10 Weeks of Summer

10-9-17
I wanted to post here again sooner, but I’ve spent the last two weeks returning to work and trying to get back into the routine of things. It’s been a challenge, to say the least, and not just for me. Mommy has found herself home alone with the little guy, without any back-up. And not too long from now, it will be yet another adjustment as we will both be back at work, and Andrew begins daycare. It all seems to be happening way too fast (and I know from experience that it doesn’t slow down). It doesn’t seem possible that Andrew will be coming up on 3-months before we know it.

I find myself thinking back to the afternoon that Maggie came home from work, her water breaking there just days before she was to be on leave (and two weeks ahead of the due date). The rush to the hospital, the hours spent waiting for a room, with contractions getting stronger and more painful. It’s funny how it almost doesn’t feel real, like it was a movie we both watched, but it wasn’t really that long ago. I recall giving family updates every so often, and talking to Ben and telling him to get ready to be a big brother. There was that long night of anticipation in our labor room, a constant flow of doctors and nurses, Maggie hanging in there like a trooper despite all of the pain and the machines hooked up to her. And then finally, morning, and the pushing (and the pushing, and the pushing…for hours) until we realized we were going to meet Andrew in a different way than we had anticipated.

I remember being alone for the first time in hours, putting scrubs on as they carted Maggie off to the operating room to prep her. Texting parents and friends, praying that she was OK in there and not too scared. And then finally being called in by the doctors, and finding my way to her side again. And then just like that, Andrew was here! We could hear his cries on the other side of the operating curtain, and I was able to go around and see him for the first time, so little and squirming as they cleaned him up, before finally bringing him around to meet his mom (and that look on her face when she saw him for the first time).

Things were a bit of a blur from there. Andrew went down to the specialty nursery just for some precautions, and I remember making numerous trips to bring the family in to meet him, but the most memorable was bringing Ben in to meet his little brother for the first time. Andrew was under heat lamps and hooked up to monitors, so we couldn’t hold him just yet, but Ben was beaming just to stand there and look at the little guy. We made many trips back down to that nursery, wheeling mommy in her bed to visit as soon as possible, and later several late night trips in the wheel chair, dragging machines and monitoring equipment with us, all in the effort to get an early start on breast feeding.

The hospital stay was full of visits from loved ones, long nights once Andrew could stay in the room with us, exhaustion, even a few instances where I forgot I could actually leave the hospital if needed (you get so used to being in that room for days on end, you forget there is a whole world going on right outside). And then just like that, we were strapping the new guy into his car seat and driving home, happy and a bit terrified to now be on our own. It helped to be greeted with signs and decorations, especially the big one in the entry way that Ben had created by hand to welcome home his little brother.

Between then and now, there have been so many moments and firsts. Crazy diaper changing stories, first trips to the doctor, late nights, cuddles, watching the pets greet their new sibling.  Maggie and I were blessed to both have extended time off from work during this time, and with Ben’s school still weeks away from starting, the four of us really had a special time to bond together. Ben was glued to his brother whenever he was over, always wanting to hold him, watch him, even changing diapers. Maggie and I navigated the struggles of finding sleep whenever you can, trying to manage baby and house and Ben and pets. There were first walks, first trips with the baby out to eat, first visits to the grandparents. First times getting peed on, first times of calling for back-up to change a really messy diaper.

That special time started to come to an end in stages, beginning with celebrating Ben’s last day of summer and helping him get ready as school started again. The time seems to have passed so quickly that it was a shock when all of a sudden some of Andrew’s newborn outfits were getting a little tight on him. Car seats needed to be adjusted for the growing baby. He was now holding his head up much longer on his own, and flashing big smiles, and even sleeping longer into the night (sometimes). Before we knew it, football was back, along with soccer practices, back to school night.  And then two weeks ago, it was time to kiss Maggie and the little guy good bye for the day as I headed back to work.

And now here we are. I know all of the above really happened, even if it feels a bit like another life looking back on it all. I’ll never forget all of it, but everything keeps moving forward, and those first few weeks with Andrew seem so long ago. And we just keep barreling on, with Andrew’s first holidays quickly approaching, the start of day care, his 3-month birthday. It’s relentless. So whenever things get a little too fast, or hectic, or stressful, I’m going to need to remember to take a deep breath, and just for a moment let myself go back to that special time that we had together as a new family.

It has been the most amazing experience and I look forward to each and every new day. The time really does go by so quickly, and the moments that pass are unique and will never be able to be repeated. Babies grow up, things change, we all get older. But I take comfort in knowing that no matter how far down the path of time we all travel, we will always have and remember those 10 weeks of summer together.

