Happy Birthday, Daddy!

What a great day for us all. Michael went back to work after a 3 day weekend with his Mom. We had a great time hanging out at home all weekend. The girls and I are off to a good start being solo. Ava woke up a little later than normal in a great mood. We all ate breakfast together then played in our playroom till nap time. Both girls took 2 hour naps which allowed me to get some much needed house work done and still get a little time to relax.

After naps, Ava and I did a little chalk shout out to Daddy. She helped me write “Happy B-day Daddy. We “heart” you” on our front steps.  We both got pretty messy but had a great time. Then the 3 of us, Ava, Elise and I sat outside together and enjoyed the next hour or so and waited for Michael to join us. Ava is starting to pay more attention to Elise now that its just us in the house. It won’t be long before they are actually playing together.

Michael came home and hung out and played with Ava for a bit while we chatted about the day. He made sure to have a clear schedule for the night, no work or school. Its always nice to have a night with no agenda.  After being fully caught up on each others day, Michael headed out to run and get groceries for dinner. After stops to both the meat market (we are quickly becoming regulars here) and the grocery store we went on a nice family walk. We packed in a little art time with Ava on her letter project after the walk. She is almost done with her letter V. I am hoping to finish the entire alphabet project and get pics up this month. It’s turned into a much bigger project than I expected it to be but I know it will all be worth it in the end.

After a little art time we started dinner for Ava while Michael cooked all of his new goods.  We put Ava to bed and enjoyed a feast of Veal Piccata with mushrooms and artichokes finished with a side of sautéed broccoli and roasted potatoes. It was delicious. I do love how he cooks, the best part is we have left overs so I get a nice lunch tomorrow with no effort.

I know we will always remember this birthday fondly. Although it was very simple in celebration, it was our first as a “4” and I can say that for everyone it was a good day. We are very lucky, and are doing our best to enjoy each moment. Happy Birthday, Honey. We all love you so much.

A Weekend with Nana

My Mom flew out to spend the weekend with us. It’s my birthday weekend, but more importantly it was her first visit with Elise. Bella and I picked her up Friday afternoon at SeaTac after spending the day at the office. I brought Bella to work for Amazon Doggie Days and she seemed to have fun. There were tons of dogs there doing photos and obstacle courses. Jessica was mostly happy because Bella got her nails clipped during the festivities. Laurel was over at the house when we returned and was nice enough to bring us dinner. We spent the evening making San Diego style fish tacos and playing with the kids.

We had a nice relaxing weekend at home and didn’t do much besides go on walks and take the kids to the park. The weather has been beautiful lately so we tend to find ourselves hanging out outside as much as possible. My Mom and Denny both finished their letters for Elise’s nursery and they both turned out great. My Mom’s letter has so many family photos that she shrunk down and pasted on. If I had to pick a favorite it would have to be hers. It’s like a visual history of our family.

Tonight I’ll be taking Mom back to the airport, which means we are officially on our own starting tomorrow morning. We’ve had help from Grandma’s for the last few weeks but this is a whole new ballgame. Elise still seems to have her days and nights mixed up so the last few nights have been a little rough. I’m a bit worried about Jessica watching both of them alone while she is still recovering but I know everything will be fine. Whatever phase we’re currently in won’t last long enough for us to get used to it before the next phase starts. It’s most important to not take anything for granted and enjoy it while it lasts. Before we know it we’ll be talking about what it was like when the girls were babies.

The month of August should allow us to get into a groove. School is cruising along and I’m within 11 months of graduation. Work is going great as well so I have no complaints. We’re all feeling very fortunate and loved lately. It’s been great seeing and talking with friends and family and we’re looking forward to seeing many more very soon. Next weekend we’re visiting with Jim, Brenda, Kristy and Madi so that should be a lot of fun. Then we have Rick and Chris coming out for Labor Day weekend. Finally, there will be a visit from Larry, Sherry, Amy and Tom in September. Lots of good stuff to look forward to. Here’s a few photos and videos from Nana’s weekend with the girls.

Ava and Nana
Ava and Nana playing a game on the iPad

Elise and Nana
My Mom holding Elise for the first time

The little sumo wrestler
Our little sumo wrestler

Smiling in her sleep
Smiling in her sleep

Elise and Dad
Elise and Dad hanging out after dinner

Click here to watch a video of Ava and Dad playing in the front yard.

Click here to watch a video of Ava and Nana reading ‘I Saw The Baby.’

Back to work tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I’ll head back to work after a week at home with everyone. It’s been a busy week full of adjustments, projects, and waking at strange hours in the night. All in all things are going well, and we’ve received a ton of help from Amy. We knew having two this young would be challenging so its been nice having her here to help ease that transition. The week has definitely gone by a little quicker than I would have liked, but its actually been pretty relaxing, all things considered. I’m sure I’ll be back into a groove at work in no time and I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone.

