Wednesday, July 28, 2010

One month!

Can it really be one month already? It feels fast and yet it feels like he has been a part of our family forever. Curtis is a pretty happy baby and if he were my only child, I don't think he'd ever cry. He loves to be held and will lay content in my arms. I talk to him and sing to him and he just looks up at me. He smiled at me two days ago. I think there were a few half smiles in the days leading up to it, but this one was deliberate and directed at me. It lit up his whole face. And mine too.But there are times when he does cry. Times when he just wants to be in Mommy (or anyone's) arms but can't because I have to change Graydon's diaper or put him down for a nap, or just give him some attetion. That is hard. I feel so torn and don't want any of my kids to feel slighted.But when Curtis gets upset, he's pretty easy to calm down. It usually involves just picking him up and holding him. . .

. . . which I love to do. :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

This and That

The kids went on a High Seas Expedition this week at our Vacation Bible School.
It was a busy week that completely zapped Andy and Curtis of all their energy. But we still found time for playing on the floor. It's hard to believe that Bella and Graydon were as tiny (actually tinier) than Curtis.
Curtis made some new friends. . .
. . . snuggled with Mommy . . .
. . . and told Bella that she is the coolest big sister EVER!
It was a good week!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Curtis turns three weeks old tomorrow. He is nine days in the photo above. I'm finding myself very sentimental lately. The other day while rocking Graydon, I glanced at his foot. It looked huge. The image of Curtis's tiny feet ran through my mind and then my eyes filled with tears. It's going to go so fast. I feel like Graydon was just this size and now look at him. . .
Curtis still has his cord stum here. It fell off that night. 1o days old. Earlier in the day during quiet, alert time. So far, he seems to be a pretty relaxed baby. Mild mannered. And when he does fuss, easy to console.
He likes to be swaddled. He likes his paci. He likes to be held. And combination of the three does wonders.
(12 days old)
He is already changing before my eyes. As of his dr. appt. last Tuesday, he surpassed his birth weight and was 8 lbs. 2 oz. I know that he's gained some ounces since then and can already seem him filling out. He's also starting to lose that "sunburnt" look that all newborns have. And, he's already rolled over - several times!
We gave him his first tub bath last night. As you can see - not a fan.But as soon as we placed him in the towel, he completely mellowed out. Nights are going about as well as they can at this point. He already seems to be getting himself on a little routine - down for the night at 9pm, up again around 2am, then 5am, then 7:30am at which point he's ready to start the day. Of course, not every night follows this pattern, but in general he's up about 2-3 times.

Before Curtis was born, I had visions of snuggling with him on the porch while Bella and Graydon played in the yard. Generally, my fantasies never match reality. This time, however, they did. Most of our days look just like that. The reason, though, isn't because I'm this great mom who wants her kids to get some exercise and fresh air. The reason is because my house stresses me out. Toys everywhere. Dirty dishes in the sink. Laundry piling up. Dust accumulating. I'm trying to embrace the chaos and go easy on myself during these early weeks. The easiest way to do it - ignore it. And the easiest way to ignore it is to go outside. I'm so thankful that Curtis was born in the summer! I'll address the mess eventually, but for now I'm just enjoying my little ones.

Doesn't Graydon look like such a sweet boy here?
Looks can be deceiving. Remember when I said how gentle Graydon was with Curtis. Well. . . I think it's safe to say that the novelty of the new baby brother has worn off. He's probably about 90% rough and 10% gentle now.

A common scenario from this past week: I'm feeding Curtis. Graydon brings me his shoes. (His way of letting me know that he wants to go outside). I tell him to wait until I'm finished with Curtis. He throws his shoes and then starts to hit Curtis.

Graydon got his first time-out this past week.

I know this behavior is to be expected, but I much preferred when he was the loving big brother.

Check out Bella's new look.Her first (and hopefully only) black eye. She ran right into her door latch. I was just a few feet down the hall from her when it happened and as she headed toward me I could see it grow bluer and puffier right before my eyes.

I've definitely thought twice about taking her out in public with me. All I need is somebody thinking that I did this to her!

Random stuff:

*I referred to the baby as "Gratis".

*Andy referenced a conversation that we had just before going to bed. Although he says I was awake (apparently I was even standing up in our room), I have absolutely no recollection of this conversation.

