The last week of my pregnancy with Aengus found me with a camera in my hand and the desire to capture as much of Declan as an only child as I could get. I took this shot and the sight STILL makes my heart jump into my throat just a little bit.
Getting choked up just looking at those sweet feet.
So this is gonna be a big post. The Grandaddy gently reminded me of how much he loves the blog and how it's DEFINITELY beyond time to give a little family update. I suppose I agree. For those that don't know, we are moving back to Tennessee in exactly one month. While we love our dear precious friends that we've made here in Central VA, our beloved family resides 5 hours away (or 7, if you're traveling in a car with 2 small minionsclones children). Ben has accepted a position with an Orthopedic group in North East Tennessee about an hour and a half away from our family. An hour and a half is about as long of a road trip one can make with min... er, children without everyone completely losing their ever-lovin' minds and prolonging the trip with extra potty/candy bar/ beer stops. I'm only kidding, our kids aren't potty trained and we have a strict "no candy bars until you can hold down a job"policy. Fine, I'm kidding about the beer, too... fun ruiners. All joking aside, it's going to make a world of difference being such a short drive away from family.
We were actually in our soon-to-be-new hometown over Halloween weekend and we found a house to rent as well as a house we might like to buy should it work out for us to stay. Big thank-you to Nana for driving up to spend some quality time with the boys while Daddy and Mama perused the real estate market. We spent a little time with Uncle Kip and Aunt Valerie and were also able to visit with the great grandparents Durnin. It was a jam-packed weekend that ended with a double-baby-badger nap...
And a Halloween Party at the home of our dear friends, The Champneys, where the boys dressed as their spirit animal... the Raccoons.
(Declan TOTALLY lived up to the costume and immediately began foraging for food and turning over trash cans)
The costumes were a hit! Will repurpose the fur vests next year. Hooray!
I suppose I should blog a little bit about what sorts of mischief the boys have been into these days. Declan is getting smarter by the second. He knows his alphabet, can tell you what each letter is, can count to 11 and then, once he gets to 11, he starts over at 8. It's a vicious cycle. He has a talking Eric Carle book that he calls the "Chicken book" and he can name all the animals in it. (Sparrow, dragon fly, woodpecker, rooster, crow etc...). He's speaking in complete sentences more and more and learning to recognize feelings and rudimentary concepts ("Oh, no! Aengus SAD!", "Dat breakfast bar GOOD!"). You can actually see him carefully choosing words to place in the sentence. Language development is truly AMAZING! I'll never take it for granted again, that's for sure. Here is a picture or two...
Did I forget to mention what an AMAZING big brother Declan already is?
He's absolutely amazing...
and THIS GUY...
Totally knows it.
Speaking of this guy...
Apart from looking EXACTLY like his father and ALSO being the sweetest baby in the whole wide world, he's growing like a weed. Today he had his 6 month check up and shots. He weighs 17 lbs (50th %), is 27 & 1/2 " long (75-90%) and the head is 17 & 1/2"(shut up, you already know what percentile that giant noggin is in.). He's meeting milestones like he owns them. Rolling over both ways, you say? Oh, that is soooooo last month . Raking fingers to grab things? PUH-LEASE! He invented that move. Imitating speech? Come ON, don't make me laugh. He totally babbles in 5 different languages. What about any other exceptional talents? Does facial hair count?
This was one of the first pictures I ever snapped with my camera. It's a picture of my darling godson/baby grand-cousin, W, hiding behind his mama, my cousin. Lina is beautiful from head to toe and her hands are equally lovely. I think this was one of my favorite captures ever. I hope you enjoy!
A few weeks ago I was nursing Aengus when I watched Declan slowly rise to his feet, walk to the "kitchen" side of the downstairs and out of my vision (I should note that we live in a rented town home presently and the bottom floor is one big open space divided by the kitchen counter/bar into kitchen/dining area and living room.). I didn't hear glass breaking, loud banging, knives clanging, a thud or crying so I was not initially concerned ... but then I heard a strange sound I'd never heard before. A swishing sound. Curious, I put the baby in his bassinet and walked over to see what was going on when I saw this...
My funny boy making "Baby Powder Angels".
I guess it speaks volumes about my mothering when my first thought is to grab the camera versus getting the mess cleaned up or, you know, putting clothes on my child!
So, I've been a little out of the game when it comes to entering the weekly I heart faces photo challenge. My computer was getting on in years and it was time to replace the old gal... and then we went to the beach... and, I'm out of sorry excuses. Finally, though, the computer situation has been handled and I even have a brand new photo editing program! (Lookout!) So, without further adieu, I introduce my entry for the "Beautiful eyes" photo challenge :
My beautiful, sand-covered toddler. Only his eyeballs were clean. Still, I find the pout, the sand and the over-cast day makes for a pretty neat pic. I think it's pretty clear that the kid knows how to play hard.
In celebration of Father's Day, I Heart Faces contest is celebrating boys. I thought I'd post my favorite picture I think I've ever taken of my husband holding our baby son, Aengus. This was taken over Memorial Day weekend. He looks so happy and proud!
The I Heart Faces contest this week is entitled "Bright and Vivid". This wild boy of mine sucks the marrow out of life. He lives in the moment and has more personality than I knew was possible within a 27 lb body. This is a pic of Declan laughing at marmosets at the zoo!
The most beautiful new face I saw all month was obviously the one I had spent the last 9 months growing... Let me tell you, sweet Aengus is such an alert, sweet, wonderful baby and this pic I snapped in the hospital captures his angelic, wide-eyed personality. Can you tell I'm just a little bit in love???
