Monday, January 25, 2010

January 2010 (171 photos on Snapfish)




Here are the January pics!

Click here to view photos

Enjoy!

December 2009 (207 photos on Snapfish)




Here are the December pics on Snapfish. Once I've ordered them I am going to go back and edit the album so that only the interesting pics are included. Until then just ignore the crazy ones Ian took. :) They are for his scrapbook.

Click here to view photos

Enjoy!

November 2009 (92 photos on Snapfish)




This is pretty cool. I loaded up my pictures from November onto Snapfish so that I can order them and realized there was a tool to post to my blog! Click on the link below to go to snapfish and see all my photos from November.

Click here to view photos

Some of them are very weird -- out of focus or way too close. These are the ones Ian took and I am ordering them so he can make his own scrapbook. :)

Enjoy!

Two months old! (1-22-10)


Here is something I blatantly copied from my cousin Gwyn. She is taking a picture of Teddy every month on his birth day next to a reference object (a stuffed pooh bear from her childhood).

So here is Evie on her two month birthday, sitting next to my best friend when I was little: Brownie.

(Yes, she is a donkey with a horn.)

As always, you can click on the picture to see a bigger version!

Since she was so happy and smiley I couldn’t help but throw away my dignity and try and get a giggle out of her.


The YouTube experiment


I finally gave in and got that modern day accessory – a YouTube account. Let’s see if I can manage to embed some videos!

Ian singing




Evie shows off how well she can hold her head up




Oma and Mama try to make Evie smile




Mama tries to get Evie to laugh




Classic brotherly love


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Home again home again…


Ian and Papa enjoy a short snowball fight while we are trying to get to our car and go to the store. Boys.

It has been a seriously white Christmas and a completely white January. I don’t think there has been a single day without snow on the ground. Every time it snows I am surprised all over again.

I seem to finally be getting my act together and can do more than just keep the two kids alive. I rearranged Ian’s room in preparation of moving the big crib in for Evie once we get her to start sleeping in something other than the swing.

I got the idea of putting the dresser in the closet from something Mims did in James’s room and it frees up a lot of space. Here is Ian modeling the new look.



Oh yes... and we finally got rid of our huge TV! The TV was wonderful and lasted over 10 years with no problems… but it weighed over 200 pounds and the only thing that could hold it up was an industrial rack system we bought at Lowes. We picked out a new living room set at Ikea… but before we could get it we needed to get rid of the old TV and get a new one. A BIGGER one.

It is monstrously large, but about 1/3 the weight of the old one. The old one was sent to its new home in a frat house. God help it. And we got a new, pretty TV stand. I feel proud of the stand. I went and got it at Ikea and managed to get it to my car and into my car while wrangling two kids with multiple potty and nursing breaks. *flex*

I also managed to get Ian to the hair dresser. I don’t know why I wait so long – he is in and out in 10 minutes and it only costs $16. Well, I guess $16 for 10 minutes is a lot… but it is worth it. Mommy’s hair cuts made him look like Moe from the three stooges.

He was very brave up until she got the buzzer going. That's when I had to pull out the camera and distract him by telling him we were going to take pictures to show Papa when he got home. It worked but then Ian insisted that the rest of the day also had to be camera documented "for Papa."

In other fun news Erin and Dave gave us tickets to Sesame Street Live for Christmas and we had a blast!

The name of the show was Elmo’s Green Thumb. Ian very seriously told me that Elmo couldn’t have a green thumb because Elmo is red. Hehe.

After seeing the Chace kids again I have to say – could they be any cuter?? Neil blows me away, he is so smart, and Genny is amazingly outgoing and not shy about communicating with the older kids. My only regret is that I don’t see them enough for them to be comfortable with me, so I have to keep snuggles to a minimum.

Ian was a little braver at the show this year. He actually spent some time sitting on his chair rather than on JD’s lap. But he was also quite content in the middle of the row and couldn’t be convinced to dance in the aisles or go touch the characters. He watched everything very carefully but couldn’t stop talking about the show afterwards.

