Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ellie's First Friend

Awwwww....Pauly came to visit.  They've come a long way from this:

To this:

It's so strange to me that I have a newborn baby but I'm not able to spend every day with this Mama.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Three Weeks

And already I can't imagine what it was like before her.

Momma Mira Selfie

Sleepy Times...

Road Trip!

Mira started her official world tour with a visit to New Jersey.  Next stop, Paris!  (Ok, no, but wouldn't that be great?)

We went and spent the afternoon at our friend's pool and the big kids had a grand old time while Mira napped and the grown ups ate Cheetos.  We also left the house a full TWO HOURS after we meant to.  Oh the joys of getting out of the house with a newborn.

Is this first picture taken of the three of us?  Other than the snapshot in the operating room I think it might be.  Any guesses how long it'll take before we get a picture of all three kids?  Or better yet, all FIVE of us?  All five of us looking at the camera?  Hah!  Bet that will never happen.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Double Big Sister

If it were up to Ellie, she would hold Mira

Saturday, August 9, 2014

12 Days Old

Friday, August 8, 2014

Walking Coconuts

Mira's early arrival meant some shifting of our late summer plans.  Specifically, I had intended to keep Gabe home with me for the last weeks of pregnancy while Ellie went to summer camp.  Well, best laid plans and all that...

Since Mira came early we decided to send Gabe to two weeks of camp at the JCC.  And he LOVES it.  He also, apparently learned how to draw!

He says these are walking coconuts.  Can't argue with him.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Finally Home: Mira's Birth Story

Well, that was exciting.  As Mira's pediatrician said yesterday after reviewing her hospital discharge report, "I thought the third one was supposed to be easy!"

It all began last Sunday, when I started having regular contractions.  They weren't especially painful, but they weren't stopping either, and when it started getting late I bit the bullet and called the doctor.  Unsurprisingly, his response was along the lines of "get to the hospital, fool.  What have you been waiting for?"  Luckily, Uncle Rob was visiting, and the kids were already in bed, so off we went.  At the hospital they confirmed the contractions weren't just the delusions of a sick-of-being-pregnant-momma, but since I was still only 36 weeks along, no one had a lot of interest in having the baby that night.  So they pumped me full of fluid, gave me two shots of meds to stop the contractions, and we went home around 1am.

This was all fine and good until we got up the next morning and the contractions were we were off to the hospital again on Monday morning.  They tried more fluids, and more meds, but this time the contractions were here to stay.  The problem is that I wasn't really progressing, so the doctors still weren't confident that this was actually labor.  If I were having a natural delivery they would have sent me home to wait it out, but since Mira was going to be my third c-section they didn't really want me going into full blown we decided to go for the c-section that afternoon.  At this point I figured it would be a few hours, but instead everyone flew into gear and I was in the operating room within 30 minutes.  Damn.  It was a whirlwind.

Since she was technically premature (by three days!) we knew there was a chance she might need some extra help after delivery, but she came out pink and squealing.  The NICU doctor  assessed her and she had some rapid breathing, and a little extra fluid in her lungs.  Nothing out of  the ordinary for a slightly early, c-section baby.  He decided she should be watched for a couple hours in the regular nursery and if she did well, she wouldn't need any NICU time.  And she did great!  I was wheeled into recovery, where, or course, I threw up and all that nastiness.  But when it was over, we had our baby girl in our hospital room all together.

Side note:  my poor mom was scheduled to come to town Monday afternoon to help us prepare for the baby's arrival in a few weeks.  Instead she got off the bus, turned on her cellphone, and received a slew of messages telling her I was in the hospital, then that we were heading in to the operating room, then that the baby was here, and would she mind babysitting the kids so Brian could stay in the hospital with me Monday night?  She was a trooper and everyone survived.

So on Tuesday, something kind of weird happened.  I was holding Mira, and a lab tech came in to the room to get some blood from me. I shifted the baby to the other arm and a minute later, when the tech was done and I went to shift her back, she was blue-ish.  She immediately pinked up, and I didn't really think anything of it.  I even joked to Todd and Bess that I must have been holding her against my hospital gown and almost killed the baby.  Hahahaha.  Very funny.  In hindsight, I can't believe I didn't think to mention this to the doctors, but at the time, I honestly thought it was just a fluke.

Fast forward to Thursday.  We're supposed to be discharged on Friday and everything has been going swimmingly.  The last hurdle is a hospital mandated car-seat test.  It turns out that preemie babies can have breathing issues in their car-seats, and so the hospital puts them on monitors and leaves them in the car seat for 90 minutes.  No problems?  You're one your way out the door.  We thought the test was a little silly, after all, she was only pre-mature by three days!  But thank god they did it.  It turns out she was having apnea issues, so when she was in a deep sleep her little brain just wasn't developed enough to make sure she kept breathing.  That's what had happened on Tuesday with the lab tech.  And it happened a couple times in the car seat.  They took her to the NICU and it happened a few more times.  It turns out the apnea wasn't related to the car seat at all, but if they hadn't put her on the monitors and done the test we would have completely missed it.  When the doctor asked if she had had any episodes where we had noticed her turning pale or blue, I just about died.  How could I have not realized that was a big deal when it happened?  But what's done is done. And I'm trying to let it go.

