Thursday, March 29, 2012

fairytale photos

Just in case you missed it on facebook and you are interested in seeing a few pictures of us taken by a fellow Navy wife working to build her photography business, here is the link to our photo shoot.

The purpose of the shoot was to build her newborn portfolio, but she was kind enough to snap a few of the rest of us.
Thanks, Lana! We'll have to do it again sometime.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

mother/daughter date

Last Saturday, Alaina and I left the boys at home to attend an afternoon/evening of cooking, dining, and girl-talking.

Alaina slept through all the cooking, then she peed on me during the dining (my fault for being too lazy to get up and changing her diaper on my lap), which led to plenty of girl-talking about babies and birth and everything in between.


*Fun fact: there were eight of us American women at this cooking class, and every one of us had a baby here in Naples. I told you there's something in the water/wine.

By the time I leave Italy (never!), I should be a pretty good cook considering the number of classes I've attended.


This one was especially fun, though, because it was more intimate and it involved chocolate volcano cake.


I'm looking forward to a future of mother/daughter dates. And, in the very near future (April 2nd), I get to have a date here in Naples with my own mamma! 

I'm just a little excited!

Friday, March 23, 2012


If you're wondering what the Ramblin' Fam has been up to, lately, parenting is the answer. Tony's managed to get to work and bring home the bacon while I get Graham to and from school and feed and burp and change Alaina throughout the day. When Tony gets home, we juggle both kids and dinner and keep Graham's bedtime routine, and then hold Alaina, and read books and sing songs and burp and feed and change and kiss and hug and love. Then we crash. For a little while, until we have to do more feeding and hugging and guiding and behavior correcting and playing and loving. It's a whirlwind. 

The above photo was taken five days ago. I haven't taken a photo in five days! Incredible. I decided I need myself one of them there fancy phone gadgets that snaps photos and sticks 'um right up on the internet for ya'll to see, because right now I don't have time to get the camera out and do all the snapping and uploading and download and sideloading and cropping and editing that I usually do. Forgive me (Dad, I'm mostly speaking to you, the lover of pictures). Luckily, we've got ourselves a date with a professional photographer on Monday, so maybe we can actually get a picture of the entire Ramblin' Fam!

Thank God for all the help we've had from friends who have brought food and clothing and helped transport Graham. I don't know if I'd still be standing without them.

Oh, and Thank God that we have two of the best kids in the whole wide world! Woot! Yay for parenting!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

big brother

Graham is taking his role as "big brother" very seriously.

He seems to want to be as physically close to her as he can possibly get. He likes to wrap his body around her and hold her and breathe her in.


As far as I can tell, she seems to enjoy being close to him, too...

Monday, March 19, 2012

life is good

We've been home since Thursday.

So far, everything is good.

Really, really good. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

I think something is happening

My mother groaned, my father wept,
Into the dangerous world I leapt.
~William Blake

Monday, March 12, 3:00 pm: 

41 week check-up with a different doctor, since mine is leaving town this week. He's a seasoned OB/GYN with a Spanish accent and a non-chalant, it's up to you, attitude. Even though I've been complaining for weeks, I think I'll go ahead and wait some more for labor to happen naturally, since the baby has plenty of fluid and appears to be as healthy as can be.

Monday, March 12, 3:00pm-Midnight:

Hmm, I sure have been feeling a lot of contractions today. More than usual, but they are not any stronger than they've been for the past 3 weeks, so I'm not going to get excited.

Tuesday, March 13, 12:01 am:


Tuesday, March 13, 12:05 am - 1:00 am:

"Hey, Tony. Welcome to bed. Um, are we sure about the names we've picked out? Let's talk about it for awhile." 
Oh wow, that feels a little funny in my hiney. Maybe this is the beginning of labor. No, calm down, Katherine. Don't get excited. Just get some rest. You'll still be waiting in the morning. No big deal. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

Tuesday, March 13, 1:54 am:

Holy shit! It feels like something just zapped my tail-bone. What was that? Keep resting. Get some sleep. This could get real. Go to sleep. Let Tony sleep. We all need some rest if this is going to happen in the morning. Sleep. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2:22 am: 

Okay, the pain is getting real. A little more consistent. Feels like it did when labor began with Graham. "Tony, I think something is happening." 
Let's go ahead a time how long it is before I have another contraction. 

