Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sweet Baby Thane

When I was around 7 months pregnant, I came across and ad looking for Expecting Mommies interested in a complimentary Maternity Photo Session. Never having done anything like that before, and being thrifty (read: cheap!), I responded and met Jenni...a super cool chick! Our vacation back east was right around the corner, so we put it off until afterwards. And, by that time, I just felt so enormous that I didn't want a camera anywhere near me!

So, this past Tuesday, we scheduled a photo shoot of Mr. Thane in the outside world! Here is a sneak peek of the sweetness Jenni captured!

If you know us you know that, between me & Ib, we take TONS of pictures. But these portraits are so much more than we could capture. Thank you so much, Jenni! I love, love, love these shots of our little guy! I can't wait to schedule a session for both the boys and our whole family.

If you're looking for a photographer in the Tucson area, look her up! You won't be sorry! - - 520.248.4727

Monday, October 10, 2011

Seeing Double

Knox Paulson Contessa, just over a month old (11.07.09).

Thane Grayson Contessa, just over a week old (09.27.11).

Gee, do you think they are related?! We sure make some good looking boys.

Look Who's Two! Ah-ah-ah-ah!

In the midst of bringing home a new baby, we doubled our joy by celebrating big brother Knox's second birthday. It seems like only yesterday...

But it's true: Our little guy is 2! Grandma's giant birthday box of new books to read arrived the same day that she got to town. She also tracked down a classic Raggedy Andy doll, which is now displayed on the book shelf in the boys' room. Love it!

Grammy and Grampy sent a singing Elmo...and while it does talk, the volume is controlled by how hard (or soft) you squeeze his tummy. Lucky for us, Knox hasn't figured that out yet.

Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa's singing Tigger card was a hit. He played it over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over...

But Daddy (as usual) scored the homerun.

We took him to the park down the street to surprise him with his "motorcycle."

It took him a few tries to get used to it, but now he rides just like Grampy.

That evening, we had a little get together at the house. It was a combination meet and greet for Thane and we served cake for Knox's birthday, too. Miss Jeriann and John came, as well as Vickie & Louie, Laura & John, Pete & Little Pete and the Howell Family.

Both boys received lots of wonderful gifts and we are truly thankful to have such thoughtful friends.

And, since it's my blog, I'm going to toot my own horn because I am pretty darn proud of the cake I made! Knox is very much into Sesame Street and The Count, so I thought it was only fitting.

I found some clear piping gel at Michaels and added the color. Ma found a kit for me with a piping bag and several differnt tips when she was here. I drew it freehand while looking at a picture I found online. It took me back to my cake-decorating days at Dairy Queen. Not too shabby!

And, from the looks of it, it didn't taste too bad either. Happy 2nd Birthday Knox Paulson! We love you more than words can express.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And Then There Were Four...

On Ib's recommendation I took the final week before Thane's arrival off and, while he dropped Knox off at daycare and went to work, I spent some quality ME time at the house. OK, truthfully, I spent most of it either cleaning or shopping, but that is neither here nor there.
Much to my dismay, Thane did not make his appearance early. There were a couple times that I suggested to Ib we might be headed to the hospital but I was vetoed.

We opted for Plan B...and Thane was served his eviction notice. Ma (Ib's mom, Maria) flew in to spend 10 days with us, arriving on the afternoon of September 17th. Thanks to Skype, Knox recognized Grandma, and was instantly comfortable.

Sunday morning, after our last breakfast as a family of three (plus Grandma!) Ib and I headed to the hospital while Knox and Grandma waited by the phone for news of Little Brother's grand entrance to the world.

At 9:30 am we were rocking and rolling, and just in time for the pre-game shows! Our delivery suite was the best in the hospital, with a beautiful view of both the Catalina and Rincon Moutains. The rest of the morning was spent cheering Ib's Redskins and my Bills on to victories.

Finally, around 2:20 that afternoon, my midwife and the Dr. gave the OK to break my water. And that's when things got exciting!

Let's just say that the epidural didn't work quite as well this time around. But Thane didn't waste any less than an hour he was in my arms! Born 09.18.11 at 3:13 PM. Weighing 7.2 pounds and measuring 19 1/2" long.

Grandma and Knox made their way to the hospital to meet the little guy. Knox was all hugs and kisses.

And Grandma was all smiles: The first of 6 grandchildren that she was able to see on Birth Day!

I was hoping to be home in time for the late game, but they made us stay overnight.

We were finally given the OK to go home late on Monday afternoon.

