Aiden's first surgery has been scheduled!

Just got off the phone with Dr. Fearon's office - Aiden's first surgery will be on Tuesday, November 11.

He will have half of his fingers and toes on both hands/feet seperated during this first surgery. Then, in February, the rest of the fingers and toes will be seperated. They do it this way because you cannot cut both sides of a digit due to the location of the arteries.

I will receive more information from Dr. Fearon's office about the pre-op schedule and surgery day in the next few days and will post more info as I get it. Right now we are looking at heading to Dallas on Sunday, November 9. We will have a full day of pre-op appointments on Monday the 10th. From what we know, we expect just 3-4 days in recovery before we are allowed to bring Aiden home.

It is such a relief to have this date scheduled. My emotions are all over the place - I feel anxious because I want it to be here so we can "get it over with" but then again I'm so apprehensive knowing that they will have to put him under anesthesia for a 4+ hour surgery. I'm nervous about his recovery (he'll be in casts for 3 weeks and then we will have to clean and wrap his wounds for several weeks thereafter). And I'm nervous about leaving Ethan behind for a week - I've never been away from him for that long!

If you know me, you know that I am a planner. But among all of of the ordinary to-dos and appointments and trips written in my calendar, seeing "Aiden's surgery" on that little square marked with an 11 makes this journey with him a little more real. I will try my best to take one day at a time.

My husband's 15 minutes...err seconds...of fame

We recently attended my cousin's wedding at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, IN and were very surprised to see that Ricky, although he never played a second of football in college (Bellarmine's still working on a football team...), was part of the exhibit!

We entered the building and started to make our way down the spiral walkway to the cocktail hour when Ricky recognized himself in an old home video loop playing on the very first tv monitor. He had been told that they used some old footage from his grade school football days in an exhibit, but having never been to the Hall of Fame before, he had never seen it. The exhibit showcased a football players growing into college players type theme. Sure enough, there he was, all 4 ft. 3 of him, proudly sporting a maroon jersey with the number 2. (In one snippet, he gets patted on the butt by his coach, and in another, he hikes the ball in a snap).

I am working on getting an "official" copy from the Hall of Fame, but in the meantime, I will post the "pirated" version I took using my digital camera. Also, the two little boys playing are Ricky's longtime friends, brothers Tom and Brian Quinkert (Tom, the one in red and black stripes, was Ricky's best man in our wedding!)

So now I can brag that my husband is in the College Football Hall of Fame. Who cares if it's "blink-and-you'll miss it" home video!

Ok - so maybe we're still a little young for the library

I spent a few days at my sister's babysitting this week and I must say it was very strange having someone else's kids all day and not my own. Especially since she has two girls and I have two boys. Lilly (3) and Avery (7 months) were so much fun! We went to the mall one day where we had lunch, ran around at the play area, rode the carousel and ended the trip with a cookie. The next day we ventured to the brand new Boone County library. Lilly really enjoyed the childrens area and Avery and I picked out a few books for them to bring home. They were so good!

We had so much fun that I decided to plan a trip to our local library my first day back with the boys. After their morning naps today I got them dressed and loaded into the car to head into downtown New Albany. I spent the car ride talking to Ethan about how we whisper in quiet places. I wasn't too worried about it though because the Boone County library had an entire floor devoted to the childrens area so I figured this one would as well - and if not a floor, at least a closed off area. I was wrong. It did have a cute little stage and a train table which Ethan loved. Unfortunately he has yet to learn how to contain his 17 month old excitement - so he squealed with delight when he saw it and wriggled out of my arms to immediately start to play. We're still working on the whispering thing. I pushed Aiden in his stroller over to the computer with me to look up some books as Ethan played.

A little girl, about 6, joined Ethan and they were playing together. She would pick up a train and Ethan would then decide that's the one he wanted. Oh yeah, we're still working on the sharing thing too. So of course he would scream. When I attempted to remove him from the train table, he took one and lobbed it into the air... Right. At. The. Fishtank. I closed my eyes tightly as it clinked hard against the glass and slowly peeked with one eye, sure I was going to find water gushing from a shattered tank and fish flopping around on the floor. It was still intact. Phew.

I placed the train back on the table, scooped Ethan up with one arm and pushed Aiden with the other. I knew we needed to pick out a few books and get out of there at that point. We headed to the picture books and there was a cute little penned in area for babies and toddlers. Perfect! I dropped Ethan in there to play and turned around to the bookshelves. In a matter of seconds, he had thrown EVERY SINGLE TOY out of the pen. I got a few looks from other mothers (whose kids were being PERFECTLY QUIET) and decided that whatever books I had in my hand was what we were getting. After working up a sweat bending over 800 times to throw the toys back into the pen, I once again scooped Ethan up and headed to the checkout counter hoping he wouldn't see the train table as we passed it. Not a chance. Of course he saw it and when I told him we were going bye-bye he threw a full blown tantrum. Then Aiden started to cry. I was tempted to put the books down and high tail it out of there, but decided that I wasn't making this entire trip for nothing. So with two screaming kids, I checked out the books ignoring the looks I'm sure I was getting. Not quite how I was hoping that outing would go.

Needless to say, it'll be a while before we go back to the library!

It's a bird! It's a plane! NO...It's Darryl on a tractor!

I wish I had some pictures to go along with this, or better yet, I wish I had this on tape, because it was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.

