Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blast from the Past

This morning, I decided to teach little Max a bit about sea turtles.  So, I pulled out my photo albums from when I spent some time living on St. Croix, U.S.V.I -- volunteering at Buck Island National Park.  Paging through the photos and teaching him all about the life cycle of the turtle brought back so many fun and good memories (let me tell you it is really easy to teach SCALE/SIZE of an animal when MOMMY is IN the picture WITH that animal!!)...  So, I had to scan in a few of my favorite photos from my time there...

Juvenile hawksbill

We actually had to snorkel the reef and CATCH the juvies with our bare hands -- I can't say that I was ever quick or nimble enough to catch one...but it was quite an adventure!

If I remember correctly, this female hawksbill trekked a LONG way up the beach...and turned out to be one of the HEAVIEST hawksbills that visited that summer.

A female nesting underneath the beach vegetation -- sea grape.  Beach vegetation serves as shade for the nests, which is important in determining sex of the offspring -- reptiles hatch from eggs, and the sex of the offspring is determined by peak temperatures during development.  Because of numerous hurricanes, beach vegetation has been diminished, which is worrisome because it can result in temperatures too high for the offspring to live, or extremely skewed sex ratio of the resulting offspring.  I conducted a mini experiment at the end of my time on Buck Island to address this issue that I wrote up for my Bachelor's Thesis.

Check out the size of this Green Momma!!

The team, right after we broke the park sign!  LOL

The large sand grid we built for my experiment.  I was testing to see if applying a white sand treatment to the top of a nest would reflect sunlight and result in lower nest temperatures.  So, there are random squares of 0, 25, 50 and 75% sand to dirt ratios here covering buried temperature probes.  End result - it DOES work. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sam's Baptism

We had Sam's baptism on May 9th -- Mother's Day!  It was a perfect day to celebrate, and we were blessed with lots of friends and family joining us for his big day.  I was also especially touched to be able to share my first Mother's Day of two with Sam's blessing.  Here are a few photos from the ceremony:

Pre- ceremony

Big Max introducing us to the congregation at the beginning of mass.  When we walked into the church, little Max exclaimed..."Look, Jesus!"... It was pretty funny...

The little guy startled a little bit when the water was poured over his head, and then settled back into his cozy sleep....  Fr. Dave, the priest doing the baptism is the same priest that married Max and I in 2005, and also who baptized little Max in 2007.  We were very happy that he was present to baptize Sam as well...

Introducing Sam to the congregation.  I always get teary-eyed at this part.  I did during Max's baptism too...

Sam's godparents -- Chris and Laura

Sam was pretty hungry after all that excitement, so this is just about the only good picture we got after the ceremony.  I might have to put him back into the baptismal gown and see if I can stage a few pictures at home for the baby book...

I seriously didn't wash his head for almost a week after the ceremony.  I LOVE the way that the Chrism oil smells...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What We've Been Up To

Yesterday, Sam turned 5 WEEKS old.  Crazy, isn't it??  I don't know where the time went...well, actually I do.  It's been spent nursing, changing diapers, rocking, singing, playing, going to the playground, the zoo, the store, cleaning...well, you catch my drift.  Whew.  And I though working was tough!?! 

All in all, I have to say the transition from one to two has gone smoother than I expected.  It doesn't hurt that little Max is already 2.5, and he is over the moon in love with his baby brother -- so he doesn't mind sharing storytime, snuggle time, playground time, mommy's lap, etc..  It also doesn't hurt that, for the most part, Sam is a pretty mellow baby and when Mommy needs to put him down to give some extra snuggles or attention to the #1 boy, he doesn't usually complain.

I've been trying to keep up busy, without going too crazy.  I think we've found a happy medium between playing at home, playing outside and just relaxing.  Since Max has been in daycare, I felt some pressure to keep him on a routine/schedule similar to what he's had at school, so that the transition back in July won't be so tough.  But, it turned out that it looked like keeping up that type of pace was going to be harder on me -- so sometimes, something has to give -- and you just have to be brave enough to recognize what has to give.  We still do what I consider to be an enrichment type activity every day -- but it is not nearly as structured as what he would've gotten at daycare.  And that is FINE.  Because, I am considering our break together sort of as his 'summer vacation'.  See it?  Guilt is going out the window... (hear it, I am still trying to convince myself...).

Anyways, as time has been flying by, here are some of the fun things we've been up to lately:

Going to the zoo:

Max and his buddy (from up the street and school) John.

Aww...isn't this sweet?  He loves giraffes.

Sam and Ryan (John's little brother born two weeks after Sam) and their first trip to the zoo.

Taking a train ride at the zoo.

Sam sleeping in interesting positions...

Sam chilling out in his crib...

