Sunday, May 31, 2009

Zach's tree is blooming!

Last year, as a tribute to our Zach, a bunch of people got together and dedicated a "tribute tree" at the Morton Arboretum. If you're not familiar with the Morton Arboretum, it is a little slice of heaven on earth, and I highly recommend that you visit as soon as possible. Anyway, we chose a tulip tree as Zach's tribute tree, and from what we read on Wikipedia, tulip trees flower in May/June. Today, Andrew drove to the Arboretum with our new digital SLR camera, and he found that Zach's tree was in bloom! The flowers are yellow with a splash of orange, and they are simply beautiful.

We chose this tulip tree just because we loved the location and how gorgeous it is... Andrew and I had no idea that it would bloom every year right around Zach's birthday. How perfect is that? It might be sleep deprivation plus postpartum hormones, but just thinking about that coincidence makes me a bit teary.

Thank you to everyone who donated to the tribute tree.... That kind gesture means a lot to us, and we will cherish this tree forever.

Come visit us in Lisle this summer and we'll take you to see this magnificent tree!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Charlotte and Da Marge

Charlotte had a good time running around our house, saying "TAT!!" every time one of the cats came out of hiding. As usual, Margie was a lot more brave than Bobo in terms of spending daytime out in the open (as opposed to under our bed).

"Hey, Marge!"

Checking out the view (which, unfortunately, consists of a boring window well-- this is in our basement).

Impromptu baby gates to keep Charbuncle out of the kitty litter

"Auntie Ernie, Margie's just staring at the window well.... That's boring! Will you play with me instead?"

Sosi and her tummy

A tummy time triumph-- turning her head from looking over one shoulder to looking over the other shoulder. Great job, Sonia!!!

Phwew!!! That was hard!!

Cousin Convention!

Our niece, Charlotte, has been busy meeting new cousins this spring! First, she flew all the way to Minnesota to meet The Mighty Quinn, and then she flew all the way to Illinois to meet our fabulous little Sosi. Charbaby seems to have had a great time here in Lisle (or Lisle Isle, according to a package we just received in the mail-- hee hee!).

It was really, really great having my sister here to provide help, love, support, laughter, and ingenius tips for navigating this brand-new world that Andrew, Sonia, and I are in! Niki and Charlittle have been doing this for over 14 months now, and they are pros. Together, Niki, Charlotte, Sonia, and I did a bunch of "firsts" (at least for Sonia and me): we went to the grocery store, took a walk around the neighborhood, loaded Sonia's car seat into the Mini (she and I had an appointment with the lactation consultant and Andrew needed the Honda that day), gave Sosi a bath in her little tub, and had two whole playdates (that Sonia snoozed right through). Thank you so much for coming to Lisle, Niki and Charbuncle!! We miss you already!!

Here are just some of the highlights of the first Malahowski/Stringer cousin convention:

First meeting!

Auntie Niki holds Sonia for the first time.

Sonia takes a little wiggle-time break with her daddy

Seriously, what is going on here? This is all new to me!!

Play date with the Murrays!

Charlotte meets her hero in a tutu, Sophie

Play date with the Cieslaks!

Sonia tries out her playmat, a gift from Auntie Niki & Uncle CorDawg

Getting back from our walk around the neighborhood

I can't wait until the next time we see Niki & Charlotte! Thanks for lending them to us for a few days, Corey. Sonia can't wait to meet you, Uncle CorDawg!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to our beloved Zachary Evan. You will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Andrew is back at work

As of today, Andrew is back at work. He worked from home all last week, but now this week, he's taking the train into the city and getting back to his normal daily routine. Me? Not so much. First off, Sonia and I are hanging out here together, figuring how to do things with only one parent around. Secondly, we're driving to pick Niki and Charlotte up from Midway right before lunch. I did take a shower this morning on my first day as a stay-at-home-mom, but I cheated-- I took the shower before Andrew left. Granted, Sosi was snoozing in the cradle (aka the cat bed), and all Andrew had to do was reach out and rock it a few times, but he was still there as my backup if the baby had a meltdown.

We'll miss you today, Drew-Dawg!

Cousin Convention!

Today, Niki and Charlotte fly in from Nashvegas! That got me looking back at Niki & Corey's blog to see what Charlotte looked like around the same age as Sonia is (which is almost 2 weeks old). Check these pictures out!

