Friday, August 29, 2008

Best Buddies

Grayson and Corbin are best of friends. She lives a few houses down from us and all of us really enjoy their entire family. Which is good - because I'm thinking of asking her to marry him.

Well, not right away - I mean - they both just turned five. But - other than that - I think it's perfect. Corbin is already comfortable in my house, Grayson will adore his in-laws, they will make beautiful babies, and she tells on him when he pees outside.

Right now, as I type this, they are "reading" books to each other and have been for about 30 minutes - bickering like an old married couple. I can't stand how cute they are.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It Goes So Fast ...

Grayson and Emma are well into their second weeks of Kindergarten and 2nd grade. They are pros now and pretty much have the routine nailed down. I'm still working on it, however.

I talked to my friend Lori today who reminded me her oldest son Tom is soon starting driver's ed. What??!! I vividly remember the day he went to Kindergarten on the first day. I didn't have children yet but we cried together on the 2nd floor of Columbia Hospital.

I remember that day so well .. sad for her and hopeful I would be blessed with children so I could feel that way too. She saw Grayson's first day pictures on the blog and called to check in.

It goes too fast. I'm aware of it now so I took these pictures of the kids to help remind me that they were little once. I think I may have to have them framed and put somewhere prominent in the house where I can remind myself to slow down and drink it all in.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Trust the Plan

I haven't always been a big fan of change - but I am beginning to wrap my head around its benefits little by little. It's almost never comfortable but inevitably necessary. It is also often instantaneous.

For example, just this week - Emma woke up in the morning with two front teeth and went to bed that night with one missing.

Monte went to work in the morning working for GE Motor Division. He came home in the evening working for GE Energy Division.

Last week, at 12:17, we had three children. At 12:18, we had four.

I pretty much know what's going to happen with Emma's tooth. Emma didn't. She needed some reassurance and explanation. I told her. Another will grow in its place. That tooth was meant to fall out. It was all part of the plan. In fact, the adult tooth has already shown itself - proof that the plan was working. Trust the plan.

I don't know what will happen with the GE change or Cooper's birth. I just know that it feels like part of the plan. Maybe something, somewhere is showing itself - just like Emma's tooth - to prove to us that the plan is working. I'm trusting the plan. I just wish I knew what it was.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Next David Beckham ....

or not. Grayson had his first Upward Bound Soccer Game this morning. For those of you who aren't familiar, Upward Bound is a Christian oriented sporting club that operates out of churches throughout the US. The fees are minimal, coaching is voluntary, and fundamentals, players' character, biblical application, and equal playing time are all stressed. I'm not even sure they keep score. All the kids get introduced before each game and they get to run through a banner and dry ice. Very cool when you are five. I think the emphasis is on all the right places.

He's pretty quick and seems to really enjoy playing. He's still more interested in the snacks at the end than the game itself ... but I guess we've got time to work on that. In the meantime, I just think he looks SO CUTE in that uniform. I mean ... handsome.

Friday, August 22, 2008

One Week Ago ...

we added Cooper to our family. Has it really only been one week? Monte and I commented today on how quickly this week has flown by. He's changed so much already. Each day his eyes open more quickly at the sound of Claire's giggles or our voices. He quiets when he hears my voice. He's awake just a little longer after feedings each day.

I might be holding him just a little too much. It's not because I don't know what will happen if I keep it up. I just don't care right now. I know how fast it goes. It's already been a week.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Hospital Experience

I admit it. I initially wanted to deliver Cooper where all his siblings were born - back in Peoria at OSF. Dr. Lee was there, it was familiar and ... well, tradition. I even had it all worked out in my head. Well, thankfully, calmer heads prevailed and I gradually warmed to the idea of a local doctor and hospital. Still, I wondered if my experience here could ever compare. I couldn't be happier with the end result.

Because both of my doctors ended up being really special to me, I'll do a little bit more on them later. We ended up at Lutheran Hospital - just down the road from our house. It is a large hospital and the Labor and Delivery Unit hasn't been as "updated" (decorating) as some of the other hospitals in the area. However, when I consulted with various nurses and docs in the area, an overwhelming majority was convinced it had the superior nursing care. It also has an amazing reputation for its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and while I hoped we wouldn't need it (and didn't), I wanted it on campus. True, I didn't receive a complimentary Vera Bradley diaper bag, but my experiences there were so positive I could write a commercial on their behalf.

