The Difference of A Year

It's funny. I'm still wearing the same size pants, and my hair is the same color and length. I've added no new words to my vocabulary and haven't learned a single new skill (unless you count wrangling a toddler AND a newborn).  My attitude hasn't deviated much. 

Unlike HERS which has gone from complete sweetness to a mixture of sugary, spicy sassiness. She's grown. She's no longer a baby. She was in a size 12-18 months at the start of the year, and she's now wearing a size 3T. Her hair has grown from the uneven baby 'do to a cute bob that can be worn in pigtails. Her vocabulary is in turbo-charge mode. She speaks complete thoughts and sentences, and she's continusouly amazing us with what a littler PERSON she's developing into. 

The biggest change? She's now a big sister!

And this little peanut... At the start of the year, we didn't even know about him yet! Each month he grew bigger, and in late August, he entered this world, and our lives were forever changed. He's now 4 months-old and quickly approaching 14 pounds. He coos and smiles and laughs and melts my heart a gazillion times a day. He's absolutely perfect. If, on last New Year's Eve, you would have told me I'd have a son the following year, I would have laughed. I never imagined this, I never could have. But now, I can't imagine it any other way. What a difference a year makes. Indeed.


Merry Christmas from Heaven

This year marks the 11th Christmas without my dad. The holidays have gotten easier each year since he's passed, but those first several years were hard. 

On this Christmas Eve, I'm thinking of him especially, wondering what it would be like if he was here. I'd like to think that he would have had a full-grown gray beard like he always had this time of year (the better to shield his face from the brutal bone-chilling winds of duck hunting season), and I'm sure he would have lost a bit more of his hair and could have been balding on the top (more so than 10 years ago!). 

I'm quite positive that Miss Greta would surely give him a run for his money and wear him out with her constant playfulness, just enough so he'd get cozy on the couch and fall asleep while snuggling with his grandson Teddy. He'd be snoring so loudly that he'd often wake himself up, just like he did every other Christmas Eve.

Sometimes it's those simple little things you miss the most.


When my dad died, our neighbors gave us a poem, and each year, I display it on my mantle. Here's how it goes:

Merry Christmas from Heaven
By: John Mooney, Jr.

I still hear the songs
I still see the lights
I still feel your love
On cold winter nights

I still share your hopes
and all of your cares
I'll even remind you 
to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you
you still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders
above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment
to stay in his grace
I come here before you
to help set your place

You dont have to be
perfect all the time
he forgives you the slip
if you continue to climb

To my family and friends
please be thankful today
I'm still close beside you
in a new special way

I love you all dearly
now don't shed a tear
cause i'm spending my
Christmas with Jesus this year.


Just several months ago, we lost a sweet friend, Molly McBride. On this Christmas Eve I reminisce about my dad, but I also can't help but think of Molly and of her little girls, her family and dear friends. And I hate that here are no words that will ever comfort or explain or define -- there's no poem that will ever mend their hurting hearts. I pray for them, that they can find strength to get through. Unfortunately, it's so easier said than done.


Ho Ho Ho

Last week we went to visit Santa.
Greta was skeptical. Teddy was indifferent.
Considering last year's experience with Santa Claus,
I'd call this year's a success.

One day, I'll blog again. Maybe.
It's been an emotional past few months,
and, truth be told, when I do have spare time,
and that is far from frequent,
I'd rather catch a quick catnap instead of write. 
Lately, I've felt like I've had a lot to say. 
So maybe I'll write soon.
If not, and even if so, Merry Christmas.
Hug your loved ones extra tight this year.
I will.


Something Recent

Since becoming pregnant (almost a year ago), I haven't had much interest in scrapbooking. Well, let me rephrase that -- it's not that I'm completely uninterested while pregnant; it's moreso that I'm not in the mood to tote around my scrappy stuff while cranky, hormonal and ever-growing. I just don't feel very creative when pregnant.

The other night, I mustered up the courage to produce something for submission for consideration as a design team member. Here's one of the layouts I came up with. It's nothing fancy, but I wanted to do something simple and quick.

I've got so many photos of this little guy, so I'm really hoping I get back in the creative groove soon so that I can start telling his story while it's still fresh in my mind.