Max rocking out to music.  Big Max found his old walkman, and little Max decided he must have it.  So, we hooked him up with a tape of Beethoven and some earphones.  This kid was ear to ear smiles for the next hour.  Rocking out to Beethoven....LOL.

And, of course, ROLLING OVER. Sam seems to have mastered the tummy to back roll, and I FINALLY got it on film:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An interview with Max

Interviewing a 2.5 yr old is not an easy feat...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Max is Two and a Half!!!

Dear Max,

I can't believe that today you turned 2 and a half!!  That's 30 months old!!! Where did the time go? You have done so much growing and learning in such a short amount of time. Having a brand new baby in the house makes this just that much more apparent.

You are such a smart little boy - you know your ABC's and can sing the song and identify all your letters. You can count to twenty and identify numbers through ten. You've known all your colors for sometime now, and now you know your shapes too: triangle, diamond, hexagon, circle, crescent, square, rectangle, oval, octagon, heart, and, my favorite, the rhombus!!!  You love to sing, and you love everything about being outside: the dirt, the bugs, the animals, hiding under trees, blowing (green NOT purple) bubbles, watering plants, helping mommy plant the garden. You love to go to the playground and one of your favorite things to do there is still the swings. You also like crossing the bridge and walking around the little pond imitating the birds and picking up willow branches that have fallen down.

You are getting into sports more and more. Throwing and kicking balls, swinging your golf clubs.

You still love to do puzzles and love to read books. We often hear 'do it again' when you want us to reread a favorite ... which nowadays could be: Green Eggs and Ham, Where the Wild Things Are, The Monster at the End of This Book, or Curious George.

Sometimes in the morning when we get dressed, you like to help pick out the color of your shirt, other times it is 'mommy do it...'. But you always pick out your socks, and you are pretty good about matching your socks with your shirt.

Bedtime and naptime are pretty uneventful and easy. You generally sleep 10-11 hrs at night from 7:30-8pm to 6:30-7am. You still take good naps - usually around 2.5 - 3 hrs from 12:30-3:30.  You have to have 'blue blankie' with you for sleeping...and you have to be holding onto the special 'tag'...not the big tag, but a little tag that you flick back and forth with your thumb so much it is getting worn out...

You are also a good eater - still prefering veggies ( green especially) and fruits. You are getting better about eating meat.

Your vocabary has exploded, and it seems you always have something to say. Sometimes it is awfully silly, and other times it seems profound for a child your age...

You love to help mommy with chores, which makes cleaning a lot more fun. It is especially more fun if we sing a song while we do it. We have special songs for cleaning, brushing our teeth, washing up in the bath, washing our hands and using the potty.

You do have a few favorite tv shows or movies: your most 'flavorite' being Max and Ruby, but followed closely by Nemo, Curious George, Wall-E, and Word World.

I can still count on getting some snuggles from you - sometimes they come when I least expect it (or when I can't reciprocate). This morning you told me "that's enough snuggles, mommy"...which made me laugh...

Other favorite toys/games include: anything on mom's iTouch, your train table, your 'beep beep', books, puzzles, vacuuming with your corn popper, 'checking your email' (LOL), and playing outside.

I am so proud of you for how you took getting a new baby brother all in stride. From the first day you met him, you've been nothing but excited, proud, posessive and empathetic. It makes me so happy and hopeful that the two of you will share a close and deep brotherly bond. When Sam cries, you respond with "it's ok, Sammy Sam". It warms my heart.

You are an adorable, bright, and wonderful child. You have a loving personality that shines for all to see. Even when you are being naughty, daddy and I have to fight back the smiles, and we remark how cleverly you are able to act up, just by twisting the rules a little bit...

Two and a half years of life with you has been a fun adventure - learning our strengths and weaknesses as human beings and finding patience where we did not think it existed. but it has also taught us the depths of love and just how far we'd go for family.

I can't wait to see what is in store for you on life's path. I do know that it will be filled with richness and love.

Love always,


Monday, May 17, 2010

Sam's 1 Month

Sam had his one month check up today. 

He weighed in at 8 lbs 11oz (Max was 8 lbs at his 1 mo checkup, but that appt was also a week before he was actually 1 month...and Max was lighter at birth); and 21.25 inches.

I wrote little Max letters periodically that I've filed in his baby book.  But with the blog, I figured I'd start sharing them here.


Dear Sam,

Amongst all the fun nicknames you have accumulated in 4 short weeks (such as:  Samma-Lamma-Ding-Dong, Sammy Sam, Stinky Sam, Sammy McSamerson, Silly Sam, baby Sam and baby brother) I call you my mellow boy because that is just how you have been during my pregnancy, my labor, my delivery, and your first month on this earth. I mean, you slept through your baptism and your circumcision!!! You are just content to watch the world silently - listening to the sounds around you and drinking it all in - quietly. You are the quiet Yin to your older brother's loud Yang. Although I suspect that will change as you get older.

