Thursday, December 29, 2011

Handmade Christmas

This was a fun Christmas for the Riccis.  We went to my in-laws for Christmas Eve, spent Christmas day at home with my mom and brother, and traveled to celebrate with my dad and sisters on the 26th.  McKenzie, of course, loved opening gifts, and Kaia liked to chew on wrapping paper.

This year we started a new tradition.  Santa made wooden toys for the girls to find on Christmas morning.  Mrs. Claus helped too (i.e. painting giraffe hoofs at midnight on the 23rd).  We couldn't wait to see McKenzie's reaction when she first saw them.  Unfortunately, the new giraffe and horse were overshadowed by the small bin of candy that Santa left.  Eventually, though, she noticed the wooden playthings and has since been taking donations to fill her giraffe's belly.

It's going to be really fun each year when they find a new, handmade toy under the tree.  It will be even more fun when they realize who Santa is and will be able to appreciate the thoughtfulness of each gift.  Our hope is that someday their own kids will play with these well-crafted pieces.  But that's a long way from now, our girls are never going to grow up.

In case you missed it on Facebook, here's a quick peek at our Christmas morning festivities.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Two Thirds of a Year

Today Kaia is eight-months-old.  Eight months!  Wow.  She is growing and learning everyday.  She continues to be the ever-happy baby and give the biggest, best smiles.  She can do some other new things too:
  • Crawl!  She's on the move and my life just picked up the pace a little.  As soon as she hits the ground she is off and moving to the nearest exit.  I guess the kitchen is an intriguing place to crawl around.  Maybe because she's never seen the floor in there before. 
  • Eat.  She's a great eater and loves to feed herself.  Cheerios are a favorite.  She picks each one up with her tiny fingers, bites it in half, chews it, then pops in the other half.  She learned that from me;  I like to really savor the flavor of my favorite foods.

  • Babble.  She is just as noisy as her big sister.  In addition to oohing and ahhing, she says dada, gaga, and baba and makes lots of other interesting sounds.  The other day she sounding like a honking goose.

  • Imitate.  She doesn't do this much with me, but she does with Dustin.  He will say, "dadada" and she'll repeat, or he'll stick out his tongue and she'll do it back.

  • Stand.  She is still pretty unstable, but she loves to stand holding onto someone or something.  

  • Take a bath in the big tub, sort of.  She still sits in the baby tub, but she's in the big tub with her big sister.  She splashes like crazy and would stay in there for hours if I let her.

  • Meeting Santa

    We want to get pictures of the girls with Santa every year.  This year we found a place to take them for FREE that promised and "non commercialized experience."  Sounded right up our alley.  What we weren't thinking about what how many other people wanted to go down this alley too.  We waited outside in a line for almost two hours to see the big man.  A week prior to this McKenzie had informed me that she had absolutely no intention of going anywhere near Santa.  Something like, "No wannu."  However, after hearing that her cousin, Lily, sat on his lap, she began to look forward to the opportunity.

    When we started out in line she was excited, by the time we reached Santa she was terrified.  Kaia started as a bubbling, happy baby, but by the time we reached Santa we had to wake her to sit on his lap.  She was a little dazed and confused.  We snapped a couple pictures and ended up settling for one with the girls, Santa, and Daddy.

    Maybe we'll have better luck next year.

    Sunday, December 11, 2011

    Hide and Peek

    McKenzie and I played a rousing rendition of hide and seek the other day while out enjoying the unseasonable warm weather.  Can you spot her?

    Camo Kenzie.

    This looks bad, I know.

    This one is pretty good, actually.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011


    Kaia is sitting up so well now that she's able to defend herself a little better when Big Sister attacks.

    Note: the name of the book Kenzie is trying to read is Zoe's Gift.  That's what she keeps saying.

