Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Crazy Few Weeks

The Murray household has been very busy for the last few weeks. It all kicked off with Christmas and our traditional trip all over Chester & Delaware Counties. Christmas Eve was a nice relaxing time during the day. We just took our time lounging around the house and then got the boys down for early naps so we could get them up and dressed and get to Lansdowne for the Murray Family get-together at Dave's grandparents' house. It's always such a nice time getting together with so much family. It certainly was crowded this year, with almost everyone there. Granddad even joked that maybe we should rent a hall next year! Something very special is that Dave's Mom-Mom made ceramic piggy banks for all the little kids. We're waiting for Matt's & Jack's to have their names put on them, and can't wait to have such a special memento from their great-grandmother.

After the festivities in Lansdowne, we headed back to Coatesville to attend church. It was incredible to look around and see that when we're all there, we take up an entire pew now! I asked my mom if she remembered when there were just four of us sitting there together on Christmas Eve. It's so exciting to see how our family keeps growing.

Following church, we headed home to go through our Christmas Eve traditions before heading to bed. Every year, I read The Night Before Chrismas to Matt, and now to Jack, too. It's a copy identical to the one my mom read to my sisters and me every Christmas Eve growing up. Then we put Baby Jesus in the manger, hang up the stockings, set out milk and cookies for Santa, and ring the reindeer bells on the front door so the reindeer know where to find us.

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Reading "The Night Before Christmas"

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Putting Baby Jesus in the manger

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The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

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Setting out milk & cookies for Santa

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Ringing the sleigh bells so the reindeer know where to find us

Christmas morning I was up first (just the same as when I was a kid!) and jumped out of bed the second I heard Matt stir. I didn't get a picture of his face when he came down the steps, but I've got a great video of it. Unfortunately, it's not digital so I can't upload it. But he came down the stairs, said, "Oh, WOW!" and took off running for the new toys that Santa brought.

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Matt at the top of the stairs (holding Jack's teddy bear), waiting to come down and see if Santa was here

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Matt's pile from Santa

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Jack's pile from Santa

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Trying out his new Spiderman scooter

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Checking out all the gear in his new tent

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It doesn't look like it here, but he loves his new floor gym.

We had a great time opening presents just the 4 of us and it was a blast playing with Matt who really seemed to get it this year. He'll even tell you that Baby Jesus was born on Christmas! Unfortunately, the increased awareness also meant that by the end of the day, any package that appeared to contain clothing of some sort was cast aside! We spent the rest of Christmas Day with our families, first at Dave's mom's house and then at Erin & Tony's house. The day was fabulous, we love spending time with our families at Christmas, and we managed to feel relaxed despite traveling from house to house that day!

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All set to go visit people on his first Christmas

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His shirt says "My brother is the naughty one"

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Daddy wearing his shirt that the boys helped make for him

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Playing with his new pirate ship from Grammy & P-Pop

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Matt & Nana playing with Jack's jack-in-the-box

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4 redheaded cousins on Christmas Day

The day after Christmas was spent relaxing and waiting for the refrigerator repairman to come, as ours decided to stop cooling properly. Unfortunately, the problem was not adequately repaired, and we are again awaiting the arrival of a repairman. The 27th took us to a holiday party with friends. Then, Jack was baptised on the 28th.

Jack's baptism was a very special day. Obviously so due to the meaning of the day, but also because there were so many, both family and friends, in attendance to demonstrate their love and support for Jack and our family. We took up a full quarter of the church and it was wonderful that most of the kids' great-grandparents were able to attend, as well as so many aunts, uncles, and cousins. All 32 members of the extended Rowan clan were able to be there, which is always special and rarely happens. After a luncheon to celebrate Jack's baptism, we continued with the Rowan gift exchange and then exchanged gifts with Aileen and Adam before their return to Seattle. It was a very long but very special day.

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Pop-Pop baptizing Jack

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"This is Jack, Child of God"

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Trying to stay awake during the rest of worship

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Happy family

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Lots of Carlsons

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With Mom-Mom & Granddad Murray

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With Dave's family

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With the Godparents, Aunt Erin and Uncle Adam

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With Nana Rowan

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LOTS of Rowans! (32 of them!!)

New Year's was spent with our good friends for the second year in a row. We find that as opposed to a big "party" like we used to attend, we enjoy spending time with our closest friends and their children. We cook a big meal and put the kids to bed, then enjoy each others' company. Three years ago, a picture was taken of me and my friends Dana and Christy before we had children, but were all three pregnant. This year's picture shows how much things can change in such a short period of time!

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December 31, 2005 . . . all 3 of us pregnant with our first babies, born (left to right) August, June, and May, 2006

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December 31, 2008. Quite a change from 3 years ago!