We went to Red Robin for lunch and milkshakes after. Mmmmm. Erin is looking great. Very round and glowing. Only 2 more months to go!

Here is a pic of Ian showing off Papa's cool phone to Genny. She is more interested in dancing!

Ian’s birthday!


So many fun things to do in a short period of time! Here are some pictures of Ian’s birthday at James and Susan’s house. James and Sophia weren’t here this year since Mims had to work (*sad face*) but Ian still had a great time. He loves Grandpa and Gramdma!

I got Evie all dressed up in the outfit I had bought her for Thanksgiving that she ended up being too tiny to wear. Only in our family is a 8 pound baby considered a “peanut.”

Although Ian was the star of the day Evie got her fair share of attention. It looks like she is going to adore her Grandpa just as much as Ian does.

Christmas!


Christmas morning started off the same way it has for the past 4 years – with all of us sitting downstairs and waiting for Ian to wake up. And waiting… and waiting… Finally I went up and woke him up around 9am then ran back downstairs to grab my camera.

I wish I had thought to turn on the video part of the camera rather than taking pictures because his soft, awed “Wow!” when he saw the fire station Santa left was classic. He walked over and examined it carefully before starting to play. We let him enjoy for a few minutes and then reminded him of the pile of presents waiting to be unwrapped. The next hour was present carnage.

After the presents had all been unwrapped we had a small bite to eat and headed over to my Mom’s for another round of carnage. With James and Sophia there as well it was AWESOME carnage. James is so funny about his presents. He gets SO excited about each present it feels like you have made his dreams come true every time he opens one. Sophia wandered the room happily until she curled up on Whit’s lap to doze. Evie slept the whole time. Ian was his usual happy, slightly worried self (so many people talking and doing things all at once). He finally reached Christmas nirvana when he and James escaped upstairs to play with their presents.

After we finished unwrapping the last gift and making sure nothing had been thrown out with the wrapping paper we got to relax a little while. It was Papa’s first time meeting Evelyn so he held her for a while (and amazingly did not fall asleep!). Everyone has been amazed at how much she looks like her brother.

Then it was on to James and Susan’s for another Christmas! This one was a little more low key, either because there was less present carnage or because we were all Christmased out. Either way, it was nice to sit and relax and be slowly eaten by their extremely comfortable couch. Ian showed us all the Christmas stuff he had helped Grandpa set up when he had come to visit a few weeks ago.

For Christmas dinner it was back to Moms. It was delicious, as usual! There is something magic about soft lighting, good food, and a Christmas tree in the corner. I also had an actual glass of wine (it’s been a while) so that helped my mood to be mellow despite the multiple kids running around.

Christmas evening ended with me back on Jacque’s couch, with Christmas cookies and eggnog, and a warm baby on my lap. All in all, it was a very merry Christmas.

The next day we went to see Grandma and Grandpa in Chilmark to complete our round of Christmas visits. Everyone remarks about how crazy it is to have so many families to visit on Christmas but I actually think we are pretty lucky. Most people have to pick and choose who they want to see – we don’t have to. We get to see and enjoy our whole family.





Edit: Christmas videos!


Since I finally got my act together and figured out the YouTube thing, here are some videos of the day!

Ian and the fire station




Ian opening the King




James opens presents!




Tired Sophia




Ian opens a star wars present!




Friday, January 22, 2010

Christmas Eve


On Christmas Eve morning Evie and I went over to my Mom’s and helped to decorate her Christmas tree while the boys stayed home with Jacque and decorated the Christmas cookies we brought (I made them, but did not have time to decorate them). Mom already had the tree up and partially decorated when I got there. It was very pretty this year – I didn’t do my usual ‘put every single ornament on’ routine – so Mom had mostly just garland, glass balls, and birds. Plus a few kid friendly ornaments near the bottom.