2:27 am:

That was a good one. Okay, maybe we should get out of bed. No, not yet. Don't get too excited. Calm down. Breathe. Wait for another one.

2:32 am:

Okay, okay, that hurt. Let's get going. Breathe. Walk. Change into sport's bra and comfy exercise pants. 

2:37 am:

Having some trouble breathing. Can't go wake Graham. "Tony, I'll meet you in the car." Breathe. Ouch. Breathe. Calm down. This is really happening! Yay! Breathe. 

2:45 am:

"Hey Graham. Get buckled up, buddy. We're taking you to you're friend's house. The baby is coming." Breathe, Katherine. Breathe. Moan. Try not to worry Graham by screaming. This hurts a lot, but you can do it. Be strong for Graham. Oh my, why do we live on such a bumpy road? Oh wow, that hurts. Okay, we're driving. We're going. The pain is coming quicker, now. Wow. Ouch. Bump. Breathe. 

2:55 am:

Get out of the car to kiss Graham goodbye. Oh, that was a mistake. Can't walk. No time in between contractions. Why are they coming so quickly? I want my relaxation between contractions, but there's no time. Okay, back in the car.
"Tony, these are coming quick!" 
Okay, calm down. Driving. Bump. Ouch. Bump. Oooh ouch ouch ouch.
I need to call my mom. I can do that. Dial the number. "Oh, hey Michael. We're going to hospital, now, to have to baby. Hey, Mom. Okay, gotta go. It hurts!"
"Tony, they just keep coming. It's like I'm having contractions between contractions!" 
The road sure looks blurry. Breathe. Breathe. Bump. Ouuuuuuuuuuuccccchhhhhhhhhhhhh!

3:23 am:

Oh man, I have to get out of the car and walk into the hospital. Okay, I can do it. One foot in front of the other. Okay, into the doors. Oh, there are a bunch of dudes in blue Navy uniforms. Ouuuch. Breathe. Breathe. Oh, thank goodness, there is a wheelchair. Sit in the wheelchair. Okay, can't sit down, that hurts. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Now, sit. Okay, here we go. Blurry. Everything is blurry. Up the elevator. Oh, that is a nice picture of a baby's foot and a mother's hand. We must be in Labor and Delivery. Hello, lovely nurses. 
One of them says, "Okay, let's go in here. You look uncomfortable."
Ouuuuuuuchhhhhh! Ouuchh! Weird. I need to pee. And they want me to change into a gown. Alright, I got my pants off, but I can't do the shirt. This hurts. I need to lie down. There's the bed. Okay, lie down. 
"I need to puuuuush!"
What are they doing to me? Why the IV? Do they really need my blood pressure right now? Why won't they let me push? They keep telling me to breathe and be calm, but I just need to push.
"Guys, I neeeeeed to puuuussshhh! It's coming out!"
Tony is telling me to let my body do what it needs to do. I love Tony. Man, I love him. The nurses are telling me to wait for the doctor and they keep poking me and jabbing me and hooking me up to monitors. Ugh. Ouuuch. Um, how can I possibly hold this in?
"Guys, this huurts, there's no time between contractions. I need to puuushh! Please? Why can't I push? The baby is coming out. It's coming out!"
The nurse checks out my cervix and I hear her saying, "Yep. She's right. It's time to push." So, why are they telling me to wait? We're waiting for the doctor? Can't the nurses just deliver the baby? They should know how to do it, right?
Ah, there's the doctor. What? He needs to go change his clothes, first? Huh? "I NEED TO PUSH! I'M GOING TO START PUSHING, NOW!"
Oh, good, the doctor is here with some scrubs on. He's taking control. He's commanded them to "break the bed." 
He's so calm. How can he be so calm?
"Let's stretch the perineum," he says, "Give me a little cough. Ehe, ehe." 
Wait, can I please have a mirror? I'd like to see what's happening down there. Oh, there's a mirror. Oh wow, I'm going to push, now. There's something coming out! Aw, man, they put my legs up. I can't see anymore. 
Tony declares "There's some hair on this one!" Is he talking about my vagina? Oh wait, no. On the baby! The baby has hair!