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    Roller Baby

    Six months old and she's on the move!  Kenzie was a mover, but I don't think she got across a room as fast as Kaia.  Kaia rolls around, babbling da da da the whole way.  She is great at entertaining herself.  She has mastered the ability to push herself around with her arms and she's beginning to put her knees into it.  In a matter of weeks she is sure to be crawling.  With two on the go things are definitely getting more exciting around here.  The blanket on the floor has become more of a suggestion than a rule.

    Here are some snapshots, all taken in about a ten minute period (in this order) to show you how she's getting around.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011


    September was a busy month in the Ricci household.  Dustin's school year started, I went back to teaching a couple of nights a week, we attended three weddings and three birthday parties, Kenzie got hand-foot-mouth disease (no it doesn't come from farm animals!) and the girls reached some important milestones.  I can't believe that October is here already and a look at the calendar tells me things won't slow down around here until mid January at best.  No stress, though, because these are the things that fill our lives with so much joy.  This is the life I  dreamed of long ago and it amazes me everyday that I get to be a mom.

    She always falls to sleep with these two fingers in her mouth.
    Kaia is growing faster than I ever remember with Kenzie. She is incredibly active and noisy.  She wants to get her hands on everything, and, once in her grasp, wants to get everything into her mouth.  She is so intense when she has her eyes set on something, it's clear that she is not going to give up until she meets her goal.  She has once rolled from her back to her belly and when on her belly she can push herself up with her arms.  She drinks from a bottle now (when I'm away) and had her first taste of rice cereal last week.  She still gives the biggest and brightest smiles to anyone who pays her the slightest bit of attention.  I'm sure that she has made the day of many older ladies at the grocery store.

    McKenzie has gotten the hang of this whole potty thing.  She still wants the reward of watching Barney and Friends after each pee (and it's a must for #2), but I figure she won't always need that crutch so we're taking what we can get. If Kenzie hears the beginning of Barney she immediately begins undressing.  We just hope Barney isn't a part of pre-school; then we might have some 'splainin' to do. 
    What?  You don't have a potty in your living room.
    McKenzie also said goodbye to her beloved Binky recently.  It's been a tough couple weeks but we are really hoping that we did the right thing.  The Binky Fairy took her broken Binky.  She will fix it and give it to a little baby who needs it.  Kenzie got some gummy worms in return.  She's been trying to avoid going to bed and has a had a few nap-free days recently.  I feel like a mean mother.  Dustin and I keep reassuring each other that this is the right thing and that she'll be okay, but it doesn't make it any easier.

    Conversations with Kenzie

    McKenzie has entered the "Why" phase.  It's torturous.  Last weekend I spent a four hour drive to Maine answering various "whys" and I'm not sure I have the strength for this.  Here is one example of a conversation we had after going through a toll in New Hampshire.

    McKenzie:  Mommy, what you do?  What you do, Mommy?
    Me: I had to give the man some money.
    McKenzie: Why?
    Me: Because we have to pay to drive on this road.
    McKenzie: Why?
    Me: I don't know honey, it's the rule.  People who want to drive on this road have to give the man some money first.
    McKenzie: Why?
    Me: Honey, I don't have all the answers.
    McKenzie: Yes you do Mommy.  You do Mommy.
    Last night I was teaching a night class and Dustin and Monica (who is staying with us while she's transitioning to a new job) were sitting down to dinner.  Monica said that shortly after they sat down McKenzie ran to the other room to get her Buzz Lightyear pretend flip phone.  She put on the table and commented, "Just in case Mommy calls."
    There is no shortage of noise in our house.  McKenzie talks incessantly.  It's hard to capture on film because she usually stops what she is doing when I break out the video camera.  Yesterday I was able to catch her pretending to cook food while I sat on the couch nursing Kaia.  I am probably the only person who can understand everything she says, but you can get the idea of how verbal she is.  Note that she sits for a total of about five seconds. She's a very busy girl.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Mommy Moments

    Some of my best conversations with Kenzie take place in the car.  I sit in the driver's seat, nursing Kaia.  She sits on her potty on the passenger seat.  In that moment there's no escaping the fact that I am a mom, and I love it.

