7 months old

Happy belated 7 months, Luke! Lots of stuff this past month – his first two bottom teeth came in, rolling over and grabbing everything in sight like crazy, sleeping in sleep sacks (yay) as well as on his tummy, 1 big nap a day, purée solid foods which took us awhile but now he’s getting it! Dada is determined to get you sitting up on your own without falling. Almost there! We think crawling might come first.
 

Starting 2016 out right – Gallbladder Free!

After 4 solid days of stomach pain I figured it was time to head into Kaiser to get it checked out. Anticipating the ER would be very busy on New Year’s Day, I woke up early that morning and drove into the ER. It was shockingly empty and what would normally take hours to see a doctor and get in to see the ultrasound tech, took only 45 minutes.  I apparently beat the rush. 

Having been very familiar of my family history with gallbladder issues and every female on both sides having theirs removed, I was pretty confident I knew what the problem was. That and I had gotten it checked out 8 years ago where I was told I had some gallstones, but it wasn’t necessary yet to get it removed. So when I made the decision 8 years ago to keep it for now I knew to just be careful and watch out for “the big one” – a gallbladder attack serious enough that made it necessary to remove it. So when I told the doctor my history and where the pain was were were all pretty sure it was my gallbladder. 

What I didn’t realize however was how bad it was. They confirmed it needed to be removed, but when I asked the surgeon if it could wait until after our trip to Seattle, they said no – we need to get you in for surgery today. Apparently I had gotten used to gallbladder attacks after all these years. The ultrasound showed that not only did I have a lot of gallstones, but an inflamed gallbladder and ducts. Basically, I most likely had recently passed a gallstone (inflamed main duct) and there were just too many gallstones blocking my gallbladder from doing its job – turning it into a ticking time bomb. 

Although I knew this day would come, I was still a little scared. I had never been under general Anastasia and this was my first major surgery. Thank god Tootie and Terry were so great to come over and keep me company while I waited in the ER for surgery. Tootie officially welcomed me to the club and reminded me of how grand life would be stomach-ache free. Exactly what I needed. Megan and Brian were so great to watch Luke so Rich could be there before and after the surgery. I felt very loved and thankful for my family. They were wonderful. Here’s me waiting in the ER for surgery. 

  
Surgery went well, however a surgery that averaged 45 min. took 2 hours. They took their time which I was happy to hear, but they reported after the surgery was done that there was one very large one in there, the size of a golf ball, probably about 1/3 to a half the size of the entire gallbladder! Pretty crazy, but it makes a good story, right?

They kept me over night to monitor me and make sure the second procedure wasn’t necessary (removing any gallstones that may have been stuck in the main duct). I’m glad I stayed because I definitely needed the nausea meds. The nurse kept offering me pain medication which I refused because I just didn’t want to add to the nausea. She told me I had a high pain tolerance and I laughed and said, no I just really really hate stomach aches. 

I went home the next day and the first few days were rough, but after 10 days I was able to hold Luke again. Not being able to hold your baby for that long is hard, and I hated being so useless, but it was necessary and I’m glad it healed quicker than expected. Megan was amazing and cooked us dinners, and watched Luke a bunch to give Rich a break. I’m pretty sure that when you look up Supermom in the dictionary it just says “see Megan Westcoat”. We were very grateful for Megan and Brian’s help, and I’m glad we could help remind them that they were glad they stopped having kids after 2 🙃 

I have to say that although this was my toughest hospital “story” to date, I haven’t had one single stomach ache or instance of heart burn and it feels great. I’ve hit my quota with ER visits in the past 6 months – so here’s to a wonderful 2016, gallbladder free!

It’s a wonderful life

Christmas this year could not have been any more perfect. It being Luke’s 1st Christmas I decided to take a few days off so that we could really enjoy it and take our time preparing for Xmas day. It was the best idea I had and plan to take time off every year moving forward. We baked Nana’s recipe of Mrs. Fields cookies and they turned out perfectly. 

   
Grandma sent Luke this adorable elf outfit and he loved wearing it!

 
Luke was a great helper in the kitchen and sang Christmas songs with me all day while I prepped for Christmas dinner. 

Rich loves to go through neighborhoods with Christmas lights and unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any yet, however I did ask around and found the infamous Magee Ranch house so we went to see it on Christmas Eve. Totally worth it. 

  
After we visited the lights we came home and opened our pj presents. Luke got Lakers pjs. I swear, this kid is going to claim SF as a second home, where LA is his first. I love it though. Rich is having a blast teaching Luke who to root for. 

After Luke went to bed I threw on my new pjs because I wasn’t feeling so hot. Rich and I went outside to enjoy our house lights and then our Christmas tree when he all of a sudden dropped down on one knee, said something beautiful and heartfelt then proposed. It was intimate and perfect. Rich put on his pjs too so I didn’t feel stupid in the pic. Typical us. What can we say, we love to be comfy!

  
Although we missed catching up with the Murrays for Christmas Eve dinner, we really enjoyed our relaxing Christmas Eve at home, our first one as a family. The Niewiroski family. 