The doctors were confident that her apnea was completely related to being a little early, and that with careful monitoring it would resolve on its own.  And after a night of supplemental breathing help, and 5 days of chilling out in the NICU that's exactly what happened.  Her little brain got with the program and she shouldn't have any more issues.  Both the NICU doctors and her regular pediatrician have told us to try to forget it ever happened.  Hah!  That ought to be easy.

All in all it was an incredibly surreal experience.  The hospital let me stay in an empty room so I could be with Mira and continue to nurse, but all services ceased, so it was like hanging out in your college dorm after everyone else has gone home.  I was a total ghost.  But the NICU staff was amazing, just incredibly caring, not only with Mira, but with me too.  Plus we got this awesome swag cooler bag (it's for beer, right?):

We only had one night of real fear, and that was more because the incubator and breathing assistance made her look much more sickly than she actually was.  Plus, all the talk of breathing and lungs was giving me flashbacks to my dad's illness.  I kept having to remind myself that although the hospital equipment looked similar, this was a completely different situation and that Mira was going to be just fine.  And she is.  She passed her next car-seat test with flying colors and after 8 days in the hospital we came home on Tuesday.  

The kids are doing great with her, she's nursing like a champ, and now we're all just chilling out and learning about each other and trying to survive newborn sleepless nights.  What an adventure.

Silly Daddy

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Love at First Sight

I totally cried watching Ellie meet Mira for the first time.  I'm blaming the hormones.  




Miriam Cecilia Schneider
Born July 28, 2014 at 3:00pm
6 pounds, 5 ounces, 18 inches

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Going for a Ride

At Aunt Maggie's baby shower. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

More Raspberries. Less Hair.

Off on another adventure.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Look who's got a collar and tag, finally!  Sophie has developed into a full blown escape artist, with occasional assistance from certain children who maybe hold the front door open longer than they should.  Ahem.  They will remain nameless.  Anyhow, we still want her to be an indoor cat, but I figured a collar and tag with our phone number couldn't be a bad idea.  Sophie, however, disagreed.  

I bought a collar, one of those snazzy break-away numbers, and it was gone in less than an hour.  So I bought another, this time one with an elastic section designed to let her slip out if it gets caught on something.  And it lasted two hours.  So here's collar number three.  It's a plain old fashioned nylon collar without any bells, whistles, or safety gadgets.  And it's been a full day and she hasn't gotten it off.  I win!  (Momentarily.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Adventure Walk

Ellie's in summer camp for the next couple of weeks and she's super excited to get to go on field trip/adventures.  Her first one was today, and she spent all morning pointing out to Gabe that she was going on an ADVENTURE while Gabe was just going to run ERRANDS with mom and ADVENTURES are fun and exciting, and ERRANDS are not.  Way to rub it in, kid.

So...the first half of Gabe's morning looked like this:

Yep, not exciting at all - although the very real possibility of my water breaking while I try to load all that crap into the car added a certain sense of danger.

On the way home we were stopped at a red light and Gabe noticed a trail on the side of the road.  He immediately asked if I could stop the car and we could go on an adventure.  Sure a few short weeks your world is going to be totally rocked by the arrival of your baby sister.  You want to stop and walk on a trail for a bit?  You got it.

So the second half of his morning looked like this:

We picked fresh raspberries, saw the "biggest rock EVER," and had a grand old adventure.  This kid rocks.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Nursery Reveal

Hah!  And I thought we were done having "nursery reveals."

We're almost ready for Baby Girl's ready as anyone can be really.  And I'm psyched to have an almost finished nursery!  It's almost finished, because really, when is anything ever actually done?  But I'm not allowing myself to stress over the remaining details, so it's done as done needs to be.

The view from the upstairs hallway.  It just makes me so happy to see pictures on the wall.  Maybe now I'll actually motivate to hang some art in Ellie and Gabe's room.  

The crib used to belong to our neighbors, and we're borrowing the nursing chair from Todd and Bess.  Seriously, the room would be empty if it weren't for our friends.  We're so lucky.

The dresser is a "hack" of our old Ikea Hemnes dresser, inspired by this one.  I'm happy we changed it up, since the all black dresser felt too dark in this room. And the TV is only here to help me through the first sleepless weeks.  After that it'll go back in the guest room and we'll put some book/toy storage in that corner.

The Peter Rabbit art is actually a floor puzzle I found at a local consignment store.  I just duct taped it together on the back.  Instant nursery art!