I’ve been pretty lucky this maternity leave. I’ve had Ian but James and Susan have also taken him for a week so that I had some time just me and the baby. So escaping to Mom’s with just one child wasn’t the desperate relief it could have been – it was just nice.

When I got back to Jacque’s I admired the cookie decorating efforts. Someone (John David) had used the opportunity to express his deep and abiding love of frosting, as you can see. Someone else (Ian) was very artistic in the color combinations. I judged them very yummy.

The rest of the day we were pretty much bums on the couch, relaxing, while Jacque did all the soup preparations and work. Kale soup is a family tradition that Jacque started when she moved to the Vineyard. It is simple, delicious, and fun. In the last few years she has put me in charge of arranging the veggie and cookie plates, which she gives me perplexingly lavish compliments on.

This year was a little different. Grandma and Grandpa were not able to make it, so it was just my Mom and my brother. My sister and family came in on the 8:30 boat and then it was craziness for an hour or so before everyone went home and got tucked in to wait for Santa.

Another family tradition is to have Santa’s present, unwrapped, under the tree for the kids to play with when they come down stairs. This year is ‘Lego year’ and JD spent an hour putting together a very cool Lego city fire station for Ian. I put together the stockings and convinced Evie to fall asleep and, finally went to bed at the classic parents-on-Christmas-Eve bedtime of 2am.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Christmas… it begins


Well, my good intentions were to spend the month of December cleaning the house and getting into the Christmas spirit. This meant shopping, decorating, watching Christmas themed movies (like Rudolf), and baking cookies. Only the cookies actually happened. Ah well.

I did manage to pack all our bags and various presents before it was time to leave (barely). JD came home early from work the day before Christmas Eve and we packed up the car and started the trek down to the Vineyard. Normally this is a simple 2 hour drive, but at Christmas it all changes because we bring the cats with us. And now a newborn.

The grey cat, the neurotic one, the one that freaks out every time you go in the shower and sits outside crying until you get out safely, HE is a perfect traveler. The white cat, the lazy, easy going, happy one is a horrible traveler. She yowls at regular intervals (about every 3 seconds) for the entire trip (about 2 hours). It is difficult to describe the sound, but yowl comes close. It is a loud, deep-voiced AHHOW and she can keep it up for hours. We are all a bit loopy by the time we make it to the boat.

This time, however, things were different. For about the first ½ hour the cat yowled away and we grinned and bore it. Then Evie woke up… and she woke up mad. She was entirely displeased by the car, by the fact no one was picking her up, and by the noise the cat was making.

She is not a big crier normally. Her crying sounds more like complaining and usually means “pick me up and put something in my mouth.” And her voice is a bit on the lower side, almost husky. But she escalates quickly. On the car ride down to the Vineyard she escalated all the way to what can only be described as screeching.
For a while there the cat was yowling. Evie was screeching, Ian was yelling “I am lost my patience! I am lost my patience!” and JD contributed by singing a repetitive base line to one of the Christmas carols on the radio. I laughed hysterically. It was pandemonium.

After a few minutes of this the cat was totally intimidated. When Evie quieted down the cat restarted, only to have Evie resume her screeching. After that the cat was quiet, only making a little mewling noise every so often. JD pulled over at a McDonalds and took Ian inside for dinner. I stayed outside and nursed Evie in the car. And then there was blessed quiet the last ½ hour of the trip.

Somewhere in the craziness we did get a break by stopping off at Grandma's in Mansfield. We do this every year to pick up the presents to bring to Jacque. Then we stop on the way back to drop off Jacque's presents to everyone else. Aunt Sheri was there helping Grandma to decorate her tree. Grandma loved Evie and held her again for a long time while we all helped out decorating. She unfortunately didn't remember meeting Evie at Thanksgiving, which was sad, but also made the wonder of seeing her new again. Too soon we had to get back on the road so that we would make the 8:30 boat to the Vineyard.

