Friday, July 29, 2011

I'm back!

Surprise! Since my last post - we had another beautiful baby boy, Brady Robert, Ben grew up (2 1/2 now!), we moved out of the city to the burbs (Walnut Creek), and I became a full time mom. Wow, you'd think I would have more time to blog now that I'm a full time mom - not the case.

I have so many stories to remember to tell you boys when you are older, and I'm so afraid I will forget them, so here they are - your 'babybook blog'. I have about 20 draft posts from when Ben was little (before Brady), so those will be finished and posted also. We'll be out of order a bit, but hopefully I won't be too confusing. As I write this now, Ben is 2 1/2, and Brady is 5 months old today!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Coming Home

Even though being at the hospital was tiring, I was really nervous to go home at first. I was trying to figure out reasons why we would need to stay an extra day or two. I was nervous about walking to the car, getting up our stairs and also being alone (without doctors and nurses) at our house with a newborn baby! But when the time came I started to get really excited about being at home. This was the first time I'd ever stayed in a hospital, and I was getting excited to sleep in my own bed.

Your dad took about 3 or 4 trips to Uncle Steve in the waiting car, with all of the stuff that we had packed, of which we didn't use any of. I had packed a bunch of outfits for you, and for me. What was I thinking? I also had all of the hospital items that they tell you to bring for labor. I think the only thing I used was the chap stick. Why on earth do they tell you to bring magazines? I brought about 10, and didn't have time to even read the covers. Here's your proud papa walking you out of the hospital for the first time.

Uncle Steve flew up from LA for the day to meet you, and he helped us on the drive home from the hospital. Your first ride! You were so little and cute in your plush carseat!

Your dad was so excited to bring you home, and show you your room. He brought you upstairs very carefully, and Alex videotaped your arrival.

Alex and Niky got the house ready for your 'warm welcome' with signs and balloons and a cute gift for you.

You are one lucky boy.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


On your birthday after a long long night, with no sleep, we were finally transferred into our hospital room where we could rest. I remember being wheeled to the room while laying down in a bed, I told the nurse I felt like I was in an episode of Grey's Anatomy, and she laughed and said, "kinda, minus Mcdreamy". Your dad was wheeling you in your bed behind us. When we arrived at our room, which was just across the hospital on the same floor, Jennie and Christina went to Pasta Pomodoro in Laurel Village and got us an early dinner. I ordered two dinners, because I was so hungry. Pasta never tasted better. It was true that I got my taste buds back immediately after birth - thank goodness! I was starved.

We had fun getting to know you in the hospital, although we were EXHAUSTED. Watching you sleep, eat, blink, yawn, it was all fascinating to us. You were so strong for a newborn - and did I mention large - with extremely strong neck muscles, already holding your head up.

You even got a nickname in the hospital. One of the nurses said the word 'Tukus". I don't remember whose she was referring to, but we thought it was pretty funny, and started calling you Tukus right away. It has already transformed a bit, to just "Tookie".

When your dad wasn't taking care of me, he was changing all of your diapers, and swaddling you, and taking you to all of your scheduled tests. He was so proud of his little 'Tookie"

After one long night of labor, and two nights of 'resting' we were so tired from the whole hospital experience. Nurses, doctors, pediatricians, birth certificate people, family, friends etc.. were constantly coming in the room. We were usually on the phone telling all of our loved ones about you. During the couple quiet moments, we stayed awake and watched you sleep.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Benjamin William

The first three months of your life have kept your dad and me extremely busy, which explains why I haven't been keeping this updated with all of your activities. We finally got to meet you and see your sweet face at 2:47pm on October 24th 2008. You were born 8 lbs, 11 oz and 21 inches long. I'll never forget the feeling I had when I first saw you. Through my tears, I felt an instant desire to protect and care for you. You were sooo cute, and tired! It was a long day.