Ava has been doing pretty well with the transition. She seems to understand that the baby is here for good and that they have the same Mom. Ava still cries sometimes when Elise cries but hopefully that won’t go on for too much longer. There has definitely been some acting out throughout the week but I’m proud of her. Her whole world has been flipped upside down and she’s dealing with it awfully well.

Elise turns one week old today. I can say that I’ve now been pooped and pee’d on more in one week with Elise than in 20 months with Ava. I’m not sure what’s going on exactly, but every time I hold her she seems to have to go… a lot. One day we went through 4 diapers in 5 minutes. She’s still got her days and nights mixed up a bit but hopefully we’ll get her onto a normal schedule pretty soon. She’s spending more and more time awake everyday and even graces us with the occasional smile.

Jessica is doing really well and gaining her strength back. She’s not been getting the best sleep lately, due to the fact that Elise likes to eat about every 2 hours and Jess is the only one that can feed her, but she’s hanging in there. We’re starting to go on walks again and will gradually start increasing our activity in the next couple weeks. We’re hoping to be jogging at the local track by August 1st. We know that someday we’ll look back and laugh about times like these, but as usual, Jess is doing amazing. The girls are so luck to have her as a Mom.

Here’s a photo of Elise at 1 week old.

Elise 1 week

And now we are 4

It was an intense end to our weekend, bringing Elise into the world early on Sunday morning in what is easily the hardest physical act I’ve ever committed. Just as the sun was rising, she was entering the world to the sounds of a little Elliott Smith in the background. It was amazing!  I never imagined I’d give birth in a tub, now I couldn’t imagine having done it any other way. It was a beautiful experience.

Since our return home Sunday morning we’ve been doing our best to figure out a routine and finish a few projects around the house.  We are really enjoying all of our family time together and don’t want it to end when Michael has to return to work on Monday. It’s a lot of work taking care of two little ones, and all 3 of us adults (mom, Michael and I) are keeping busy in our own way. Thankfully my Mom still has one more week here to help us adjust. We really couldn’t have done it without her.

Ava is adjusting pretty well.  Grandma and Michael have been keeping her busy with her normal daily activities like walks around the neighborhood and trips to the park. She is very aware of Elise, she even cries when Elise cries, but for the most part she is keeping her distance for now. Elise is proving to be a good eater and sleeper just like her big sister which has helped make things a bit easier. You forget how much work such a little creature can be with constant feeding and diapering. We are all keeping busy and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Today we are planning to take our first family outing; a little trip to the Bellevue Farmer’s Market. Sounds simple enough but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned into a big production. We will likely spend as much, if not more time getting ready to leave the house as we will at the actual market. Even so, I am looking forward to it. I have not left the house, or more accurately the yard since Saturday. My mid-wife advised me not to do anything for the first week beside hold the baby and feed myself. Technically I’m breaking the rules but I’m feeling good and ready to venture out for at least a little bit.

Now that Elise is here our family feels complete.  I have everything I ever wanted, a loving husband and two beautiful children. Life is amazing!


Elise LaFleur Pellegrini Has Arrived!!!

Today is a day that we will never forget as long as we live. Our sweet little girl, Elise LaFleur Pellegrini, has arrived! She was originally due on July 13 and ended up being born at 5:21am on July 14, so I think it’s fair to say that she was right on time. Elise weighed in at 7 pounds 8 ounces, and measured 21 inches long.

Jessica started going into labor yesterday around 4:00pm. She was having regular contractions about 8 minutes apart, so we decided to go for a walk to help expedite the process. Initially we didn’t want to get our hopes up because you never know if the contractions are suddenly going to stop, but by about 7:30pm we knew that this was the real deal. We tried to treat it like a normal night; I made dinner and the three of us watched a movie.

Jessica continued having contractions through the night, so at about 1:30am we decided to call my sister Dana to have her come over to watch over Ava. Jessica, Amy and I arrived at the birth center at about 2:30am and they were just getting all setup for her. I had already spoken on the phone with the midwife and she was just a moment behind us getting there. The whole concept of giving birth at a birth center is very different from your typical hospital birth. You’re in a ‘birthing suite’ containing a bed, jacuzzi, shower, and furniture. You have complete control over the atmosphere, so we had candles, dim lights, and music to make things more comfortable for Jessica.

The most difficult part of this whole process from my perspective was seeing Jessica in so much pain. She didn’t take any pain killers this time and was an absolute trooper throughout the entire experience. The three hours that took place between us arriving at the birth center and Jessica delivering Elise were some of the most intense hours of my life. To see your wife in so much pain and not be able to do anything other than be there and hold her is really tough. There were times when each of us questioned whether going to the hospital and getting an epidural would have been the right thing to do, but ultimately she toughed it out and did it naturally.