Monday was the first day that I was left alone, outnumbered by my offspring. It went very well. Everybody got fed. Everybody got changed. Nobody deliberately gave themselves a concussion while throwing a temper tantrum. I considered it a win.
Then came Tuesday. It was exactly the opposite of Monday. Declan dropped a 5lb barbell on Ben's big fancy TV we bought at New Years with Christmas money. It no longer has a picture and apparently that is a very VERY bad thing. A "can't be repaired" kind of bad. I would have loved to have prevented this very bad thing from happening but I happened to have Aengus James in my lap and he's irreplaceable, you see, and the TV can be replaced just as soon as we feel like we want to pony up at bestbuy. We grabbed a much less fancy/large/expensive replacement because the sesame street dance party must continue on, y'all. Thankfully, it's just stuff and with Declan (a.k.a. Toddlerasaurus Rex) around, it's best not to get too attached to "stuff". Oh yeah, I made dinner for the fam. Still winning, Charlie Sheen.
Wednesday came and with it came an AWESOMELY HUGE diaper blowout... and then another... and another. It was gross... and also why Declan has not worn pants or shorts over his diaper since yesterday morning... Because I can spot blowouts before they happen this way. Also, it provides more freedom for awesome dance moves!!! I was also able to make dinner for the fam and it was DELICIOUS! Ben gave me an awesome opportunity to go to target ALL BY MYSELF last night. It was fabulous. I listened to Steve Earle on the way home and felt like I was 24 years old again. Oh freedom!
Today has been much like yesterday. No-pants dance party for the toddler, snuggling the beautiful newborn, herding dogs yadda yadda. Best part is that I'm going on a date with my handsome, charming husband. WOOHOO!
I'll leave you with a few images of Aegus (And before you tell me I'm being unfair to Declan, Mom, there are 2 video links above of Declan getting down... So I'm totally even Steven! )
This is what I looked like on Mother's Day, this year:
Huge... 36 weeks 4 days pregnant but measuring 43 weeks
And the next few images best illustrate every waking moment of my life for the past few months:
But mostly, I tried to savor these little moments with my first-born despite my obvious struggles:
Because, as he has taught me, he will grow up much too fast.
On to other news...
On May 10th ( officially 4 days more pregnant than I had ever been with Declan)I decided that I would likely be pregnant for 2 more weeks so I might as well get comfy. I went to Target and purchased 2 soft maternity t-shirts 1 size up from what I've been wearing as well as a size bigger shorts. I also booked a prenatal massage for the weekend. I went home and made homemade pizza for dinner... then I ripped the tags off the new maternity clothes and threw them in the washer, thus sealing my fate.
No sooner did the spin cycle start then the first contraction hit. 6 minutes later another. They stayed 6 minutes apart for an hour. I got in the shower and they stopped as soon as I hit the water. Then I stepped out of the tub and was immediately greeted with a huge wave of nausea and contractions that were 4 minutes apart. Ben went for a quick run. They worsened in intensity and length for 2 more hours. I requested Ben go ahead and shower. He stretched out on the floor instead and we watched an episode of law & order (duhn duhn!). Half way through, I looked at Ben and said,"Did you hear me? I think you need to go ahead and shower, I'm going to call the OB on call." Ben's eyes got huge and he sprinted to the shower. I called the OB and the babysitter.
30 minutes later the car was packed, the babysitter was here and the contractions were still kickin'. We arrived at the hospital around 1130pm. I was put on the monitor and checked. Turns out I was in labor. Contractions regular, increasing etc and cervix dilating to 4 and soft...and baby's head was not engaged in my pelvis. Having no desire to wait around to dilate to 9.5 cm and still have baby not engaged (like last time), I turned down the opportunity to vbac and the OR was prepped.
At 1:50 am on May 11th, 2011 after much struggle by the OB to even deliver him surgically, our beautiful son, Aengus James England was born. He weighed in at 8lbs 11 oz (technically considered a preemie since I went into labor at 36 weeks 6 days) and 20 inches long.
We're home now and he's even more beautiful!
He's alert and sweet and he nurses like a champion.
The best part of all is that this one, while a little confused about all the commotion,
When the pet faces photo challenge was announced on www.Iheartfaces.com, I knew the picture I wanted to enter. This week's entry is of my first "baby", Stella.
When I graduated from college, I spent part of my first pay check to buy the cutest, squirmiest little black pug puppy I'd ever seen. She weighed a kg ( 2.2 lbs) and could fit in my purse... So she went everywhere with me. I took her to the music store, to the park, to the baseball field, I even smuggled her into the bar to see bands play.
Sweet, sassy Stella has been my constant companion through some major changes in my life: the addition of another new puppy (her equally wonderful and treasured boxer sister, Georgia), the purchase of my first home, a few bad boyfriends, one really amazing boyfriend (that I immediately married and found out that he was, in fact, an even better husband), the loss of my beloved grandfather, the birth of my first human baby and a move to a new town. In her sweet, bulgy, east-west eyes I see nothing but the unconditional love she has for me and I am most humbled by it. While she's no longer the squirmy little jet-black puppy, she's still my best girl. Although some might call her "pug ugly", she's extraordinarily beautiful to me.
Please go check out more beautiful furry (or feathered or scaly) faces at :
Please go over to Iheartfaces and cast your vote for entry #22(Martha-Cate, my favorite photog EVER and also kind of my mentor) and entry #88(that's my entry!) and then pic out 8 more wonderful faces to vote on!
Also, in case you're interested and not on my facebook, I have 3d pics of Baby Ben Jr. version 2.0. Brace yourselves, he looks EXTREMELY familiar and super chubby.