Ahhh, will anyone let the pigeon drive the Godforsaken bus?!?!  Ellie actually ripped these pages out of our book almost two years ago.  I salvaged the pictures I could, framed them with some old frames I had lying around and then never actually hung them up.  Oops.  I'm so glad they finally found a home.

Anyone recognize the chuppah I made for our wedding?  I always wanted to hang it above Ellie's crib when she was born, but the angled ceiling in her nursery-nook made it really challenging.  So it's just been folded up in the bottom of a chest for the last ten years.  As Brian always feels the need to point out, those are some massive doves.  I didn't want to cut it or anything, so it's just folded and taped, and hung from some foamcore...someday I'll get it properly cleaned and shadowbox it.  I'd like to keep it nice in case any of the kids have any interest in getting married under it.  A girl can dream.

So that's it!  When Baby Girl finally shows up she'll have a place to sleep.  Phew!

DIY Dragonfly Mobile

I have a long-standing tradition of calling something a tradition even if I've only done it once.  So, in that spirit, I continued the tradition I started with Ellie and made a mobile for Baby Girl.  Poor Gabe didn't get his own handmade mobile, but had to make do with his sister's.  Such is the lot of the middle child.

I was inspired by this project, that I found by googling DIY baby mobile or some such nonsense.  Essentially I just wrapped two embroidery hoops with jute, and glued scrapbook paper wings to clothespins.  I had the balance perfect at one point, but now that it's actually hanging in the nursery it needs some adjustment.  Oh well, that's for another day.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Boat Day!

In a further effort to distract me from obsessing over the number of days/hours/minutes until Baby Girl arrives, we piled everyone on the boat yesterday.  And it was a beautiful calm day, and I only had to ask Brian to "please slow down!" one time.  All in all a total success...

Todd and Bess joined us and we had dinner at the marina in Haverstraw.  Coincidentally, my friend Rene found herself stuck in Peekskill so we met up with her and her friends and ended up giving them a sunset cruise ride back to Tarrytown.  A perfect day?  Possibly.  It makes me so happy that the kids will grow up thinking of the Hudson as part of their world they can explore, instead of just something pretty to look at.

The only downside is that Gabe seems to be picking up on my boat nervousness.  He used to beg Brian to "go faster" but now he wants to sit on my lap and whines when we hit some waves.  I think he needs to get on the boat a few more times without me and rediscover his boat-joy.  And as Amy pointed out, I almost look like I'm enjoying myself in these pictures.  Progress.

Friday, July 18, 2014

One of These Things is Not Like the Others

We're just a few weeks out (hopefully!) from Baby Girl's arrival, and I'm coping the way I always do when things feel vaguely out of control - by making lists.  There's currently a grocery list, a cleaning supplies list, a list of vegetables in the refrigerator so I don't forget about them and let them fester into a gooey slop, a nursery completion list, and a list of baby items that remain to be purchased or found in our basement storage room.  Did we throw away all the baby bottles after Gabe was done with them?  Or are they in a box in the basment room of doom?  Who the heck knows....

Anyhow, poor Brian can't keep up with what list is what, so this is what I found yesterday.

It actually makes sense.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Look Who Came to Visit!

Check out these crazy monkeys - straight from Colorado! We only got them for one night while they roadtripped their way to Cape Cod, but we'll take what we can get.  And they took us on our first treasure hunt/geocache expedition.  I never really understood how that whole thing worked, so it was cool to have the pros teach us the ropes.  The kids were big fans.  My favorite part, though, was watching Gabe and Owen giggle and wrestle like a couple of drunken puppies.  They were awesome.

Street Fun

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fun with Sawdust

Brian snapped these pics while I was taking photographs of Jeremy's work on the Wilmington house.  I think I'll be picking sawdust out of their hair for weeks.

Monday, July 7, 2014

4th of July Weekend

What a sweet fluke of the calendar that the 4th of July was on a Friday this year.  That meant a half day of work for Brian on Thursday, followed by a three day weekend.  It felt like a real mini-vacation.  We had hoped to watch the fireworks from the boat on Friday night, but the water was a little too rough for it to be enjoyable (Read:  I was fricking terrified.).  So we improvised on the banks of the Hudson, and had a great view of Nyack's, Tarrytown's, and a third mystery location's show.  It was a ridiculously late night for the kids, but you can't blow off fireworks!

Saturday we took the kids on a mini-hike around Swan Lake at Rockfeller Preserve.  It's a mile of completely flat carriage roads, and Gabe spent the entire time complaining that he was thirsty.  Oh well, we'll turn him into an outdoorsman yet.

He did perk up for lunch at a local diner, where the waitress claimed a Leprachaun had dropped off clover stickers for good boys and girls.

The river was nice and smooth on Sunday so we hooked up with the neighbors and went for an afternoon cruise.  I'm still a little nervous on the boat, but we're working on it.