I always get the feeling that my mother-in-law, Jacque is secretly laughing at us whenever we come visit. And this time, as we unloaded… and unloaded… and unloaded… the laughter was not so secret. Some day we will figure out the trick of making a trip with out bringing along half our household. Jacque herself managed to move all her worldy possessions, including her 8 year old, from Arizona to Massachusetts in a VW Bug. We can’t even make it to the southern part of the state for a week without a wagon full of junk. Well, possessions, presents, cats, children, and everything else under the sun.

Happily all the Christmas we had been missing at our house was right there at Jacque’s. The house looked beautiful – clean, decorated, and smelling like cookies. The tree was shimmering with tinsel and already full of presents. It was well worth the hours of craziness it took to get there.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Playing with the boys (11-30-09)


Ian has really become interested – and proficient – at playing Lego Star Wars on the Xbox. For a change of pace we borrowed Lego Batman for the Wii from Ken upstairs. Ken played it with Ian the day Ian stayed there when I went to the hospital to have Evie, and Ian has been obsessed ever since.

It is pretty amazing how quickly he has picked it up. He has a great memory for what buttons to push when, and can even navigate through the sequences of button presses that take you out of an area and back to the Cantina or Batcave.

In this picture Evie is hanging out with Ian and Papa as they battle the riddle on Lego Batman. I am sure it will be no time at all before she is demanding her own controller.

Thanksgiving!


I was so happy that Evie was only born 2 days late because it meant I got out of the hospital in time for Thanksgiving. I wasn’t looking forward to being induced on Black Friday, or worse, having the spend Thanksgiving in the hospital.

I got out on Tuesday, rested on Wednesday, and JD drove us down to Attleboro on Thursday for Thanksgiving. It was, as always, full of amazing food, family, and fun. I ate a full plate of food, followed by coffee and pie and even allowed myself a half glass of wine which made me feel quite tipsy.

Evelyn was a huge hit of course, and Grandma got to hold and interact with her for a long time. She was so sweet with Evie and Evie was perfectly content to be held by her for nearly an hour.

Ian zonked out on the recliner chair sometime in the evening. I am not sure what led up to him missing a shoe and sock but it was probably some kind of rough-housing with the boys.

video

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Some quick pics


Here is a quickie: some random pics from the last two months that were too cute to not share.



















Monday, January 11, 2010

Don't go away...


There is more to come.

I am not sure when I will get to post again, but I have a whole bunch of stories and pictures of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Evie and Ian's first months together.

I'll be back soon. :)

Comparisons


I had wondered if my kids were going to look alike… but I was totally not ready for the reality. Evie is like a little Ian clone. In the hospital I kept thinking of her as a he and calling her Ian. It really is amazing.

Here are a few comparative pictures. The best one is the official hospital picture they take, but I don’t have that electronically so I’ll have to post it when I get near a scanner.










The first pics I have of each of them does not show how much they look alike, it shows how much more beat-up Ian was, despite being a C-section baby. Poor kid!

The others… can you tell which one is Evie and which one is Ian? Okay, okay. The pink kind of gives it away. But take my word for it… they look alike. :)













Welcome Evelyn Emma Ariana Cage


Evelyn was born at 12:22pm on Sunday morning. She weighed 8.4 pounds , was 20 ¾ inches long, and was absolutely beautiful.

When we got to the hospital thy checked me out and were a little nervous about Evie’s heart rate and the fact that I wanted a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section). They hooked me up to an IV right away which was kind of disappointing because it made it hard to walk around. And I definitely could have used the distraction of being able to walk around.

By 8am I was 7cm dilated and totally ready for the epidural. Evie’s heart rate was fine as long as I stayed on my side so the VBAC was still on. The epidural made things so much better. It made sense to do it just in case I needed another emergency C... but in fact it made the whole experience so much better. I could think and talk and understand instructions again. I had been worried that the drugs would put in the same state I was in during Ian’s labor but it didn’t. I was lucid and aware the whole time. It was amazing.