No more swaddling

I am so proud of our little guy. He slept through the night for the first time in his Magic Merlin suit. We had tried it a few times with no success, but he did it cold turkey this time. This kid never fails to impress me. Who are the luckiest parents in the world? *Two thumps pointing* – These guys!

  

Grandma & Grandpa’s visit

it has been a very busy month with lots of work travel and changing positions at eBay to heading up the whole Parts and Accessories Strategy for Car & Truck. It’s kind of a big deal because Car & Truck is $3.2 billion a year out of the total 4.5 billion P&A covers. With that said, Grandma and Grandpa came to visit for a week to help out. 

  

Florence & The Machine

I don’t know how I get so lucky, but whenever my friends’ friends flake or get sick for concerts I receive a call asking if I want to go. Jaime, my newest friend who has a little boy, Danny who is literally 11 days younger than Luke had an extra ticket to Florence & the Machine. It wS a great time at the Greek, our first baby free play date. 

   
 

4 Months Old

  
Luke turned 4 months with a blink of an eye. This past month really went by quickly. He watches us closely as we walk around the room and has really started to grab objects. Right now his favorite is his keys. Weird, I know. Luke’s favorite position is standing up (while you hold him) and he’s gotten better with the carrier now that we’ve started facing him outward. He just wants to see the world. I get it, Buddy. There’s a lot to see. We’ve also gotten a lot better at lunch and dinner outings and have even done quite a few at local sushi spots. We had to catch up on 9 months worth no sushi! Each day our little guy’s personality shows more and more and we are having a blast. We are truly lucky to have such a happy kid.

Pumpkin Patch Fun

We went to the pumpkin patch in Livermore today. The girls picked out some great ones and helped us out as well. Luke loves his cousins so much. 

   
 

#MidWestcoat Wedding

   
   
 The invitation to Alex & Kristen’s wedding came in the mail around 3 months ago. Being a very hormonal new mom at the time, I opened it, smiled from ear to ear appreciating the beautiful garden-like design that was so very much Kristen and then put it on the fridge. I just couldn’t RSVP yet. We knew it would be too tough for us to take the baby out to Madison at such a young age. So when I turned to Rich a month later and asked, “Can I go?” I fell in love with him all over again when he said “Of course you can”.The timing worked out perfectly as well, Grandma and Grandpa were due to come up for a visit now that we had settled into a good routine as parents. I was not shocked at all when they arrived with bags of diapers and gifts for Luke – our little guy is very lucky to have such a great family that loves and spoils him (and us) to death. I knew they were all going to have a great time. 

As I landed in Madison Friday afternoon my excitement exponentially grew. I had made it, and could not wait to not only discover a new city that I had never been to, but learn even more about Kristen, my new cousin who won my heart the second I met her 5 or so years ago. I snapped a quick pic of a stand of cheese hats as I sprint walked over to baggage claim and made a mental note – you are in the land of cheese, Marie – eat as much as you can this weekend.

I used Über for the first time (I know, I’m embarrassed to admit it took so long) and made it in time to change clothes and hitch a ride with Brian & Megan to Marigold, where the rehearsal dinner was held in downtown Madison. And then the magical weekend began… in a place where the most gorgeous spread of food, family and friends filled the restaurant that Kristen had worked at years ago.

I’m pretty sure I crossed a line with my other newish Seattle cousin, Heather as I ran up to her, rubbed her adorable little baby bump and asked her a zillion questions about how she was feeling and telling her how great being a Mom was. I just couldn’t help it, her glow was contagious and I wanted to share everything I knew so far that I thought would be helpful. Sorry, Heather. I’ll shut up next time I see you.

The night was so much fun. I felt very honored sitting next to Kristen’s parents, who I really enjoyed getting to know and love. All this time I had been selfishly thinking how lucky we were to have Kristen join the Westcoat family, but it wasn’t until that moment I knew Alex was lucky too, to be joining her amazing family as well. After dinner filled with fun toasts, we had a couple of drinks in the hotel bar and caught up with Uncle Bruce, Uncle Steve and Kristi and heard some pretty neat stories about Bruce and Steve’s flying adventures after they got their pilots license. 

The next morning Brian, Megan and I walked the path along the lake to the square in downtown Madison where they have the biggest farmers market I have ever experienced. It was so big Megan and I were joking that there was clearly a “current” and we felt like salmon – don’t even try to swim upsteam. We tasted cheese curds, discovered some new produce like ground cherries, and enjoyed brunch with a view of the capital building. What an amazing city.

After exploring Madison, we were off to the wedding that was 45 minutes outside the city. I was anxious to see all of the details come together for K&A’s big day. Knowing how much fun Kristen had planning it I knew I was in for a very special treat like nothing I had experienced before. As I stepped off the bus (in my terrible shoe choice – high heels) I walked into a whole new world (Disney song, pun intended). It was simply breathtaking.

A narrow dirt path through trees led us to this little chapel where K&A spoke their vows with tears and laughter and officially became Mr. & Mrs. Westcoat. Every detail of the ceremony from Kristen’s gorgeous low back lace dress to Alex’s smiling face as he contributed to the guitarist’s song (with a rocklike shaker? Not sure what it’s called) represented them as a couple.