    Don't worry, we're parked while this is happening.  I ain't no Brittney.

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Conversations with Kenzie

    McKenzie: Mommy has a big neck.
    Me: A big neck?
    McKenzie: Yeah.
    Me: What about you?  Do you have a big neck?
    McKenzie (thinking): Nope.  Just Mommy.
    Nana (handing McKenzie a black-eyed susan): Here's a pretty flower.
    McKenzie (examining it): There's poop on it.
    Me: We are going to go to a museum today with Lily.  Doesn't that sound fun?
    McKenzie: Maybe big party there.
    Me: Maybe there will be a big party there?  I don't think so, honey.
    McKenzie: Maybe.  Maybe cake there.

    Monday, August 15, 2011


    Kaia is getting stronger and bigger every day.  She can hold her head up really well now and a couple weeks ago she flipped for the first time. It seems like she'll be sitting on her own in no time.  She's starting to grab onto her toys and sometimes she successfully gets them into her mouth.  She coos, squeals and recently began working her vocal chords with a loud noise that sounds like the cross between a scream and a grunt.  McKenzie does not like it when Kaia makes this new noise. She tells Kaia, "no make that noise Kaia.  No make that noise. Scary."  

    5 Happy Things

    Singing McKenzie sings.  She's not good at it (she gets that from me), but she sure does enjoy it.

    A Smiling Baby Kaia is the smiliest baby I've ever met.  With the exception of the photographer at JCPenney, she smiles for everyone.

    The Letter Y Doesn't everything sound more fun when you add a y to the end of it?  McKenzie thinks so.  She has transformed many words in her vocabulary to be  "y" words.  She wants to play in the other "roomy," stand on her special "stooly," and change her baby's "daipy."  It's pretty silly.

    Play-Doh It's impossible not to love Play-Doh.  McKenzie spends hours every week molding multiple colors of play doh into various foods and creatures (although everything she makes looks pretty much the same). Her two-year-old, uncoordinated hands have difficultly making exactly what she wants.  This, combined with her Type A personality and drive for perfection, makes creative projects somewhat frustrating.  While she likes playing with Play Doh, she much prefers telling Mommy or Daddy what to mold for her.  Dustin is always asked to make more "ballies" while I'm the designated cake maker.
    This pic is from April when warm pjs were still a necessity. 
    Fists/Thumbs/Fingers Kaia progressed quickly from sucking on her entire fist to suckling on her itty bitty thumb.  We thought she was a happy thumb-sucker but in the past couple days she has taken to sucking her middle and ring fingers.  She still doesn't want a paci and won't take a bottle, but her hands are oh so tasty.

    This is serious business.

    Friday, July 29, 2011

    Holy Crap

    Dustin and I talk about poop.  A lot.  It's one of the wonders of parenthood.  Just a few years ago I couldn't imagine bowel movements being a topic of conversation at the dinner table.  Now, with a newborn and a potty-training toddler, poop is just always on my mind.  Crazy, I know.

    McKenzie has been diaper-free (except for bedtime) for a couple weeks now and she's had just three accidents, all nap related.  Unfortunately, our once "regular" little one is now a once-every-few days little one.  There is a lot of build up (pardon the pun) to the moment when she finally goes on the potty.  On that third day, when she REALLY has to go, we spend the entire day convincing her it's time.  She knows it's time, of course, but for some reason she insists on doing everything she can think of other than going poop on the potty.  She will ask to eat something, then take one bite and run back to the potty only to declare, "no wanna go potty now."  Then she'll ask to do puzzles.  One piece in and she's running to the potty again, sitting down, and again declaring, "me no want to."  We do this for hours.  Hours!  She gets very moody and starts to act out.  Throwing things, squeezing people (her alternative to hitting), and melting down at the mention of the word "no."  Finally, usually just before bed on that third day, she will go.  We'll celebrate.  Dancing, ice cream, the works.  She goes back to being sweet, loving McKenzie. The next morning the cycle begins again. 