Baby Smiles

Laughs and coos.
Melts my heart.
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Life with Two



Teddy had his follow-up MRI today.
We hope to meet with the neurologist in the morning
to discuss where to go from here.

I've never been a patient person.
Like most people in our culture,
I want things NOW. Instant gratification. Bam.
This experience is teaching me the importance of patience.
Like it or not.
I'm trying to learn to embrace the quiet moments of waiting
where there's nothing else to do but try your best to trust.
I'm trying.


The Progression of A Day

Earlier this afternoon, Teddy had an EEG test.
The EEG measures brain activity
to see if Teddy's having seizures.

Lots of wires involved, so it might look scary, but it's not as bad as it looks.

With only ten minutes of the test remaining,
Teddy decided to pull out his ventilator tube.
And he breathed on his own and did fine.

But just to be safe, they put him on a CPAP machine.

He wasn't quite sure what to think of having a binky in his mouth,
especially after having a tube in his mouth and down his throat.

It was so good to see his cute little mouth again!

Lab results showed that his blood oxygen levels are good.
So they stopped the CPAP machine altogether.
And now he is breathing on his own
with just a little supplemental oxygen.
We are elated.

And by the looks of it,
so is he.


Holding Tight

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. " Jeremiah 29:11


Sick Baby Boy

Late last night Teddy started to show signs that he didn't feel well. He refused to nurse, and he wimpered while he slept. When awake, he arched his back, furrowed his brow and grimaced in pain. In the early morning, after 3-4 missed feedings and inconsolable fussiness, I decided to call the pediatrician to get an appointment first thing. Our doctor sent us to the emergency room for tests and monitoring. Blood work and x-rays were ran, and Teddy had a lumbar puncture. The initial results of the lumbar puncture were inconclusive, and we're currently waiting for the results, which should come back in 48 hours.

While in the ER, Teddy also began to have issues breathing. This complication, in addition to his other symptoms, caused concern, and the next thing we knew, Teddy was being admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit @ St. John's, where he's being closely monitored.

Right now, doctors think it's some sort of viral infection. Until a more definite diagnosis can be made, Teddy is receiving multiple antibiotics to fight off whatever he has. Teddy is also currently receiving breathing support from a ventilator and feeds through a feeding tube. The goal is for these machines to do all the work so that Teddy's little body can just do what it needs to do to get better.

Since being intubated, Teddy's been resting more comfortably. No more of the crying out in pain for now.

Thank you to everyone for all your thoughts and prayers.


Just the Other Day



What we've been doing lately...
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Meeting My Son

Here he is.
The newest addition to our little family.
He's sweet.
His name is Theodor August.
We call him Teddy.
He was born on Friday, August 20, 2010.
He weighed 6 pounds and 7 ounces,
and he is 19.5 inches long.
I think he's perfect.


I wonder.

I'm having a baby this week.
This week!

I've got a scheduled c-section.
I know the date, I know the time.
I know the obvious, like
the hospital and the doctor.

I know that he is a boy.
And I know his name.

I know that sometimes he gets hiccups
and he generally is awake from 8-10 at night.
And he might just be a dancer because he likes to move his butt.

There's so much I don't know.
And the surprise of that is invigorating!
I wonder.
Will he have blue eyes like Greta?
Will his hair be red?
Will he have hair?
How long will he be?
How much will he weigh?
Will he look like his daddy at all? (Greta didn't!)
Will his fingers be long?
Will his second toe be longer than the big one?
(It appeared to be during on of the ultrasounds!)

I can't wait to hear him cry
and to hold him
and to fall in love all over again.


Remind me...

to never have unprotected sex in November, December or January. The hot, sweltering Midwest summer to follow is sure to be miserable. Add pregnancy hormones to that mix, and I'm like Mentos in a bottle of Diet Coke.

to account for my 8+ month pregnant belly when running bath water. Listening to the gurgle of the overflow drain is not relaxing. And plus, it just makes me feel bad for wasting so much water.


Highlights of Late

I've slacked on taking photos lately, so I don't have many pictures to post. And since I've sent Greta to daycare and I lie on the couch most of the day and sleep, I don't have super great stories to share. Here's what I do have.