The reception was super fun as well. AS we walked into a barn-like building, there was a table of framed pictures of Alex and Kristen’s parents and grandparents. It was pretty neat to see Nana & Papa’s picture from when they were our age. When Brian, Lucas and I were talking about how Nana was such a babe, Lucas turns to us and says “who does she look like?”. I was stumped so when he said me (after a long quiet pause), I held back happy tears. It’s so much fun to see family resemblances, but you can never see your own and I felt honored to look like such a beautiful woman. 

The drink of the weekend were Old Fashions, a connection we discovered during Kristen’s Dad’s speech – the drink shared the first time Alex and Ron hung out together. We gazed out to the cornfields as we had crudité (or CREW-DIGHT as Uncle Steve calls it) and we found our places at our tables by finding the rock with our name on it – rocks that K&A had collected from various places they had been over the past year. SHOOT! I just realized I forgot to take mine home with me. Super bummed. The food was delicious once again and we listened to heartfelt toasts as the sun set in the background. Megan found a new trick to stopping tears during toasts – the bread tray. Next time I’m grabbing bread for the toasts because I clearly needed it!

We danced and ate cake & treats inside, and just had a grand ol’ time. My favorite song that night? “I’m every woman” that Alex had told me was one of Kristen’s favorites and he woke up to it every morning. These two people were so damn adorable. 

The night ended with a sparkler line send off that was not only very pretty in the dark setting, but helped me make a step in the right direction of getting over my fear of sparklers (don’t ask, I always get burned by one somehow).

The bus ride home was a fun encore to the night as K&A’s friends in the back sang songs to enterain us. Briandand Megan had an over under on a Disney song, and sure enough, 2 minutes later we heard “A Whole New World”.

There were so many other endless details to the wedding that made it special to be a part of, but the underlying theme for me was family love. I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with Brian and Megan kid free which is extremely rare these days. I loved getting to catch up with all of my Westcoat aunts and uncles and hear stories that I had never heard before of them and my parents. Seeing in the flesh how happy and accomplished all of my cousins were just brought happy tears to my eyes throughout the weekend. And finally, what will probably be the most emotional moment for me that weekend is when I watched Alex dancing with Auntie T. I thought at first my tears were simply tears of joy for how much I loved them and having them in my life. But then as I looked down at my phone to see a pic of Luke, I realized that I get to share the same moment with my son some day and an overwhelming feeling of love filled my heart. I love all of my family so much and the more it grows, the happier my life truly becomes. 

So I will end this very unorganized and sloppy written entry with this. Congratulations Kristen & Alex. It was one of the most memorable weekends I have ever had and I am so happy for you both. Once again, a Westcoat man chooses a truly amazing woman that we have all fallen in love with. Thank you for sharing your special day with us. 

3 Months Old & Back to Work

  
Almost a year ago to the day, Rich and I jumped to the opportunity to travel to Europe when I started working with the London and Berlin teams at eBay. It just happened to be around the same time we decided we were ready to have our next adventure together, starting a family. Although we worried about leaving our 3 month old puppy back home, we had a blast traveling around London, Berlin, Frankfurt, & Munich for the opening day of Octoberfest. Having been one of the best trips we had ever been on, we didn’t really think about much other than living in the moment and soaking it all in. So a few weeks later when I was mentally preparing for my 3rd half marathon in San Luis Obispo (that I had obviously not trained very well for) we were completely surprised to discover we were going to have a baby. We felt like the luckiest couple in the world, and it just made our European vacation that much more special to us.

So here we are a year later and our little poppyseed has grown to be 3 months old. There haven’t been too many big milestones for Luke this month – grabbing Mommy’s hair, deeper belly giggles, kicking his legs (like a swimmer), drooling and creative hair dos. Perhaps the biggest change was Mommy going back to work…

They say to never ask a woman returning from maternity leave the question “How was your vacation?” because having a newborn is anything but a vacation. Although I fully agree that it’s hard work, it was better than a vacation for me. I got 3 whole months to focus on nothing but our family and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I know I drove Rich nuts, but I hold that bonding time very close to my heart. Upon my return, I had a few women colleagues ask me if I cried in the car on my first day back at work like they did. They were shocked when I told them no at first, not on my first day back. It was my first overnight business trip to Salt Lake City– not being able to see & hold Luke before he went to sleep made me feel incomplete. Luckily, Rich sent a video of Luke laughing and chatting up a storm – he was clearly telling me every detail about his day and how his mobile friends hanging above his crib were the coolest. Then the tears (both sad and happy) poured out for 5 minutes straight as I replayed the video over and over again.

 It had always been a struggle for me to have a work life balance, but now I find it easier to be as productive and efficient as possible. My motivation is simple, I want to see that adorable little face before he goes to sleep every day. It completes me.

So Luke – if you ever read this blog post in the future, know that every minute I’m not with you I stop down for 2 seconds to push that little circle on my iphone, get a quick look at your face, and smile. You inspire me to be the best working Mom I can be and you & Daddy mean the world to me. You make my day, everyday. XOXO (forced kisses from Mom)