Surprisingly Jessica ended up preferring the jacuzzi because it made her contractions more bearable, so she ended up going in there two separate times. It was during this second time in the jacuzzi that Elise was delivered. I’ve heard of water deliveries before but never expected that to be what we would do, but it worked out perfectly. The best part about doing the natural birth was that we were allowed to go home less than three hours after Elise was born. Since Jessica hadn’t taken any pain killers she was able to walk, and Elise was looking perfect, so we were home before Ava finished breakfast. That was definitely the best part of the whole experience. We hadn’t even made it out of the parking lot when leaving the birth center before Jessica stated that this was a much better experience than we had at the hospital in San Diego. Getting to come home with Elise so quickly was amazing.

Here are several pictures from Elise’s first day of life. Words can’t express how proud I am of Jessica, and how much I love my family.

Jessica right before going to the birth center
This was taken right before we went to the birth center

The first picture taken of Elise
This is the first picture taken of Elise, just moments after delivery

Getting all checked out

Ready to head home

Elise being held by Auntie Dana for the first time

Elise and Laurel, the two birthday girls

Ava on Elise's birthday
Ava out enjoying the sun on Elise’s birthday

Holding my 2 girls together for the first time
Holding my 2 girls together for the first time

Welcome back Grandma

Grandma Amy came into town on Friday night to stay with us for a few weeks and help with the new baby. Yesterday she and Jessica got a bunch of work done on Elise’s bedroom, and today they’re out visiting with Laurel while Ava and I spend the day at home. This is probably the last day that just Ava and I will have together for a while so we’re having lots of fun. I’m actually writing this from our front yard while Ava runs around climbing on stuff and collecting rocks.

Thursday we celebrated the 4th of July by going to the festivities in downtown Issaquah. There was a small parade, playground, pony rides, slug races, slides, and lots of food. Ava seemed to enjoy watching the parade, then we ran around the playground for a bit and went down the slide together a few times. She wanted to keep walking when we were leaving and ended up walking at least a quarter of a mile back to the car. I was impressed that she could go that far without stopping.

We got a chance to say hi to Dana on the phone Thursday afternoon and wish her a happy birthday. She and Brad were doing their annual trip to Leavenworth and were having a great time as always. That night we were able to watch two separate fireworks shows going on over Lake Sammamish from our front yard. It was a surprisingly good view from where we stood, but maybe next year we’ll have to get up on the roof to be able to see the whole show.

School officially started back up today. Having the last two weeks off school has been really nice but I’m happy to be back in. It’s mostly all programming work now and that’s what I like doing best. We were hoping Elise would arrive during my break from school but no such luck. I always do my homework early so I’m not too worried about turning in late work when she does decide to make her appearance. We’re totally ready and waiting at this point so hopefully it will be this week. The sooner the better as far as Jessica is concerned.

I don’t have to worry about any work travel for now so that’s nice, especially considering its Summer. Its been pretty hot here lately, including a couple days in the 90’s, but then I talk to my Mom and hear its been 115 in Vegas. Kinda puts things in perspective. I’m just glad we still have our portable air conditioner. Moving it from room to room isn’t very fun but Jess would be dying without it. I’m pretty buried with work right now but I’m probably only taking 3 days off when Elise is born so I won’t get too far behind. With any luck this will be the last post before Elise arrives.

Elise’s Baby Shower

Summer is officially here and it was a lovely weekend, a little on the hot side coming in at about 95 degrees on Sunday but a lovely day none the less! It has been really nice this past week getting some quality family time in since Michael has a two week break from classes. We have been taking full advantage of it and spending lots of time playing outside.

Yesterday afternoon my Aunt Carol hosted a backyard/ garden baby shower for Elise and I.  Ava and I, along with 12 lovely ladies and 6 kids (4 under the age of 3 months) spent the afternoon catching up with girl friends and family, learning new Mommy tips and tricks and passing all the babies around. It truly was a lovely party. It’s no surprise to me, but Carol really knows how to put together a great event. The backyard was set up with a white party tent for shade, toys for all the kids to play with, a refreshment table, baby girl decorations and more. She didn’t forget a single detail, I felt very special. There were a few games for everyone to play but thankfully not the cheesy type where I was forced to sniff fake diapers or subject myself to having my belly measured. We enjoyed lots of yummy appetizers, sweets and drinks. She asked each guest to write a comment to Elise and is making us a cute keep sake with the notes and pictures of each guest. No detail was forgotten.

We had a really great time. Being surrounded by everyone made me realize how much love and support we have here. I know that having two girls under the age of 2 is not going to be easy but knowing that we have so much support helps put my mind at ease.

A HUGE thank you to my wonderful Auntie Carol. She always goes above and beyond to show her love and support. We are all so lucky to have you close by again, yet another reason I’m thankful to be back home.  Now come on little Elise, we are ready to meet you!

Ava and I before the party started. Its so hard to get her to stay still for even a moment these days and forget about getting her to look the direction you want and smile.

Opening all of the great gifts. Baby girls come with so much cute stuff.

Ava and Drew, the two “big” kids at the party. They pretty much ignored all the babies.