Okay it was gross and painful… but still amazing! By the end of Ian’s labor I was completely out of it. I could barely see, could barely think – couldn’t even write my own name. My reaction to Ian’s first cries was some thing along the lines of “Ah, that’s nice.” By the end of Evie’s labor I was still me. I could talk and laugh and cry. I could see the tears in JD’s eyes.It was amazing.

Hearing Evie’s first cry made me realize just how badly Ian’s labor and delivery had gone. Ian’s first cry was weak and sad. Evie’s was loud. Loud and MAD. The NICU team was there because there had been some miconium in the amniotic fluid when my water broke, indicated potential complications. Her first scream made them all laugh and exclaim in relief. They didn’t even have to suction her out because her first cry pushed all the fluid out of her lungs.

The first thing someone said about my daughter was “She is fierce!” The second thing someone said was “She bit me!” 1 minute out of the womb and she had no problem latching on to anything that came near her mouth. As I got sewed up (ouch) the NICU team did their thing and pronounced her healthy and perfect. JD was able to pick her up and bring her over to me. She was beautiful. Plump and smooth and quite disgruntled.

After the doctor was through with the cord blood stuff and getting me all cleaned up I got to hold her. She watched me with dark eyes and a serious expression. Since I wasn’t going anywhere until the epidural wore off I decided to nurse her. She was a natural – latching on strongly right away. She nursed for about an hour before drifting off to sleep.

It was one of my life’s most perfect moments. I remembered holding her brother for the first time. Watching him breath as he slept in my arms. And being completely, perfectly happy. How lucky I am to have that twice. How wonderful my life has turned out to be.


Saturday, November 21st: Baby update


The day before this (Friday) I was only 1 cm dilated and had pretty much no progress on the ‘getting ready to give birth’ front. I was grumpy, frustrated, crampy, and generally on a rampage.

To cheer myself up I left Ian with JD and made a trip to Hebert’s candy mansion. This is exactly what it sounds like: a huge mansion house where they make and sell all sorts of candy, mostly of the chocolate variety. It’s a happy place.

My boss had told me that she kicked off her own labor by eating apple pancakes, a whole chunk of almond bark from Hebert’s, and an orange soda. I didn’t do this all at once but I did have apple pancakes in the morning and ate a whole chunk of almond bark on the way back from Hebert’s.

That night was game night (Star Wars RPG) but some of our players were not there so we went out to dinner instead. That was amusing – we went to the Blackstone Valley Shoppes for dinner on a Sat., during Xmas shopping season. A mall that has a movie theatre by the way, and it was opening night of the second Twilight movie – New Moon. It was a mad house.

We went to the Mexican food restaurant and I had spicy tacos and about 4 sips of beer (suggested by my mom to get labor going). And would don’t you know…

All day I had been feeling a little crampy and was not looking forward to the next week. I was scheduled for induction the next Friday and it was going to be a long, long week. At the restaurant the vague ache turned into a very definite ouch. JD was sure I was in labor. I was sure it was just cramps. By 12pm I admitted it – I was in labor. And man, it hurt!

With Ian I was vaguely uncomfortable. The contractions were like a vise closing around my body, an intense feeling of tightness. I had back labor so the worst of it all was the pain in my lower back. With Evie it was sharp cramps that made thinking impossible. Between 12am and 3am I tried to repack my overnight bag several times and finally gave up. I couldn’t focus on anything but breathing through the cramps and trying not to panic.

I called my mom and she said she would come look after Ian. Until she got there our upstairs neighbor Ken agreed to watch him and we transferred Ian upstairs into Ken’s daughter Hannah’s bed. Then, 3am on a cold November night, we drove to the hospital.