Miss Greta. The soon-to-be big sister. Each day, she does something that surprises me. We've sent her to a daycare full-time while I've rested for the past two months. Daycare sucks because it's a cess pool of germs and she constantly has a runny nose. But day care rocks because she's learning so many things that I'd never even thought of teaching her.

She sings songs. And it's the cutest thing you've ever seen. I'm standing in the kitchen the other evening, and Greta just breaks out into, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." She doesn't have the words down exactly, but she knows the tune. I sure hope she gets her daddy's talents in the singing department and not mine.

Greta calls Mimi (her grandma on Eric's side) Schatzi. And she calls her that because that's what Mimi calls Greta as a term of endearment. (Schatzi is a German phrase, meaning darling or sweetheart or treasure).

When Greta wants to be held, she says, "doo-doo, doo-doo." That means "hold you" as in "hold me." Other words in her version of vocabulary: bobby is strawberry; gog is dog; fee fee is love you. And some things she says clear as day. Like "no-no," which you just KNOW that is what she is saying because she's either shaking her head violently from side to side or she's waving her little pointer finger at you.

Greta is still addicted to her blankie, otherwise known as her KEE. We still have four of them, and I wash them ALL THE TIME. They get pretty grubby after all the toting around they get. She's recently started an obsession with her light-up sea horse, and oh-good-God some mornings it's a battle between her and her daddy. She wants to take it to daycare, and he insists on leaving it. The whining that ensues almost always wakes me up, but I don't mind. I always want to see her and give her kisses before she starts off her day and goes to "school."

Greta is in love with her daddy. Head over heels. They are buddies, it's adorable. She still comes to me for comforting, snuggling, boo-boo-kissing, but otherwise -- it's all Eric. He's more mobile than I, 8 month pregnant woman; and he likes to play and wrestle and have fun. And he teaches her the days of the week and other things like her first complete sentence, which was BUH-BYE, POO POO as she bid farewell to her poop flushing down the toliet.

Greta will point to my belly and say, "baby." And she'll kiss it. Freakin' adorable. I only worry that once I'm no longer pregnant and STILL have a pooch, that she'll still be calling that a baby. Hmmm. Maybe that'll be extra incentive to do some crunches and work on those flabby abs?

Favorite little memories of the week: Greta snuggling in bed with me one morning (which she RARELY does) and looking up at me and smiling big like GOOD MORNING, MAMA. Greta swinging and smiling HUGE as I watched her from our deck. The swing is attached to the bottom of the deck, so she'd swing under out and under and out; and each time she swung out from under the deck and saw me, she just giggled and grinned. Picking up Greta from daycare, it started pouring rain, and Greta was elated when she saw the rain. She was screaming, RAIN! WATER! RAIN! And it just made me happy that something so little made her so happy.

Ahhh... Other highlights of my week.... Wednesday marked the 34th week of my pregnancy, which was a HUGE date I'd marked on my calendar back when I was in my first trimester. I'd had Greta at 33 weeks, 6 days, and I really really really wanted to make it further with this pregnancy. And I have!!! My blood pressure was 120/76 at my last doctor appointment, and if things keep going the way they have been, I'm expected to have the baby on August 26 via c-section @ 38 weeks.

I'm obsessed with crab rangoon. Still. And now I am really craving crab legs. Not as in imitation crab meat, but as in the kind where you wear a plastic bib to protect your shirt from all the juices and hot butter. Oh, yum.

Eric. Husband who sleeps in the spare bedroom since I sleep like crap at night. (And because his snoring wakes me up). And he makes me breakfast many mornings, as well as dinner most evenings. And he rubs my feet and legs for me every night even though I know he's completely exhausted from work. We've gone to dinner two Saturday nights in a row, and I'm happy to know that we still love to chat with each other and enjoy each other's company.