One very special thing they did was to throw a small "birthday party" for Cooper. They made a special point to invite the kids and sent up a tray - complete with a cake and "champaign." They even sent the cool plastic flutes. Claire still uses hers. To a 7, 5, and 3 year old kid, this was really living it up.

When our insurance stated it would pay for 96 hours post C-section, I decided that sounded like a vacation. With the room service, housekeeping, and free nursery care, it almost was. I could have done without the incision, catheter and IV, but hey - you can't have everything. The "pain pump" was pretty alright too - I could push that handy little button every 15 minutes. Never had that in Peoria. Definitely an upgrade.

I did miss home. When I glimpsed the NICU and all the little babies with all the issues surrounding their families, I was so aware of how blessed we were to have stayed only four days and going home with a happy, healthy little guy. A huge heartfelt "thank you" to Lutheran Hospital and all their staff. You've made a lasting impression on this family. God Bless.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Welcoming Cooper Thomas Savage

He's here. I still can't completely believe it. The kids are really in love with him and so are we.

I will admit to something here that I believe many moms goes through but might not verbally discuss. I wondered how he'd fit. Would I love him like I do the others? Is there room? What if I don't feel that connection? How will others react? Will it change our comfy family dynamic?

As only God can do - when the first cry was heard in the OR, everything changed. Only God can make your heart and head accomodate another member of the family so perfectly and instantly. I hadn't even seen him yet and loved him with every aspect of my being.

It all fits. There is plenty of room. I love him completely. The people in our lives that are closest to us have accepted him fully. Of course it has changed our dynamic. It won't always be easy but it will be us. Nothing has changed at the core - except that Cooper's birth has given me an unexpected gift. The gift of seeing my children witness the birth and acceptance of a sibling. You don't often get to see your children go through something like this. The joy and wonder (and sometimes fear) in their eyes has been priceless.

I promise when I get some good pictures taken I will get the blog updated. Emma has suggested that I wait until Cooper is not "so squishy." Sounds like a great idea. I think I may even know a few talented gals I could ask. Speaking of Rebecca and Sarah - I've been thinking about you girls alot this week and I just can't wait until your journey brings your children home.

First Day of School - Grayson and Emma

.... and I didn't even cry. Yet. I can't believe it is Grayson's first day of Kindergarten and he is riding the bus. He'll be gone all day. He's eating pizza and green beans in the "cafetorium." He put his shoes on the right feet -all by himself. How his day goes is not at all dependent on how my day goes. Which is great. It also means his memories of today won't include much of me. I guess, that's also great. If you aren't a hormonal new mom.

Emma treated this morning as if she has going to a 9-5 job her entire life. Been there - done that. I know this is the honeymoon period but she completed her entire routine with no reminders and no complaining. It was as if she could sense our need for her to step up. Proud of you Em!

Claire took it better than I anticipated. She was more than excited to go to the bus stop but was a little whiney coming home with no bigger sibs. Cooper had his first stroller ride and enjoyed meeting the neighborhood kids. I even resisted the urge to wipe his whole self down with hand sanitizer when I got home.

What I realized when I got home was this - we did it. The kids went to bed last night, we had our first night with Cooper here, the sun came up, and with lots of help from Monte, we got 50% of our new brood on the school bus. Life went on - pretty much as expected. He fits right in.

Addendum: In the interest of full disclosure, we DID forget to pack the first day of Kindergarten snacks so Monte took them to the school office. Didn't want you to get the illusion that it was too smooth to be true!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Chunk 'O Love!!!!

I would call him our little bundle of joy, but at 9lb 14oz and 20.5 in long............he's much more of a chunk than a bundle. Besides Chunk 'O Love, he'll be expected to answer to Cooper Thomas but Chunk is liable to last a while.

You'll notice he's a little ticked off, but he settled down pretty well after a first meal in his new world. Settled down might actually be an understatement as he ate and then took a 7 hour nap. Any of you who know Amy and her best friend, neurosis, will understand her issues with this extended slumber so shortly after being birthed. I was sent to consult the nursery attendants as to the likelihood that we needed a neuro consult and returned with one screaming boy ready for round two. After that, he was a little more peaceful (and so was Amy).

If you look closely, you'll see that Amy may have her shot at a brunette and it's got a little wave to it. His eyes haven't been open enough to tell the color yet..........but I'll let you know when I see them. By the time there's another blog entry, it's liable to be Amy adding her normal wit as I have my laptop and the hospital lobby has free wi-fi. She won't be able to stay away from all of you for long.