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Watching the Rose Bowl on New Years Day. We can teach them how to be fans, but we can't help the team win!

The Saturday after New Year's was spent exchanging gifts with Dave's dad. We usually get together that weekend and spend time together, have a nice meal, and exchange presents. It's nice to be able to spend that un-rushed time with them.

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Playing with Pop-Pop

The following Monday, we received an upsetting phone call from Dave's cousin informing us that their grandmother (who had made the piggy banks for Christmas) had suffered a massive stroke. We went to visit her in the surgical ICU at UPenn on Tuesday evening, shortly before life supports were shut off and she passed away. We will miss her very much and are grateful to have been blessed with her in our lives. We recognize how lucky Matt and Jack are to have known her, even if only for a short time. We are especially glad that she was able to meet and hold Jack on Christmas Eve and at his baptism. It is a difficult situation that our entire family, and especially Dave's family, must deal with, and we expect things will be difficult, and yet provide some closure, at her funeral this coming week.

All the events of the past few weeks have added to our knowledge and awareness of how important family is to us, how short our time together can sometimes be, and how we want to continue to take as much as we can from each and every day. We hope that you all had blessed holidays and were able to spend some time enjoying the company of family and friends, as well as reflecting on the meaning of the season and all the miracles that it can bring.

An update on the boys: Matt continues to say new and profound things every day and is growing like a weed. He's wearing 3-4 year old sizes and he's only 2 1/2! Jack hasn't rolled over in a few weeks, but just as I was starting to get worried, he started smiling, and will even laugh every now and then! Matt seems to get the biggest smiles & heartiest laughs, which the pediatrician says always seems to be the case. His 2-month stats were 11 lbs 8 oz and an enormous 25 inches!! We continue to love seeing the boys grow and change before our eyes!

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Jack playing on the great quilt that Aunt Aileen made him for Christmas

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2 months old and all smiles!

So, happy belated holidays from the Murray family! More updates will come as we find things noteworthy to discuss! I return to work in just three short weeks, so I'm sure there will certainly be an update before or shortly after then!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rolling into the Holidays

Three years ago, my dad asked me what it felt like to be pregnant at Christmas. You know, the spiritual significance of it and all that. My answer? A poignant, “I don’t really know.” At that point, I still had 6 months until my due date, didn’t look pregnant, and didn’t feel pregnant. I just felt the same as always, so I couldn’t really say what it felt like to be pregnant at Christmas because in just about every way, I didn’t feel it at all. At that point it seemed to only really be an actuality in my head. This year, with a new baby at Christmastime, I feel the significance much more.

I had the Christmas music on earlier today and heard the song, “Mary Did You Know?” and it nearly brought me to tears. As I listened to the lyrics, I began to think about our boys and the hopes and dreams we have for them. While I don’t know that they will perform miracles or lead the masses (although you never do know, do you?), I believe they will do great and wonderful things. Thinking about that filled me with joy, holiday cheer, and a bit of sadness thinking of how quickly they are growing up and wanting to make sure I don’t miss a minute of it!

Jack amazes us all the time. He’s been holding his head up practically since birth, and last week, at only 5 weeks old, he surprised us by rolling over! Dave and I had, ahem, “debated” over who would be the one to give Matt a bath and put him to bed and I was upstairs taking care of that when Dave called up to me that Jack had just rolled over. Imagine my surprise (and annoyance over losing our debate!)! Matt was a few MONTHS old the first time he did that! When I was done putting Matt to bed I made sure to have a discussion with Jack about not doing anything “new” unless Mommy’s there to see it! The next morning, I tried to get him to do it again, and he did it twice! I got the second one on video because I could hardly believe it, so I had to make sure I had proof for others to see, haha! He has also started cooing, talking to his mobiles, and smiling from time to time. I have yet to catch that one on camera though.

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We have been busy getting ready for the holidays, as everyone else is, as well. All gifts have been purchased and the wrapping is almost done. The lights are up, cookies are baked, and the tree is decorated. Now all we have to do is avoid the stomach virus that Matt seems to have brought home! He started with it on Saturday and continued a bit on Sunday, although he was acting his usual self most of the time in between. He did feel well enough to help with decorating the tree. He had fun doing it and we’re hoping he’s on the road to recovery and that the rest of us don’t get sick! Last time he brought home the stomach bug, it nailed all of us, so we’re really hoping to avoid that this time, especially with Jack being so young and Christmas being so close!

We hope that everyone has a safe and happy holiday full of friends, family, and good memories. We’ll be sure to update with holiday pictures soon!

One of our nativity sets. My mom says it's blasphemous. I think it's cute :)
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Questions People Ask

People always have questions when you're pregnant, recently had a child, are parenting, etc. We thought we might try to answer some of those questions (as well as some you didn't even ask, haha!) in a blog to keep friends & family up-to-date on things in the Murray household.