*I was horrified when I noticed how long Graydon's nails had gotten. They clearly hadn't been trimmed since before Curtis was born. I trimmed them up as soon as I got a chance. . . One week later.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Big Sister, Big Brother

It was no secret that Bella was hoping for a new baby sister. She prayed for one and talked constantly about "Amelia Rose" (our girl name) but could hardly even remember "Curtis Michael". Before Curtis arrived, I kept reminding her that this baby could be a boy - to which she replied, "But I really, really want a sister. I already have a brother."

When Curtis was born and he was indeed a boy, I was slightly concerned with how Bella would react. We didn't tell her that Pumpkin was a boy until she arrived at the hospital. I was holding Curtis in my arms and invited her over to see. When she came to me, I introduced Pumpkin to her as "Curtis Michael".

Her initial reaction broke my heart, just a little. I think I would have preferred a big fit or tantrum. Instead, she gave us a big smile that I could see right through. It was for our benefit but did not indicate her true feelings. It was also obvious that she was holding back tears, all while trying to keep this forced smile on her face. It still makes me sad just thinking about it.

Here she is holding Curtis moments after finding out that he was a baby brother.I knew that this news was rough on her but that she would eventually warm up to her little brother. I am happy to say it happened sooner that I thought it would. Andy brought Bella to the hospital the next day for an extended visit. My mom stayed at our house with Graydon. We talked with Bella about how she was feeling and she had already done a complete turn. She said things like, "I love my little brother." And, "Having two little brothers is the best!"

I could tell that she meant it. Here are some photos from that day at the hospital.Since we've been home, Bella has been so attentive to Curtis. She wants to hold him.And feed him.
One night she was in tears while going to bed because she was going to miss Curtis. "He's just so cute and little and I'm going to miss him so much."

I went to a friend's baby shower today. Bella was upset. Not because I was leaving, but because I was taking Curtis with me. She wanted him to stay with her.

I think it's safe to say that she loves this little guy. And although he seems a bit ambivalent in this photo, I can tell that Curtis loves her too.
As far as Graydon goes, I have to say that I am impressed and pleasantly surprised at his reaction to and interaction with his little brother. He's probably 90% gentle and 10% rough with him. I thought it would be the opposite. Graydon has been in a hitting phase lately. It's more playful than mean (most of the time), but still not something that I want him doing to a tiny guy like Curtis. So when he leans in (several times each day) to give Curtis a hug, it really warms my heart.And I think it is so adorable when he runs his hands over Curtis's head and says "gentle".He definitely has a fascination with Curtis. I'm guessing he's just not used to seeing anyone so tiny. I am really looking forward to watching their relationship develop over time. And here is a sight that I never tire of. My THREE kids together!!!I look at each of them and can't believe that their precious lives began and grew inside of me. Such a miracle. I sure do love them!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Grandma Debbie's Birthday!!!

The day was Friday, July 2nd. It was our second day home from the hospital. Bella's ballet class recital was at 9am. I rushed to get her ready and Graydon fed. Andy and Curtis were going to be with us as well, but Curtis was still asleep when it was time to go and we didn't have the heart to wake him - so Andy stayed back. Good thing I already had some pumped milk available.

Off we went, Grandma, Bella, Graydon, and me. We arrived in time and then I realized. . . I forgot my camera. No pictures or video of her first recital. I still have mommy-guilt over it. My mom did get some video with her cell phone, but I couldn't figure out how to get it on the blog. :( The photos below are from last month when she had her class picture. I let her wear make-up. She looks pretty - but a bit too old for my liking. No more make-up for a while.
Bella performed beautifully. At the end, each girl was given a trophy. Bella is so proud of that trophy. We had it up in her room, but she has since brought it downstairs for all of us to enjoy.

After the recital, we headed over to a pottery place to work on Grandma's birthday present.

Bella and Grandma got right to work.
Curtis snuggled up with me. He looks huge here. Love that double chin! We made my mom a platter with the kids' hand and feet prints.This was what Curtis looked like while we did his prints. What a trooper!Later in the evening, we kept true to the Benetti tradition and had pizza and ice cream cake. Andy and Bella picked up a balloon for my mom, but Graydon claimed it right away and did not let go. Not even to eat.Make a wish! Several weeks before my mom came to town, Bella began working on birthday presents. She ended up with three total and gave them to my mom throughout the day: a flower necklace, painted frame with a colored picture inside, and a stickered wall hanging. Here they are opening up the final gift. I still think that my mom's time here went way too fast. We already can't wait for the next visit!