    I know that soon enough she'll be going to the bathroom and it won't be a production, just a pit stop.  Right now, however, I will continue to celebrate every excretion like it's a gold medal winning performance.  I'm also going to stock up on prunes.  Lots and lots of prunes.

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Video Quality

    I was getting frustrated with the poor video quality of my previous uploads.  The video looks so much better when I embed it from YouTube, but then you have to see all the advertisements after it plays.  Is there a way around this?  Does anyone know Blogger and how I can get my videos to upload with the best quality, minus the annoying ads from YouTube?

    P.S. I'm trying to personalize the blog template/background a little more...pardon the appearance (which may change a lot in the coming weeks as I figure this out). Any ideas for an updated blog name?

    Kaia's Milin'

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Kaia Busts a Move (My Moves are Busted)

    We enjoyed a perfect family vacation at Newfound Lake in NH last week. One night we all went out to see some live music in town.  The band was set up at the back of a pavilion and there were lots of kids dancing in front of the band.  Kenzie and Lily wanted to dance but were too scared.  Instead, we played on the adjacent playground for a bit.  When we tired of the playground LeighAnn and I convinced the girls to go dance.  All the other kids had left and we had the dance floor to ourselves.  Shortly after we began dancing Dustin appeared with Kaia and waved me over to him.  I ran over, assuming that Kaia must need something, and he informed me that just before we got up there to dance the band had made announcement that they didn't want anyone to dance there for fear that someone might trip over the wires to the band's equipment.  I guess all those people sitting up front weren't smiling at us because of our awesome dance moves.  Oops!

    We decided we'd better hide in the back of the crowd for the rest of the night, but that didn't stop us from getting our groove on.  Even Kaia got down.

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    A Garden is Born

    For years Dustin and I have talked about how nice it would be to have our own vegetable garden, but I've never been willing to put in the time to make it happen.  Truth be told, I have a black thumb.  I can kill a spider plant.  Seriously.  So, I knew that if I was going to try to start a garden I would have to learn all about soil, and seeds and watering and harvesting.  Frankly, I don't feel like putting in the effort.

    Dustin, on the other hand, has decided to make it happen.  He has spent the past two months planting seeds, preparing a garden plot, making a trellis and reading all about proper plant care.  I told him he should start small, since this is our first ever attempt at this.  He agreed, then quickly got carried away.  For a couple weeks every time he went out to the store he came home with a new seed packet and some more potting soil.  Once our kitchen table was filled with little seedlings he agreed to stop planting new plants and to focus on the ones he had already started.  

    He's planted cucumbers, summer squash, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, red bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, basil and parsley. As always, Dustin doesn't do anything halfheartedly .  The garden is beautiful and each plant is perfectly aligned with the next.

    Of course, he didn't do all this work alone.  He had a couple little helpers.

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Conversations with Kenzie

    McKenzie: Kaia sleepin', Kaia sleepin'.
    Me: Yes, honey, Kaia is sleeping.
    McKenzie: Mommy sleepy, Mommy sleepy.
    Me: Yup, Mommy is tired.
    McKenzie: Kenzie awake!
    McKenzie (offering a bite of her waffle): Mommy want it?
    Me: No thank you.
    McKenzie: No welcome Mommy.
    Me: Today is Father's Day. Let's draw a picture for Daddy that shows all the reasons why we love him, because today is the day to tell Daddy how much we love him.
    McKenzie (nodding): Yeah. I love you too, Mommy.
    Me: Oh, thank you honey.
    McKenzie: I love you too, Kaia.
    McKenzie (pointing): Butterfly!  Butterfly!
    Mindy: Yes, that's a moth...laying flat on the plastic.
    Mindy (to me): It's dead.
    McKenzie (matter-of-factly): Takin' a nap. Takin' a nap. 