Here's a couple more shots shortly after the main event. For all the other Dad's out there, notice my scrubs are true, blue, 100% cotton official hospital scrubs. None of those disposable paper mesh scrubs like OSF here.

Me and the boy..........

Amy's first chance to see him outside the delivery room.

Thanks to all for the thoughts, wishes, and prayers that helped us get Coop into this world so healthy. And an extra thank you to all of those who have (and who will...wink wink) bring food over the coming weeks.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Group Hug

The Night Before His Birthday ...

.... and I'm thinking about how it all will change. Life as we know it - the routine, the dynamics, the relationships - all of it. It couldn't be more exciting or terrifying.

I'm thinking about our summer and how it all, amazingly, came together just how I'd hoped. We visited friends and family, strengthened friendships here, and took a vacation to Disney and several "staycations" here at home. We didn't focus on homework - but on the quality time spent together at the pool and neighborhood goings on.

I'm wondering if (and how much) the children will remember. I hope they had the time of their lives. I have.

I'm realizing that God may have sent this baby to give me this summer. My slightly type A self may not have spent the summer the same way without the knowledge I had. I'm thankful I stopped to listen.

I'm preparing ... because while I know that Emma, Grayson, and Claire will be losing a little in terms of one on one time - I also know what they will gain in having another sibling. It means more of everything - squabbling, arguing, and hurt feelings - and giggling at night, playmates when neighbors are gone, and someone to help you learn to ride the big bus to school.

I'm struggling ... because I can't find the words to tell them what this will mean. I want to put it into words ... to prepare them ... to ease the transition. Instead, I just tell them how proud I am of them - that they are such great kids and such inspirations to us that we wanted our family to grow ... and that God agreed. How blessed we are. I hope that's enough.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


We (meaning mostly Monte) have had several projects to complete the past few months - everything from preparing a nursery to adding a fifth bedroom to putting in a whole new front door. Not to mention painting the kids' rooms and creating/putting up window treatments. It is all coming together!!! The basement is functional (not done yet but the guest bed is down there and the doors are hung. The window treatments my friend Marni are making (yes - sewing) are complete in the kitchen and den and the big one is up in our big living room window. I love them and the treatment really makes the view onto the lake look really great. Thanks Marni!

The nursery is done and I'm starting to pack for the hospital. We finally opened the box of diapers in newborn size. Neither of us remembered them being that LITTLE. I've lit my favorite candle (Yankee Baby Powder) and rocked in the glider rocker just imagining what this new little life has in store for us.

A few more last minute details to conquer tomorrow including: Grayson's kindergarten screening, swim lessons, haircuts for all the kids, soccer practice, and Mah Jong at a friends' house. Oh - and my last day of work for a while. More on that tomorrow.

Time to watch the Olympics.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Camping Out ... In Style

The kids have been wanting to do this all summer and the timing and weather were finally right - for camping. We decided to do a little "staycation" (love that word) and do it in the backyard. That way - the potties and snacks would be close at hand and if it started to rain ... or if someone got scared ... their own beds were just yards away.

In case you are wondering, Monte was the only adult chaperone. Wrigley and I decided someone had to guard the house (and the Rocky Road ice cream) so we took one for the team and missed out on the fun.

They had a great time. Notice the extension cord .... apparently used to supply power to the DVD player. Hmmmm... I didn't know about that. They could really hear all the cool wildlife noises that close to the water.

Right now the tent sits (still fully assembled) in our living room. That doens't bode well for tonight's sleeping arrangements does it?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

To Answer Your Questions ....

I know how bad I've been about not blogging lately... things have been just a bit nutty around here. I've decided to condense it a bit then try to answer some questions this way - because I may never get around to emailing and calling everyone privately (oh how I wish I could though).

I worked at Covington's registration today with my friend Jennifer. It was a three hour ordeal and it was at the Kindergarten table. That is special for a few reasons:

1. It is Covington's first year doing all day Kindergarten (voluntary and for a fee) so there are LOTS or new paperwork.
2. It is usually the only table where both parents come and often cry (first one off to school).
3. Maybe not the best place for a 9 month pregnancy lady to be (think easily confused and fairly emotional)....

Anyway - I wasn't much help to Jennifer but maybe I was funny to watch. After all - how many different reactions can I have to "Wow...when's the big day?"