Sonia (with Daddy grilling in the background):

Charlotte (about a week or two older than Sonia):

We figure that genetically, Sonia and Charlotte are half-sisters. They look a lot alike as infants, at least! We'll be posting pictures from the meeting of the Charbaby and the Sosibaby sometime in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Monday, May 25, 2009

I closed my eyes for one second...

.....and THAT DARN CAT (Margina, of course-- not Bobo the angel) stole nipple shield #4. Luckily, I realized it fast enough and was able to get it away from her before she did any damage. The shield has been sterilized and it's back into rotation.

Here's Marge, looking very innocent:

It's all an act.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Naughty cat!!!

Marge destroyed nipple shield #3 yesterday. It's my fault because I left it out, but still! Once again, it was CLEAN, so we're bumfuzzled as to why she's so obsessed with those little silicone shields!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Malahowski Girls

A nap with Sosi and Margie = HEAVEN!!!

She looks like her daddy!

Little baby Drew-Dawg at 3 days old:

Little baby Sonia at 5 days old:

Coincidence? I think not!

Yeah, I know all infants kinda look alike, but I think Sonia looks especially like a Malahowski baby!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tummy time!

Sonia had a big day. First, she and I took our first solo trip together out into the big, wide world. Other than the quick trip to the pediatrician's office on Monday, Sonia hasn't left the house since she got here on May 15th. Our trip this morning was to the Edward Hospital lactation center where we got some words of advice on our nursing techniques. The lactation consultant confirmed that Sonia's weight is great (over her birth weight) and that she is definitely getting enough nourishment from the nursing process. Yay! We were exhausted after we got home, though....

Then, since her umbilical cord stump fell off yesterday, Sonia had her first play session on her tummy, which is important for her physical development. She was highly suspicious of the whole process, and the cats paced around, wondering what in the world we were doing on the floor. I consider the little 5 minute session to have been a wild success! Sosi will have much more tummy time in her future. Fun!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

File this one under "Too Much Information"

If you are at all squeamish about discussing the details of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or horny/ornery kitty-cats, you'd best ignore the rest of this post's text and just look at the pictures!

Here are some random bit of information for you all to consider:

- I am healing very well and very quickly from childbirth! I stopped taking even Advil a couple of days ago, and I'm pretty mobile. That's good and bad, though-- I need to keep reminding myself to take it easy because while my outsides feel good, my insides are still healing.

- Sonia's cord stump bled a little bit today (on a white onesie, of course!). Dr. Murphy, the pediatrician, said that a bit of bleeding here and there is perfectly normal until the stump falls off, but I still felt absolutely sick about it....

- Lansinoh is a girl's best friend.

- Margie Cat is obsessed with sleeping in Sonia's cradle (the one that my father and grandfather made by hand). We have to put a blanket in it when Miss Sosi isn't using it so that Margie doesn't soil the sheets with her kitty litter-y paws. Don't worry-- neither cat goes near the cradle when Sonia's in it. Anyway, a few nights ago, I was sitting next to the cradle, feeding Sonia, and Margie was snoozing away (you guessed it, in the cradle). The next thing I knew, Bobo Cat jumped in the cradle, mounted Margie, and started humping. I shooed them out, of course, but not before waking up Andrew so he could witness the spectacle! Here's a picture of Margie looking awfully proud of herself for finding such a fun place to sleep:

- Margie Cat is also a nipple bandit. So far, she has stolen two nipple shields (a tool to help with breastfeeding) and the nipple from a bottle. They were all clean at the time-- no milk on them (unless there were small traces that a kitty could smell, I guess). I now know that I can't leave these thing out to dry in the dish drying rack!

- I found a gray eyebrow hair the other night. Parenthood sure does a number on you, and it moves very quickly!

- Sometimes I am schnuggling with Sosi, and she moves against my belly. For a second, I will think that it's her, still in utero, kicking me from the inside. Hee! She also gets the hiccups about twice a day (this is also perfectly normal). I remember her getting the hiccups when she was still in my belly! Here's a picture that we took the day before I had the amnio and checked in to the hospital:

- Sonia is feeding for longer and more effectively-- I don't have to keep poking her, partially undressing her, and otherwise annoying her to keep her from falling too deep asleep during feedings! Unfortunately, though, she is also spitting up more, which makes me feel terrible. Poor kid! Here's a picture of SoBaby getting burped after a feeding-- even though I half-undressed her and was patting her back, she was still totally snoozing. Goofy kid!!

