way.

During dinner, my doula returned my phone call and so on the way home I called her back and actually reached her...finally! I told her about my evening and what I was feeling. She said to have a big meal (done!) and go to bed, that it sounded like I might need my rest, but that chances were slim that anything would happen until the morning. Boy, was she wrong!

Before going home, we stopped in to say hello to our neighbors. At this point it is about 9:15. They had just had their second child two weeks earlier and we thought they might be able to offer some insight into what I was feeling. While sitting in their bedroom, as they were all snuggled in for a movie, I had to get up and leave the room a couple of times because the contractions were starting to get the best of me, if that's even what they were. At this point I still didn't know for sure. All of a sudden all I wanted to do was go home, get into jammies and into bed.

Once we got home, a mere 30 steps away, my stomach was cramping up and I felt sick and sore all over and I could not get comfortable to save my life. The contractions were just way too strong and too painful and I wasn't able to get any kind of rest in between them, they were coming so fast. All the breathing techniques that we had learned in our child birthing class went right out the window!

What was your dad doing during all of this, you ask.... well, let's see; he was running around our room sort of packing his stuff for the hospital and maybe sorting laundry. All I know is that he kept turning on lights and moving around too much. I just wanted dark, stillness and to not feel like my insides were being turned out. Maybe he was freaking out in his own way, but I only remember being annoyed with him, although there were no expletives...yet.

He did call Leah to tell her that she should plan on driving out in the morning, that she should get a good night's rest and that she'd probably have a nephew some time the next day. He also called the doula to see if she should come over and was told that she was off at 10:00. This was the first we had she had "hours" and needless to say, we were very disappointed. We talked to her a couple more times that night and she coached me through one bout of painful contractions, but other than that, our doula experience wasn't what we had hoped for in the least bit. Oh well, live and learn, right? I am thankful that she was the one that ultimately decided it was time for me to get to the hospital and I have a feeling if she hadn't told us, you may have been born at home without a professional in sight.

The short 15 mile car ride to the hospital was excruciating for me and I will spare you the details, but as you can imagine, there was a lot of screaming and yelling of four letter words. Luckily, it was after 11:00 at this point, so there was zero traffic. Once we arrived, I was still in a lot of pain and believe it or not, still somewhat in denial that I was actually in labor. I was relived that we had made it and as my eyes rolled back in my head, I knew I was now in good hands.

Once I was admitted and on a delivery table, everything happened so fast. I was checked, heard I was 8 centimeters dilated, my water broke and I was ready to push. The only word that describes the next 90 minutes is primal. I was destroying a wet wash cloth with one hand and gripping the headboard behind me so hard that my arms hurt for days afterward. I kept hearing "one more push", "one more push" and it was way, way, WAY more than one more push. I don't know how long I pushed, I just know that you decided to make your entrance at 1:18 AM and I was never happier. I have never experienced relief like that before and it rushed over my entire body. Finally, the pain and pushing had stopped and you were here and suddenly, in a split second, I had become a mother. In that moment I experienced for the first time the love that only a parent can feel for a child, a love that has remained in my heart ever since. I loved you before you were born, but not like this.

My goal had been to deliver vaginally and without any drugs and that's what I did. The steps it took to get to that moment were not part of my plan, but I was okay with that. I had wanted a doula to coach your dad and I through labor and delivery calmly and lovingly and instead it happened fast and furiously, but I was okay with that too. The hospital staff was amazing and you were just perfect.

I held you in my arms the entire rest of the night and you and I watched the sun come up together from the dinky little window in our room. It was truly magical and I knew that the best was yet to be.

*A doula is an assistant who provides various forms of non-medical and non-midwifery support (physical and emotional) in the childbirth process. The word doula comes from Ancient Greek δούλη (doulē), and refers to a woman of service.

Incidentally, the doula we hired had her back up meet us at the hospital and she was very helpful, but not what we had hoped for.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Five Months Old

Today you are five months old, which also translates to 152 days or roughly 3680 hours. We have been keeping track. Since just seconds after you were born, your dad started the stop watch feature on his iPhone and it has been counting the minutes of your life ever since.

