Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall and Fans

Fall is here, and my blogging has definitely fallen off. The full impact of being back at work is starting to hit, and as usual, we have been on the go. It's hard to believe Drew and Emily will soon be four months old. So much to record, so little free time!

With hockey season starting, we are about to have even less free time. Soon, Drew and Emily will go to their first Canes' game out of utero. My, it seems like only yesterday that I was huffing and puffing my way down the stairs to our seats:

Last Thursday Marty and I used our lunch hour to take the babies to their first official Canes' event. The Eye was opening at Crabtree, and one of our favorite Canes' players, Tuomo Ruutu, was signing autographs. Drew, ever curious, waited patiently on Marty's shoulder. Emily, always unpredictable, slept peacefully in the stroller. As we inched closer, I tried to wake her up so she would be alert for the picture. No luck. She didn't wake up until it was our turn. Ruutu said something that sounded like "two!" although we are not quite sure. He graciously signed their new onesies and let us snap a quick picture.

On Saturday, Emily and Drew were able to show off their new autographed onesies at the Caniac Carnival. They enjoyed the practice session, and I did surprisely well managing my anxiety. Drew was fascinated by the lights, and he watched intently until he fell asleep. Emily wasn't as interested in the players as she was in spitting up. Good thing the onesie set came with a bib.

Last night was a home pre-season game, and Marty was itching to take them. I bought them the only ear plugs I could find--some big orange hunting ones--and also some fleece jogging sets to go over their onesies. At the last minute, I decided I just wasn't ready. I decided, instead, to just take them to eat at the Brickhouse before the game, and save the experience of their first NHL game for another night. It looks like Drew loves anything related to hockey, including pre-game traditions like the Brickhouse. It looks like Emily prefers napping over pucks.

Assuming I can locate baby ear plugs and convince Marty to wear a baby carrier, I may concede to taking them to the free pre-season game next Friday. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dear Drew

September 8, 2010

Dear Drew,
You are three months old, and you are one beautiful, smiling baby! Over the last six weeks , you have transformed into this happy baby who will grin and coo and laugh. And, when Drew smiles, the whole world smiles with Drew!

Your road to wellness was bumpy. The crying that had grown increasingly more intense and shrill was eventually diagnosed as colic and reflux. Several episodes mimicked seizures, which led your panicky mom to take you to the neurologist for an EEG. We switched formulas and medicines. We added pricey probiotics. And then one day you woke up not screaming. You started smiling and you never stopped--not even when you lost your voice at 11 weeks when you got a bad case of thrush.

While you are generally happy anywhere, you do have what we call your “happy places.” You love, love, love the changing table. All smiles there, especially when you catch us unprepared with a surprise spray. You love being around your Grandmas…all of them. You soak up Granny love. You love your swing, and it’s a sure-fire winner when we need you to nap. You love your Bumbo seat, probably because you get a better view of everything. You love the front seat of the stroller, our shoulders, the back porch--pretty much any place where you can see the world.

Now that you are not in pain, you have so much more energy to devote to learning all kinds of new things. You coo all the time, and on my first day back to work, Julie heard you say something that sounded just like MAMA three times. Your head control is getting so much better, and your head lean is gone. Looks like our exercise plan paid off! You love to turn on your side when you are playing on the floor, and if you could just get your arm out of the way, you would turn right over. Well, you already have--with a little help. This week you were on the floor having “twin time” with Emily when you went on your side. Emily, being the helpful big sister that she is, gave you a kick in the butt. You went right on over!

Another milestone that was probably more important to Mommy and Daddy than it was to you was sleeping the night. As if you knew I was going back to work, you and Emily both slept through the night at 11 weeks. We put you both down for the night at 10pm and you both slept until 7:00! Just when you had us spoiled, you woke up at 5:30, then 4:30, and then 3:30. Seems like we are now back to 6:00. We’ll take it.