I also had to register Emma and Grayson. Thankfully, I didn't have to pay the $1500 Kindergarten fee all at once. So with books, partial tuitions, etc., I only wrote out about $700 worth of checks. Yikes. That doesn't even include Claire's tuition.

We also had swimming lessons and a OB appt for me. We had to do some tentative measurements of the little guy today. My doctor tells me there aren't enough Diet Cokes and Marlboro Lights in the county to keep this baby under 9 lbs (He has a very dry sense of humor). When he realized I was only 37 weeks and 3 days, he looked a little more pale. His color returned when I reminded him it was a repeat C-section.

So - it is scheduled for 6:00 am on Friday August 15th. I hope to be home on Tuesday the 19th and Emma and Grayson go to their first day of school on the 20th. So many of you have called or emailed to ask how you can help. Prayers for a healthy baby and safe delivery would be great. Beyond that ... I just don't know yet.

Hospital visitors - I'd love it. Anytime after Friday. I might even let you hold the baby after you've washed your hands =). Especially if you bring chocolate, Chinese food, or something from Starbucks.

Monte will be home the week I come home but with all the chaos at GE he will be heading back soon and doing alot from home. He's the interim "cheese" until such time a new "cheese" appears. While you are sending up prayers, some prayers for him and some sleep would be great too.

Thanks again to my friends. You are all just the best.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Emma Gets Her Ears Pierced !!!

She's been claiming to "really want to do this really, really, REALLY bad" for a while now. I didn't think it would stick but it has. So ... for part of her special day - we took her to Claire's at the mall. I called first to make sure they had two techs on staff so she would have two at once. You moms know exactly why I did that don't you? Turns out - good decision on my part or it is entirely possible Emma would have only one earring.

She was a trooper until right before the piercing. Then I really thought she might bail out on us. But - I reminded her of the summer's theme for our family - "Try Something New" (another Jon and Kate idea - the theme thing) and she mustered up the courage. No tears or anything. I was really pretty proud of her.

She chose her birthstone (ours actually) for her studs and she has been great at cleaning and twisting them multiple times per day. It does take me back a bit.

It was such a great thing to do as a family too. Grayson was actually more nervous for her than we were. Monte had to walk him around the store to get his mind off of things .... He was so nervous it was going to hurt her. He can hurt her but no one else better try it. They really do love each other deep down I guess.

Claire was just wowed by the fact that the whole store was named just for her. I'd actually never thought of it until she pointed out her name above the door.

I think she looks pretty grown up. She's already asked me if she can wear different earrings to her wedding. One day at a time girl. But yes ... maybe I'll even lend you some of mine.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Two Weeks From Yesterday ...

When I went to the doctor this week we decided to push the delivery back one week to August 15th. The birthday won't have near the same ring to it as 08/08/08, but we both think the little guy will have more surfactant in his lungs and maybe do a bit better if he has another week inside. Plus - I realize that they are much more work on the "outside" so I am OK with it.

I realized I haven't posted anything in two weeks - Yikes. We've been pretty focused on making sure the kids have a fabulous summer (before their lives are ruined) and getting the school preparations done. There has been lots of progress made on the house ... more on that later.

Monte took the kids to visit their his parents for the weekend and Mom and I did some shopping. I should say - Power Shopping. At least now the kids will have a few short outfits to start school in that aren't chlorine faded and stained from summer activities.

A few weeks ago we learned we have had carpenter ant damage to the front door and consequently -the entire door and framing has to be replaced. Yep. A front door and all its glass components costs a whole LOT more than I thought it would. Combine that bill with the exterminator, preschool and Kindergarten tuitions, and school registration and we could have bought a small (and old) car. Timing is everything.

With less than two weeks left, I've decided to steal an idea from one of my favorite shows "Jon and Kate Plus 8" and do a "special day" with each one of the kids before this baby comes. I've given them carte blanche (well, almost) for their day as long as it doesn't involve permanent tattoing or a ridiculous amount of money. They are thinking about it today. I'll let you know what they come up with.

We took all of them to see the movie Prince Caspian last night. It is the follow up to Chronicles of Narnia - all based on the books by C.S Lewis. It was OK -not great. I am a huge fan of the books and think that, in true Hollywood style, there was too much violence and not enough message. But - Grayson and Emma really liked it. Claire fell asleep.

The front door is getting put in today and I have a hair coloring agenda to fill. And - Emma wants her ears pierced. I have to consult Monte on that one just in case he has an opinion.