Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Harrison Scott Robison

This post is a little delayed, but as everyone knows, Harrison Scott Robison has arrived! He's been here for a little over six weeks now and I truly can't imagine life without him. We are so lucky to be his parents. I had no idea the heart was capable of growing this huge and feeling this fierce of a love, TWICE. We love our two boys so much it consumes me at times and is almost hard to handle. I get a dizzy, butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling several times throughout the day when I think of how blessed we are.

Mason has taken on his new role as big brother like a champ. When he came to meet Harrison in the hospital we made sure Harrison wasn't in the room when Mason walked in so that Mason didn't feel like he was walking into a new family. That step ended up not being necessary as the first thing out of his mouth was "where's baby Parrison?" After he opened his big brother gift full of things to occupy him in the hospital, we brought Harrison in and witnessed an immediate bond. Mason got this look of love in his eye that I've never seen from him before and he was constantly hugging and kissing Harrison. That love continues now, which is usually really sweet, except for when Harrison is sleeping and Mason wants to see his eyes open. We've had several talks about how Harrison needs his sleep and we need to be a little more considerate. :)

Harrison's delivery went off without a hitch and my recovery has gone really well. We got to the hospital at 2:00 and had a baby in our arms at 4:40! As much as I struggled with the idea of having a scheduled c-section, I am glad that everything went so well and everyone is healthy. I was up and walking on day two and reduced my pain meds then too because I don't respond well to those and kept getting sick. The second we took that IV out I started feeling better!

Ok, now for the good stuff! Our sweet Harrison was  born on Tuesday, September 17 at 4:40 pm weighing 6 lbs, 11 oz, and was 19" long. He is a bundle of dark-haired perfection and has the most captivating, soulful eyes. His disposition in the hospital (and still now), was very calm. He doesn't really cry unless it's for one of the obvious reasons. He loves to be cuddled and loves snoozing in people's arms. He's so opposite from Mason's red-headed hospital personality that I had to ask the nurses if it was ok for him to be so sleepy and quiet! They assured me that Harrison was fine and said it sounded like Mason was maybe the anomaly. :)

On day two of Harrison's life we noticed a pretty nasty blister on one of his feet. We figured it was from rubbing or sucking in the womb and didn't think much of it. Then the next day we noticed the blisters had spread pretty rapidly over both feet so we clued the nurse in. It puzzled the nurses, pediatrician, and neonatal doctor. A pediatric dermatologist was consulted and an educated guess was made that he has Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare connective tissue disease causing blisters in the skin. Most people have a protein between their epidermis and dermis, but that protein is missing in people with EB, and there's nothing they can take to replace it. Just a slight rub of the skin will cause a blister and adults who have it describe it as feeling like a third degree burn. Obviously we were very nervous, confused, worried, and saddened by this news (if you google it you'll see why we were scared!). The next week we took him to actually visit the pediatric dermatologist and she downgraded his diagnosis to Epidermolysis Bullosa Simplex, or EBS, because it appears to be localized to his hands and feet (thank goodness!). We came home with marching orders on how to treat him (a daily ritual he does NOT like at all), and are so thrilled to say that we have not seen any severe blisters in about three weeks now. What a relief. We learned that this is a genetic disorder and Sean's sister's two daughters also had it as babies (it occurs in 1 out of 30,000-50,000 births so this was no coincidence!). In both Anna and Ella's cases it went away by 10 weeks of age and they learned they had been misdiagnosed - turns out they have epidermal fragility, or fragile skin. Our fingers are crossed the same news will come for Harrison! We're hopeful that it will given how mild it's been the past few weeks.

Here are some pictures from our hospital stay. I'll update the blog about life since then but it would be too long of a post to include all that now! Just know that he's thriving and growing perfectly!

We love our little boy so much are are so happy to have him in this world with us.

Sweet little love

Last moments as a family of three!

He's here!

Meeting BeBe & Papa

Mason meeting his BFF

I loved all the quality alone time I got with him in the hospital

My friend Ashli showed up and snapped some pictures when Harrison was just 18 hours old.

Getting to know his family

We're home!