I'll start with a few details about the day you were born. It all started the day before your birth on Thursday, October 23rd. I started to have contractions in the morning , but Dr Yee said not to call until they were 5 mins apart for over an hour, so I kept a pad of paper with me all day and wrote down each contraction. Laurie picked me up that day, and we went to lunch at Blue Barn on Chestnut Street, and we both had the burratta grilled cheese, (my last meal for a while...) During lunch I felt a contraction about every 20-30 minutes. Laurie was nervous that she would be rushing me to the hospital at any minute, because I kept taking my note pad out of my purse to jot down when my contractions were happening. I told her we had time, but what did I know? We then went to Bi-Rite ice cream in the Mission where I got a scoop of snickerdoodle ice cream - YUM. After I got home the contractions started coming closer together. I called your dad to tell him to come home early from work just in case. I was right. At 4:45 they started coming every 5 minutes.

Your Dad and I quickly and calmly packed, showered and ate a snack (chicken noodle soup and toast). We got to the hospital at about 7:30pm. They told me that I was in fact in the early stages of labor, but that the hospital was full at the moment. Whaaaat? That happens?
It wasn't even a full moon! The triage nurse said I should probably go home anyway since it seemed like I had some time, although they told me that my water had broken already, so they knew we'd be back soon. We went home, and tried to get some sleep, and at about 2am after NOT sleeping myself, I woke up your dad, and said "It's TIME!" He wrote down the timing of my contractions for about 20 minutes, and wanted to wait for the full hour so we wouldn't get sent home again. After I shouted that I was going to the hospital without him, he realized this was not like before, and we raced to the car. Luckily the car was already packed and we knew exactly where we were going. At this time, I was IN PAIN, and I made your dad stop the car with each contraction, which was about every 2 minutes at that point. Good thing it was 3 in the morning, no other cars on the road... When we got to the hospital, they were expecting us, and all our paperwork was out, and they were ready for us to get checked in. I was progressing so quickly that I thought I might try to do it without without meds (epidural). I'm very glad I didn't do that, because you were in a sideways position, which is not ideal for labor, and after many failed attempts to encourage you to move, you never did - and you were to big for the Dr to be able to move you, which means I would have gotten the meds at the end either way.

After 2 1/2 hopeful hours of trying to push you out calmly with just the nurse and your dad and I in the room, the on-call Dr came in (Dr Green), and she said, "we need to get him out, NOW". Apparently you were getting pretty tired and we weren't progressing. All of a sudden our calm anticipation turned into the middle of an episode of ER. The head nurse came in, the anesthesiologist came back, the bright lights turned on. Because of the fact that you were quite large, and not moving into the correct position, they mentioned needing a C-Section. At which point I felt completely defeated, and burst into tears, drained of all of my energy. FINALLY Dr Yee arrived, and assessed the situation. She told your dad she was going to try forceps, and if it didn't work we'd be going to the OR. When I heard this, I gained my composure back, and knowing this was our only shot, I used all the energy I could possibly muster. Everyone in the room was involved. It worked.

Seeing you for the first time was surreal. I was completely overcome with emotion. Nothing else mattered in the world. You didn't exactly come out gracefully, so they didn't give you to me right away it seemed like hours while they cleaned you off, your dad cut the umbilical cord, they weighed and measured you, etc. Finally you were in my arms, and I never wanted to let you go. I didn't expect you to be so cute on the first day. I couldn't stop staring at your adorable face. So tiny and so precious, with HUGE cheeks. Your eyes opened, and I fell madly in love with you.

Alex and both of your grandmas were waiting patiently outside the delivery room to meet you. We finally called them in, after we gained some composure and while you were eating for the first time. We loved the fact that they were there to greet you so soon after your birth, and they were so thrilled to see you. No one could take their eyes off of you.

Your dad was amazing that day. He was such a strong support, and made the whole thing a lot easier for us. We were really in it together, and I felt much stronger and able to get through it all with him by my side. It was an exhausting night/day for all of us, but we were so happy to meet you!

Our first family photo :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Your Room

We hope you like it!

Past Due!

You are officially past due. Your dad and I were at Dr. Yee's office the other day, and her exact words were something like.. "You are going to have a BIG baby!" as she was measuring my stomach. Yesterday was your 'due date' - Oct 22nd, which was your Great Grandpa Howard Stilwell's birthday. Looks like you are getting your own day. When will you come??

Sunday, October 19, 2008

7 years!