One other thing to note about the picture above is the necklace that I am wearing.... Andrew's mother gave that to Sonia as a birthday gift, but I'm supposed to wear it and keep it safe until Sosi's 21st birthday. It's white gold with diamonds-- isn't it fabulously beautiful? Thank you so much, Jenni!

I suppose that's enough (or "too much") information for now.... I promise to keep the blog a little cleaner in the future.

Our new life!

After my mother took off for home (we miss you a TON, Ma!), Sonia, Andrew, and I had to figure out what in the world to do next. For Andrew, it was pretty clear-- he had to work from home. I ended up puttering around the house and getting little projects done while beautiful Sosi practiced sleeping on her own. What a quick learner she is!! I even got so confident that I set up the video monitor (which RULES!) and I ventured two whole floors away from her for a few minutes at a time. And Sonia's not even a week old yet....

Sosi and I are still navigating the sometimes treacherous waters of breastfeeding. Thanks to a lot of support, we're still at it, but it hasn't been smooth sailing. I will accept any and all words of advice and stories of people's own difficulties with breastfeeding so I don't feel like such a moron!

Monday night, before my mom left, she and I gave Sonia her first sponge bath. She used a really beautiful and luxurious towel that Andrew's sweet co-worker sent us as a present. Sosi wasn't a huge fan of the sponge bath, but I assured her that she'll love baths a whole lot more in the future.

Also on Monday, my fabulous friend, Jodi, stopped by to meet Sosi and breathe in some of that newborn goodness. Her own two handsome sons are 4 and 1-- potential future boyfriends?!?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Back in action!

Sonia is being such a good girl and is able to sleep for a couple of hours at a stretch in the Pak 'n' Play, and I'm starting to get the hang of this scheduling thing (feeding every 2-3 hours, diaper changes as needed, shower once a day, etc.). So I think I can finally do my first post-birth blog post!

Our little Sosi is perfect. Just perfect. Any fussiness is understandable-- could you imagine going from womb to real world without some crankiness? She is beautiful, healthy, and very snuggly-- everything I could possibly hope for. The worst sleepless night with Sonia is 100 times better than the most peaceful night without her. We love her with all of our hearts, and I'm still pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. After losing Zach last year, we decided we had to press on and give him a sibling, and Sonia is as good a little sister as I could possibly imagine.

My mother is leaving tomorrow, and Andrew & I are going to be so sad without her help, love, and support!! She has the combined talents of:

-- cooking great, healthy food
-- holding the baby while we do essential things like shower, go potty, etc.
-- house cleaner so that we can focus on our lovely Sosi
-- lactation support provider (when you somehow make it through breastfeeding twins, you learn a thing or two)
-- photographer (she has a great eye and a much better camera than we do)
-- best friend

Last night, with her help (she took the first Sonia-soothing shift so we could get 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep), we were able to have a fairly successful night. Sosi slept for a couple of hours at a time (once in the crib with me sleeping on the floor, and once in the cradle in our room), and we woke up in the morning feeling like we were on top of the world!

I love you, Mom. Andrew loves you, too. We are more grateful for your help than we could possibly express!!!!!!

Big girl!

Sonia had her first check-up at the pediatrician's office today. She now weighs 6 lbs., 5 oz. and measures over 18 inches. She got a Hepatitis B shot and was none too pleased about it, but otherwise the visit was uneventful. Uneventful, that is, until she needed a diaper change. Mommy expertly packed the diaper bag full of everything she might possibly need.

Except diapers.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

At home in Lizzle (fo' shizzle)

Dressed up in her duckie jammies for the journey home!

Erin - is that a hat Grandpa Chuck knitted?

First time in the carseat.

First time in her glider.

Bobo, meet Sonia!

Margie, meet the new girl.

Grandma Jo seems to enjoy feeding little Sosi!

The cheeks are getting chubbier!

Explaining credit default swaps to the little accountant.

Grandpa Spike would do this all day if he could.

I'm sorry - are we boring you?

Don't worry, Sosi! Daddy won't drop you.

See? He's holding on nice and snug.

Grandma Jenni makes a nice bed.