There were more first meetings for Thane when we arrived at home.

Vinnie and Cooper had lots of kisses, too.

Knox initiated his little brother into the family by sniffing his "stinky toes". He passed the test.

And he took his duty as Big Brother very seriously from the start. Any time Thane cries, Knox wants to know what's wrong. Any time Thane is out of sight, Knox wants to know where brother is.

Grandma baked Thane's first, ever, birthday cake while Ib and I were still at the hospital and we celebrated after dinner.

The next few days, Knox could be found hanging out with his brother.

He's even sharing some of his favorite toys, already.

And he is a very helpful helper.

With a little planning, Ma was able to see all 4 of her sons (not to mention 5 grandkids!) in one trip! Despite the increased pain factor during labor, my recovery seemed overnight. I felt so great that I decided to make the trip to Phoenix to visit Hass & Amy and Farlan's family.

And, really, when you see little faces like these, how could you not feel amazing?

It's been a crazy ride so far and I imagine it will only get wilder! But we feel so blessed to have these two beautiful little guys. Say "Hello" to the 4 Contessa's.

Make Way for Thane!

After returning from our vacation, the remaining 5 weeks were a whirlwind of activity! Ib and I finally agreed on a name for our second born: Thane Grayson Contessa. And he would be here before we knew it!

Jeriann and her sister Jackie hosted a lovely shower for me. Since Knox would be (unknowingly) sharing all his old things with his brother, all we really needed was diapers, wipes and a baby!

The diaper shower was a success, thanks to my sweet and generous friends, who made sure Thane will have his...a-hem, butt...covered for a very long time!

Ib and I found these brother jammies at Costco and, though they won't fit for several more years, we couldn't resist.

Next up: The big day finally arrives!

Leave of Absence

Here is installment number one of my Reader's Digest Condensed Version on the events of the 3 months since my last post!

The beginning of August brought with it a wonderful 10+ day vacation back east. The main purpose of our trip was to attend the 2011 Frischkorn Family Reunion, but we managed to squeeze a couple trips into one. So, while busy, every minute was very enjoyable!

Our first stop, of course, was Grammy & Grampy's house. Knox thoroughly enjoyed himself on "the farm"...playing with my old tricycle and Auntie Am's old Radio Flyer wagon. The metal kind, too...not those plastic numbers they try to pass off on kids today.

Grampy got out all his toys...the tractors, his log truck, and his new Harley.Grammy enjoyed herself, too!

Knox was quite the helper, checking out everything in Grampy's garage, from the RV to the bulldozer.

Country life suits him well!

Grampy also made sure we got plenty of authentic hayrides, and Knox got to check out the cows up close and personal.

Then we were off to Great-Grandma & Great-Grandpa's house in the lovely Ohio River Valley. We attended the family reunion and got to see lots of folks that we hadn't seen in years. Cousin Andy did a fabulous job planning and organizing the event. And Knox, again, proved that he is definitely suited for country living in all that wide open space.

He did stop running long enough to enjoy a special moment with Great-Grandpa in the rocking chairs. Knox's seat has been in Grandpa's family for over 100 years.

But we didn't stop there! A 5-hour road trip across the state of Ohio led us to the Martin family residence in the cornfields of Northeastern Indiana. My dear friend Amy and I hadn't seen each other since October of 2008 when we had a Girls' Weekend in Chicago.

Since then, Amy had added 2 little ones to her clan and we were 5 weeks away from the arrival of our second! It was so cute to see Knox and AJ become fast friends.

And, as if all that weren't enough excitement, a third member of our girls' quartet joined in the fun. Mish flew in from Portland for a long weekend. Good, clean fun was had by all!

We definitely missed our Jen Price, but it was still great to spend time with my girls and catch up on the last (busy!) 3 years.

We took the boat out on the lake every day, went for walks in the peaceful lakeside neighborhood, got our start in GeoCaching and took the kids to visit a "petting zoo" where we actually got to pet a baby tiger.

Though we would have liked to stay (forever?!) the open road was calling and we had to head back to Pennsylvania for our final boarding call.

We spent one last evening at Grammy & Grampy's, complete with lawnmower rides and ice cream cones at TJ's.

On our way to the airport the next morning we stopped by Goodell Gardens to say goodbye to Auntie Am. She and Knox walked through the gardens and then we were off to the last leg of our journey: the flight back to Arizona.

Pennsylvania definitely gave us plenty of reasons to smile. We're looking forward to being [much!] closer than a 5 hour plane ride to all those reasons.