Today is the 7th anniversary of your dad's and my first date. I can't believe how time has flown by, I'm only 31! I was thinking that it would be really cute if you were born today, but so far, I think you've got your own plans, and you are going to wait until you are ready. It makes me feel old to think it's been 7 years since our first date at Godzilla Sushi on Divisadero and Bush street in San Francisco. The receipt from that date is framed in our bedroom. Your dad kept it in his wallet, and gave it to me a year later. The ironic thing is that behind that receipt in the frame is the receipt from our first anniversary - at Jardiniere on Franklin and Grove, for about 6 times the price. Our dates started stepping up a bit.. especially the 'special occasions'.

Your dad is the smartest, kindest and funniest person I know. He loves his family more than anything and it is such an honor for me to wake up next to him everyday. I know he is going to be such a great father to you, and you are one lucky little guy. He already has so many plans for the two of you, like Sunday morning coffee runs while mommy gets to sleep in (that's my favorite), walking on Crissy Field with you in the Baby Bjorn, taking you to baseball games, and 'guys time', watching the 49ers. You two are going to have so much fun together.

The first due date that Dr Yee gave us was October 20th. After your first ultrasound, they changed it to Oct 22nd, and that's been the 'official' date ever since. It's a special date because your Great-Grandpa Howard Latham Stilwell was born on Oct 22nd in 1887! That's 121 years ago, wow. I never met my Grandpa Howard, because he had my dad later in life (age 43), and my dad had me later in life (age 47), so that made for some large generation gaps. He was a very special man, and I'd be very proud for you to share a birthday with him.

Some other special dates you may be born on; Oct 19th - our first date (2001). Oct 25th, the day your dad proposed to your mom in Paris (2003).

Some vintage mom and dad pics from our trip to France when we got engaged..


Wine tasting in Provence

St Tropez


Friday, October 17, 2008

Your Name

Your Dad and I have a name for you. This doesn't stop us from continuing to look through name books - just in case, but it's pretty inevitable what your name will be. It's a name that we thought of pretty early on and loved for you, and it has stuck out as our favorite and although we've done some extensive research, we just can't imagine you with another name.

By extensive research, I mean we've found all of the things that are important in a name for our little man. A strong, powerful, respectful name. A poetic name with a proper syllable count that matched your last name, it even has a 'mirrored' sound which is an added bonus. We wanted a sentimental aspect with a bit of family history, but most of all we wanted to give you a 'cool' name. Your dad actually came up with this name in the first place, which makes me like it even more. We are waiting to meet you in the hospital before we make it official, and of course, until we sign your birth certificate, we could still change our minds.. but I don't think we will.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Getting Ready for Baby

Over the last several months, we've learned that there is definitely a lot that goes into preparing for a baby, and your dad and I have been participating in all of it. We're having so much fun getting ready for you. Setting up the nursery, reading all the pregnancy and childcare books, labor and baby classes and getting flu shots to keep you healthy. I'm even watching the tv show documentary "Bringing Home Baby' on TLC as I'm writing this.. We've also been spending a lot of time in baby stores, trying to figure out exactly what the heck you are going to need. Of course, once we figure out something that we need for you, there are about 10 options, so figuring out which one is a challenge also. I'm pretty sure we are just going to have to learn along the way with you.. sorry about that.

As you can see your dad is quite a handy man - lucky for us. Hopefully he will teach you to be handy too, and I'll never have to go to a hardware store with your dad again... Here he is putting together your crib (without instructions!). I love your crib, it's a hand-me-down (one of many) from your older twin cousins Aidan and Brendan. Baby Conor doesn't need 2 cribs, so basically you and Conor get to be the recipients of lots of their cool stuff. I can't wait for you to meet them and play with them. They are going to teach you all kinds of things like how to knock stuff over and how to run around in circles screaming and laughing. I'm pretty sure you'll have fun.

Here are some pictures of your dad and I on the last of our McMoyler Method baby classes. We brought lots of snacks and big pillows for mom to sit on. You are awfully big, so sitting for any length of time is a challenge. We now feel confident that we are armed with all of the knowledge we need to keep you safe and healthy. Hopefully we'll never have to use the 'Infant CPR' that we learned at class.

