One month old

Well this first month with sweet little Declan has flown by. I keep telling him to stop growing but he doesn’t seem to listen. We are adjusting to being a family of four and juggling another little one. Jonah is a great big brother, he loves Declan so much and sings to him and kisses him every time he cries.

Buon Natale in Italia

Christmas in Italy. We tried to go walk downtown in the “Corre Babbe Natale Corre” (Run, Santa, Run) but the bus schedule didn’t work out for us and we got there as all the walkers were crossing the finish line. While waiting for the bus though I had an entertaining conversation with a Romanian lady and a Russian lady, in Italian (obviously this was a second language for all of us).

After watching everyone else finish the walk/run, we wandered around downtown Vicenza and happened upon a “french Christmas market”. Which is super ironic because we had been looking for macaroons for my Mom to try when she was here, and of course right after she leaves we discover a french market in our backyard!

Declan is so fun to bring with us everywhere because Italians LOVE babies. People are so nice to us with a baby in tote! We found a super cafe downtown that we may have to go back to, the people were super nice and the food was delish.

We also drove out to a Christmas market in Bassano Del Grappa to see if I could get a replacement for my broken Bella Befana that I bought there last year…but the vendor wasn’t there this year. Oh well. The search for a new Bella Befana continues. (Bella Befana means beautiful witch, the story goes that the wise men told her to come see the Christ child but she was too busy. Then later on January 6th she decided she wanted to see the Christ child and give him a present but couldn’t find him so she brings presents to all the children.)

We spent Christmas at home in our PJs. Jonah got the Chuggington (train) toy he wanted so he was quite content. We rocked out to Christmas tunes and lounged around all day.

And the last photo is Nick with the most expensive Christmas treat EVER. That sucker cost $10! It’s like divinity with Nutella and hazelnuts in is…they have it all over at Christmas time and this one is from a vendor at the market. Nick always feels like once you ask and they weigh something for you that you have to buy it…..and he paid dearly for this one.

Ciao for now Nonna

We were very lucky to have my amazing Mom here for a whole month. She was a huge help to all of us and we will miss her, Nick dropped her at the airport this morning. Thank you so much for everything Mom. And thank you Dad for letting us borrow her. Just thought I would share this adorable picture of her with the boys (in their matching Christmas outfits, yep, had to do it).

German Christmas markets

I’ve been wanting to check out the German Christmas markets so we planned a trip for while my Mom was still here. We drove up and stayed at the military resort, Edelweiss, in Garmisch Germany. On the way up we stopped in Innsbruck, Austria for their market. It was beautiful but REALLY cold so we didn’t manage to get out the camera much.

The next day we headed up to Munich, for the huge market there. We parked the car and walked up to the Marienplatz (main square) just in time to hear the Glockenspiel (really cool old clock) chiming and see the little dancing people on the tower. We wandered the Christmas market for several hours taking it all in. And yes, I know I look ridiculous in the pictures but I was trying to keep my new baby warm.

Then before heading home we made one last stop at the “Disney castle”, King Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein. Right next to Neuschwanstein is another castle, the one Ludwig grew up in. We opted to tour Neuschwanstein, which was never completed due to Ludwig’s death.  They don’t allow photos inside so you’ll have to take my word that it was neat, Ludwig was an interesting guy with an affinity for the opera which inspired the design of the castle.  My favorite was his bedroom, it was full of so much wood carving that they said it took 14 carvers 4 years to complete. His bed had tons and tons of spires coming off the top of it.

Check out this website to see photos inside the castle

And lastly a few photos of the fancy military resort lobby with their beautiful Christmas decor up including the most awesome Santa chair.

Hanging out

Declan is a very content baby. The only time he really cries is when you change his diaper or give him a bath. He grunts progressively louder when he is hungry. When he is awake he looks all around, taking it all in with his pretty blue eyes. He poops and then after you change his diaper he always poops again, it’s a talent I’m pretty sure. He doesn’t scream at us anymore (he used to scream really high pitched when you changed him, now he just cries).

Jonah had hand foot and mouth starting the day we brought Declan home so he wasn’t allowed to touch the baby for the first week. But now that he is over it, he has been surprisingly gentle with Declan and loves to kiss him every chance he gets. Jonah has been busy helping Grandma cook and clean, he loves to do “team work” with Grandma. We loooove having Grandma here!

Nick got 10 days off for paternity leave and has been busy working on his computer certification and spending time with his boys. BOYS. Plural. Crazy.

La nostra prima neve in Italia!