Tuesday, March 13, 4:16 am - 4:17 am: 

Ouuuuuuuuuuuch!! "Shit, you guys, this really huuuuuuuuurrrrrrttttttttsss" Push. Push. Burning. Ouch. Push. Yay, they're letting me push. Ouch. Push. Breathe. Push.
Tony says, "The head is out. Here it comes...... They baby is out. It's out!"
I hear people saying something about a girl. It's a girl? A girl? I have a daughter? Wow! Really? It's over already? She's out? For real? That was so fast!
Tony asks, "Can we put her on up here on the belly?" There she is! On my belly. Crying. So pink. So, so pink and healthy. So healthy. Beautiful. So, so beautiful! And pink!
Someone asks, "What's her name?"
Tony stares into my eyes. "Alaina." I say. "Alaina Marie." 

Monday, March 12, 2012

bump on the blog

40 weeks + 6 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 I figured it out, guys!!!

I'm growing an elephant!!

 That explains the extra long gestational period, as well as the enormous size.

 So, we can all settle down and stop thinking the baby is coming any day, now, because I still have around 380 days to go!

Keep on keepin' on!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

festa della donna

Happy Women's Day!

I'm just sitting here thinking about/missing all my homegirls. Thank you for continuing to support me through the years.

Go out and celebrate being a woman today!

yes, I stole some photes from people.

p.s. again
yes, I'm still pregnant.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

due date

Sorry. No new photes of the bump today, ya'll. You'll just have to trust me when I tell you that it's bigger. Why? Because the camera has been safely packed away in the car for the past ten days or so. Why? Because we don't want to forget it if, I mean, when this baby arrives in our arms. Plus, I'm too lazy/unmotivated/bummed-out-because-I'm-still-pregnant to get it out.

On February 23rd, I was cursed with the waiting game. Oh, how my life would be different if February 23rd never happened. On February 23rd, I had an appointment with my doctor. He reported to me that my cervix was dilated to 3, almost 4 centimeters and it was 50% effaced, etc., etc... This exact same thing happened when I was pregnant with Graham, and I ended up giving birth to him 3 days later, which was 10 days before his due date. Having had this experience coupled with the fact that everyone and their dog was telling me that I would certainly have this baby early since I had Graham early and I better be prepared for a very quick labor, I got excited. I got prepared. I forgot that my due date was not until March 6th. I got ready. Bring on the labor!

Since that day, I have been experiencing multiple personalities and riding the crazy train. I've had nights where I couldn't sleep due to excitement, and I've had nights where I slept like a log due to utter exhaustion. I've had days where I sat, sat, sat. I've had days where I've tried to forget about the whole thing and just get on with life (which, doesn't work, by the way, when you've got 20 pounds weighing down your pelvis). I've been up. I've been down. I've sobbed uncontrollably. I've been nauseous. I've enjoyed some good naps and quiet, alone time. I've read good books. I've had heartburn. I've complained nonstop to a supportive husband and to close friends (thanks for listening). I've felt joy, and I've felt despair. I've had contractions. I've almost peed my pants on too many occasions to count. It's been a wild ride. It's all led me to today. March 6th. The due date. Forty weeks. Done. Finished. Complete. Basta!

Except, not really. Because the baby is still inside my body.

I had another visit with the ole doc today, and guess what? My cervix is now dilated to a definite 4 centimeters, and is around 75-80% effaced, and the baby is sitting at a 0... I'm practically halfway through labor, but haven't even begun laboring. Weird, eh?

And so, now, I sit and hope. And chant these mantras in my head:

"Forward. Forward."

"This, too, shall pass."

"This is not the end of the world."

"This cannot possibly go on forever."

"The best is yet to come."

"I will get by."

"I will survive."