 

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Happy 2 Months, Andrew!

9-13-17
Two months!? How can it be? But it’s true, two months ago yesterday, this little guy came into our life, and its been a whirlwind since. (You can click here for some photos of Andrew over the last month). Mommy and Daddy are still trying to figure out when we are supposed to sleep (Andrew has decided he sleeps whenever he likes, and not in any sort of identifiable pattern). We are also running out of time, as Daddy has one more full week at home until it is back to work, while Mommy has a bit longer. Already , we are unsure how everything is supposed to get done! But, its all worth it when this little guy is smiling up at you, cuddled in your arms.

Andrew has started giving us a little peek at what his personality may be like.For one thing, he is very expressive, making all sort of faces, trying to show us how he feels..whether its happy, surprised, angry, silly. If you get in his face for long enough, the odds are that he will give you some sort of reaction that makes you smile. Whether its tummy time, or laying on his back on the play mat, Andrew will let you know when he is having fun, and there will be no doubt exactly when he stops having fun! He has even started waving his arms around trying to reach and grab for some of the toys.

There have also been a few tears shed, as Andrew has already moved on from many of his newborn outfits. It was a sad day when we realized some of his cuter ensembles were already past their time. It’s funny how something as simple as the baby out growing clothes could trigger all sorts of deep reflections about everything else that we wouldn’t experience with him any more as he grows: bringing him home for the first time, that first bath, holding him those early days when he was so impossibly little, seeing him smile for the first time. Its all happening so fast, and he is changing and growing so quickly…. and it will only accelerate.

One thing is for sure, I know both I and Maggie have treasured this special time that we have been able to spend with him, away from work and everything else. Over all it has gone by in a flash, but there have been some days and nights that seemed to stretch on forever. Through it all I’ve just tried to enjoy and remember every minute with the little guy.

And somehow here we are, bringing him to the doctor today for his 2-month check-up, where Andrew will get his first shots, which I expect to be a little traumatizing (for Mommy…I’m pretty sure Andrew will handle it with flying colors). We’ll find out just how much he has grown. As the seasons change from summer to fall, our lives are also undergoing a number of changes as Ben heads back to school, and the return to work is looming. Football season is upon us, and while we still aren’t sure where Andrew’s allegiance will ultimately lie, for the first week of the season he was good luck to both the Eagles and the Steelers. And I can say with confidence that he will be a Penn State fan, as I got to spend an afternoon relaxing on the couch and watching the game with him this past Saturday. We look forward to taking him to pick his first pumpkin, and then it will be his first Thanksgiving, and before you know it, it will be time for pictures with Santa. It’s all going to happen fast.

For now, I’m going to try to push a lot of those thoughts from my head, and just sit here and hold him and convince myself that he can just stay like this forever, curled up in my arms and sleeping away peacefully.  I’ll smile and pretend that….until he wakes up hungry and crying…then its right back into that rush of reality!

Happy two months Andrew, it’s two months none of us will ever forget, and we will always cherish!

Into the Wild

9-1-17Welcome back to all things Andrew! It’s been an exciting couple of weeks as Mommy and Daddy have grown adventurous and taken little Andrew on a few road trips. But first, a few updates from every day life with the little guy.

Andrew has been packing on the weight, and growing every day. He is much more responsive, giving you little smiles and tracking you with his eyes when you play or talk to him. We’re still trying to figure out a sleep schedule that works for everyone (specifically Mommy and Daddy!), but we’ll get there. Sadly, some of his new-born size outfits are already too tight. I’m not really sure where the last 7 weeks have gone!

Our first big trip was to the Ocean City boardwalk, with big brother Ben and cousin Ryan. Since we are missing our annual family beach trip this year (due to a sudden influx of newborns in the family!), we decided it would be nice to at least get a little taste of being down the shore. It’s pretty funny how things change with a baby in tow, as we made it a grand total of about 6 blocks on the boardwalk over several hours! In that time, we stopped in a few stores, had some dinner, played some video games, rode some rides, bought some fudge, and called it a night. It actually went pretty smoothly, said from Andrew deciding to have a huge diaper blow out in the middle of the amusement pier. (I apologize to the people sitting at the table next to us as we had to change that nightmare!) All in all, it was a short but fun trip. Ben even insisted on getting some sand to rub on his brothers feet (and drop into his car seat), to commemorate his first trip to the beach.

