Tuesday, August 25, 2009

5 Months and Back to School

All ready to go!
Well, this has been a busy month.  The biggest change was going back to work.  It was hard the first couple mornings to say good bye to Vince, but once I was at school, there was no time to be sad.  That the great thing about teaching - the day flies by!  I only work every other week, too, so that has already felt like a weight lifted off my heart.  Vince is doing so well with the babysitter across the street, and of course he loves going to Mommo and Boppo's every other Thursday.  Anthony is finding it harder than he expected to work from home on Fridays.  Coffee breaks have turned into feeding, changing, playing breaks.  But it is all worth it.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to stay home with Vince without giving up my career.  Oh, who am I kidding?  What's nice is getting a paycheck again!   It may not be much, especially now, but hey!  Every penny counts!  I had to laugh when I made a trip to Target soon after I received my first paycheck to spend money on something other than diapers and formula for the first time all summer.  WooHoo!  It felt like a shopping spree!

Having fun with Mommo and Boppo!

Mommy finally caught a smile in the pool!
So of course, just as I started back to school, Vincent started to become REALLY fun!  That makes it especially hard to leave him in the mornings.  He has become so animated.  He smiles and giggles and laughs all the time.  I've even been witness to his squealing a couple times.  He founds his feet and toes, so if there isn't a toy or pair of glasses to grab, his toes are never far away!

Vincent is rolling over like crazy, too.  No sooner do we lay him on his back that he rolls right over to his tummy.  You'd think he'd like being on his tummy, but he still gets frustrated and needs help.  But he does lift himself up onto his elbows quite easily now.  He's also trying so hard to sit up on his own!  Anthony and I wish we had that kind of core strength!

I love this picture for many reasons.  Murphy and Lucy are becoming more and more protective of the little boy, and are never too far away.  This morning, Murphy got cozy while Vincent napped in his bouncey chair.  So sweet.  Another reason I love this picture is how much it reminds me of my grandmother.  Memere always loved being under covers, no matter how hot it was outside.  I remember her big comforter that she repaired time and time again because it was her favorite.  Well, this is proof that she is watching over us.  Vincent loves loves loves his fuzzy blankets, too.  Here we are in the middle of the desert-it's 110 degrees outside!  But inside, in the cool air conditioning, nothing feels better to Vincent than a cozy blanket to snuggle up with.  He fights sleep, tossing and turning, until he gets a hold of his blanket.  He pulls it right up to his cheek and he goes light out.  I am so glad we've got ourselves a snuggler! As long as he'll let me I'll rock him to sleep.  No problem with that!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Take Me Out To the Ballgame!

Thanks to our good friends, Tess and Jeff, we were able to take Vincent to his first MLB game.  We had awesome seats, just one section back from homeplate.  The Dodgers were in town, so it was great to see Manny get booed.  Even though he had a great game, the D-Backs had a better game and beat LA 4-1.  We had so much fun, and we are pretty sure Vinny had a good time, too.  He loves watching baseball on TV, so being in the ballpark was a great opportunity for him to take in all the sights and sounds of a ballpark.  He never stopped looking around.  

One of the best moments came when Baxter the Bobcat (Chase Field was formally Bank One Ballpark, but more affectionately referred to as the BOB, hence Baxter the Bobcat), anyway...the best moment came when Baxter came over for a picture with Vinny.  The usher gave Vinny a pin that said My 1st D-Backs, game, and Daddy bought Vinny a rattlesnake shaker to cheer on the "Snakes."

Baxter the Bobcat with Vinny

Vincent stayed awake for most of the game, finally falling asleep in the 8th inning.  The man seated behind us leaned in and asked, "Is he always this good?"  Of course he is!  He received so many compliments-it was one of those proud Mommy and Daddy nights.

Vince woke up to the loud cheering in the 9th inning so he got to see the D-Backs celebrate their win.  We stayed for the fireworks afterwords, too.  Vincent was startled at first, but never cried.  He's still pretty serious, and studies everything new, so while he didn't necessarily smile, I know he loved the fireworks because he couldn't take his eyes off the sky.  

It was a wonderful night to remember, and we hope to take Vince to many more baseball games in the future.  Maybe one of these days we'll get him to Fenway!

Vinny and the Boys!

Oh, and about the shirt...it's a Hawaiian shirt with little surfboards on it.  Since Vince is a Red Sox fan (he told me so), he doesn't have any Diamondbacks gear, so this shirt was the closest we could find to Sedona Red in his closet.   It's not nearly as ugly in person as it shos on camera.