Friday, March 2, 2012

all about Graham (a really long and mostly unedited because I'm tired post I've written mostly for my own benefit so I can remember some things, and it won't bother me a bit if you get bored and stop reading)

Graham, Graham, Graham. God, I love this kid. He is our everything. Everything. Like all parents expecting their second child, we worry about how to add to our everything without neglecting him in any way. When I think about going into labor, I'm not worried about the pain. I'm not worried about how to care for a new infant. The first and foremost thought in my mind is concern for Graham. Where will he be when I start to "feel the baby coming?" How will he respond? Have we properly prepared him for what is coming? Is that even possible? How can we make the transition as smooth and wonderful as possible for him? Tell me, parents. How do you do this? How do you bring a second child into the world and make sure your first born feels included and loved?

Maybe we worry too much. There probably isn't a perfect way to do this. I'm sure we'll do what we always do and that is go by feel. Go with the flow. Deal with ups and downs as we encounter them. Relinquish the desire to be in complete control. And stop worrying. It will be as it will be.

For now, while we wait, let's focus on Graham.

His favorite thing in the whole world right now is to play. Just play. He likes to pretend to be anything from a superhero to Bambi. He likes to have races around the house, and he is very particular about his rules. He wants to be the leader and have the game go exactly as he has it created in his mind. When Tony or I (especially Tony) try to challenge this or make the game go a different way, he gets pretty upset and we have to spend some time trying to teach him that things can't always go his way. A lesson I'm sure he'll struggle with (as we all do) a million times throughout his life.

He is a lolly-gagger. He stops to look at everything and gets caught up in imaginative play before he's even out of bed in the morning. I tell him to go get dressed. When I check on him, he'll have his shirt half-way off with toys strewn about, pretending he is Batman or Lightening McQueen without a concern in the world. "GRAHAM! GET DRESSED!" He'll snap out of it long enough to get his shirt all the way off, and then he's back to the playing. It's a struggle, but rewarding him with stickers seems to be a good trick for now. If he can get dressed all by himself, he gets a sticker. Why are stickers so powerful?

He still asks thousands of questions everyday and always wants to know why, why, why. At least now if I say, "I just don't know, Graham," he will sometimes come up with some sort of clever answer on his own. "Maybe the dog just doesn't have an owner, so that is why it is eating garbage." Yes, these are the images we encounter during the day...

He is acclimating to the culture at his preschool. He has been jibber-jabbering in Italian more and more, and he is becoming quite expressive with his emotions. I know it's stereotypical to say that Italians are expressive and tend to talk loudly and with their hands, but I haven't met many cases over here where that is not true. One day, I was sitting at a stop light and the car in front of me started to shake violently. I thought it was going to fall over. I looked inside and saw that the man in the driver's seat was just talking. With his whole body. He shook the whole car! Sometimes, when I ask Graham a question like, "Would you like chicken for dinner?" he will raise both hands in the air and look at me like he's about to explode and say, "YEEES!!" very loudly. It makes me laugh, but I really don't like yelling. I like our home to be peaceful, so I try to say, "No yelling in the house." I'm not sure I'm going to win this one while living in this vocally-expressive country.

I also have to say that he is losing a little bit of his laid-back attitude he's always had. He likes to know what to expect, and doesn't respond well if you throw something at him last minute, but I suppose that is typical for his age. He's still good about being flexible once you discuss something with him, and he manages to have a good time in all situations, even if you had to coax him into getting there.

He's growing up and making friends and I'm already feeling the sadness that comes when your kid would rather be with his friends than with you. He has one particular friend at school whom he really admires and loves to play with. They call each other best friends. When I ask what he wants me to pack for his school snack, he says, "Hmm, well, I think my friend will have a banana, so I want a banana." Then I softly remind him that he doesn't always have to be like his friend. That they are both unique and cool in their own ways and that they can be friends even if they are different. Another lesson I'm sure he'll learn more than once in his life.

Life lessons. That seems to be the theme of the day. I spend a lot of time teaching him about life. I can only hope he'll listen every now and then.

Sometimes, he still thinks he's Justin Bieber, but those days are becoming less and less. But he does like to dance around and do tricks and pretend he has lots of talent and superpowers.

And, he still loves his mamma more than anything. I cherish these days when I can do no wrong in his eyes. I love being there for him. I hope he always knows this. Even as I attempt to be equally there for his sibling...