Taking in his new surroundings

Our family of four

Monday, September 16, 2013

Harrison's Nursery

Just in the nick of time, Harrison's skyline nursery is ready for his arrival! As I mentioned in a previous post, we kept the room, furniture and layout the same as Mason's nursery, but changed the bedding, colors and accessories. My absolute favorite part is the skyline backdrop Sean built for behind the crib. It floats away from the wall and is backlit, so acts like a nightlight when it's dark. It is such a unique gift from Sean to Harrison and I can't walk by the room without stopping to look at it. Mason thinks it's pretty cool and I hope Harrison comes to appreciate it as well! These boys sure are lucky to have a father with such a cool hobby. Mason loved helping Sean in the garage over the past couple of weekends and both of them added a little freestyle message to the back when the project was done. All my boys make me so happy!

Cute prints from an Etsy shop

Personalized details

Bookshelf corner (Mason has three shelves full of books - he'll have to share some to get Harrison's tiny little collection growing!)

Mobile and changing area

Sean's handiwork. I can't seem to get a good picture of how the backlight looks when it's otherwise completely dark. Still learning our camera after four years! 

Can't wait to meet this little guy!

Harrison's nursery on top, Mason's on bottom. They look so similar  but there have been so many changes! The paint colors don't photograph well but we did change the walls from a blue to a gray. In an ideal world, I'd have a new rug for Harrison's nursery, but we love this rug and don't have another room for it so it's staying! Maybe curtains in the future, too.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bye Bye Summer

I have three posts I've been wanting to do about Mason: one about his summer adventures, one about all his new skills, and one about his first day back to school. With my free time about to be stolen by a new love, I decided to wrap them all into one post, so it's a little long!

We had such a busy and exciting summer around here! Mason really seemed to grow up since May and amazes us daily with the things he knows, remembers, and learns. Over the past few months he's learned the ABC's (that may have actually been in the spring), identifies most of his letters and can spell his name, counts backwards from 10 (and up to 20), sings nursery rhymes in entirety (sometimes teaching me the words!), rides his trike around the block, reads his books to himself (if he doesn't have the words memorized or it's a new book, he makes the words up based off the pictures), has become so imaginative and creative in his play, focuses for longer periods of time, and understands reasoning and logic more than ever! visit the blog online to see the video below, 

He loves to play with legos and create little worlds with them (his favorite is building rocket ships for blast off and a blue whale with a waterfall and swimming pool), still loves garbage trucks, dump trucks, and basically any truck he can load things into and then dump out, thoroughly enjoys painting and coloring both inside and out (crayons are a staple in my purse for restaurants, etc.), checks his 'train schedule' and let's me know when he needs to pick passengers up, then proceeds to create the whole scenario on the train track, LOVES working with tools and helping Daddy in the garage, and just says the funniest things. One thing Sean and I find adorable is how formal he speaks. If we ask him if he'd like to do something he'll respond with "Yes, I would like to         ". Or he'll say "Mommy, can I please have some milk?". It's so sweet and I'm glad he's picking up some good verbal habits! I overheard him go up to a friend at school and say "Hi Hud, it's so good to see you!". Don't be fooled, he still has his moments, but we really enjoy hearing him speak like this. A personal favorite that he said at lunch after spending time with the young-ish female childcare workers at the Y: "Hey girlfriend, these chips are spicy!". He doesn't meet a stranger, and says hello to just about everyone. If we introduce him to someone, he walks right up and shakes their hand. Little politician. :)

His thoughts are much more complete and he speaks in paragraphs to us. Sean had a work dinner last night and when I was putting Mason to bed he asked where Daddy was. I told him he had to work late and that he'd be here in the morning and Mason said "Daddy goes to work, parks down low in the parking garage, takes an elevator up really, really high, then goes back down. I see him in morning, yay!". He's spot on with Sean's path to work, and must think he has a blast at the office all day riding elevators up and down. :)

At the beginning of the summer I made a long list of things I wanted to do with Mason and as of last week, I had crossed everything off! We went swimming more times than I can count at various pools and friends houses, checked out several splash pads, ventured to new parks and playgrounds, frequented the library and book stores, took advantage of a 'cool' day (high of 92) to explore the Arboretum, learned about fish and fed stingrays at the Children's Aquarium, had a blast finally visiting Dallas' new Perot Museum (we will be back A LOT), went to a Children's Summer Series movie for the first time (let's just say I'm glad this was only $1 as he lasted about half the time), visited a nearby Farm Market Store called Ham Orchards, got some energy out at open gym at the neighborhood rec center, and had many playdates with his friends!