But before you think I'm claiming to pretend that we're this perfect, happily married couple, let me assure you we're not. I'm cranky as heck when pregnant, and some days I think it's best that we keep our distance from another. He tries his best to get what I'm going through but some things he just won't. Like he doesn't quite get why I am TERRIFIED of another c-section, and he doesn't understand why I DVR the stupidest shows like Toddlers & Tiaras and So You Think You Can Dance. And while I completely appreciate his willingness to do the grocery shopping and other errands, he doesn't understand that I'd rather go to the grocery store myself to pick out my own bananas and strawberries and chicken salad just because that's what I like to do. He doesn't understand why I don't want to download his Pearl Jam CD onto my iTunes even though I explain to him that I'm putting RELAXING music on there for me to chill out and listen to when in the hospital. And he will never get why I get my nails done and feet pedicured when I rarely leave the house these days. I had overgrown French-manicured acrylic nails when I had Greta, and with this pregnancy, I'll admit that I have a minor obsession with keeping my nails filled and polished. He thinks it's absurd that I'd want to have my nails done "just for the doctors and nurses," and I must make sure I'm not drinking a beverage at that moment as to not instantaneously spit it all over him as in WTF. I try to explain that I get my nails done to make MYSELF feel better, that they make me feel pretty when I don't feel pretty in so many other ways. Ahhh. Some things he will never get but thank God he tries.

Like just now, he saw that I bought more guacamole from the grocery store, and he commented that he "sees that I like that guacamole, huh." And that's fine and it's cute that he notices what I like to eat, but then he insists on following it up with, "do you want to try it with a jalapeno from our garden?" And I'm all JALAPENOS were soooo TWO YEARS AGO. Ughhhh. (I ate jalapenos by the handful when I was pregnant with Greta).

He says I'm like a pregnant Napoleon Dynamite, with all my sighing of "gosh-es" and "ughhhhs." I think that's his nice way of saying YOU'RE PERSONALITY-LESS AND MEAN. Sadly, as I approach my ninth month of being cranky and tired and pregnant and anxious, I agree.


Celebrating Greta

Yesterday, wrapped up the two-week celebration of Greta's birthday. On July 6th, our little bug turned two! We started off with fireworks on the 4th of July weekend and ended with her two-year check-up with her pediatrician.

We kicked off the festivities with family. My oldest sister came in town from Chicago, along with her three children. Greta loves spending time with all her cousins -- she seems to think they were purposely put here on her solely to entertain her. They chase her and play with her and love on her, and she just eats it all up.

For the 4th, we went downtown to Eric's work to watch fireworks from his office. We all bring snacks and treats and spread out in his firm's conference room. His office building is right near the Arch, so it's a perfect view of the Fair St. Louis fireworks show. And, since we're inside, we bypass the crowded mixture of families, concert-goers, drunkards and all others who have interest in having their bodies continuously come in contact with the sweat of other strangers.
Given the circumstances of me being 8 months pregnant, etc., this year's affairs were a bit tamer than last year's. We didn't do a big party, and as much fun as that sioree was, it was fun, too, having the birthday girl mostly to ourselves. We spent the day before her birthday going to Monkey Joe's and out to lunch. This was Greta's first visit to Monkey Joe's, and she seemed to enjoy running around willy-nilly and strutting her stuff on all the bouncing apparatuses.

Afterwards, we ate at McDonald's -- as in INSIDE the restaurant, sitting at an actual table. (I couldn't remember the last time I had actually been INSIDE a McDonald's). We chose fine dining because lately, Greta loves french fries. Loves as in sometimes it is all she will eat.
The next day, she took cupcakes to her little friends at daycare, and that evening, we celebrated with family with a dinner of salad, cheesesticks, pizza, and, of course, cake and ice cream.

Because she'd had a four-hour nap that afternoon, she was in the best of moods with the exception of one tiny incident, which I cannot help but recalling again and again because I cannot help but smile when thinking of it. Greta was sitting in her high chair and was finished eating her "main dish" of cheesesticks. We figured that since she was finished eating, we would let her down and out of her chair. We figured wrong. As soon as we got her out of her chair, she ran to the counter and banged on the box where the cake had been. SHE WANTED CAKE. She is sooo my daughter.

Greta loved opening birthday gifts: one, because she's curious and wants to know what's inside the wrapped package; two, because she loves having all the family looking at her.
We wrapped up the celebration with a birthday dinner at her Mimi and Poppy's. Tradition is that Mimi makes the birthday boy/girl their favorite meal. And, since no one else wanted french fries, applesauce and yogurt tubes, we instead had yummy chicken and dumplings. And, of course, MORE CAKE.

