Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We Love You, Charlie!

Charlie is five days old and putting on weight like a prize fighter (his pediatrician said, Whoa! when we put him on the scale). He's doing great!

Love is a strange thing. It changes you like altered DNA. It's so powerful you already know in your bones that you would die for the nine-pound pink squirmy thing in your arms. And we've only just met... Parenting comes with sleeplessness, but for me, there's a lovely sense of peace when it's just me and him in the dark quiet hours. Even though I know the other half of the world is awake and whirring...and for all I know half the neighbors on my street are tossing and still feels like Charlie and I are the only people in the universe. Sometimes it's during these moments that I think I can feel my love for him grow the same way one day it seems like winter and the next morning, the crocuses have bloomed. Five days and I can't imagine life any other way.

Last Thursday night, I noticed contractions -- the kind that come with some heat in your back. The next morning we dropped Madeline off with our dear friends, stopped for Starbucks (having flashbacks to Madeline's labor when they sent me back home) and drove to the hospital, filled with incredible excitement, but doubt that the moment had really arrived. Well, what do you know? My water had broken! We knew then that we would meet a little boy or girl very soon! A few hours later...a little Pitocin...ten minutes of serious pushing...and Rob's excited voice filled our delivery room. "Ahhh!!!!! It's a BOY!!!"

Sandie, Rob's mom, hopped a flight that morning just in case. Ning and Andi jumped in the car and drove to Nashville. So even though we're Southerners now, Charlie still had a fabulous welcoming crew! Madeline came to the hospital several times over the next couple of days with her Grammy. She loves holding Charlie ("Baby Carlie"), kissing him, grabbing his toes and letting him suck on her finger (she laughs and laughs and laughs!). The joy I feel having delivering a healthy baby is amplified by seeing my children together. I feel like my new charge in life as a parent is to help them develop the foundation of an incredible friendship that will carry them through life's ups and downs.

Rob is amazing. He is an amazing man and an amazing husband...and he is an especially amazing dad! So calm and relaxed. Seeing that little bitty baby in his great big hands is like seeing all Seven Wonders of the World at once.

We've been so grateful for Sandie's help all week. Clean folded laundry mysteriously appears, pots are scrubbed, the dishwasher emptied, and best of all, Madeline's had her Grammy -- her buddy! -- to keep her happily distracted while Rob and I re-learn all the baby basics. Today, Rob and I took Madeline on a special Big Sister Date -- we went to Starbucks, telling her that Charlie's too little to come, but she's a Big Girl!

We are so grateful for the outpouring of love that we've felt from everyone! While it may take us some time to return calls and emails, your loving words, calls, support and congrats have filled our dinner conversations and made us feel so blessed! Thank you thank you thank you! What would life be without our incredible family and friends? We love you!

(More pictures soon...Blogger is taking a little nap, just like I'm about to go do....)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Welcome Baby Charlie!

We welcomed Charles Robert "Charlie" Vlach on Friday at 6pm. Love you little Charlie...

Friday, February 20, 2009

On our way to the hospital...

We'll see what happens, but we're headed to the hospital. Little boy, little girl? Today? Tomorrow? We should know soon...

Madeline is excited to be a big sister!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Visit from Louisville

This weekend, our great friends, Jamie, Eric and their one-year-old son, Kainoa, visited us from Louisville! We always have such a great time together. They got in on Friday night and swooped Kainoa straight from car to crib -- then we had a chance to sit around and catch up. The boys faded pretty fast, but Jamie and I chatted on the couch until way too late (just like our college sorority days). The next morning, we all took turns watching the kiddos. Our wonderful husbands gave Jamie and I the afternoon off for a fun girls' lunch and boutique shopping in the charming downtown Franklin. We were so sorry to say good-bye on Sunday -- the weekends always fly by too quickly.

Spring seems to be here (it's 70 today!), and wonderful news has accompanied the warmth. Our dear friends Johanna and Jason had a gorgeous baby girl Sunday night -- Marin Jane. She is exquisite and we are so happy for them! And our friends friend Kris and Matt had Jackson Royal on Friday night -- his two big sisters, Ella and Claire, are so excited!

Speaking of babies...we're getting very excited about meeting Baby Vlach quite soon. Though I'm not due for 23 more days, my doctor seems to hope things will happen sooner (she wouldn't mind helping things along). In fact, my last checkup showed signs that things are progressing! Stay tuned....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tea Parties, Playdates and Picasso

This morning, Madeline, Monkey and I had a tea party using an adorable set that Ning gave us (featuring the character Madeline and her dog, Genevieve). Madeline was a lovely hostess, helping feed Monkey clementine slices and refilling the thimble size tea cups with orange juice (which I wiped up as they overflowed, trying not to interfere...). Then our neighbor Amy came over for a grown up tea party! We had a fun lunch, ending with brownie cheesecake and homemade cookies that Amy treated us to.

Madeline is so busy learning (and I do mean busy). Yesterday, I watched her pull a box of cereal from the counter, get a bowl out of her drawer, and then pour herself a bowl of cereal at her little table. I observed silently and proudly, making a mental note to call Rob at the office to tell him how grown up she is. Then seconds later, I heard giggling and shrieks of laughter from the dining room. "I pour cereal on Maple's head...!" And sure enough, the bowl was at Maple's feet and the dog was covered in a fine cereal dust (the stuff that filters to the bottom of the box). Even her eyelashes were coated. I'm sure she was wondering what she did right, as she wildly licked her forearms and attacked the carpet like someone had just tossed her a steak. I had to hide in the kitchen for a good 20 seconds before I could stop laughing to explain that we don't pour food on the dog. Then this morning, I heard another proud exclamation. "I color on wall!!" Oh boy. Deep breath. I rounded the corner again, and our freshly painted dining room wall was "decorated" with red marker. A lot of it too. Thank goodness for Crayola washable markers. I explained that we only color on paper and handed Madeline a wet rag to help me wipe it up (something I read in a parenting magazine....never knew those tips would come in handy quite so soon). It's exciting to watch her learn and too bad we have to stifle that fun. Think about how fantastic it would be to color on the walls whenever we felt like it!

We had a fun play date with Madeline's good friend Jackson earlier this week. I was amazed how they happily played together like an old married couple. Then we had a breakthrough with Mother's Day Out. After the first drop off three weeks ago, the good-byes have gotten progressively more difficult on Madeline. While she adjusts quickly, there have been steady and increasing tears -- each Tuesday and Thursday, I listen to her reassure herself in a sad, weepy voice, "Mommy always come right back. Mommy always come right back." And then at the moment I turn to leave, she howls and the floodgates open. Yesterday was different. I set her down and watched her take off into the classroom, but only after closing the safety gate behind her, pecking me on the lips and giving me a high five. She never looked back once! When I picked her up at noon, I heard on repeat "Fun with the kids!"