    Saturday, May 28, 2011

    One Month Old

    Today Kaia celebrated the completion of her first month of life.  I had forgotten how fast that first month goes. She's growing bigger, a lot bigger.  We haven't had her one month checkup yet and don't have a scale in the house so we'll have to wait until next week to announce how much she weighs, but it's clear from her double (triple?) chin and the way her cheeks rest on her shoulders that she's prospering just fine.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Two Cool

    Turning two years old is a pretty big deal. In honor of McKenzie's second birthday, celebrated last week, I thought I would take a little time to brag about how awesome she is.  There are lots of things that make her awesome so this list is by no means comprehensive, but it's a start.

    McKenzie rocks because:
    She is a great communicator. She talks in 3-5 word sentences and says new words practically every day.  
    She can count to nine.  That is, "one, two, three, nine."  She may be missing some of the numbers in the middle.
    She knows nine letters of the alphabet.
           A for Adam
           B for baby, ball, binkie
           D for daddy
           G for grandpa and gramma
           J for Joshy
           K for Kona, Kaia, Kenzie
           M for mommy, McKenzie, Matt, and Monica (Munka)
           L for Lily, Leigh and Loren
           N for Nana 

    She makes an incredible play-by-play announcer for everyday activities.  If you are ever wondering what Kaia is doing, just tune in to Kenzie's running monologue: "Kaia laying there, Kaia laying there, Kaia crying, baby crying, Kaia diapy time, Kaia daipy time" etc, etc. (Yes, everything is repeated at least twice)
    She offers sound medical advice.  One morning about a month ago I told her that Mommy had a headache.  She insisted, "Mommy drink water, drink water Mommy." She also provides me with daily reminders to take my vitamins.

    She loves helping her daddy work in the yard.  He has been planting grass seed, moving piles of dirt, preparing a spot in the yard for a vegetable garden and planting tons of vegetable seeds.  Kenzie is there every step of the way and isn't afraid to get a little dirty.
    She makes people feel special.  She runs to hug her aunties and uncles when they come over, and she adores all of her grammies and grampas.  
    She is ferociously independent.  The "me do it" stage has moved to another level.  She wants to do everything herself.  For example, last night we were looking for her sippy cup of water.  When I found it in the living room and brought it to her she screamed, "no me find it."  She then brought it back to the living room and put it on the floor.  Then she picked it up and proudly announced, "me find it, me find it!"
    She remembers everything.  We are constantly amazed by the things McKenzie knows.  If she hears or sees something once she seems to remember it forever.
    She's adorable.  Her latest thing is that she wants to go to bed wearing one of my shirts over her pjs.  How cute is that?

    She is an amazingly kind, caring and helpful big sister.  She truly loves Kaia and wants to know what she is doing at all times.  She always helps me when I ask her to get a diaper or burp cloth, even if it is in the other room.  She seems to have replaced her common refrain, "eat sumpin'?, eat sumpin'?" with "baby Kaia?"  (Those of you who know Kenzie well know that this is a very big deal.  All the girl ever wants to do is eat something!)

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    The Story of a Name

    Note: This rambling is more for my own records than anything, but I know some of you are truly interested in how we arrived at the name Kaia.  If you are, read on, if not, skip this one. 

    McKenzie was easy.  Dustin and I had picked out her name long before we were even married.  Lake McKenzie is the most beautiful lake we've ever seen.  A crystal clear, fresh water lake on a white sand island off the coast of Australia. Amazing.  For years we talked about possible middle names and decided long before I was ever pregnant that our first girl would be McKenzie Elizabeth, after my mom.
    Lake McKenzie
    Skip ahead to pregnancy number two.  We have no other meaningful names in our arsenal.  While there are tons of names that we like, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to come up with a name that also had a story.  We didn't want the girls to hit those tween years, ask us how we picked their names and have to explain to baby number two that her name was on page 80 of the baby name book while her sister's name was the result of her parents' worldly travels.