We had our first snow here in Italy! Actually it did snow a little last year but it never stuck. Which is why when this snow started sticking Nick and Jonah ignored bedtime and went out to play. Jonah rolled up the middle ball for the snowman all by himself! A couple of neighbor kids joined the fun.

What’s in a name?

So you may notice that I never mentioned little man’s name during the telling of his birth story. That’s because we really didn’t know yet what it was. We had it narrowed down but had not quite decided. But then about 20 hours after he was born Nick informed me that his name was one that we had already eliminated. He said “Jen, his name is Declan. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, but the only thing that I can only call him is Declan.” I was half asleep and said “ok”.

So his name is Declan Patrick Lloyd. Declan because we like it. Patrick in honor of my mother, sorry Mom, I’d wait for a girl but I’m afraid it might not happen!

Birth story

Here are all the boring details, and the best part…photos.

My whole pregnancy I was totally convinced that this baby would be at least two weeks early, if not more. I had many reasons for this, including that Jonah was two weeks early and that the doctors were concerned that because of my medical history that I would not be able to go full term. So while my due date was technically December third, I told pretty much every one that I was due at the end of November. The last few months I had lot’s of contractions, adding to my belief that this baby was well on it’s way. Then, on November 18th, my Mom arrived, two weeks before the due date. And my contractions stopped. On November 19th I had a doctors appointment and I was 2 cm and not at all effaced. Not promising. I seriously was starting to believe the baby was never going to come out. So my Mom and I putted around, trying to keep busy and see some of Italy until my appointment the next week.

November 27th at 3 pm I had a doctor’s appointment. 3 cm and 70% effaced. The doctor stripped my membranes. My Mom said that would take effect immediately but I didn’t feel much for several hours. Then at about 7 pm I started having regular contractions. We put Jonah to bed and sat down to watch a show at 8pm. By the time the show was over I was pretty sure I was in labor, with contractions being 4-6 minutes apart and getting stronger. So I finished packing my hospital bag, called a friend to take Jonah and headed off for the hospital on post.

We arrived at the hospital at 11:30 pm, I was admitted after they checked me and said I was 5 cm, 100% effaced. Then the fun began. And no, I’m not talking about labor. I’m  actually talking about putting in my IV. A nurse came in and tried my right hand and quickly blew the vein badly, it really hurt. Then she tried my right inner elbow, and once again painfully missed. She wimped out and sent in another nurse. He attempted what he called an “old fashioned” stick, mid way up my right forearm. It hurt badly and I was getting really tired of being poked as my contractions were getting stronger and I needed to focus on dealing with them. I started crying and scared him off from trying again. The doctor arrived at this point and found me in tears, I was so embarrassed. Here I was crying over the IV and I was about to give birth with no pain meds, I felt dumb. They sent in a third nurse. She came in and attempted a spot midway up the inside of my left arm, this one was the worst of all. I’m pretty sure she stuck it straight into a nerve. I began crying uncontrollably this time, I had had it. She tried to keep it there for awhile because I guess she did get it in the vein but it kept hurting really badly so she finely took it out. I had a hard time calming down after that because I knew they would have to try again. I also knew that it was getting closer to time for this baby to come and I really needed to focus on that to get through the contractions. They gave me a break for a little while to calm down and then sent back in the very first nurse, armed with smaller needles. Instead of trying to get the blood draw from the IV she did that separately. With a smaller needle she got the IV in my left hand and took a blood draw from another spot on my inner right elbow. So all together they stuck me six times and it was nearly 1:30 am at this point.

Pretty soon I felt the urge to push. They checked me and said I was still at 9 cm and needed to wait. Each contraction after that I had to really focus on relaxing so that I wouldn’t push. They checked me two or three more times after a few contractions would go by and I would start telling them it was time. Each time they told me I needed to wait. Finally I told them I couldn’t wait anymore so they said ok and the doctor got everything in place. I have no idea how long I pushed, it wasn’t more then a half hour, but it was longer then the eight minutes it took me to get Jonah out. At 2:04 am he was born, 9 lbs 2 oz and 22.5 inches long. He was a dark purple color and I kept asking why but everyone assured me he was fine. I remember feeling kind of out of it at this point, just really tired. It took me awhile to come to a little bit and feel excited about our perfect little man.

It is amazing how quickly these little people do wrap you right around their little finger. It didn’t take long to fall absolutely and completely in love with this little man.

First meeting with big brother went really well. Jonah still needs to work on being gentle, but he does love him and even asked if we could take him home with us. So we did.