Friday, November 20th: Baby update


So the Friday after Evie was due she was still happily ensconced and I had a doctor’s appointment to check the progress (aka, to see whether the cervix was at all dilated). For your amusement, here is the email I sent to my coworkers shortly after my appointment:
________________________________________
From: Hanna
Sent: Friday, November 20, 2009 1:45 PM
Subject: Baby report

So today’s baby report is that I almost strangled the OB/GYN I saw today. He came in, sat down, and asked me “So why are you still pregnant?” GAH! After giving him the evil eye for a moment I told him I have a very stubborn daughter. This was the same OB/GYN who told me three weeks ago that I had a ‘very unexciting cervix.’ His sense of humor is odd. His bravery in joking with huge, grumpy, pregnant women is extraordinary.

The good news is that I DID get my 1 cm back. The bad news is that I ONLY got my 1 cm back. *grumpy* If I make it that long I will be induced at 9am on Black Friday. My poor kids are doomed to be holiday babies.

So this weekend I will be cleaning my whole house, making JD take me out for a steak dinner, going shopping for comfy button-down clothes, and power walking the whole Worcester-Millbury bike trail. I also might drink one (or several) of the following things:

o Glass of wine (per Cynthia)
o Beer (per Mom)
o Raspberry tea (per Mims)

If baby is still happily ensconced on Monday I will be back at work, burning up the VPN. :)

Hanna
________________________________________


For added amusement (and a little more context) here is the slightly edited version I sent to my friends and family:

________________________________________
From: Hanna
Sent: Fri 11/20/2009 4:00 PM
Subject: TMI email on baby status

So I thought I’d share. I don’t remember if I told you, but my due date for the next little Cage was November 19th. Yesterday. Sigh. My doctor visits over the last month have shown that baby Evelyn is quite happy… and that is about it.

Due to timing I’ve seen three different OB/GYN docs in the past four weeks.

o The first one examined me and said “You have a very unexciting cervix. See you next week.” (???)

o The second one (my usual doctor) said “You are one cm dilated!” (Yay!)

o The third one said “Nope, no dilation at all.” (wtf?)

o The fourth one said “Why are you still pregnant?” (*growl*)

Not surprisingly, the ‘unexciting cervix’ and the ‘why are you still pregnant’ were from the same guy. His sense of humor is odd. His bravery in joking with huge, grumpy, pregnant women is extraordinary.

The good news is that I DID get my 1 cm back. The bad news is that I ONLY got my 1 cm back. *grumpy*

So… any day now… or not… I’ll be sending you pics. At the very latest I have an appointment to be induced at 9am on black Friday. Poor kid.

So expect some kind of news, pics, or continuous b*tching, in the next week. :P

________________________________________

Halloween!


My first back in time post is all the way to Halloween. This year Ian was a storm trooper (big surprise), although we nearly had a last minute switch to Darth Maul. It was averted with the promise that NEXT year he would be Darth Maul. Don’t know what we are going to do when we run out of bad guys.

Here are some pictures of him in his STORM TROOPER costume (he says it in all caps too), during this year’s trick-or-treat in the cubicles. Don’t ask me what he is doing in the first pic. Looks like some sort of preschool gang sign.

And for the real star wars geeks, I KNOW that is a clone trooper mask, not a storm trooper mask, but the ST mask that came with the costume was horribly warped. We had to scavenge. /grin

Also, pregnancy mistake #326: Don’t wear these boots while trick-or-treating with your 3 year old if you are 8.5 months pregnant.

They were very sexy... like 8 years ago when I bought them. Now... they've been relegated to Halloween-only status. When I tried to put them on I had to go find the maint guy and beg a screw driver from him. Apparently the heels are held on by screws and one of them was making an escape attempt.

I switched to the sneakers as soon as I gimped back to my office.

On Saturday we were invited to Erin’s for a Halloween party. It rocked, as usual! Tons of games, awesome themed food, and the chance to sit and chat with a whole bunch of other moms. It was great. Afterwards they invited us to stay for dinner and trick-or-treating on their street.

It was Ian’s first ever actual trick-or-treat and he had so much fun. The weather was amazingly warm and the moon was just about full. All of the people on the street knew Neil and Jenny and gave out great loot. I love my friends. :)