Vincent playing with Elephant

Here is Vince playing with one of his first and favorite toys from Gramma.  He loves to grab all the tags on it.  This was a tricky video to shoot, I'm pretty impressed with my ability to hold the camera steady in one hand and Vince steady with the other.    

Vinny is grabbing anything within arm's reach these days, including Daddy's glasses.  He's also putting everything into his mouth.  He still loves his huge pacifier, he even chews it.  We had to buy a new one today.  It is so fun watching him explore his toys these days.  He doesn't just look at them anymore.  Now he reaches, grabs, and swats them.

Rolling Over!

Vincent has been rolling over onto his tummy for a while now, and I FINALLY got it on camera in a reasonable amount of time!  He still needs to master getting back to where he started.  That would really solve some night time issues when he gets stuck and wakes up.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What a Difference a Year Makes

Oh my.  When I think back to last summer, I really can't fathom how far away it feels.  I've been reflecting this month back to last July, a month that was filled with as much worry as it was peace.  Many of you already know, our journey to parenthood did not come easy.  As Boppo so graphically told the story in last year's Christmas letter, Vinny was our last chance.  After two failed in-vitro cycles, we only had one embryo left in the freezer.  Our doctor, upon explaining the new protocol he'd be taking with me, said, "this is a Hail Mary."  But we knew we had to go through with this last IVF attempt in order to move forward with any adoption process.  We were really at peace, but had to put closure on our fertility treatments.  Our chances were slim.  Even after all the hormone preparations, there still was a huge possibility that the embryo wouldn't survive the thaw.  But it did.  And so for two weeks, 14 long days, I prayed more than I had ever prayed in my life.  I was trying to will the little baby to "stick."  Please stick, please stick, please stick.  And it did.

So after the dreaded "two week wait," IT WAS EXACTLY ONE YEAR AGO TODAY that Anthony and I received the call that we had been praying, wishing, hoping for, but hardly expecting. You see, we had waited all day in silence, taking turns playing tetris and solitaire, mindlessly watching TV.  As the day passed, we both were silently preparing ourselves for sad news.  Naturally if it were good news we would have heard by now, right?  So 3 o'clock turned to 4, 4 turned to 5, and 5 turned to 6.  Then, at a few minutes past 6 o'clock, the phone rang and our hearts sank.  It was going to be bad.  We just had a feeling.  After apologizing for taking so long to get in touch with us, Dr. Johnson said something about having good news.  I don't remember exactly because I couldn't believe what he was saying.  He's soft spoken, so surely I misunderstood.  But he went on to tell me that I was 100% certainly pregnant and he scheduled me for more blood tests and ultrasounds.  (How great is that?  My doctor taking care of the scheduling because his receptionist has already gone home!)  

I fell into Anthony's arms and we both cried like never before.  I called my mom immediately to spread the news.   It was so joyful.  Meanwhile, Anthony had gone upstairs to get ready to go tell his parents in person.  We had agreed that since they were the only family we had in town at the time, they had to hear the news in person.  But in typical fashion, nothing goes as we ever plan.  In his excitement, Anthony called his sister in Virginia to tell her the good news.  Wouldn't you know it, but Greg was on the other phone with Bill at the same time, so when Missy screamed, Bill heard it through the other line.  Ugh!  Still, we were bound and determined to tell them in person, so off we drove to Bill and Joan's.  They too, thought the worst given how late in the day we heard from the doctor.  Unable to speak, I raise my arms up in the air as we walked through the kitchen door.  It was a special night, filled with tears, disbelief, and elation.  We cried, cried, cried.  It was so good to finally cry tears of joy instead of tears of sorrow.  So where else would we go to celebrate?  Why, Chile's, of course!  The first of many red meat meals I would crave for the next 35 weeks!

So here he is.  Little did we know at the time that it was a he, of course.  But this little blastocyst of cells, which was transfered into me on July 22nd of last year, became Vincent Joseph Mandrola.  Who can argue life, choice, whatever when you think about what these little cells became.  Because, just look at this little boy.  

He IS life.  He is OUR life.  Vincent has brought us out of a darkness that was at times unbearable.  For any of you that have ever read A Tale of Despereaux (a book I read to my students), you may be familiar with the theme light and dark.  Well, Vincent is the hero in our story.  He has brought us into the light.  Vincent has helped me see joy again, like no other.  I am me again.

He's Got the Cutest Little Baby Face: First 2 Months

Vincent's First Few Days at Home

Vincent Joseph is Born

Murphy and Lucy