You and Emily earned your first money this week. Looks like your official first job is being cute. We took you both to Hillsville, VA to the Labor Day Flea Market with Grandma, Papa, and Great-Grandma Nettie. While we were taking a break at the local Burger King, an older gentleman stopped to admire the twin cuteness. You two always have a way of attracting a crowd. Mr. William from Danville was so taken by the two of you that he gave each of you a two dollar bill. How appropriate--two dollar bills for two babies. Your first job was being adorable.

You also did your first charity work. We had a Little Pink Houses of Hope photo shoot to promote our friend Jeanine’s foundation. Daddy wouldn’t let me dress you in all pink, but he did concede to a pink bow on a white onesie. You and Emily voted, and I am sure your cute smiles persuaded a few others to vote. Regardless, Mommy had fun playing with you both.

Drew Bear, we can’t wait to see how you will amaze us next.


Dear Emily

September 8, 2010

Dear Emily,

Today you are three months old, and I am still amazed at your perfection. I still find myself staring at your beautiful face, especially when you are asleep, and I still have a good cry when I think of you growing up too fast.

And growing fast, you are. You cut your first tooth on August 29, just shy of 12 weeks old. You found your hands a couple of weeks before that, and they kept your mouth occupied as your little tooth struggled to pop through. At your two month well check appointment, you measured in the 95% percentile, which might explain why we moved you up to Size 2 diapers this week. You continue to be so strong. When we take the bottle out of your mouth to burp you, you will stand straight up in protest. Just yesterday we learned we can’t leave you in the Boppy seat without close supervision. You have figured out how to get your feet under you and kick up. You can almost kick yourself out the top of the seat. It looks like we’ll have to move you to your crib soon because, with a few more inches, I will worry that you will be able to kick yourself out the top of the bassinet.

You do the funniest things, and I can only hope we have captured them all through pictures and video because words simply do not do them justice. For example, you will bury your face in your daddy’s chest when you are asleep, and I will freak out wondering if you can still breathe. You are still so curious and will whip your head side-to-side, looking all around. You will hold your bottle once we get it in place. You still do the stretch where you arch your back and poke your behind out, just like you did when you were in my tummy. You have these sweet pink lips that look like you are wearing lipstick, and they are even cuter when you do that funny lip smacking thing after you finish your bottle. You make formula look so good!

We have several nicknames for you. Daddy has always called you his Emmy-Doll. Lately, you have been my Emmy-Bee. Cousin Kaelyn calls you Em-Ma-Me, and now I find myself using that name for you, too. The doctor calls you Sassy. You seem to like all of your names because you just smile when we talk to you.

Eating is still one of your favorite parts of the day, and it’s funny to see you perk up at the sound of a bottle shaking. You love the back porch, and sometimes when you are crying, I will walk you out there and you will magically get quiet. We listen to the birds, the wind, and the crickets. You also like to be cuddled. Right now, you are rocking with your Daddy in the recliner. You still don’t like the small bath tub we use downstairs, but you love the big tub upstairs. We have started watching you more closely on the changing table, since, like your brother, you seem to enjoy peeing on it when your diaper comes off. You and Drew still love the swings, and by far, you both like the one we got for free over the one we paid lots of money for.

You and Drew are playing so well these days. It’s funny to see you both kicking and squealing on the floor. You seem oblivious to Drew, except to kick him, but he quiets and smiles as soon as we put you beside him. You really don’t like tummy time or your Bumbo seat, but we can usually talk you through it. Lately, you have fought taking a nap. You will cry with your eyes closed as we rock you. But, at night, you will usually talk yourself to sleep. Just a few nights ago, you laughed yourself to sleep. I sat and laughed with you.