Our next big adventure was a trip to the zoo with brother Ben and Nana. Andrew slept most of the way over and as we entered the zoo, so it was pretty hilarious to watch him wake up in the middle of the zoo, looking wide-eyed and a little confused. I’m not sure how much Andrew saw, but there were a lot of animals out and about, and the weather was great. We even met up with Aunt Devon and cousin Eleanor for a little bit while we were there. Unlike on the boardwalk, we avoided and major diaper incidents here, and made it through the trip relatively pain-free. I have a lot of memories of bringing Ben to the zoo, so it will be fun bringing Andrew back as he gets older and can take more of it in.

Finally, our most recent adventure was up to my office to visit my co-workers and introduce them to Andrew. It was fun to see everyone and hang out for a bit, and Andrew was wide awake to say hello. I’m the only one with kids on my team, so I’m not sure they totally understand what life has been like for me the past month or so. Andrew gave them a little preview when he made a huge, loud, wet mess in front of all of them. The looks on their faces was priceless! Besides the messy diaper, it was a fun trip, and Andrew did great on the car ride up and back.

This weekend, Andrew gets to meet a lot more family for the first time, and we will help brother Ben wind down his summer and get back to school. So as usual, there is a lot going on, and we’ll be sure to cover it all right here!

Happy 1 month Andrew!

8-13-17Being at home with a newborn can really warp your sense of time. Yesterday marked Andrew’s 1-month birthday in this world, and I can’t decide if that time went by impossibly fast, or if it feels like he has been here three times as long.  With the days and nights blending into a never-ending pattern of feed, diaper change, sleep (if you are lucky) and repeat, it can be hard to even know what day you are on. But no matter how tiring or confusing, I know we wouldn’t trade this time with Andrew for anything.

Andrew has had quite the first month. Like most babies, he clearly loves to eat, and he doesn’t have much patience while you get ready for him. He also makes Daddy proud with his loud a numerous farts after a good meal. We are getting to the point where I can almost blame my gas on him and you might seriously question who really dealt it. Pooping and peeing are also favorite pastimes of Andrew. So far, Daddy may have been peed on the most, and I also have had an infamous incident where poop shot onto the floor, but I’ll leave the details to your imagination!

When he isn’t eating, or clearing room to eat more, Andrew is quite the cuddle bug. He loves being held, and lucky for us, seems to be able to sleep through all sorts of noises, like the dog barking, people talking loudly, or whatever else is going on around him (I’m thinking he may get this trait from his Dad, as I also am apparently able to sleep through all of his crying!) He especially seems to like cuddle time with his big brother.

While we have spent most of our time in the house, Andrew has been out on several adventures. We have taken a trip to one of Ben’s soccer games, had a stroll through the mall, paid both sets of grandparents several visits, and gone on a few walks with the dog. While he may fuss getting put into his carrier seat, once he is in there, Andrew seems to just sit back and enjoy the ride, whether it be in his stroller or in the car. Here’s hoping the trick of taking him for a drive to get him to fall asleep for a nap will work in the future (this was a favorite of mine with Ben. I invited him on countless trips to the mall, when in fact we would just end up driving a few blocks until he passed out and then returned home!)

We have also had our first bath times, tummy times, time with cousin Eleanor, and visits with numerous friends. Mommy has been a trooper with the breast feeding, making sure little man stays full and is growing. There have been a lot of late nights, early mornings, tears of joy and exhaustion and just plain tears for no reason that we can discern at all sometimes. The past month has seen big changes for all of us, with Maggie becoming a new mom, Ben becoming a big brother, me relearning how to care for a newborn, and even for Shadow, our loving dog. He seemed confused by Andrew at first, but now seems to have adopted him as the newest member of the pack. Whenever the baby cries, Shadow is quick to come to his side, and try to lick and comfort him however he can.

It’s hard to believe that all this has happened in just one month. It’s equally as hard to believe that it has only been one month, as it feels like we have known this little guy forever.So happy 1-month Andrew, you have already made quite the impression on this world and in our lives. I would say that you (and we) are off to a great start!

Thanks for following along so far, and be sure to check back on the home page, here, to learn how to sign up for email updates, navigate through the archives and browse through new photo pages as they are uploaded!

Three Weeks and Counting

8-4-17Hello again everyone! We are back with another entry in the Baby Andrew Chronicles. It’s hard to believe that as of yesterday, it’s been three weeks since we got to meet this little guy (I think for mommy and daddy it has been one big blur!)