Here's your dad carrying the heavy stuff up the hill to the car.. Mom is a slow walker these days, and the hills in SF make getting around a bit more challenging.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Labor Day 2008

As part of our planning for a larger family, we needed to get a bigger car, and of course, your Uncle Chris, the family car expert, found us the perfect one at his dealership in Salt Lake City. Coupled with the fact that your Aunt Mia sent your dad and I a bunch of baby boy gear (including your crib!) to Utah for us to pick up, we decided to fly out and pack up the new car and take all your gear home. Labor Day was the last official weekend we were allowed to travel before you were expected to arrive.

Your Dad and I took advantage of the long weekend to see some family. Bobi and Chris were extremely hospitable and let us stay at their house. Their backyard is filled with fun games like horseshoes, croquet and lots of really big trees. It's a huge hit with your cousins and you are going to love to visit when you get older.

We got to spend some time with Uncle David and Aunt Alena and your two adorable cousin's Ava and Gracie, and had a fun BBQ at their house. We also got to hang out with Uncle Brian and Aunt Janese and their fun brood. Aunt Janese is preggo also, 4 months!, so their baby (gender unknown) will be your closest-in-age cousin. Conor is the next closest at 1 1/2. Here is a pic of the preggo Mommy's.

We also spent some time with your Great Grandparents. A highlight of our trip was our visit with your Great-Grandma Elaine and Great-Grandpa Don. Grandma Ruth's parents are very special to us all, so we were very excited to spend some time with them. They are an example of one of the most precious love stories that I've ever heard, and are  a very inspiring example of a long lasting marriage, and a very happy life together. 

Grandma Elaine told us some funny stories about your Dad as a little kid and also about the day his brother Steven was born. Apparently the fact that an ambulance came to the house to take his mom to the hospital didn't concern him much, while uncle Brian was running around the house very worried and scared, little Jonny was only interested in the tuna sandwich that he was eating. Even at age 3, your dad was quite the little foodie ;) They are so excited for your arrival, and we promised to bring you out there very soon to meet them.

Your aunt Bobi and I decided to take some preggo pictures in their backyard..

Thursday, September 11, 2008

8 Months!

I'm now 8 1/2 months pregnant and can't believe you are coming so soon. It's also hard to imagine my belly getting any bigger than it is right now. Here is a preggo pic of mom that your dad took to mark the 8 months. So far the pregnancy has been relatively good, and as excited as I am to meet you, I'm really going to miss being pregnant. Strangers are always smiling at me, people fight to take my bag down on airplanes, if someone spills in a coffee shop, they run over to clean it up, so I won't fall. I'm going to miss the extra attention and kindness for sure. I also love feeling you wiggle around all day. You continue to move around like crazy, causing your dad to always ask "what is he working on in there?" I love to sit down and watch my stomach move from side to side. Your dad said that I have a new habit of grunting a lot. Walking up the stairs, flipping over in bed and getting out of chairs are all things that used to be a lot easier for me.

Your dad and I went to see Dr Yee today and she said you are progressing perfectly and are now in the 'head down' position and ready to eject. Your heart sounded as strong as ever and your growth is on track. We talked about all the hospital logistics and got the phone number to call when labor starts and we are on our way! We then headed over to the presidio to do a little photo shoot of you in my belly.

I get asked by pretty much everyone I know or meet what my food 'craving' is since I've been pregnant, and honestly there are more aversions than cravings. I used to be a big fan of eating, and now it's more of a necessity rather than a luxury. I've heard that changes right after birth, so I'm excited for my appetite back. Nectarines have been my craving for sure. I can't pass one at a farmers market or an outdoor grocery display without buying one. They seem to taste better this season than ever. Your Grandma Marci brought me a huge box of them a couple weeks ago and they went alarmingly fast. Your Grandma Marci had the exact same craving when she was pregnant with me, which I thought that was pretty ironic.