Another big milestone was that Mommy went back to work one day shy of your 12 week birthday. I spent the weekend before turning Daddy’s man cave into a baby cave. His poker table serves as a changing table. The Play Station is packed away, and the projection screen is obscured by the swings, boppy seats, play mats, and Pack N Play. We have also taken over the smaller bonus room. It’s now officially a playroom. All the shelves are full of toys, books, and assorted baby gear. While I cried and felt so guilty leaving you two that morning, I knew you were in good hands with Julie and Cousin Kaelyn. Not only did you have the perfect room, you had someone watching you who would love and care for you as her own while I was gone. You had such a good first day, and I have the video to prove it. I love getting texts with pictures and video of you two during the day, and we are all so lucky to have someone who loves you to watch you during the day.

Emmy-Bee, we can’t wait to see how you delight us next.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Little Pink Babies

I am beginning to think this weekend is called LABOR DAY weekend because I have about a million things to do. Even though I may never see the end of the to-do list this weekend, I have started each day by completing one simple, yet very important task: voting for Little Pink Houses. And even though I have other things I could be doing right now, including blogging about babies, I am going to spend time doing something more urgent: explaining Little Pink Houses.

If you know me, are friends with me on Facebook, or have run into me in the last couple of weeks, then you have seen or heard something about Little Pink Houses of Hope. What is Little Pink Houses, and why am I begging you to vote?

Last June, Jeanine Patten-Coble, one of my dear friends and colleagues, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39. I still remember the shock and sadness when Jeanine calmly told me the news. In typical Jeanine style, she spent most of that conversation comforting me and asking me how I was handling the news. That’s Jeanine--always sensing what others are feeling and asking how she can help.

Since the shocking diagnosis, Jeanine has weathered chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, along with the complications that such aggressive treatment entails. I remember going to visit Jeanine during one of her hospital stays at Duke. When we arrived, we learned Jeanine was in isolation due to a possible infection. As we peered at her through the glass window, we didn’t see a weak, depressed patient. No, Jeanine was smiling and laughing as we wrote messages on paper and held them up for each other to see. That’s Jeanine--always able to make the best out of a less-than-ideal situation.

She is a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a friend, and even though having cancer is a full-time job, she nurtures each of these relationships with a love that has only grown deeper since her diagnosis. She can be found at her son Jake’s basketball games, enjoying a laugh with one of her brothers and sisters, spending a quiet moment with her husband Terry, giving her mom and dad a hug, or bringing her friend who just had twins a bag full of her favorite foods. That’s Jeanine--always putting people, not things, first in her life.

Last summer, right after finding out she had cancer, Jeanine, Terry, and Jake left for their annual beach trip. This beach trip would be different, though. This year she would have to find the words to tell her 12 year old son that she had cancer. Not only did she find the words to tell Jake what no other parent ever wants to have to tell her child, she also found something else--inspiration. It was during this trip that Jeanine first had the idea of Little Pink Houses, an organization that could provide week-long beach retreats to breast cancer patients and their families. That’s Jeanine--always finding a way to give instead of take.

Jeanine envisioned a place where families could come together, and love deeper, laugh harder, and live stronger. What a great idea, and what a huge undertaking. There was money to be raised, houses to be secured, volunteers to recruit, advertising to design. The task would overwhelm most corporations, let alone a single person. Jeanine, though, is no ordinary person. She took the challenge, mobilized her resources, and put her talent where her heart is. That’s Jeanine--always redefining what is possible.

Little Pink Houses is now a recognized organization, and one of its first efforts is competing for $50,000 in the Pepsi Refresh Project. Pepsi is giving away over a million dollars each month to fund great ideas. Ten winners will be chosen each month based on the number of votes received. In order to win, Jeanine and Little Pink Houses of Hope need your help. How can you help? First, vote by text message and online each day during the month of September. Next, spread the word to your family, friends, co-workers, church, and neighbors. Finally, think of how you can use your own gifts to help Little Pink Houses of Hope.

For more information on Little Pink Houses of Hope, check out the website

Vote online at

View cute Little Pink Babies promoting Little Pink Houses of Hope here...

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