    We decided to wait to discuss names until we knew the sex of the baby and in December we began the search for the perfect name.  We started with family names.  While we love all of our grandmothers dearly, Alma, Joyce, Delores and Elise just didn't seem a good fit.  Then we looked at our grandmas' middle names:Virginia, Carol, Jean and Peatrya.  This wasn't going to be easy.

    Next we took the same route that allowed us to arrive at McKenzie's name.  We thought of meaningful places we've been.  We got engaged at Gunsight Lake in Montana, married in Jaffrey, NH, met in Keene, first lived together in Putney (we actually considered this as a name).  We didn't want our girl to be Gunner so we went to the next logical place, Hawaii.

    Our time in Hawaii is the most special time Dustin and I have spent together as a couple.  Not only did we get to meet and become friends with some of the nicest, most caring people on this planet, we also saw some of the most beautiful landscapes we'll probably ever see.  Unfortunately, picking a name that represented our time in Hawaii was not easy.  We didn't want the name to be too Hawaiian for a New Englander.  We tossed around Malia, Maile, and Leilani.  Hawaiian flowers? Hibiscus, Plumeria? Hmm, Meria?  Is that a name?  

    Somehow through all this discussion we landed on the name Mia and quickly fell in love with it. Come to find out, so have millions of other people because it is in the top ten baby names in the U.S. for 2009.  We didn't want our daughter to be known as Mia R. for her entire childhood and eventually we shifted to the name Maya.  We really liked the name, but it still lacked any true meaning for us.  There are no less than five different ways to spell Maya.  If spelled "Maia" it means Goddess of Spring.  We were only about week away from my due date and felt that this might be as close as we would get to having a meaningful name.  It wasn't a real deep meaning, or one that we really connected to all that much, but we had spent a lot of time thinking on it and that would have to be enough.  

    Then, we had the aha moment.  Talking about Hawaii again one night one of us mentioned the Hawaiian word for ocean, kai.  Kai is a male word and not one that seemed fitting for a little girl.  I said, "Maia? Kaia?  Kaia!"  We both loved it.  Next we wanted to check to see if this was, in fact, a real name or if we had just invented it.  The Social Security Administration's website (which is amazing, check it out, confirmed that, while not very popular, Kaia is a real name.  

    Now, we realize that both of our daughters are named after bodies of water, but it really isn't about the water at all.  The ocean in Hawaii is where Dustin and I created lots of memories.  Dustin found a new love, spearfishing, and when relaxing at the beach we found peace.  The ocean in Hawaii is amazing and beautiful.  We think that makes a pretty great story for a name.

    Kaia's middle name, Marie, honors my best friend.  If Kaia grows up to be a kind, caring, funny, helpful, thoughtful person like Mindy we will be truly blessed.
    Sunset at Waimea Beach, Oahu

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Get your swaddle on

    Kaia loves being swaddled, which is a blessing because McKenzie hated it and putting her to bed was always a challenge.  So far Kaia has been a great sleeper. Swaddling is all the rage around here now and everyone is getting in on the action.

    Sunday, May 1, 2011


    Yesterday McKenzie met her baby sister for the first time.  We've been preparing her for this day for months and she was very excited to finally see the baby.  She told me that the first time she met Kaia she would say, "Happy birthday baby Kaia."  I think she was a little too stunned to get it all out.  She did say, "hi," though, and couldn't wait to give her a kiss.

    The very first meeting.

    Today McKenzie was comfortable getting a little closer and continues to be fascinated by her little sister.  I think that in the coming days Kenzie will be very helpful and hands-on big sister.

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    She's Here!

    Kaia (KY-ah) Marie arrived at 5:32 pm on 4/28.  She weighed 6 lbs. 15 oz and is 19.5 inches long.  We are all doing great!  She is my VBAC baby (woo hoo!).  Stay posted for more pictures and videos in the coming days.