You are growing and changing every day and starting to become your own person. Here are some of this month's highlights:
  • You can almost roll over and sit up on your own.
  • Your first two teeth are visible...pizza, here we come!
  • You definitely recognize your bottle, can hold it by yourself and it won't be long before you are strong enough to feed yourself with it.
  • You still hate the car seat, or anything that restrains you.
  • You "talk" and "sing" to us all the time and one could swear you are trying to hold a conversation with us.
  • You are able to play on your own for several minutes at a time.
  • You have slept through the entire night just one time, but waking up just once...or twice.
  • You visited your first state (Arizona) by going on your first round trip road trip to get there and you were a trouper, but I felt very guilty for putting you through that.
  • You are a great yoga partner at our weekly Mommy & Me yoga class.
  • You are still super in loud restaurants and with new people, in fact you seem to love chaos and noise, but also really appreciate our one-on-one quiet time together.
  • You had your first sleep over at your friend Jackson's house (whose mommy is a good friend of mine, so I was there too).
  • Your hair has started to grow back and it's either brown or blond depending on how the sun hits it.
  • You love to play with your feet, although I think you are only aware of your right one so far. :)
  • You are finally enjoying playing in your exersaucer (in small doses).
  • At least once a week, you accompany your dad to Pannikin Coffee & Tea so I can sleep in. It is your special time together.
  • You have met three of your great aunts and one great uncle.
  • Since you born, I have pushed you almost 240 miles in your BOB stroller on our daily walks.
  • You celebrated your first Halloween as an adorable little monkey.
  • Your eyes are still blue. :)
You have changed my entire world and I fall more in love with you every day. I can't wait to see what the next month has in store for us.

The best is yet to be.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Google Me This

I was almost 12 the first time I ever used a computer and 30 before I owned one. Your cousin was just 5 when she got her first iPod. Is that a sign of the times or what? Technology is moving at the speed of light and there is no doubt that you will be way more tech-savvy than your dad or I am.

These days, people are connected in so many ways...simultaneously. We can text, instant message, e-mail, interact on a number of different social networking sites such as; Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and yes, we can even blog. :)

According to a recent article in Parenting magazine, How Technology Changes the Way Kids Communicate, 61% of virtual-world visitors are between the ages of 3 and 11, and 22% of kids ages 6 to 9 already have their own cell phone. In a study in the journal Pediatrics, 58% of kids 10 to 15 listed a form of communication as the major reason to go online. As a new mother, these statistics are disconcerting. Has the art of the handwritten letter, a good long chat on the phone and looking people in the eye when we communicate with them all but vanished?

I'll be the first to admit that I dislike talking on the phone and I spend way too much time on the World Wide Web, not to mention this blog and it's easier for me to send a quick text or e-mail than pick up the phone. On the other hand, I am very grateful that I have been able to get reacquainted with long lost friends that I never would have, were it not for Facebook. At the same time, no one enjoys face-to-face interaction more than I do or brightening up someone's mailbox with a greeting card. For me the online methods of communication have become extensions of my relationships and it's because of this technology that they are better.

As you become more intrigued by the lure of the computer screen glow, don't think that we are going to lose you to your room for hours on end as you IM with your friends. There will be limits placed on your computer time to allow for some good old fashioned outdoor time. I'm talking about skinned knees, dirt under your nails, frogs in your pockets and grass stains. Also, you will never, I repeat NEVER, be allowed to text while at the dinner table or bring your iPod out with us to a restaurant. There are times to unplug and during these times, I hope you will actually want to talk to your dad and I about your day, your hopes, dreams, fears and online buddies.

The best is yet to be.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Token Of Love And Friendship

Today I received a very sweet gift from one of my oldest and dearest friends, Sophie; two Kimmidolls. I had never seen them before and they are just too adorable! Each come with a lovely message of love and friendship.

I am now the proud owner of Tomomi, 'Friend' (seen at right) who came with this message:
My spirit is positive and supportive.
In your relationships you reveal my spirit by supporting, encouraging and caring.
By always believing in the best in others and wishing them well, you show the spirit of a friend.


and Akemi, 'Bright and Beautiful':
My spirit shines and adorns.
Live my spirit. Let the beauty of your personality shine, to brighten and adorn the world. Celebrate your unique spirit and share its light and beauty with all.


Sophie and I met in The Gambia, West Africa in 1985 and together we caused several of the gray hairs atop our parents heads. We were partners in crime literally and figuratively and almost inseparable for almost three years. I miss Sophie as much today as I did when I moved away from The Gambia and wish that there weren't so many miles between us (she and her family now live in New Caledonia). I haven't seen her since 2000, when she and her then boyfriend, now husband met me in Paris for what to this day is still one of my most memorable weekends.