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Big Day

The photo below is the last one from my pregnancy with Curtis. It was taken about one hour after my water broke. It was Sunday evening. Our c-section was scheduled for 7:30am the next morning. I hadn't quite finished packing for the hospital but I wanted to be sure the kids had baths as we headed into the birth of our baby. While wrestling with Graydon to get him dressed, I sensed a slight "pop". I can't remember if I thought much of it at the time. Later on while rocking with Graydon, I felt some increased cramping which finally had me wondering if something had happened. When I went downstairs (sorry if it's TMI), the leaking started. I told Andy and my Mom and then made a quick call to the doctor. While there was no need to rush, he did say to get to the hospital soon. After taking a quick shower and packing the rest of our bags, Andy and I were off to the hospital!!!

We entered through the ER and were immediately taken to the Maternity Ward where I changed into a gown and got hooked up to all kinds of things. The resident was a bit concerned that baby's heartrate was on the lower end (110s). Her concern subsided after some time and it looked like we'd be waiting it out until 7:30am. Upon hearing this news, Andy decided to get his pillow from the car and to find a vending machine for some snacks. While he was gone, I started having more contractions, one that lasted for several minutes and again brought concern to the resident in charge as baby's heart rate got erratic. After that, she decided that while the baby is still healthy and there are no complications, it would be best to just get him or her out.

Things started to move pretty quickly after that. The anesthesiologist came by to introduce himself. He said we'd be ready to go in just a few minutes. Panic set in for me at this point because Andy was still gone (apparently there were vending machine issues). Thankfully a quick call to his cell phone got him back to the room within minutes. Before long, I was off to the OR to get prepped for surgery while Andy was off to the recovery room to get dressed in his scrubs. While getting prepped, I experienced a range of emotions from excitement to slight anxiety (I'm about to have surgery). Andy arrived just as the initial cut was made. I felt lots of tugging and pressure, but no pain. My perception of time is probably a little off here, but I think it took about 10 minutes and then his head was out. The next thing I heard was. . .

It's a BOY!!! They brought him over to the side so I could see him - all goopy and gross. . . and BEAUTIFUL!

Born at 2:40 am on June 28, 2010. 8 pounds even! 21 inches long.They cleaned him up and kept him in the OR with me. Both Bella and Graydon were taken away while I got stitched up, so this was a new, and very welcome experience for me. Andy was by my side, holding Curtis and talking with the anesthesiologist. About a half hour later, I was sewn back together and ready to go to recovery.

Andy and Curtis came too. This was the first time I got to hold Curtis. He is about an hour old here.I stayed in recovery for an hour and then was brought to my new home (for the next few days) in the Mother/Baby unit. It was at least 4:30am by this point and I hadn't slept yet. I remember my eyes forcibly closing on me and had to get some rest. The three of us slept until about 7 am when Curtis got a little hungry. I probably nodded in and out for the next few hours.

Later in the morning, my mom, Bella, and Graydon came to meet Curtis.Bella tried to hide her disappointment that her new brother wasn't a new sister, but she did warm up to him pretty quickly. (More about this to come).Graydon was surprisingly cautious and could sense that he needed to be "gentle" with this new, little person. I was a bit concerned about Graydon's "Big Brother" t-shirt being too big. I couldn't find a size smaller than 2T. I should have paid closer attention to the shorts, however, as they were also too big. While all the focus was on Curtis, I looked over at Graydon and this is what I saw.He was completely unphased as the buttons on the bed were much more intriguing.

Graydon was kind of a bull in a china shop in this tiny hospital room. He kept trying to pull the IV wires out of my arm, almost unplugged my monitors, spilled water, juice, etc., and called the nurse while playing with some buttons.

But he was such a proud big brother.I spent the next few days in the hospital, healing from the surgery and bonding with my new little guy. Thursday morning came and we were all ready to go home! Car seats inspected. Check. Let's go!!!We've been home for four days now. So far, I'm finding the transition from two to three kids to be easier than going from one to two. It helped so much having my mom here (she left yesterday). Today was my first day on my own. It's not over yet, but has gone pretty well so far. I seem to have entered that weepy post-partum stage where I cry over every little thing; but overall I feel so thankful and blessed for this wonderful family that God has given to me.