Ahhhh, how time flies when you're having fun! Our sweet little bumpkin -- the one who once weighed 4 pounds? -- she now weighs 27 pounds and 5 ounces! And she's just an inch and a half short of three feet tall.


Belly Love

This is Greta, kissing my belly. You ask her where mama's baby is, and she insists on lifting my shirt to point to my baby bump. You ask her where her baby is, and she points to her tummy.


Two Years Ago

Happy 2nd birthday to my sweet Greta Laine!
You've come a long way, baby!


Compilation of Random Thoughts

I don't have any brilliant stories to tell or amazing life events to share. That's why I haven't written lately. I'm doing the semi-bed rest thing. Sleeping and resting lots during the day while Greta's at day care, seeing the doctor once a week. I'm 30 weeks pregnant. Blood pressure has remained steady, and Iam only three pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. Knock on wood, but I have had no swelling elephant feet yet! I had my first biophysical utrasound this week, and the baby passed with flying colors.

I'll say this now, before you waste your time reading further -- the following lacks continuity. And I'm fully aware of that. So don't read on if you're looking for something to fluidly entertain your mind. That there's my unofficial disclaimer. :-)

While lying around, playing human incubator to sweet baby boy, I've been watching A LOT of DVDs. I've reached the end of the fifth season of Grey's Anatomy. What? Your side hurts? I'm pretty sure I could diagnose any illness from appendicitis to cancer. Okay, maybe not.
Earlier in my pregnancy, I craved orange juice. Lately, I crave crab rangoon. Let me just say that I love crab rangoon so much right now that I've briefly contemplated wrapping up some cream cheesy goodness in a wonton wrapper and frying 'em up in a Fry Daddy. Now, mind you, I don't own a Fry Daddy, and I have no desire to own a Fry Daddy, so kaposh on that plan. (Thank God). Also, if I made my own crab rangoon, I'd surely miss the polite banter I have with the cute little Chinese Lemay Wok worker. God love him. He puts ONE fortune cookie in my to-go bag. Does he really think that only one person will be eating 12 crab rangoon? Well, he's right. But still...

My mother-in-law? She is amazing. Right now, I've got a sofa piled with neatly folded laundry, homemade canneloni left-overs in the fridge, and last night she helped me wrangle the resident 2 year-old wild woman. And she listens. She truly listens. To the rants and the ramblings but to the important things, too. Like when I'm sad and upset and just need an ear. Mimi, when you're 101 years old and on your death bed, I will make sure your gray hairs are covered and that your hands and toes are always well-manicured. With ANY color or design you like. I'm forever grateful for you.

Although I often claim my husband is on my recent shit list, right now he's everything but. The other morning, he served me pancakes while I soaked in the bathtub. He may not remember all my quirky wishes and wants, but he's grasped the most important: in the majority of life's situations, kindness will always win me over, especially when it involves food.

Looking forward to celebrating Greta's 2nd birthday next week. I'm trying to not beat myself up for not having a big party for her. I'd wanted to, but with my current taking-it-easy situation, it just wasn't an option. It drives me nuts that I didn't make her special handmade invitations and decorations, and I so wish I had the energy and endurance to make her a special cake iced with buttercream frosting. I ordered her gift too late and am crossing my fingers that it makes it here in time for her birthday. I'm continusously trying to remind and reassure myself that birthdays aren't defined by crepe paper streamers and bright party hats or cake and ice cream and gifts. Birthdays are about spending time with the people who love you. And THAT, I can guarantee her.

Feeling guilty for not being a better friend to my friends and for not keeping up with e-mails and phone calls but so grateful for those who are understanding and forgiving. I assure you that you haven't missed much in Andrea's world, and what you did miss -- it's all babbled about above. Be thankful you didn't have to follow THAT incohesive conversation via telephone!

Oh, yeah. One more thing. It's now July. That means I AM HAVING A BABY NEXT MONTH. Holy schnikies.



Apparently, this pregnant mama ain't the only one doing a bit of nesting... Look what's on the top of the wreath on my front door! FOUR BABY BIRDS! Ignore the poop -- aren't they gorgeous?