Swim playdate at his friend Jeff's house with Hadley, Jeff, Kennedy and Emily. The mommies enjoyed ourselves too! Four of the five ladies pictured are pregnant - we were sipping on some yummy summer mocktails!

Playing in the backyard with Daddy

Checking out Farm Market store Ham Orchards
Ham Orchards with BeBe and Madison

Hanging out at the park and at open gym at the rec center

Clockwise from Top L: Playing at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital playground (side-note: I was a patient here as a child for scoliosis), exploring the creek with Sean, a refreshing summer snack for me while Mason plays at his water table, and enjoying a popsicle.

Clockwise from Top L: Snow cone at the pool, first dentist appt (he did great!), playing at an awesome waterpark with the kiddos of some of my sorority friends, and story time and movement at the library.

Left: He loves waterfalls! Top R: Finger painting outside. Bottom R: Finishing off some ice cream after a family date night.

At the Arboretum with Kennedy

Looking at lobsters and fish at the Children's Aquarium

Checking out the sharks and stingrays, then walking around Fair Park

Visiting the Perot Museum last week. We went with his friends Jeff and Emily but snapping a picture of three busy toddlers together is near impossible!

Kicking a beach ball in the backyard. I love the follow through in the bottom right pic!

He started back up at preschool last week and jumped right back in without missing a beat. He's in the Older 2's class this year and will tell you that he goes on Tuesday and Thursday to see Ms. Laura and play with the big tweezers (his favorite toy there, random!). It's amazing to see how far he's come since he started a year ago, and I know I'll be blown away again this year. He goes from 9-12 two days a week and his daily agenda is similar to last year: library, music & movement, playground, art, snack and free play. When he's fully potty trained we'll send him to lunch bunch which extends his stay until 2:00 and includes lunch and more free play. We don't want to send him now, because when they're not potty trained, they're sent to the younger lunch bunch class that is required to take a nap. I'd rather him take a full nap at home after school than a 20 minute up there, so we'll wait until he can go to the big room!

First day of preschool 2013, Older 2's class
Handsome boy on his first day

We planted this tree last October and like to take pictures of him in front of it to see how they both grow. And I love his sweet laugh in the picture with Sean!

Playing with those darn tweezers and coloring an M on his first day in Ms. Laura's Corral class!
Comparison to last year. Boy has he grown! 
Left side is this year, Right side is last year

In baby news, we have between one and two weeks to go! Ahhhh!

This boy is getting BIG!
Mason is at such a fun age and I loved every moment of our adventurous summer. He still takes plenty of time to cuddle with me. Every morning he climbs in bed with us and snuggles in to watch a cartoon before we start our day. I hope this continues for a long time to come!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dudes Weekend

Sean and Mason sweetly decided to give their overheated and exhausted wife/mother a little break this weekend while they spent some time quality male bonding time together outside of the home. After work on Friday, Sean came home to pick Mason up and take him to dinner before heading to my parents house to spend the night. My parents were out of town for the weekend so they had the place to themselves (thanks Hotel BeBe and Papa!). They had a large breakfast on the patio Saturday morning and played in my parents backyard/creek area before cleaning up and heading out to Dick's to look at baseball gloves and tents. Then they enjoyed playing at Chic-Fil-A for lunch before going back to my parents for Mason's nap. When he woke up, they headed out to Dr Pepper Ballpark to watch the Frisco Roughriders play. This was Mason's first baseball game and while he didn't stay interested the whole time, they had a blast. The smaller stadium is easy to manage with a two-year-old, and they had a lot of fun games for kids. The tickets are so cheap that Sean bought front row seats which were cool for them, but he said next time he'd get the general admission ones where they can sit on a blanket on the lawn where a lot of other kids were. They got home around 9:00 on Saturday night which gave me a total of 27 hours to myself! I love my boys but I really enjoyed the 'me' time.