QUESTION 1: When we first announced last March that I was pregnant again, my cousin Chuck asked if I would be taking as many pictures of the new baby as I did of Matt. My answer was that I was certainly going to try! It's certainly not been as easy to do so, being that I don't have just a newborn to stare at and take pictures of, but also a 2 1/2 yr old to chase around, play with, and supervise at the same time. However, I will continue in my efforts to take millions of pictures. While I realize you most likely don't want to see ALL of them, my email has not been letting me attach pictures for quite some time now, and the Babysite I set up for Matt was too time-consuming to keep up with. Therefore, we are trying something new. I will update here with stories as well as pictures. Feel free to look or ignore, whichever you want! Enjoy these pictures from November:



QUESTION 2: What color is Jack's hair? Well, that's a tough one. If none of my parents' other grandkids had red hair, the answer would probably be "brown." However, many people are looking at pictures and saying, "Oh, another redhead!" Jack's hair seems to have all the colors of mine, Dave's, and Matt's. That makes for about a million colors. All together, it mostly looks brown. But depending on how the light hits it, it can definitely look red. I was staring at it for a long time the other day trying to figure out what color it really is and I noticed something funny. It almost looks like he has brown hair, but red roots! So we'll have to delay an answer to the hair color question till it grows some more or falls out & comes back in, or till we have some way of coming up with a more definitive answer!

QUESTION 3: You may not want to read this one, but it's frequently asked. "How does he sleep?" While the answer of most parents of a 3-week-old may be, "About 2-4 hrs at a time, feeding in between, continuing all day & night," our answer is different. We have once again been incredibly lucky and have yet another child who enjoys sleep as much as we do. Jack has slept well from the start. By 1 week old, he was usually sleeping at least 5 straight hours overnight. By 2 weeks, we were up to 6-7 hours, and now, at 3 weeks old, he is sleeping 8 hours overnight. We woke him at that point to eat this morning, so who knows how long he would have slept! We have no tips or tricks to offer, and while I feel badly for the extreme lack of sleep experienced by most parents, I am incredibly grateful that I am not generally affected by it. However, if it makes you feel any better, the nights when a child does NOT sleep well seem to be much worse than if it were something we dealt with on a regular basis (when Matt's not feeling well, he's up most of the night; he also experiences night terrors from time to time which are NO FUN at all when you can't settle him down & he literally screams at the top of his lungs for anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours!).

QUESTION 4: How long were you in labor/how did the labor & birth go? As for long I was in labor, I don't really know when to officially say it "started" so that's difficult to answer. I got up for work around 6 that day, hopped in the shower, by the time I was out, I was having consistent contractions, but nothing I would have called the doctor about. By 7:30, I had decided to call the doctor, but wasn't really in pain yet, just uncomfortable. By the time we were in L&D triage at 8:45, I was as uncomfortable as I was when they gave me the epidural with Matt. Jack was born just under 4 hours later. Everything went well. Labor obviously started on its own, my water broke on its own around 10:30, Jack popped out at 12:38 pm. If you need/want more details than that, feel free to ask!

QUESTION 5: How are things going with the adjustment to "life with 2"? We all seem to be adjusting well. Matt loves his new baby brother, I'm learning to find some way to shower while having both kids here (usually happens during naptime with both monitors turned way up & within my line of sight through the shower door), I'm also re-learning how to do everything one-handed, as well as learning to feed both kids at the same time, etc. Matt is still going to daycare 2 days a week. We had to pay for it anyway, so we're sending him to keep him in a routine as well as not wanting to waste the money! I use those days to run errands, go to doctor's appointments, and the like. On the days he is home, he loves to "play" with Jack, showing him toys and reading him books. We took our first big outing as a family the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. We went to New York City to meet up with my college roommate for brunch. It was a long day (seemed even longer fighting the traffic to get out of the city!), but was very fun and absolutely worth going! I haven't seen Alana since her wedding, when I was pregnant with Matt, so between the 2 of us, that was 3 kids ago! It was great to see her and also nice to get out of the house with both boys, something I haven't done much of yet.

It's not a questoin that has been asked, but in case you were looking for an update on Jack, he was 9 lbs 2 oz at the doctor today! He's quite the little piggy!

So, things are well in the Murray household. We continue to have fun with the kids, and we're amazed every day at how smart Matt seems and how Jack seems to change so much from one day to the next. Hopefully we will be able to keep everyone updated on our lives (with pictures, haha!) via this blog. It's an idea I got from my roommate who has moved away from much of her friends and family, as well as my cousin who has done the same (moving all the way to Australia!). So thanks Alana & Rachel! Hope everyone is well & getting ready for the holidays! We can't wait to spend Christmas with 2 little boys this year!