In other news, I bought you another pair of shoes yesterday. I've temporarily forgotten about my own shoe obsession, and am focusing on shoes for you. They are so cute, and so small. My favorite are the ones that look like Daddy's shoes, and I can just imagine you guys together. I realize that most of your shoes will never be walked on, but I really can't resist.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Baby Showers

The excitement for your arrival is contagious. There are so many people that can't wait to meet you, and it's very evident in the love that they've shown you at your baby showers. You've officially had 4 showers, 2 of which were surprises. The first was the family shower at your 'cousin' Alex's house in Davis where she goes to school. I highlight cousin, because she'll be more like an aunt to you, as she's more like my little sister than a niece since we're only 10 yrs apart. She'll be your favorite babysitter, cause she's a pro. In fact, I need to take some lessons from her.

Here we are with cousins Madison, Gabby and Alex, Auntie Bobi and Auntie Mia

The tea party was hosted by Alex, your Grandma Marci and aunties Mia and Bobi. We even used your Great-Grandma Helen Stilwell's beautiful china for the tea party, which was such an honor. It was a great opportunity to have the family and close friends get together to celebrate you.

Here we are with both of your grandma's :)

The extended Hinchey family was there (aka the Griswalds when in combo with the Stilwell's). Above is Bobi, Shannon, Nancy, Maddie and Bev.

Your Grandma Ruth and her best friends were able to come, and we were so honored to have them. Everyone had fun guessing how big my belly was so far. Pictured here with Grandma Ruth are her best buds Debbie, Ginger and Annette.

We have to give a big thanks to Alex's roommates Kendall and Lauren (pictured above) for letting us invade their house not only for the weekend, but more like the whole week, and also for being such good friends to Al.

It was very exciting to celebrate with your aunt Mia and cousin's Madison and Gabriella since they moved to England the next week! Even your little cousin Conor was there and had a great time with all the girls. Here we are with your cousins, aunties and extended aunties Lisa and Jennie.

The second 'shower' was a surprise all-girls day that kicked off with lunch in Santa Cruz with your Mickelson aunties; Janese, Mindy and Alena & Grandma Ruth. The day was super fun and filled with lots of advice from these experienced ladies. They love you already and are so excited to meet you. I'm so thrilled for you to be joining us all at the Mickelson get together next summer.

The third was another surprise and was from all of my friends at Barclays, where mom works. They tricked me and asked me to participate in a meeting, that ended up being a fun celebration with delicious Kara's Cupcakes and lots of talk about how much fun we are going to have with you, and how sleep deprived your dad and I will be :) They gave you your first high chair, that is all set up and waiting for you in our dining room.

The fourth was hosted by your mom's friends Christina, Meg and Jennie. They completely outdid themselves with a beautiful party at Pres a Vis in the Presidio in SF. They are such good friends to us, and we are so blessed to know them.

The long table was set beautifully, with special menus and adorable chocolate bars celebrating "Baby Mick". I was very impressed with their amazing creativity! It was such a gorgeous room on a lovely foggy day in San Francisco. A fun tid-bit and piece of history is that when your Grandma Marci was pregnant with me, and Meg's mom was pregnant with her, a mutual friend threw them a joint baby shower (we were born 2 weeks apart). The guests all came with double gifts, so Meg and I wore matching outfits for a long time as babies. The fact that she is now hosting a shower for us is really special, and kinda ironic.

Many guests commented on how the girls missed their calling in the party planning business.. We were in a beautiful room for the afternoon enjoying a delicious lunch at a long table with all of your mom's best friends. The food was amazing, and the girls did a great job picking out the menu! I couldn't believe how much you were showered with love that day, and gifts! Here we are opening some of the loot!

Everyone had so much fun catching up and it made me realize how blessed I am to have such wonderful friends around us, and how blessed you are to be able to grow up with amazing role models that care so much about you.

Christina, Lisa and Allegra

Eva, Laurie, Mom, Katie and Jennie

Allegra and Danielle

The college roomies, Jen, Heidi, Mom and Ashley

Katie, Michele (who came all the way from Kingsburg!), Alysen (who came all the way from LA!) & Kristin.

Here's the whole group :)

Your dad even snuck by and left a big package for you and I. Here I am checking out Daddy's gift. He really is such a sweetie and I hope you grow up to be as sweet and thoughtful as he is. He really loves us a lot, and we are so lucky.