I didn't do anything too exciting while they were gone. Relaxing was my #1 goal and I accomplished that. I caught a movie on Friday night, slept in on Saturday, read an entire magazine over coffee, took a long shower, strolled some shops, and took it easy around the house. I ordered take-out on Saturday night and then when I realized the guys would be home soon, I finally decided to make it look like I had done something and cleaned up a little around the house. It was the perfect amount of time for a little break and I was so excited to see them when they got home. Mason came running into my arms when he came through the door and couldn't get the words out of his mouth fast enough to tell me how much fun he had. Sean shared the same feeling and told me it was one of their best ever days together. Mason didn't throw one fit or give him any issues - I guess the little stinker saves those moments for Mommy!

I'm so thankful for such a thoughtful husband that's also such a great dad. Here are some pics Sean texted me over the weekend.

Not one to let any ice cream go to waste!

Loves his new cow watch from Chic-Fil-A!

I'm thinking this shot won't be making any photo albums. :)

Helping Sean load the truck!

Watching warm-up

This boy is a magnet to bounce houses and found one at the game!
Waving to Mommy from the game!

What's In A Name?

We have finally decided on a name for our newest addition! This has been a discussion from the moment we found out I was pregnant, and probably before. The topic became more popular once we found out we were having a boy. We had a lot of strong contenders, but have decided on:

Harrison Scott Robison

There are a lot of reasons we chose this name. First, we just love it. Also, it sounds very strong and distinguished to us. It allows for a nickname if he so chooses, Harry, which we also like. Scott is a name that pops up on both sides of the family, namely my brothers middle name and Sean's uncles name, plus again, we just love the name. It was a hard choice whether to make Scott the first or middle name. If we go back far enough on my family tree, both Harrison presidents are on there (William Henry Harrison, our 9th president, and his grandson Benjamin Harrison, our 23rd president). Mason & Harrison "go" together to us, and I like having names that end in "son" for our two sons. :)


Harrison Scott

Harrison Robison

Let the monogramming begin! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013

It worked so well for us last year when we planned a last minute vacation to Phoenix that we decided to do it the same way again this year! We had been toying around with the idea of heading to a beach, and tossed everything from Cape Cod to the Cayman Islands or San Diego into the hat. In the end, we decided on Gulf Shores, AL and booked our rental about two weeks before we left (there had been a cancellation so we snagged a great place at a great price!). This allowed us to take a road trip instead of flying which made packing much, much easier since we could basically take whatever we wanted. Plus, my grandmas house is on the way so we were able to stay with her on our way there and way home.

The house we rented was a 3 bed/3 bath which is more room than our family of three (and a 1/2) needed, so we asked my parents and my sisters family if they'd like to join us. Unfortunately it was too late of notice for the Gadek's to join, but my parents and Aunt Patsy were able to come for the first half of the week! We actually left three days early to stay a night at my grandmas, and then spend the weekend in New Orleans before checking into the rental on Monday. It felt like our vacation kept going and going with all the little stops on the way and it was so fun!

My parents graciously offered to take Mason with them on the first leg of the trip to my grandmas on Friday morning since Sean was working and we couldn't leave until the afternoon. It was such a huge help to have the day to pack everything up and take Hazel out to my sister's, plus Sean and I enjoyed spending some alone time in the car together. My grandma and Uncle Philip had a delicious Cajun dinner ready for us when we arrived and Mason was in a great mood from partying with all the relatives and neighbors that had stopped by!