The little dude had his 2-week doctor visit last week and everything looked great. Andrew is packing on the weight, which was a big relief to mommy in her breast-feeding efforts. We did have a little bit of a clogged tear duct and some diaper rash to deal with, but otherwise, little man got a clean bill of health.

I think we still have our days and nights a bit mixed up, as no one seems to be getting a decent amount of sleep in this house on any given night (except for big brother Ben, who seems able to sleep through anything!) We definitely seem to have some issues with laying down to sleep without fussing or waking up with gas (just to be clear, I’m talking about Andrew here, although sometimes this can apply to Daddy as well). But we are all still working to figure out our night-time schedule, and hopefully things will start coming together in the next few weeks.

Andrew currently spends most of his time just being a super sweet little cuddle bug. Our family has all eagerly taken turns snuggling with the little guy. He probably thinks we are all really weird since we pretty much just stare at him. It’s hard not to. He is so little and perfect, sometimes you can’t help but just gaze at him (although this is usually unceremoniously interrupted by a scary, loud, wet sound coming from Andrew’s diaper!)  Ben has especially enjoyed spending time with his little brother, always looking to hold him or help out with him. And Andrew’s fur brother, Shadow, has also adjusted to the new addition to our family. The dog looks genuinely concerned any time the baby cries, and will come over and try licking him to comfort him. Shadow is never far behind anytime you are holding Andrew, almost like he is keeping a watchful eye on the littlest member of his pack.

So it has been a big change for everyone in our household, and we are all adjusting, but already it seems strange to think about life without Andrew here. I know I love my alone time with the little guy, and nothing warms my heart like seeing Ben care for his little brother. But, most of all, I love watching Mommy care for her little peanut. It was a long journey to get him here, and she went through so much. Through all the late nights and dirty diapers, I’ll never get tired of watching her become a mom to our little guy.

I try to take a snapshot of this time in my mind, these little moments as we become parents (again, for me), big brothers, as our family grows. I want to remember all of the little details. Most of all, I’ll sit and stare at Andrew, or play with his little hands and toes, knowing that three weeks, then three months, then three years will go by all too fast. There will be countless changes and firsts to come. For now, I just want to be here in this moment, and enjoy every minute with this little guy. He’ll never be just three weeks old again.

More updates to come soon! And in the meantime, feel free to check out big brother’s blog by clicking here!

Hello World!

7-23-17Hello everyone! If you have found your way here, then you already know that there has been a new addition to our little family. Two weeks ago today, Andrew made his way into this world and into our lives just a bit ahead of schedule (this Friday was the original due date). After our hospital stay, and a transition to life at home with a newborn, it is about time to start blogging! To get started, you can also view some photos by clicking here.

First, a little housekeeping: Some of you may be familiar with this format if you happen to read the blog of Andrew’s older brother, Benjamin, which can be found by clicking here. For those that are new, you can sign up to get email notifications any time a new post is added about Andrew. Simply click here, and you will be taken to a form that you need to complete. Within minutes, you will receive a confirmation email where you must follow the instructions and click the link within that email to finalize your subscription.

But enough of that, let’s get back to the man of the hour, Andrew! Born 6 lbs. 10 oz, and 20 inches long, Andrew may have been in a rush to get the whole labor process started, but he took his sweet time finishing the journey. After 24 hours in the hospital, and 4 hours of heroic pushing by Mommy, it was determined that Andrew would be coming by c-section. Turns out that was a good decision, as Andrew had managed to wrap the umbilical cord around himself several times, and was still grabbing onto it when they went to pull him out (our doctor called him a subway rider, as he looked like a subway passenger standing and holding onto the handle(.

Despite all of the excitement, Mommy and Andrew came through with flying colors. Grandparents and Andrew’s big brother Ben were on-hand to be some of the first to welcome him. Ben was especially excited to meet his new, little brother. Now, two weeks later, we are all still trying to settle into having this little dude here, on the outside with us! Right now, Andrew’s favorite hobbies are sleeping, passing gas, crying, and getting his days and nights mixed up. Something tells me this list will be growing quickly, so stay tuned.

For now, Mommy and I are still pinching each other to make sure that this isn’t a dream. It’s been a long, winding path to get to this point, and getting to meet Andrew for the first time, face to face, has been a surreal and humbling experience for us both. We are truly blessed, and thank all of our friends, family, and all of the medical professionals who have tarn this journey with us. I look forward to sharing all of the adventures that our new and larger family get into in the coming weeks, months and years. So check back often for new posts, and come along for the ride!

Thanks!

Brian