Sophie and I have a beautiful friendship despite the distance between us and I love her dearly. I know in my heart that I will see her again, meet her darling daughters and introduce her to you.

Friendship is such a beautiful gift to give and receive. Thank you, Sophie! xoxo

The best is yet to be.

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Enjoying This Moment

A simple thought for today...nothing more and nothing less:


The best is yet to be.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name

It will be a wonder if you ever learn your name. Right now, we call you everything but Lucas. You are Buddy, Boo Boo, LP, Little Piggy, Stinkapotamus, Stinky, Sneaker, Monkey, Peanut, Pumpkin, Crazy--often coupled with Larry for some strange reason, Giggle Box, Lovey, Doodles, Pikachu, etc., etc., etc.

Your dad and I agreed on your middle name as soon as we found out you were going to be a boy, but we really struggled with your first name. There's a lot of pressure surrounding the naming of a child. We wanted a name that was solid, strong and couldn't easily be forgotten or shortened, although, you are certain to be called Luc or Luke. There's also the celebrity factor element...the more unique one can be with their child's name, the better. We didn't feel the need to be unique (Kristofer), cute (Brooklyn) or bizarre (Pop Rock). And then there's the fact that every one has an association (opinion) with names and it's not always a good one. We agreed that we would not reveal your name until you were born. We had a short list of three or four names that we both liked, but it wasn't until we met you did we decide on Lucas. In fact, you went several hours before we named you. You were Lucas from minute one, but we wanted to be sure.

I have never met a Lucas and I think it's an awesome name. I have sworn to secrecy where I came up with it. There are actually two stories; one that we share and one we do not. I promise to tell you offline the secret one. :) The story we do share is pretty cool in and of itself; you are named after the place where your dad and I met in April, 2003: Cabo San Lucas. More on that trip in a later post.

According to one Web site, Lucas is Greek and means a man from Lucania, an ancient region of southern Italy. According to another site, Lucas is Latin and means bringer of light. I like that definition.

Your middle is Michael and you are named after your grandfather, my father. Michael, incidentally is Hebrew and is an extended form of Micha, meaning who is like God. Michael is the name of several characters in the Old Testament. It is most famously that of one of the archangels, the one closest to God, who has the responsibility of carrying out God's judgements. Michael is regarded as the leader of the heavenly host and is the patron saint of soldiers.

The best is yet to be.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Guest Post

Your aunt Leah was one of the first people that I told I was blogging and she has become a faithful reader and commenter (!). My posts have spawned several in depth conversations between us and have brought us closer.

I have asked her if she would like to be a guest poster from time to time and here is her first message to you:

November 2, 2009

Dear Lucas,

Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time with you and your mom. I went to visit you guys in San Diego a couple weeks ago and just got home from meeting you two in Tucson. Since you were born, almost five short months ago, I try to come visit at least once a month. These visits usually land on a holiday of some kind or another event. I came to San Diego last week because Thursday, October 15 marked the 2 year anniversary since your mom’s and my parents passed away. We would like to always be together on this day. I am sure by now, you have heard all about your Grandma and Grandpa Adams .

Your Grandma and Grandpa loved children and loved making them laugh. They would have surely enjoyed making you giggle! They were very loving people and whenever I was with them, I felt love. It’s hard to explain but I really did feel that way when I was around them. Your grandparents also loved hugging and kissing. They were incredible parents and would have had a lot of love to give you. I am deeply sorry that you missed out on meeting them but I hope through our stories you will grow to know them and love them just the same. They would have been so proud of your mom. They were very excited to see her as a mother.

Nothing can describe how happy I feel to be able to spend all this time with you two. You make me very happy and have the unique power to instantly cheer me up! I swear its true! I seem to have the fun ability to make you smile with my goofy voices and my facial expressions. I am thankful to you that whenever I am feeling sad I look at a picture of you and I’m reminded of how much love there is now in our family.

Well, until my next blog, Lucas, all my love! I am sure that I’ll be seeing you very soon!

Love,

Your aunt, Leah

Thanks for being my first guest poster, Leah and for your kind words.

Until next time, the best is yet to be.

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