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Me Do It

    McKenzie has come down with a chronic case of the "me do its."  I'm afraid there may be no cure.  This isn't always a problem; when we are not in a rush a I have no problem letting her put on her own shoes (which she can't do on her own, try as she might) and I'm more than willing to let her climb the stairs (it allows me to go up without her sitting on my enormous belly).  However, while I want to foster her sense of independence, letting her do everything on her own is simply not an option.  When I try to explain to her that she cannot pour the milk from the gallon jug onto her cereal  because it will most likely spill all over the place she screams and further insists, "Me do it!"  When mommy is exhausted at 7:00 at night and Kenzie wants to dress herself in her pjs but mommy wants her to be in bed before next week, she screams and insists, "me do it!"  Frankly, it's exhausting.

    There is one "me do it" that I find rather endearing, though.  I wish I could get a video because it is so precious.  When we take walks Kenzie will often hold my hand.  Sometimes I will ask her if she wants to hold my hand and she will insist, "me do it."  Then she will grab her left hand with her right hand and walk down the driveway holding tight to herself.  I'm not sure what she thinks she is accomplishing by holding her own hand, but it's the cutest thing.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    A boy? Oh boy.

    I had a dream the other night that I gave birth to a baby boy.  I woke up in a panic.  Not because I don't want a boy, but because we haven't pondered any male names.  It has been so hard to come up with a name we love for a girl, the thought of having a boy (surprise!) then only having 48 hours to come up with a name is terrifying.  Dustin has assured me that it was just a dream and I shouldn't put too much stock in it.  My O.B. has only seen the sex of the baby incorrectly diagnosed three times in her career.  That should put me at ease.

    Since this dream, however, I have had countless strangers in the grocery store, at the mall, at the dry cleaners tell me that I must be having a boy because of the way I am carrying.  Oh boy.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Dustin's Baby

    Over the past nine months Dustin has been carrying and nurturing a baby of his own.  Last September he took on a "side job" (read: second job that was just as taxing as his full-time employment) creating a beautiful home library for another teacher at his school.  He put in over 700 hours completing this job and has worked a lot of very late nights.  Due to one last hiccup involving the finish on the floor, the job isn't quite complete, but it will be done by week's end.  

    While it was difficult for me (and him) to have him working late nights and weekends for the past few months, it was impossible not to be proud and impressed when I saw the final product.  He is extremely talented and I am so proud to say that my husband built this.

    The brown panels are fabric that allow air flow for the media components inside.
    Yeah, it's a lot of shelves!
    Dustin's brother, Alan, did all the electrical work in the room.
    Note how the bottom of the top drawer and the top of the bottom drawer 
    are from the same piece of wood.   Same for the panels. 
     Dustin's attention to such details is impeccable.
    That's a wine nook. Every library needs a wine fridge, no?
    The drawers along this window are designed to hold file folders.
    The best thing about Dustin finishing this job is that he now has time to enjoy the simple things in life.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011


    Kenzie and Lily make noodles fun.

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    1 month (give or take) to go

    I am now eight months pregnant.  We can't believe that soon we will be a family of four.  Kenzie is very excited about the baby and takes time each day to hug and kiss my belly.  She often brings toys and books and puts them on my belly for the baby.  She asks the baby to "come out" all the time when she is playing.  I tell her that the baby isn't ready to come out and she assures me that she will "come out soon, come out soon."

    The pregnancy has been smooth and although it hasn't been confirmed with ultrasound yet, we think the baby is in the proper head-down position this time around.  I'm hoping to have a vaginal birth after cercearan (VBAC), and as long as baby cooperates I should be able to.  There are lots of factors that make VBAC a little more complicated than a regular delivery so I am preparing myself for the possibility that I could end up with another c-section.  I know that the recovery from surgery promises to be more difficult with a two-year-old to chase around, so I'm hoping that everything goes according to the plan I've created in my mind (ha!).