Ricky and I enjoy grilling out and we do so a few nights a week. Burgers, steaks, chicken, peppers, asparagus - you name it. Well this past week one of Ricky's coworkers brought in some fresh sweet corn from her garden and sent a bagful home with him. He looked up a "recipe" for grilling corn on the internet and it turned out AWESOME! We invited his parents , Darryl and Linda, over one evening and although they had already eaten dinner, Ricky talked them in to coming over to try the corn.

We live on 2.5 acres so we have a riding mower. Not a zero-turn like my husband would like, but a trusty, old, ride-along style. The previous owners of our house included it in the sale as they were moving to Florida and didn't need it any longer. It's old, but it works (well, it did anyway...) Darryl is retired from Ford Motor Company and has long loved to work on and fix up old cars. When the tractor gave out the first time, he offered to lend a hand and try to fix it. That was a few weeks ago. The darn tractor will start to work, he'll cut half the yard, then it will give out again and again. Needless to say, this tractor has become quite the frustration for Darryl - he just can't seem to figure out what the deal is and is over here day after day working on it.

That evening, when Ricky was finishing up the corn on the grill, Darryl went to the front yard to where the tractor gave out earlier that afternoon. We hear him try to start it - once, twice - no cigar. But then, wait, what do we hear? Did he get it started? As Linda and I turn our heads to the side of the house we see Darryl atop the tractor. It's not on, he's just coasting. He decided to try and coast it to the back of the house where we keep it stored under our deck. I don't think he realized that he would pick up speed like he did. Right down the middle of our sharply sloping backyard there are some concrete landscaping steps and a large overgrown garden area bordered with wooden beams. Oh, and way at the bottom of that slope is the woods. So you can imagine the impending disaster we are about to witness.

We hear Darryl bellow something but can't make it out over the whizzing of the tractor. He zips around the corner of the house while Linda, Ricky and I watch in complete shock. We can't quite wrap our heads around what is happening and don't know whether to scream, laugh or jump over the deck to proactively run to his rescue. Luckily, Darryl manages to steer through the one foot strip of grass between the stairs and overgrown garden and regains his presence of mind to put his foot on the brake just before the tree line. When he finally stops, the three of us burst out laughing - I'm talking gut busting, bent over, eyes watering laughing. Darryl dismounts and makes his way back up to the deck, clearly shaken, but trying to hold his head up high. Even as I write this I'm cracking up all over again. Thankfully both he and the tractor survived. Oh, and by the way, they loved the corn!

Sportin' the faux-hawk

I decided to play around with some hair gel and give Ethan a new look...

How time flies

Isn't it strange how the days go by so slow, but the years seem to fly by in an instant? The daily mundane activities of wiping snotty noses, doing laundry and cleaning the house make each day seem to last an eternity. Then at the same time I wonder how I got to where I am so fast - married, 2 kids, staying at home - all the things I dreamed about doing when I was little are now my reality. I'm finally at the place I want to be in my life.

Having kids puts the whole passage of time thing into perspective way more than ever before. My oldest, Ethan, was fussing after we put him to bed the other night - something he rarely does. He had a little cold (or "the miseries" as my family often says) and he just wanted me to hold him. Rocking my 27 lb. almost 17 month old in the chair, he pointed at the frame on the wall with a photo of him and the words 'Baby's First Smile' and proclaimed "Dee-dee" (what he calls Aiden). "No," I said. "That's you, that's Ethan when you were a baby". He smiled and layed his head back down in the crook of my arm, completely unaware of the tears that immediately welled up in my eyes. I remembered rocking that small little Ethan in the same chair just months earlier. I remembered wishing he would stay small forever so that I could stare into his eyes as he drank his bottle. I remembered the feeling of knowing that one day I would look at him and marvel at how big he was getting. And I cried, feeling that feeling for the first time.

Sometimes I don't realize just how fast he's growing until I go to change him at night. A few weeks ago, I pulled out the same old feety pajamas from his drawer and he giggled as I tried to stuff his foot into the hole. "He just wore these the other night" I found myself saying out loud. But as the zipper stopped half way up, I knew it was hopeless. Another pair of jammies into the bin tucked away in the corner of his closet, reserved for the clothes he's outgrown. A bin that is packed all the way to the top now. How can it be? I rifle through and pull out an outfit that he wore for his pictures just 2 months ago. Too small. My boy is just too big. Too fast.

My husband must've thought I was crazy that night. I came downstairs after being in a wonderful mood just 10 minutes prior, and burst into tears. "I can't believe Ethan is so big. He's not our little baby anymore" I sob. He agreed, but assured me that although Ethan is growing up so fast, he still needs us just the same. "And besides," he says, "Aiden is that little baby that Ethan once was." This just makes me cry harder, thinking to the day when we are through having children, and we no longer have a little one to rock in our arms. I've got to figure out how to hit the pause button. How can I stop time so that I can keep my babies in the same little jammies that they're in now. So that I can rock them in the rocking chairs in their nurseries. So that I can scoop them up and hold them without any effort at all.

I know that one day years from now I will think back to this crazy time with two boys under 2 and be glad that I no longer have to change poopy diapers or watch Baby Einstein over and over...and over. But I just hope that I can take it all in now. I want to remember how it feels to be a new mom. I want to remember how it feels to hear my children say "Mommy" for the first time. I want to remember it all, because these are the best days of my far anyway :)

If you'd like to make a call...

We were capturing Aiden's first few belly laughs (finally, the camera was near us!) and Ethan was calling China. Well, just the operator's message actually, but it very well could have been China! The second we focus on Aiden and don't pay attention to Ethan, he gets into something, anything, that he knows he's not allowed to play with. In this case, he was caught red handed with the phone. We couldn't help but laugh though - he's just so darn cute!