On our way to New Orleans the next day we stopped at one of our favorite poboy restaurants in Baton Rouge for lunch, Louisiana Bayou Bistro. Mason surprised us all by eating shrimp, oysters and crawfish - his 1/8th Cajun blood was coming out and I was so proud! Then we continued on to NOLA and after checking into the hotel, headed out to where else, Bourbon Street! Let me tell you, being pregnant and with my son and parents provided for a different experience than I'm used to on that street. I was actually pregnant with Mason the last time we were in NOLA so I haven't really been able to experience the city the way it should be for a while now. After walking around and taking everything in, we decided on century-old Pascal's Manale for dinner. My parents have been several times before and couldn't have recommended a more perfect restaurant! The barbecued shrimp was to die for and I heard the soft shell crab and raw oysters didn't disappoint either. On Sunday we rode the trolley from the edge of the French Quarter down beautiful St. Charles Ave. We got off where we could walk through one of the unique neighborhoods to Magazine Street where a bunch of neat shops and restaurants are. Since it was before noon on Sunday many of them were closed, which wasn't great especially since we got caught in a downpour. We made the most of it though and after grabbing a light lunch, took Mason back to the hotel for his nap. My parents and aunt stayed with him while Sean and I ventured back out. We explored several areas before finding ourselves back on Magazine Street for yummy Cajun appetizers, some store browsing and gelato. That evening we headed out for dinner at the delicious Mandina's, a restaurant with huge portions and a friendly atmosphere! Mason tried turtle soup here and asked for more! Monday morning we showered and packed, then headed to a neat grocery store near our hotel before hitting the road for AL.

Bourbon Street

A virgin hurricane for me and dinner at Pascal's Manale

Martinis and raw oysters at Pascal's Manale on the left, and navy polo/khaki short uniform for dinner at Mandina's on the right

This boy was fascinated with the trolley!

Once we arrived at our rental we did what you're supposed to do on a beach vacation: RELAX! We never planned more than two activities a day so that we could spend as much time as possible on the beach with Mason. Mason showed absolutely NO FEAR of the water and wanted to keep going further and further out in it. He loved going over the waves and under the water, and even wanted to try it all on his own but we drew the line there. It was definitely a work-out for us parents and we were always enticing him with things to bring him out of the water and back to the beach. My parents and Aunt Patsy were there for the first two nights and then it was just the three of us for the rest of the week. I let my mom and aunt take over the kitchen while they were there and enjoyed some delicious meals, including fresh (like alive when we bought them!) shrimp and crab, parmesan chicken wings and Sean's famous ribs. In addition to the great food we had some fun outings like a dolphin watching cruise that was also a pirate adventure for Mason, breakfast with pirates and princesses, dinner at the super fun and kid friendly Lulu's - an on the water restaurant with live music, boatloads of sand and sand toys, ropes course, tiki bar and gift shop, and a stop at Alligator Alley where we fed, held and viewed the 200+ gators! The vacation came and went too quickly, but we had a wonderful time and will definitely go back to this family-friendly destination in the years to come.

Our dolphin watching cruise and pirate adventure. We actually saw quite a few dolphins (three of which were getting frisky, if you know what I mean), and they pulled a treasure chest from the ocean filled with treasure for all the pirates on board! It was such a cute and fun adventure for Mason.

Crabs straight from the ocean, to our kitchen sink, then to the pot of boiling water, and eventually in our bellies!

Mason posing with pirates and princesses at a breakfast & pirate treasure chest search.

Hanging 10 with Daddy, sitting in the huge chair with Mommy, then hitting exhaustion and having a little pirate pout.
You'd never notice how long the wait for a table is at Lulu's with all the fun activities going on!  

Beach time fun

Thoroughly enjoying the water and a sunset ice cream treat on the beach

This boy loves to jump off any ledge he can find!

Sean's alligator masterpiece
Alligator Alley

I regretfully cancelled our beach photographer because I didn't have any cute, beach-y maternity clothes. The guilt consumed me and I made everyone wake up early on our last day for some shots at sunrise. Obviously we got out there too late and the sun was in our eyes and shadows on our faces. Lesson learned - we'll leave it to the professionals next time!

I still love the photos though and the memories with them.

This one precious shot made the whole scenario worth it. I love absolutely every morsel of this beach cutie.

I'm already looking forward to our next summer vacation - next time as a family of four!