    We are still working on picking out a name.  We're putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to pick a name that is as meaningful to us as the name McKenzie is.  It is really hard.  We might have finally had our "ah-ha" moment tonight and if we still like what we've come up with we'll share with everyone soon.

    I never feel like pictures do the size of my belly any justice.  I feel huge.  My weight gain has been nearly identical to the amount I gained with Kenzie, but I think my belly is two times bigger this time around.  I haven't had a good night's sleep in months.  This baby girl has lodged her bum and feet into my ribcage and it's pretty hard to find a comfortable sleeping position.  I know that I have more sleepless nights ahead, but at least I'll have a beautiful newborn to share them with.

    Four weeks to the due date...will she be an April or May baby?  As soon as we have news we'll be sure to share.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    7+ months

    A while ago I posted a picture of my growing belly and said I was six and a half months along.  I was actually halfway through my sixth month, making me five and a half months along at the time.  It's all very hard to keep track of, but I have figured it out and here is a picture of me after completing 32 weeks.  That makes me a week into month eight, or seven months pregnant.  Confusing, right?

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    More Soup!

    Lately, Kenzie has been really into making tea and soup with her kitchen toys.  She doesn't just prepare this food, she serves it.  Each person in the room will get his or her own bowl and spoon and Kenzie will check in often to make sure everyone is eating the soup.  I've been encouraging her to feed her babies in hopes that she might lay off me a little, but I have yet to be successful.  Dustin and I call her the Italian grandma.  She's always trying to get us to eat.  When she's eating breakfast she won't stop saying, "Mama, eat!" until I get a bowl of cereal and sit at the table with her.  She also makes sure that everyone eats a vegetable.  Dustin might have to bite the bullet and start liking peas.  At dinner she demands, "Daddy peas!  Daddy peas! Daddy eat!"  She's pretty persuasive.

    Soup for breakfast.

    "Bite, Mommy! More! More!"

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    Unwelcome First

    Ty Beanie Babies Beak the Kiwi Beanbag Plush Toy
    First words, first foods, first steps: all things to celebrate.  First trip in an ambulance? No one was cheering.  McKenzie added another notch to our parenthood belts a couple weekends ago when she woke up in the middle of the night gasping for air and unable to catch her breath.  I called 911 and within minutes an EMT was here.  It didn't take long for McKenzie to calm down a little and start to catch her breath, but we were still quite worried.  After a few more medical personnel arrived at the house we decided we would like to take her to the hospital.  We rode in the ambulance to Hartford Children's where she was, fairly quickly, diagnosed with croup.  

    It seems that every parent I tell this story to says, "ah, croup.  My son/daughter had that."  Now that we know what it is and how to treat it we will be able to respond a little more effectively next time (if there is a next time).  Perhaps baby #2 won't have to ride to the hospital because we will recognize the symptoms and react calmly.  People always say that they wish kids came with a owner's manual.  The funny thing is, I've read about croup before, been aware of it's symptoms, but that manual didn't do me any good when my baby girl couldn't breathe.

    Throughout it all, Kenzie was a champion.  She stayed calm, cool and collected while many different people poked and prodded her.  She didn't cry when they put an oxygen mask on her face or took her blood pressure.  And she even got a new stuffed Beanie Baby toy out of the whole ordeal.  I think she actually enjoyed herself.

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Christmas in January

    The plan was to celebrate Christmas with my dad's side of the family the day after Christmas, but an unfortunate snow storm caused us to postpone it a week.  Instead we celebrated Christmas and my niece Kaitlin's birthday the following week, stretching our Christmas cheer into the new year.  McKenzie had a great time playing with everyone, especially Kaitlin.  They pushed babies around in little strollers for hours.  The only downside to the postponed celebration was that we didn't get to see Auntie Barbara.  Thankfully the cookies she made for us still arrived intact.

    Matthew and Adam prepare for another round of tic-tac-toe. (very cool gift Auntie B)

    Kaitlin is like Kenzie's guardian angel, always watching over her.

    Cousins enjoy a snack on the step.