I still have so much to learn about you, but I do know that you are already a momma's boy - loving to be close to me all the time, with an uncanny ability to sense as soon as I've left the room...Luckily, you love hanging out in any of the several baby carriers I have accumulated, which is good because now I know they are getting good use.

One thing I have noticed is that your hungry cry changes to an angry cry in SECONDS. In fact, I think there have been times you've woken up and skipped the hungry cry altogether. It makes me laugh, because it seems you've inherited both your mom and dad's stubbornness and impatience.

You had a really stellar first week of nightime sleeping, and have now settled into a more 'typical' newborn pattern. Still usually only waking me one or two times a night, so I can't complain...and so far we appear to have avoided the 'witching hr' I remember having with lil Max... Also, unlike your older brother who slept in the car seat for a few months, you are already sleeping in your own room in your crib. You like the sleep positioner and the swaddle and the white noise machine...

You love the sound of your big brother's voice, getting all still and quiet when you hear it. It gives me great hope that the two of you will grow up to be best buddies.

So far, in your first month, you've hit quite a few of your milestones already!!! Your first smile, your first cooing, even your first time rolling over from your belly to your back. I almost thought it didn't count, but then you went and did it again a few days later -- in both directions!!

Our first month together has gone by way too quickly - I knew it would from past experience. You've gotten so big already, and your personality is starting to reveal itself more and more. How lucky am I, to be your momma?!?!  I can't wait to see what the future holds for you!!!


Are you done, Mom??

**a special thank you to Sarah Key for the adorable month by month stickers!!**

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What a catch!!

Look at the fish that Little Max caught at my parent's house after the baptism!  My dad cast the line, but he reeled it in and landed the fish himself!!  Good thing my dad was holding on to him!  Looks like we have a future fisherman on our hands!!

Letting it go...

Bye bye fishie!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Visit from the McGrandparents

The McGrandparents came to visit the week after Sam was born.

We celebrated with chocolate, of course!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

When my back begins to ache from holding you for hours because you just needed to snuggle with Mommy,

I will remind myself that you will soon grow too old and too big to be carried in my arms.

When you ask me to stop what I am doing and to come see your latest treasure or find,

I will remind myself that the everyday chores can wait, and that these moments are fleeting.

When your cries wake me up midway through the night,

I will remind myself that you are new to this earth, and you are only asking me for help.

When that first smile creeps across your face,

I will be thankful that I know that smile was meant just for ME.

When the laundry piles up with no end in sight,

I will be thankful that we have clothes to put on your back and a way to clean them.

When I see the look of joy on your brother’s face when he sees you each morning,

I am thankful that I was blessed with two beautiful boys who are filled with love in their hearts.

When you test my patience and try your best to make me react,

I will be thankful that you feel safe and loved enough around me to try these new tricks.

God truly blessed me as a Mother by blessing me with you.
Every day I am thankful that I am a Mother.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

2 Week Checkup

Sam went to the doctor today for his two week check up (+ 3 days).

His stats:
Weight = 7 lbs 9.5 oz (YAH!  Back up to and exceeding his birth weight!!); 40%
Height = 20.75 inches; 40%
Head Circ = 37 cm; 40%

He is a healthy little boy.  He demonstrated his strength by almost rolling from his back to his belly while the doctor was examining him.  In fact, just yesterday he rolled himself from his tummy to his back while we were doing tummy time!  I don't know whether I should consider it a true 'rolling over' or not, as he's only 16 days old and he hasn't really 'uncurled' himself yet.  The doctor said we should -- based on what she saw today.  I know I shouldn't compare the two boys, but little Max didn't roll over until he was 6 months old!!

Sam is still mostly mellow.  He is getting a bit of his personality now, and I can't wait until I get to see smiles.  He is starting to make some cooing noises...but they are few and far between.  I loved it when little Max cooed at me...can't wait for Sam to start doing that too!

Tonight will be Sam's first night in his crib.  Wish us luck!  :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Max meets Sam

Mellow Sam

Sam, hanging out in the hospital...this seems to be his temperment still today!!

My own Mini-Me?

After Little Max was born, I posted his baby picture next to one of Big Max's and Grandpa McLaughlin's.  They looked SO much alike!! 

(from L to R: lil Max, Big Max, lil Max, McGrandpa)

And, while I do see many similarites between little Max's baby pictures and little Sam's...I think that Sam looks MUCH more like his Mommy.  But, you judge for yourself!

Baby Stef - 3 days old; Baby Sam - 6 days old

Baby Stef -  4 days; Baby Sam - 12 days old

Baby Stef - 4 days old; Baby Sam - 1 day old

I know it can't be just me....