Thursday, June 30, 2011

Three Weeks Pass Quickly By...

John was born 21 days ago. How can three weeks fly by so quickly when time feels so peacefully slow? We've cleared our calendar and are blissfully unaware of what's happening outside our door, savoring this special time while John is so tiny and our days and nights blend.

John continues to be a quiet, calm baby; he only pipes up for a few seconds at a time if he's especially uncomfortable. Mostly he sleeps, waking up to look around with his bright little eyes for 20 minutes until he's exhausted again and falls back asleep. He's long and wiry, the way Madeline was, and we couldn't believe how strong his neck was from the minute he was born. He reminds us of a little turtle when he stretches it to look around. He smells divine. Holding him is like popping a couple of Tylenol PMs -- you just feel cozy and drowsy until you drift off to sleep.

Madeline and Charlie have been swaddling all their stuffed animals and dolls...not to mention each other. Madeline dresses her monkey in John's outfits and Charlie uses John's bottles to fill his trucks with water at the bathroom sink. They both love sucking on his pacifiers and can't resist waking him with a fly-by kiss and hug. It absolutely moves me to see their instant affection and friendship take hold.

I still can't believe we have three children. And that two of them are boys! I told Rob I need to get really serious about learning the ins-and-outs of football, basketball and hockey. In a few short years, I'm going to hear the ESPN theme song in my sleep. Madeline and I are going to have to fight for Project Runway airtime and steal away for girlie pedicures.

We were so happy to have Sandie, Rob's mom, come stay with us for almost two weeks; and Rob's sister, Nicki, just returned to Chicago last night after a wonderful five day visit. Today my sister, Mollie, arrives from Denver! And next week, Andi will travel from St. Louis to meet the little guy and help us out. Friends and neighbors have delivered meals almost every day since John was born, and the darling girls who live next door come play with Madeline and Charlie almost every morning now that school has let out for the summer. We are so grateful for all the support we've received and couldn't ask for a more relaxed transition into this new wonderful phase of our life!

I came into the room and found Madeline reading John books...
Swaddling her monkey
Chillin' while they watch Diego

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sweet John Thomas

We're home with John Thomas and just soaking him up. It's amazing how much you can love something on first sight. He's peaceful and quiet; we're all absolutely head over heels in love.

Our first days with John have been sweet. Madeline and Charlie adore him. Through our hospital room window, Rob and I watched them walk with Rob's mom, hand in hand, from the parking garage up to the hospital doors, proudly wearing their Big Sister and Big Brother t-shirts. When we heard the elevator ding, they ran down the hall into my arms and were bursting with excitement to meet their new sibling. It's pretty amazing to think that they've been waiting most of their young lives for this baby to arrive.

Charlie's first words were, "I love you, Baby John." Then instead of kissing him, he slurped him, pretending to drink him like a milkshake, and hasn't exactly stopped slurping him since. Today, he kept grabbing John's hand, saying something that sounded like "hi fi"; I realized after he did it a few times that he was giving his little brother high fives!

Madeline immediately asked to hold him; she was so careful and serious, staring into his eyes. She asked me shyly if we could sing him Rock-a-Bye Baby, which we did together softly, and then she whispered to me that she had called him Johnny. A little bit later, when I passed John to Rob, Madeline was alarmed that she couldn't find him and started looking under my hospital gown. 

John Thomas is named after my dad and Rob's. We wanted to honor two men who mean so much to us and who represent the qualities we hope to teach our little John. With their help, course.

We are so blessed and just can't wait for everyone to meet our little guy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's a.........


We welcomed our new little man just after 9:30 am. John Thomas Vlach is about 8 1/2 lbs and has, according to Meg's doctor, "shoulders like a linebacker". He is healthy, and looks just like Charlie did when he jumped out a couple of years ago. Meg is doing well and is resting.

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers.

We'll follow up with pictures when we can...

Baby on the way...

Meg is in the hospital and in good hands. Things are progressing well. Should have more info soon. She thinks it is a boy, and I think it is a girl. We'll see... Stay tuned!

Soon...Doctor is coming up...ready for the baby!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Special Memorial Weekend Sister Visit!

Over Memorial Day weekend, our dear friend Matt Pawlak married his lovely fiance, Suzie, in downtown Chicago. Rob was honored to stand up in their wedding. I was thrilled for the happy couple too, but was unable to travel at this late-late-late stage in my pregnancy and felt heartbroken, writing Matt and Suzie a sad little letter months ago explaining my absence.

Then my sisters did the most amazing thing. They both traveled from Denver and St. Louis to keep me company, help me with the kids and act as insurance in case I started labor. And we did so much more than that! I've said it before, but if I could choose two people to be my sisters and best friends, it would be Mollie and Andi!

Within an hour of arriving, they whipped out a surprise birthday party/ baby shower extravaganza. They had balloons, gifts, cheesecake and a cookie-decorating set up for the kids. We celebrated my birthday, my mom's birthday (which follows mine by a day) and the new baby's upcoming birth day too! Fabulous!

They also helped me decorate the kids' new big kid rooms (more on that soon), talk through decisions weighing on my mind and calm the manic nesting phase I'm in. And we had lots of fun girl time when Rob was back in town and we could pop out to Franklin for lunch and shopping. Madeline and Charlie were in heaven playing in the imaginary pillow lands my sisters' created; Mollie and Andi were like human jungle gyms.

It was a great weekend!

Andi made a special monogrammed blanket for all three children!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Movie Night!

We've started a really fun tradition.

Almost every Friday night now, Rob brings home our favorite Marco's pizza (the pie is great, and my dear friend Elise's husband just opened it this month!). We get all set up in the living room with mini tables, chairs and towels (for milk spills and tomato sauce) and we all eat in the living room watching a family-friendly movie.

So far, we've hit up Milo and Otis, Toy Story 3, Curious George, Madeline in London and Kermit's Swamp Years (which took an unfortunate and unexpected turn towards a scary dissection scene. Madeline kept asking, "Are they going to cut that frog's tummy?" Oh well. Can't win 'em all).

Could I have imagined that this would be a blast ten years ago, as a new college grad hitting happy hours and getting gussied up every Friday and Saturday for dinners and concerts? Nope.

But it is.

Happy Birthday to Moi!

I had a wonderful 33rd birthday!

It was a celebration that lasted all week. Saturday morning, Madeline woke me in a stage whisper saying, "Mommy, we're letting you sleep in since it's your birthday!" It was so cute I couldn't wait to get out of bed. Rob made french toast, which I ate sitting beside the gorgeous roses my adorable family gave me. Even now, a week later, Charlie tells me happy birthday several times throughout the day, and even sings his version of the song.

We had a blast that evening with a small group of friends at Arrington Vineyard near our house. I was having so much fun, I didn't even mind that I couldn't actually drink the wine. My friend Jaime arrived with the most gorgeous birthday cake!

On my actual birthday, the kids and I drove in to meet Rob for an Indian buffet. When Ning got wind of our plans, she insisted on treating! Sidenote: I love how whenever we go for Indian, Madeline, and now Charlie, both always ask for "more chicken on a bone please" (tandoori chicken) like little carnivorous animals in their angelic baby voices.

And my Aunt Arlene treated me to a lovely picnic at Cheekwood, Nashville's botanical gardens. We ate a delicate lunch on linens and even blew out birthday candles. The kids loved the incredible outdoor train exhibit going on this summer, but had just as much fun chasing lizards, dangling their feet in the fountains and running the wooded trails. I considered the marathon nap they took that day a birthday present in itself.